Guide to anEffectiveSEO Strategy 2019 Risdall Marketing Group
90%of searchers haven’tmade their mind upabout a brand before startingtheir search.(Status Labs, 2018)Every year more than two trillion search queries are made on Google.A strong SEO strategy can be a difference maker for generating more leads and getting foundby customers. This represents thousands of “low-hanging-fruit” opportunities to align yourcompany, product, or service with those who are searching and ready to buy. Brands who don’thave one are leaving easy money on the table.In this e-book, we will explore what makes a good SEO strategy and the steps needed todevelop one. 2019 Risdall Marketing Group2
What isSEO Strategy?
Put simply, search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of making your site and contenteasier to find by search engines. However, in an ever-changing landscape of best practices,tools, marketing services and Google algorithm updates, it can quickly become overwhelmingfor marketers to choose where to begin SEO and what areas to focus on for the best ROI.Before embarking on any SEO tactics, having a sound strategy can help define a path andexpected outcomes. A comprehensive SEO strategy will include these items:SEOStrategy& Planning Audience definition Website, rankings, and Google tools audit Goals and objectivesAfter the strategy and planning portion of a program,you naturally dive into tactical execution.SEOExecution Technical SEO Offsite SEO Local SEO (if applicable)What isn’t SEO Strategy?There are many other disciplines that are sometimes lumped in with SEO. Digital marketing isa large umbrella, and while SEO definitely falls under that, it is easy to confuse related subjects.Here are things that fall under digital marketing that are not SEO: Conversion rate optimizationSocial media strategyPPC advertisingMarketing automation 2019 Risdall Marketing Group4
A successful SEOstrategy starts withthe fundamentals. 2019 Risdall Marketing Group5
SEO Audience01 DefinitionFUNDAMENTALWho is coming to your website? More importantly, who do you want to come to your website?Answering these questions is fundamental to driving the right kind of traffic to your website.You need a clear understanding of who your prospect is and what their search intent andcontext are.We like to call SEO “intent-based search optimization,” or IBSO. What IBSO is really about isdefining what the prospect is searching for at each stage of their journey, and which asset onwhat channel will satisfy that search.IntentWhat is the prospectsearching for?1ContextWhy are theysearching for it?2AssetWhat asset willsatisfy their search?3456ChannelWhere should theasset live?OptimizationHow will the prospect findthe asset?AscensionWhat is the next step inthe customer journey?To really have a sound platform to work off, you ideally would have well-defined customerpersonas and a customer journey iersReveals why somebuyers make yoursolution categorya strategic prioritywhile others choosethe status quo.Reveals what buyersexpect to changeafter implementingyour solution,and why.Reveals why somebuyers wouldn’tpercieve yourcompany or solutionas their best option.TheBuyer’sJourneyReveals whichbuyers are involvedin the decision andwhat resources theytrust to guide theirdecisions.DecisionCriteriaReveals whatcriteria buyers useto evaluate solutionoptions and make apurchasing decision,and why.Customer personas 2019 Risdall Marketing Group6
ConsiderationAwarenessUseAskPurchaseEngageCustomer journey mapFUNDAMENTAL02Understanding YourCurrent StateWebsite, rankings, and tools auditPart of a sensible SEO strategy will be a firm understanding of your current state of affairs. Thisincludes working on a few technical website audits to clarify where your shortcomings are andwhere you currently rank.Why is this important? Well, you might uncover some technical roadblocks on your website thatmay take time and money to resolve. It’s better to find out if there are issues up front rather thanwaiting until executing your plan.SEO Website AuditThankfully, the audit process has been greatly improved by the use of SEO tools and services.Basically, a tool can crawl your site and look for known technical issues and report back. Mosttools will report some sort of grade and give you a prioritized list of issues to fix. 2019 Risdall Marketing Group7
Some great tools we use for website audits are: BrightEdgeSEMRushAhrefsMozSerpstatScreaming Frog SitebulbBuiltWithGTmetrixGoogle LighthouseVarvyThe more premium tools also offer keyword research tools and competitor insights.Keyword rankings and search resultsAsk yourself these three questions:Do you havepages thatare not beingindexed thatshould?Is it inalignment withyour audienceand goals?Do you knowwhat youcurrentlyrank for?To determine your current keywords, some of the above-mentioned tools can analyze yourcurrent visibility.0510Est. ValueAverage Blended RankEstimated Traffic and Rank Report – Keyword Reporting152025Nov ‘16Dec ‘16Jan ‘17Average Blended RankFeb ‘17Mar ‘17Apr ‘17May ‘17Jun ‘17Jul ‘17Est. VisitsSocialSMoceial Mediadialogfor begystratSEOtionizaildkingptimbuildoingLink buLinineengerchtimSeaofgotlogfor gby for blo Legystrat trateSEO EO sSiononzat izatiimimopt optiine ineeng engeerch rchtim f timfSea Seat o ot oLoLAnother key observation is the number of pages you are currently ranking for. This is easilyaccomplished by turning the search engine on your site. Type this into the search barsite: reaeattetecoconnPrestentens rettleasesPresPress res releasleasesesPages optimize 2019Page Risdall MarketingPage Groups optimizePages rankings optimizeieerxpreeUsencierpexreeUsSEO StrategyencMaTypfkeywMrke arkngciaeltingStiostr Medstiaate ratKegy egyKeywyworod r Lo rdes ng rteesreaemrc archhMarketingstrategKeyywordresearchCreaeoLong Lontermg termTypLink buildingThis will give you an idea of how many of your pages are in Google’s index. Does the numberseem high, low or just about right?sultencierpeexresersrchas aanant mnt meettConCongsMeta tagsMeta taBlog postgsMeta ta8
Google Tools AuditEnsuring that your suite of Google tools are properly configured is the most crucial step in anSEO strategy. You must ensure that Google Analytics is properly configured, the website hasbeen submitted to Google and that you are taking advantage of tag management.RememberGoogle’s tools are very powerful, but out of the box they are aone-size-fits-all configuration. Like any tool, they need to be setup by experts and tailored to your website, audience and traffic.Google Analytics configuration questions: Are you filtering out your own traffic?Are you filtering out your vendors’ traffic?Are you filtering spam/bot traffic?Are you excluding self-referrals?Are you excluding spam referrals?Are your audiences segmented?Google Search Console: Are https and www/ non-wwwversions set up? Is the sitemap submitted? Is Robots.txt file submitted? Is the website verified? Are goal conversions set up?Is site search enabled?Is your Google Ads account linked?Is Google Search Console linked?Are content groups enabled and correct?Is tracking code implemented properly? Are there any crawl errors?Are resources blocked?Are there security or malware issues?Are there 404 errors?Google Tag Manager (GTM): Is GTM installed?What tags are implemented, and are they firing correctly?What events are being tracked?Is data being pushed to the data layer correctly?Is Google Analytics implemented through GTM? 2019 Risdall Marketing Group9
Setting Goals and03 Key Performance IndicatorsFUNDAMENTALAs with any marketing or business strategy, having some defined goals and objectives can helpkeep you focused and on the right path along your optimization journey.You will often be presented with choices. When presented with a choice, always choose theone that helps inch you toward a goal.Website GoalsWhat is the purpose of the website?This is a question we usually ask when assessing websites for the first time. This should beobvious. There should be clear calls to action and well-defined content paths (landing page blog resource conversion, etc., etc.).Conversion GoalsThe overall goal of any website should be to drive business. Typically that process is severalsteps (see customer journey map) or micro-conversions.For e-commerce retailers, the transaction is the ultimate goal. For other websites (B2B,informational, content publishers, SAAS, etc.), the goals would likely be driving the prospect downthe funnel.Here are some general conversions you likely would ttom-funnelconversions Subscribe to content Content consumption(newsletter, podcast, Asset downloadsvideo series)(infographics) Webinars Resource downloads(whitepaper, ebooks, case Eventsstudy, checklist, etc.) Catalog Quizzes and surveys Tripwire offer Product demo or free trial Pricing or spec sheets Product detail pages 2019 Risdall Marketing Group Contact (speak to a rep,find a distributor, quote request)01
SEO KPIsYour SEO program goals will always start off being more general. Do not arbitrarily setperformance goals like “increase organic traffic by 1,000 views per month.”For one thing, you need time to establish a solid baseline. That means that your GoogleAnalytics have to be configured correctly and collecting data for a reasonable amount of time.Good SEO goals to start with are: Increase overall non-branded keyword rankingsIncrease ranking around a topic (multiple keywords)Remove roadblocks for search enginesDecrease website errors (ex: 404)Maximize website performanceOnce your site has been optimized, everything is configured correctly, and your content is inalignment with your keywords, you can start being more specific with your SEO goals. Onceestablished, here are some other metrics that you can start to work on: Click-through rate (CTR)Session durationBounce and exit rateOrganic impressionsOrganic conversionsReferral trafficThere are more goals and SEO KPIs that can be layered in, as well as some that may beevent-based or seasonal.FUNDAMENTAL04Understandingthe CompetitiveLandscapeOne of the great benefits of SEO is potentially acquiring your competitors’ audience. Any timeyou can weaken your competitors’ position or gain a foothold before them is advantageous. It iseasier to hold and defend a position than it is to leapfrog another search listing.Having an eye on competitors also allows you to benchmark your SEO performance, plancontent effectively and discover new challengers in the marketplace. 2019 Risdall Marketing Group11
Tail:Share of Voice Report for “All KWs”Keyword GroupAll KWsPeriodAug 20, 2017 to Aug 26, 2017DeviceDesktopSearch EngineGoogle (US)25%Share of Voice20%15%10%5%0%Jun 11Jun 25Jul 09Jul 23Site.com (X%)Competitor1.com (X%)Competitor2.com (X%)Competitor3.com (X%)Competitor4.com (X%)Aug 06Aug 20Competitor5.com (X%)Competitor6.com (X%)Competitor7.com (X%)Others (X%)You also must consider “share of voice” competitors. Share of voice competitors are propertiesthat are competing for the same terms, but may not be direct competitors.For example, if you are an automotive tire company and are optimizing for the term “performancetires,” you are not just competing against other tire manufacturers in Google search results. Youalso face search competition from tire retailers, automotive content sites and Wikipedia.What is my Share of Voice vs. Organic Competitors?Business Option OneBusiness Option NineBusiness Option TwoBusiness Option TenBusiness Option ThreeBusiness Option ElevenBusiness Option FourBusiness Option FiveBusiness Option SixBusiness Option SevenBusiness Option Eight 2019 Risdall Marketing Group12
The Keyword UniverseThe universe from which we draw our target terms can be very large. Choosing the appropriateterms comes down to four key considerations: How the key term aligns with your business’ offeringsHow the key term aligns with the searcher’s intent and contextThe potential volume of search trafficThe level of ranking difficultyIt is very important that you choose the wording most aligned with your customers’ languageand not your own.The way you should work your keyword strategy is to start by choosing a “head term.” Headterms are high-volume, one- or two-word keywords. They are the most difficult to rank for andthe traffic that results from these tends to be fairly general in audience.After establishing your head term, start researching longer, more nuanced phrases around thatterm. Those with two to three words are called “body” keywords, and three-plus words are called“tail” keywords.Here are some examples:Head:Head:Clock radioBody:Body:Clock radio with iPhoneTail:Tail:Clock radio with iPhone wireless chargerHead:Head:Financial servicesBody:Body:Retirement financial servicesTail:Tail:Financial services for retirement planningAs you can see, the more words a search query has, the more specific the searcher’s intent.The search volume for tail terms is much, much lower, but the searcher is likely a morequalified prospect.After assembling your keyword universe, it is time to align these terms with your contentmarketing plan. 2019 Risdall Marketing Group13
Robust04 Content PlanFUNDAMENTALIn order to rank a webpage for a keyword, you have to have content published around that term.SEO only exists in what search engines can read from your website.When defining an SEO content marketing plan, you will need your defined keywords as a startingpoint for topic generation. The most-effective approach to create a large impact is the hub-andspoke model.What is the hub-and-spoke model?The hub-and-spoke model of SEO is the practice of clustering content topics around a centraltheme. The central theme (head or body keyword) is the hub, supported by a number of relatedcontent pieces as the spokes.The goal of the model it to become an authority for the hub term. And to do that, you mustthoroughly explain the subject and answer the questions of searchers.Even if a subtopic doesn’t exactly match your product or service offerings, you are trying to build youroverall nics linicDentalAlternativeTherapiesMed eNursingFitnessand GymsHomeopathicSurgeryWhen generating topics for your model, keyword research can help be your guide. You can useGoogle’s own real-time search suggestions to get an idea of what people are searching foraround your search term. 2019 Risdall Marketing Group14
Google provides hints as to some of the most popular queriesOther tools, like SEMRush, BrightEdge, Moz and Answer the Public, can also find questions andtopics around a term.Display keyword suggestions thatare questionsGroup KeywordsVolumeyes with high lexical similarity11-30.3KAll Keyword SuggestionsAcross 2 GroupsKeywordRelevancyMonthly Volumehow to build seo strategy11-50what is seo strategy11-50how to do seo marketing11-50SearchMoz’s Keyword Explorer helps filter suggestions by questions.InsuranceBillingandPayment 2019 Risdall Marketing GroupUniversalClinics andHospitalsMed re
ial MeizablogimoptteeCreafkeywLink rdcoxreeUsntens resulteshrrcaSetPresencriettenleasesConPages optiagsMeta tmizeSEO StrategyPages rankingBlog postMarketing camlistspeciaSEO stestraSEO8mp801yegggkinmeSearch Etlepy2gtearstTidfstrateeytSEOe2latil keywoaSeOSEg ta01gatestrLon017pSEOpaign2lateemgy tgernamaSEMRush topic mindmap 2019 Risdall Marketing Group16
Questions:DoesWhatHowWhichIs What are the top 5 best SEO link buildingstrategies in 2019 Is SEO link building dead, and why orwhy not? What should be the strategy to get fastlink building in SEO? Can anyone guide me on the best SEOlink building strategies? What is the best link building approach? How to develop and implement a linkbuilding strategy? What are the best SEO link buildingtechniques in 2019? Does link building in SEO still work? How to build quality links for SEO? What is tiered link building in SEO? What is link building in SEO? What is the best link building strategyfor new websites?SEMRush Topic Research toolSometimes it may be helpful to write a very big, comprehensive piece on your hub topic. Youcan then take that long-form content and break it into smaller chunks and publish those.The smaller chunks of the larger piece can be published to different channels and in multipleformats, such as: VideosInfographicsSlideSharesGuest blog postsAnytime you can write long-form content and repackage and republish parts, you can getmaximum value out of your investment.SEO, Content Marketing and your Website StructurestrateKeywordrestingrkeionzateimfttoLoIt is crucial that you cross link your supporting content to your hub pages, and vice versa. Thiswill give search engines a clearTy signal that you are an authority.peofkeyworCrdeateconten 2019 Risdall Marketing GrouptMatermLonglogfor bimioptSocial MeineHub pages should connect content from across the website, no matter where it resides.Related content like blog posts, product pages and press releases should all be referencedfrom the hub page.gydiagytrateengLink buildingsSEOrchSeaWith your content marketing plan defined, determining how it fits into your website structurecan be a bit confusing. Websites don’t exactly follow a hub-and-spoke model. Websites followa hierarchical model.U17
Local SEOIf your business has one or more physical locations where customers would visit you, thenlocal SEO is another layer of needed optimization.Local search is a big driver of physical foot traffic. With more and more people using voicesearch, that number is rising.Here are some typical queries for local searches:Restaurantsnear meDoctors inMinneapolisSt. Paulmarketing firmAccording to Google, 50% of people who performed a local search on their phone went to aphysical location within a day.Optimizing for local businesses, branches and franchises requires extra work. That work startswith ensuring your business is correctly listed with Google and Bing.The key elements for your listing are that your Name, Address and Phone (NAP for short)are correct and consistent across all your listings (Google, Bing, Yelp, Facebook, etc.).Inconsistencies can look suspicious or unprofessional.All these websites that list your NAP are called citations. Your main local SEO goal shouldbe to increase the number of citation websites and make sure you are listed properly.For businesses with many locations, branches or franchises, this can be a lot of work.Fortunately, there are some tools and services that can take some of the burden out ofmanaging these listings.There are many places to earn citations and links for local businesses: Social mediaReview websitesLocal directoriesLocal newspapersLocal schools, universities and associationsAnother crucial component of local SEO is generating positive reviews. The more 5-star reviewsyou have, the more likely you will be featured prominently and drive clicks.Automating and monitoring your review process is critical. Again, there are tools and servicesthat can take the hard work out of the process. 2019 Risdall Marketing Group18
Ready for yourDigital MarketingMaturity Assessment?One of the ways we connect with new clients is through Risdall’s unique Digital MarketingMaturity Assessment. This complimentary assessment covers a number of topics that directlyimpact your marketing, digital strategy, and sales. These include: How your current efforts fit into the larger marketing ecosystemWhere you should focus for the greatest impact with your audiencesEducation on marketing areas that have been neglectedCreating a roadmap to expand marketing efforts and ensure successTo set up your Digital Marketing Maturity Assessment with our team of experts, please email@example.com or call 1-888-RISDALL.firstname.lastname@example.org-RISDALLAbout RisdallRisdall is a digital marketing agency that specializes in harnessing machine learning and datato drive targeted visibility and engagement that builds brand reputation and delivers sales.We’ve been in business for over 45 years and are proud to include such clients as Arcserve,Ecolab, Hoya Vision Care, Smith System, Turck, and YRC Worldwide in our portfolio.Headquartered in Roseville, Minnesota, Risdall is heralded as one of the oldest and mostsuccessful agencies in the Twin Cities market and is recognized nationally for its leading-edgeinteractive marketing capabilities. The full-service agency embraces an integrated approachoffering marketing, advertising, public relations, design, traditional and interactive media, andresearch capabilities. 2019 Risdall Marketing Group19
Technical SEO Offsite SEO Local SEO (if applicable) After the strategy and planning portion of a program, you naturally dive into tactical execution. Audience definition Website, rankings, and Google tools audit Goals and objectives Put simply, search engine optimization
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