Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of improving and increasing the business leads you generate through your website and online presence. While there are a seemingly endless number of strategies, some have a more significant impact than others.
If you’ve been searching around online for SEO strategies, you’ve probably been bombarded with generic tips. Are you tired of reading “create killer content” and “enhance the user experience” without the article offering helpful advice about how to do so?
Continue reading this blog post to take a more in-depth look at how you can turn your website into a lead-generating machine. You’ll learn about:
- How to research and use keywords
- How to rank higher with ongoing content
- How to guide your readers with linking
- How to design and develop your website for optimal results
- How to grow your local SEO
Baseball. King of beers. Toasted ravioli. Gateway Arch. 2019 Stanley Cup champions. Humidity. If you were starting a marketing campaign for the city of St. Louis, those might be some of the words you’d focus your content on. To implement a successful St. Louis business SEO strategy, you also need to know what words and phrases to build your content around.
How you use keywords on your website plays a critical role in the success of your SEO campaign. The first step in keyword research is identifying the services and products you want to focus on and rank for. After compiling your list of areas to highlight, a keyword research tool such as Semrush helps you generate the most relevant and beneficial keywords to build your copy around.
Based on search volume data, keyword difficulty, and other factors, you can build a head keyword along with semantics. The head keyword should focus on the specific service or product of the page, while semantics support the focus word or are related.
For example, if you’re a St. Louis construction company wanting to drive more leads for remodeling services, you may choose “St. Louis home remodels” as the head keyword. Your secondary keywords should support that phrase, with semantics such as “benefits of home remodeling” or “residential additions.”
Keyword optimization is essential, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of readability. A web page or blog should speak to your target audience with a natural flow and tone built to match your brand. Overstuffing your keywords and phrases or awkwardly working them in can turn readers off and cause them to leave your page.
Writing to please an algorithm may prove effective at first, but a poor user experience has instant and long-term adverse effects. If a potential customer finds your page unreadable, they’re going to leave and find a competitor that better explains their services. And when Google realizes users are spending less time on your page, they adjust your rank accordingly.
Where your keywords appear on the page plays a considerable role in the success of SEO efforts. Your head keyword should appear in the headline, meta description, meta title, and tactically throughout the page. That way, when Google and other search engines comb your site, they have a clear understanding of what the page is about and can deliver it to those searching for it.
Your semantic keywords also need to be strategically placed to optimize their potency. Putting them in headers and sparingly throughout pages helps build further context for search engines to categorize and rank your page.
Having a website with pages dedicated to your services and products is an excellent start to a robust SEO strategy, but there needs to be more. Setting up a blog full of content that answers frequently searched questions, informs users of best practices, or offers valuable tips is a great way to boost SEO value and rank for your keywords.
For example, let’s say you operate an IT management organization and you want to draw more traffic to your managed services page. A blog focused on the advantages of choosing a service provider and when you should consider doing so will draw in potential customers.
Before you start writing and posting blogs, you need to take the time to choose topics related to the pages you want to rank for. Choose keywords that relate to the ones used on the pages you’re trying to rank for and build topics around them.
Suppose you’re an HVAC company and the cold winter months are getting close. A compelling blog topic could be teaching customers what to look for if they think their heater isn’t working correctly. You can follow that up with a helpful post that includes DIY tips for readers to use.
While there’s no set timetable for when is best to post new blogs, you should maintain a regular schedule and stay diligent. Updating your blog a couple times a month can help build credibility and rank with Google.
To get the most out of your ongoing content, be sure to link relevant content to pages that provide more information about the subject matter. You want to take users on a journey that begins with them seeking information and ends with them having answers and being ready to take the following steps in the purchasing cycle.
Just as MetroLink can take you from one part of the city to another, internal and external links on your webpages take readers where they want to go. There are several ways to incorporate linking into your SEO strategy, all of which have their advantages.
Internal links send users to a different page within your website. You can use them to direct a potential customer from a blog post to a corresponding service page that further explains what sets your business apart from the competition.
When implementing an SEO strategy, you’re likely trying to draw leads and generate more business. Linking to submission or contact pages gives your audience an ideal opportunity to click through and submit their information for you to follow up on.
External links take your readers to pages outside of your website to provide additional information, back up claims, or promote a brand partnership you have. Linking out to other sites can enhance the user experience and help your site rank higher on Google.
Whenever possible, look to gain backlinks to improve your rank and show up at the top of results. Backlinks are other sites linking to your site. If you find an opportunity to connect to a partner or product you sell, reach out to them and request they return the favor. With the recent rollout of the new Google algorithm, backlinking has added SEO value.
It is noteworthy that you should only link to reliable, trustworthy sites. If search engines find that you’re leading readers to spammy sites or pages spreading disinformation, your credibility and ranking face negative consequences.
The design and development of your website are critical factors for building a successful SEO campaign. You want to make sure you don’t have anything that slows your site down or is hard to look at. A simple, clean design with strategically placed images and engaging content is a recipe for success.
The number one way you can use web development to increase your SEO value is by ensuring your site is mobile-friendly. Now that everyone uses their phone to search while they’re on the go, it’s essential to have a site that provides the look and functionality users need to find what they’re looking for.
Not only does your content need to be clear and concise for readability, how it appears on the screen must also be easy to read. If your site is not optimized for mobile viewing, you risk distorted images, difficult-to-read text sizes, and even eye-sore color schemes that cause a high bounce rate.
Every day, internet users become a little more impatient. Think of your own experiences when searching for a product or service. How long do you give a site to load before getting so frustrated that you click back and try another search result? According to Google, a site should be fully loaded in under two seconds to create a satisfactory user experience.
Supporting your keyword-rich and informative content with images, infographics, or videos helps create a more beneficial user experience. Examples of compelling visuals are before and after photos, graphs comparing products, or how-to videos for a specific product. Not only do images improve the user experience, but they also increase the amount of time they spend on your site.
When using images on your site, don’t forget to include alt tags with them. Alt tags help search engines categorize and contextualize the visuals you choose. Defining your images helps web crawlers index your site and ultimately boost your business’s page rankings.
As a St. Louis-based organization, you’re likely looking to draw a large portion of your business from nearby areas. The top local SEO tool, Google My Business (GMB), is the ideal solution for growing locally. GMB is free and it improves SEO value significantly for local searches.
All you have to do is register your company with Google and provide basic information such as an address, contact information, URL, and hours of operation. This helps your business show up in snippets and suggested boxes on Google, which helps drive traffic. GMB is also a go-to source for users looking to read reviews written by your customers.
Along with Google My Business, you should register your company with other search engines and directories, like Angi and Yelp. It’s critical to make sure the information is consistent and accurate on all the guides and pages where you list your information.
If your business operates solely in the St. Louis area, you need to focus keywords and content on the area. Adding “St. Louis” to your keywords helps your local efforts grow even more potent. You can also focus your ongoing blog topics on news stories and trends that are relevant to the area.
Abstrakt Marketing is located in the heart of downtown St. Louis. Our strategic use of SEO and marketing services has helped local and nationwide businesses generate leads, build sales pipelines, and set appointments for over a decade. If you’re interested in reaching more qualified leads to drive more revenue, reach out today.