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The First Five Steps to SEO Success

SEO is often shrouded in mystery. With it being regularly described as a “dark art” and as a “cloak and dagger” tactic. It shouldn’t be any of these things.

For marketers, especially those that are working in small close-knit niche industries, even getting the basics right can mean a major impact in the organic search engine results pages (SERPS).

Regardless of whether you are a small company or a large one; a long-established company or a day-old start-up, there are definite benefits to having an SEO strategy in place that aims to maintain and improve the positioning.

1. Perform a site health check

Assuming that you can put KPIs to what you are aiming to achieve from your SEO then you are in a good initial position to be able to measure the positive or negative influence that you are having.

A good place to start is to identify whether there are any major technical issues on the website that will impact the ability of the site to rank well.

Tools such as Moz and SEMrush can help to identify where improvements can be made. These websites allow you to quickly identify broken redirects, missing title tags and more, fixing these issues will therefore allow you to improve the performance of your site.

Once you have sorted any major issues that are present, you will then have a good footing that can be used as a basis for further improvements. This will also show Google that you regularly maintain and improve your website as well as provide a small boost in the following weeks.

2. Decide which keywords you want to try and rank for

One of the biggest mistakes that most marketers and businesses make with SEO is having a blinkered view of the keywords that they want to rank for.

Broader keywords such as trainers are highly competitive because it is often the starting point that all of your competitors will take when building out their own SEO strategies, therefore, making them more expensive. Narrowing the keywords down to more specific searches such as men’s trainers, running trainers, cheap trainers etc. will allow you to reach customers at a point where they are more willing to purchase.

As a general rule of thumb, keywords with high search frequency (mostly broad keywords) have a lower search intent (searchers’ willingness to buy). Whereas the narrower the term used when searching for a product, the more likely they are to make a purchase or take a desirable action.

What is even better about identifying these keywords is that they are often easier to rank for solely through on-page optimisation and you are less likely to need a link-building campaign to be able to rank for these terms.

Google Keyword Planner is a good place to start when analysing potential keywords. By defining the products or service names that you want to rank for and then entering these into the keyword planner, you will be able to see how many people search for these terms as well as provide a list of similar keywords that are also searched for.

It is worth noting that you will receive more detailed search volume information if you are spending money with Google through Ads.

3. Always check out the competition

Take a look at the keywords that your competitors are ranking for, this can help you to identify keywords that are searched for by your customers and that you may have overlooked. This can be done through the SEMrush rank tracker and the Moz platform.

You should also take this opportunity to view the domain authority that your competitors sites have. If they have a high domain authority (DA) then it will be difficult to outrank them solely through on-page work. This can be checked through either the Moz bar or SEO Quake, both of which can be used as extensions in Chrome.

4. Create a site map

Once you have done the above, you will know the keywords that you want to rank for, both in the short and long terms. It is now time to create a site map. This may be best left to someone who has experience with doing this.

This stage involves grouping the keywords together whilst making sure that there is enough content on each of your pages (that you are aiming to rank for) that will then signal to search engines (predominantly Google) that you are an expert in your industry.

If you are using a WordPress site then a plugin such as Yoast is highly recommended, as it gives easy to understand recommendations that can be used to improving your content for SEO ranking.

5. Analyse performance

The final stage is to analyse the performance of your SEO. SEMrush and Moz will allow you to identify the SERP of your site which is the visibility of your site within the top 100 pages for each of your submitted keywords.

General traffic uplift can be measured by using Google Analytics and will include data such as total users, new users, sessions and page views.

Specific keywords are again measured using Moz or SEMrush, and by using a combination of Google Search Console and Google Analytics to see which specific keywords have generated the most traffic and conversions.

Once the on-page optimisation is underway, you may then choose to undertake a digital PR campaign in order to gain further backlinks to your site that can provide further boosts to rankings. This will also allow you to address off-page elements, as well as becoming a more important element moving forward when looking to further increase rankings, especially for more competitive keywords.

Having an SEO strategy is crucial so make use of one of the best SEO Agencies in Birmingham.

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