In the world of SEO, things seem to be changing all of the time with new trends and strategies being developed to help keep marketers up to date with the latest changes in the search engines. But, what if we told you that there are some strategies that are timeless and work as well today as they did 5, 10 and even 15 years ago. So, without further ado let’s get started on looking at the SEO strategies you need to succeed in 2018 and beyond.
Focus on user intent
Keyword research is one of the most basic SEO tasks and one of the fundamental building blocks of any SEO campaign. However, this simple task is often the root cause of the failure of an SEO campaign. One of the biggest mistakes that people make during the keyword research phase of a project is failing to properly identify user intent. This means that while the content may be focused on the right keywords, the content fails to meet the needs of the user.
There are many ways to assess user intent but one of the simplest is to enter the target key phrase into Google and take a look at the content of the pages that appear on the first page. This will give you a good indication of what Google thinks the user intent of the phrase is. Another good tip is to look at the search suggestions box for ideas of related search queries that may be a better match for your target key phrase.
Focusing on the user intent of the key phrase will help you write content that is tailored to the needs of your audience and help to ensure that your content is as relevant as possible. Not only will this help you get better rankings but it will also help stop visitors from bouncing off your website.
Write compelling content
Once you’ve done your keyword research and come up with content ideas that are based on user intent you can get started on the content creation process. It should go without saying that you should be looking to create content that is well structured and compelling to your audience. One of the easiest ways to do this is using the inverted pyramid, a technique that is often used by journalists.
So, just what is the inverted pyramid technique? The idea is that the most important information is contained in the headline and first paragraph. Next up is any information that is pertinent to the story and continues with the least important information at the bottom of the content. By front-loading your content you make it easy for visitors to understand your writing and help to keep them on your page.
Make content easy to find
It is all well and good creating compelling content that is written with user intent in mind, but if no-one can find it then all of your efforts will be wasted. Website structure, navigation, URL, mobile-friendliness and crawlability are all factors that affect how easy it is for the search engines to find and rank your content. Some of the things to double check include:
URL – is it SEO friendly and as short as possible. Good URLs contain the target keyword without any search parameters or query strings e.g. www.company.com/plumbing-services/ is better than www.company.com/page1?=id13
Website structure – a flat website structure is often the best option for the majority of businesses. A good rule of thumb is trying to make all pages accessible within 3 clicks from the homepage. This helps users and search engines quickly locate the content they are looking for.
Navigation – Keep your navigation clear and easy to use. Use drop-down and sub-categories and familiar words to help make it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for. Also if you have a large website then a search box is a welcome addition.
Mobile-friendliness – With over 50% of all website traffic now coming from mobile, you need to make sure that your web pages load fast and look great on mobile devices. The better the mobile experience the more likely your customers are to stay on your website.
Crawlability – Check that your website is not blocking search engines from visiting pages. A common problem is blocking some resources from being crawled which mean that search engines are unable to view the pages as a standard user.
Promote your content
For most websites it is not enough to simply create new content focused on keywords with the right user intent, you need to actively promote your content. For any page to rank well in the search engines it needs backlinks from other websites. These links act as a vote of confidence and help push your content up to the first pages of Google. There are many tactics for building links but some of the most popular include outreach and broken backlink building.
Both of these strategies work well if you have extremely high-quality content that is of value to your target audience. This works particularly well for long-form blog content, how to guides and tutorials as these have a clear benefit to the user. If you have a large following on social media don’t forget to share links to your content as well as approaching other bloggers to see if you can write an article on their blog which lets you link back to your own content.
These strategies won’t produce any quick wins for your website or business but they will help you build a timeless strategy that continues to deliver results for your business. We’d love to know your strategies so please do share them in the comments below.