My colleague, ParcelHero’s Head of Editorial SEO, Alfred Eccles has over 15 years experience working as a Search Engine Optimiser and Web Design freelancer. In this short blog he unveils some essential principles of SEO for a successful online organic campaign. You can read the full article here.
Understanding what is true SEO
Many online businesses fail to grasp the essence of true Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). In the past, many SEOs, webmasters and online businesses would simply try to find ways to manipulate the search engines to increase their organic traffic including the notorious tactic of ‘keyword stuffing’. Spammy content and low quality links were the result. If that tactic worked several years ago, it is no longer a viable organic strategy for businesses today. True SEO is editorial or content led, with the intention of helping users with high quality, engaging and useful information.
True SEO will focus primarily on the users’ needs, and secondly, maximise the advantage of the search engine requirements to ensure the right content is shared with the right audience. True SEO is not merely about links volume. True SEO content will naturally attract organic users, backlinks, positive social signals and human engagement. This is why I prefer to use the term ‘ESEO’ – ‘Editorial Search Experience Optimisation’.
In other words, a content led SEO strategy will primarily focus on the user’s experience and needs. In the latest 2014 Searchmetrics Rank Correlations and Ranking Factors report, it stated in its summary, ‘Content is no longer an addition to, but is the main focus of SEO…’ and ‘…for English language pages, better ranking content is easier to achieve when it is easier to read’.
What makes your service or business stand out from your competitors?
This is a crucial step to consider prior to deploying your SEO strategy. Every business or service provider should ask themselves the following questions:
Are you providing added value to your industry and what makes you stand out from the rest?
I have seen many websites simply ‘rip off’ content from other sites resulting in a poor volume of organic visits and virtually no engagement or conversions. An effective SEO strategy will commence with an effective business plan. At the heart of an effective SEO campaign are your brand values and mission goals.
What are your brand values and USPs?
How unique are your selling points? Do you offer a niche service that your competitors don’t? Establish what services or business qualities you would be proud to share on your website. Avoid just merely copying what your competitors do. Instead, be creative and unique in what you offer as a service and allow these elements to flow through to your website, via your target audience.
After defining your brand values, have you considered Public Relations?
Don’t panic! It is true that many corporate brands have been successful by aligning themselves with well-known expensive PR agencies. However, on a small budget, you can invest in cost-effective online PR strategies that can extend brand awareness across your potential news media circles, industry experts, influencers and customers. Speak at industry relevant conferences, work closely with your local press and share your business via word of mouth!
Research your audience, not just keywords
Did you notice that I did not mention keyword research as the first step toward an effective organic campaign? It is more important to understand your target audience, before conducting any keyword research. Hitwise and other similar services can provide useful ‘mosaic’ demographics to analyse customers and their online habits and behaviours. Each targeted group have their own set of online behaviours or personas. These personas can then later be further segmented by search query intent – i.e. keywords and keyphrases.