I’ve never been a fan of the self-proclaimed “SEO guru.” Search engine optimization (SEO) strategies can seem like such mythical solutions: Do XYZ for X amount of months and “they” will just come to your website. It sounds too good to be true. The fact is, for a handful of brands buying SEO services, the dream is too good to be true. I’ve lost count of how many leads I’ve met with who have horror stories related to misguided SEO plans where thousands of dollars were lost and all they had to show for it was a random link, deep in cyberspace.
I’ve been fortunate to work with large and small brands across the U.S. to develop and execute marketing plans, including SEO strategies. So today, I’m going to shed some light on the matter and reveal a few trade secrets and actionable steps you can take to better understand SEO. With a little luck, you can have more customers showing up to your website like never before.
Start with local SEO.
Before we begin, we must set realistic standards. Before you can be a global rock star, be the band that sells out shows in your town. Imagine your customers like groupies, chanting your name at the top of their lungs, and your leads making the hike down to your neck of the woods just to check out your content. Before you think about expanding your SEO on a global or even national scale, make sure you’re an icon at home by ranking for local SEO.
When it comes to local SEO, it’s important to shift your goals. You want to go after content and geo-keywords that are locally relevant. What’s that mean? Let’s pretend you’re based in Newport Beach and sell the world’s finest gizmo. You decide to launch a full-scale SEO strategy on a national level but notice after a few weeks that your organic traffic hasn’t improved. Why is that? Is your content weak? Not enough Facebook shares? Or maybe something else?
It’s because you are going against a million other gizmo-selling websites. Competition is too large on a national level, leaving your brand struggling to get five minutes on stage. To counter this, go after your keyword plus location. Be targeted and relentless. Create a three-month plan where all you do is go after the same set of local keywords.
Using our example above, the Newport Beach gizmo shop would want to focus on developing content and landing pages that contain local keywords — for example, an article titled “The Top 10 Gizmos in Newport Beach.”
You see, I come across so many leads and clients wanting to rank globally but can’t compete. They aren’t ready for Madison Square Garden; they need more practice on a local level. And what better place to build that fanbase than at home? At home, there is a goldmine of untapped resources.
Most sites create content in one form or another and most almost always forget to create tailored local content. They forget about home. Before you launch your next campaign, consider what type of activities you’re launching to target locally. Consider creating targeted blog posts, landing pages and videos based around your keyword and location.
Low-hanging fruit to go after would be:
• Niche And Geo-Targeted Blogs: Sometimes we can get too targeted when marketing and miss out on opportunities. Focusing on a broader keyword (i.e., your niche) will help combat this.
• Google Plus And Yelp Reviews: Reviews are a known factor in pushing leads to buy from you. Both of these platforms are great tools to establish credibility for your brand.
• Geo-Specific Hashtags: This is a solid tactic to use when sharing content on social media.
Think of search engines (like Google) as a mailman and your content as a piece of mail. Adding keywords would be similar to writing an address on the envelope — but don’t forget you need to mail this. That’s where the stamp (location/geo-tagging) comes into place.
SEO comes down to two parts: on-site SEO and offsite SEO (like content creation). SEO is not mythical. It’s actually very measurable when the right plan is in place.
Your starter-kit plan should be as follows:
• Identify target keywords
• Create content with keywords and local geo-keywords
• Be relentless about this for a minimum of at least three months
Understand that it takes work.
SEO is a lot like taking a shower: The day you don’t do it, you stink. And like most things worthwhile, it’s not automatic. You can eat right and shower every day, but you won’t have that summer body for months if you stop taking care of yourself on a daily basis.
Start with the above. Yes, it’ll take work and persistence. But remember: Even Beethoven practiced his craft just the way you’ll need to put in the hours to rock at SEO.
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