Planning SEO for successful strategies

Elusive, ephemeral and nebulous, SEO can be the bane of any marketeer wanting to put their message out into the internet ether without fuss. Done well, an optimised, proactive and integrated strategy will rescue your content from the dregs of Google’s page results — pushing it to the front and centre, top-of-mind place of authority when your audience is searching for answers. Done poorly — or worse yet — forgotten like an iPod Nano, Google will punish it without mercy. Click, click — six pages later sits your URL, lost to the tomes of the internet. Your audience never knew you even existed. Ouch. 

No fear, bold marketeers! There’s a lot you can start doing right now, simple easy steps to make your message optimised, favourable, and most importantly, visible. 

Here’s three things you can implement into your strategy right now to make it dynamic, future-facing and friendly to the algorithms-that-be at Google. 

1. Go check out Google’s Page Quality Rating Guidelines, stat.

Seems like an obvious place to start, doesn’t it? However, you’d be surprised how many of us forget to go straight to the horse’s mouth to understand the latest in the fleeting world of SEO algorithms. 

What worked last year or six months ago might not be the same right now, and the best way to stay on top of the changing tides is to find out what Google is saying. Once available only to those employed at the company, it’s now out for the public to know, read and respond to. This is a big first step in creating more proactive SEO strategies. 

Here are some of key factors that Google considers when ranking your content:

What’s the purpose of your site? This can be really important, as sites with high stakes information, dubbed ‘Your Money, Your Life’(YMYL)  because they give you advice on the most important aspects of anyone’s existence, have incredibly high standards to hit before Google blesses them with a favourable ranking. Examples of this are finance and healthcare sites. Accurate information, trusted backlinks, up-to-date facts and bringing an intrinsic value to the lives of their readers are all players in the game of good SEO. 

Is there E-A-T? You know what they say — another algorithm, another acronym. In this case, E (expertise) A (authoritativeness) T (trustworthiness) are all important in factoring whether your content is credible and composed of information from the most relevant, factual of sources. No EAT, no dice.

Does your main content pass muster for quality? These are the foundations of your site — high standards will be set and assessed of writing, photos and videos. Supplementary Content, like the navigation and user experience of a site, are the next. And then it’s the monetisation of the site. If ads are covering your content, Google will not be very happy. 

There’s a lot more information to be explored; don’t sit on this trove of resources. 

2. Keywords. 

Yes, you remember these guys! At times it feels like you’re Cinderella’s stepsister, desperately trying to squeeze into a shoe that doesn’t quite fit. In this Disney analogy, the keyword is the glass slipper and the foot is an unplanned strategy, desperately trying to stay relevant.

Remember, your reader is always the most important audience. Creating content for Google is a zero-sum game, so keep the user top of mind. Good SEO strategy mirrors their intent, what it is that they’re looking for and ensures that once they get to your page or site, they spend time actually reading what they want to see.

That being said, keywords, and factoring them into your plan are still important, but you’ve got to pick them in relation to the audience and the wider purpose of the content.

One way to simply look at what your audience is searching for on the search engine. What answers or advice are they seeking? Check the related searches, so you’ll get an idea of how you can start shaping your strat.

Consider using a keyword planner. It can help you add other relevant keywords to your strategy.

Remember that comprehensive content always does better than a simple explanation. Think about the user’s journey and how they’ll interact with what they read. Will they have follow-up questions and how can we answer them in the piece?

Finally, leverage what you’ve already written with backlinks to show you’re a thorough authority about the topic. Do this enough and your page performance will improve markedly.

3. Reassess what you’ve already got.

Yes, intrepid marketeer, you can go and carve a new path, but take a minute and look back at what you’ve already done to see how you can make it better. SEO isn’t just one article but it’s usually part of a wider picture, and one that search engines look at. Go back and review the guidelines and see what you can improve. Are there low-quality or dated references? Is the information still accurate? Have you fleshed out the keywords and finally — have you made it as comprehensive as possible, considering your reader and what they’re thinking and looking for.  

Keep on the look out for any YMYL pages or content — these have extra stringent guidelines that you want to ensure are fulfilled. 

And there you have — an improved SEO strategy in three steps. Better to be ahead of the curve than behind it. Happy writing.