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2017 – The Year to Focus on an Integrated SEO Strategy not just Keywords

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    Keywords are important for SEO. There’s no denying they have their function but we all must remember that they are only part of what makes up a successful SEO strategy.

    SEO can seem like a bit of a magic trick at times. By the time you consider Google’s algorithms and what your competitors are doing, there is no one true way to optimise a website (despite what some dodgy companies may tell you). You simply need to get good at sticking to Google best practices and interpreting what Google wants.

    Because of this many people are confused about how to set key performance indicators (KPIs) and work out return on investment (ROI). The result of this is focusing solely on keywords and rankings which will not necessarily result in ROI for you. So, let’s look at keywords for SEO, why do we have them and why should they be part of an integrated SEO strategy?

    The importance of keyword research

    Keyword research is one of those important first steps to an SEO campaign. This stage involves studying the business, it’s customers, competitors and the market closely to work out what search terms will bring qualified leads to a website.

    At White Chalk Road, we spend a good few hours on this stage depending on the size of the website and business. We utilize tools like Google Ads Keyword Planner and SEMRush to find the relevant keywords for the business that users search for and approximate monthly search volumes. By doing this research, it gives us a general idea of how much traffic the website can potentially obtain.

    We come up with a set of keywords that we then monitor monthly, these keywords are a snapshot of what terms your website is being found for. You’ll find many websites are found for hundreds and maybe even thousands of terms that all cooperatively increase organic growth.

    Which brings me to the point about putting all your eggs in one basket, i.e. focusing on one keyword might be severely limiting the amount of traffic your website can receive. Ultimately you want to aim to have a range of keywords ranking well across the board. This takes time, patience and a strategy which reaches further than keywords.

    Keyword research is never complete either, trends come and go and business models change – reviewing your keyword list every now and then is recommended and needed.

    The biggest thing I have learnt working in digital and the SEO industry is that you need to be open to change and adapt – always keep your eyes on the bigger picture.

    What should we be focusing on?

    2017 is the year for integrated SEO, so other than keywords what should we focus on?

    The business owner

    The biggest help you can be to your SEO manager is to trust in their skill and ability – your focus should be on the bottom line and your brand awareness alongside your online reputation.

    There are several things you should look at before keywords to assess ROI such as:

      • Interactions with the website (conversions)
      • Increase in offline activity (if applicable)
      • People talking about and linking to your brand (i.e. through social media, review websites and blogs)
      • Traffic numbers to the website

    By spending your time focusing on these things, rather than a singular keyword – you’re being 10 times more productive with your time and will be aiding your SEO success.

    The optimiser

    As the SEO manager, it’s important to focus on an integrated SEO strategy and technical SEO which involves on and offsite optimisation. This will involve looking at the bigger picture and putting in the time and effort that will pay dividends for time to come.

    There are several things involved in an integrated SEO strategy;

      • Good quality link building (e.g. offsite content marketing, collaborating with influencers)
      • Creating new unique content regularly onsite
      • Onsite optimisation (eg. meta data, page speed, etc.)
      • Back link audits
      • Local search strategies
      • Conversion rate optimisaiton
      • Mobile website optimisation
      • Technical audits
      • Competitor analyses

    These are just a few of the strategies that make up a successful SEO strategy. At the end of the day, your ROI from SEO must be judged on more than just a keyword or set of keywords.

    Keywords are important to SEO, but they’re not the holy grail.

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