Why does SEO matter?
I believe that the CEO of the Visual Storytelling Institute put it best when he said :
If you published a story in the digital forest and no algorithm saw it, then it never happened.Shlomi Ron, CEO of Visual Storytelling Institute
You have a story to tell but is anyone listening?Ezra Productions
If you are still wondering why SEO matters, how it works and why so many people attribute the majority of their business successes to it, watch this video…I created it just for founders like you 😄
Btw: If at anytime throughout this guide you decide that you’d prefer professional help, simply click on this beautiful looking \/ logo \/ to schedule a call.
Step 1: Define a clear goal for your SEO Roadmap
Despite what many blogs might claim, SEO is not a checklist. If you are serious about transforming your business so SEO helps you to grow your revenue by a factor of X, you need to start with designing the roadmap to get you there.
What is an example of a goal for an SEO roadmap?
If I am working with a team that is using our MD9 advisory services to improve their SEO, we might have a two year timeline:
- Year 1 Goal: use SEO to increase revenue, by focusing first on user retention & then on customer acquisition
- Year 2 Goal: protect search engine rankings earned last year & work to establish domain authority & page authority this year
If I am working with a team that is using our MD9 SEO services to improve their SEO, we will have the same goals met within one year:
- First 4-8 months: use SEO to increase revenue, by focusing first on user retention & then on customer acquisition (this window depends on how competitive their landscape is).
- Remainder of the year: protect search engine rankings & work to establish domain authority & page authority
Why do I have two different goals? SEO professionals complete SEO projects faster. After a decade of working in the digital marketing space, it takes me less than 20 minutes to read through a stack of data that would take a novice a few hours.
Is there a faster SEO solution?
Yes, it happens to also be Step 2
Step 2: Complete MD9’s SEO Assessment
Depending on a long list of variables (including: competitive landscape, method of monetization, qualified available market size & more), you might be able to get quite a bit accomplished in the area of SEO by simply running your website through the proprietary SEO assessment I designed for our clients at MD9. You can have the SEO Assessment completed for you by professionals, here.
To do it yourself, head over to the sample SEO Assessment and click the squares to run each test.
Step 3: Which KPI’s matter most?
To understand the impact SEO has on your business, I created an excel that tracks all of the KPIs you should evaluate throughout the course of your SEO campaign. You can download it here.
Step 4: Increase user session time.
No. This is not always step 4. When you run through an assessment a few ideas for quick SEO wins will typically pop out. It’s time to implement them. I’m starting with running through a few ways to increase your session time because that tends to be the most common “quick win” amongst SEO clients.
What is an example of a quick win that tends to lead to an increase in session time?
A resource portal.
If you noticed a low session time on your blog, try transforming it into a resource portal. People often create a blog section that is not optimized for stickiness. Users scroll through and leave. A quick way to turn this into an amazing SEO win is to reformat all online content to be a part of the resource portal.
Change the blog post section to look like this
- Each square in the grid should be renamed after one of your blog categories.
- Each category should be a keyword or phrase you wish to rank for
- The colors and icons should be changed to match your brand’s colors, fonts & icons. If you’re not sure if your brand is optimized checkout this guide.
Every brand I work with on SEO has a resource portal by the end of our project. Why? Not only is it a quick win, it helps the team to figure out how each piece of content fits with their customer acquisition goals.
Are there other ways to increase session time?
What is an example of another quick win?
Fix your high ranking – low converting content, it’s also step 4 🙂
Step 4: Transform your low converting content into high converting content
In my preliminary SEO research it is not uncommon to find that a site ranks for words they don’t want to rank for. How can this happen? Let’s say you hire a freelancer who knows nothing about your business (or customer acquisition strategy) to write on a broad topic. Chances are, there going to publish some irrelevant content to your website. It’s the early days of your startup so you don’t read everything they work on. You’re busy running the company, it happens to the best of us. Three years go by before you hire someone to audit your SEO. In this audit they find that your company gets a lot of traffic to a page that has a ZERO conversion rate. What do you do?
A novice SEO would delete the page, you’re not going to do that. You’re reading this guide written by someone who actually does SEO for a living, so what are you going to do? You’re going to put on your marketing strategy hat & follow me 😀 Let’s get out a legal pad and brainstorm a few ways to re-word the page so the traffic is incentivized to go into YOUR funnel. Thereby making what was previously a useless keyword into a very useful one.
Ask yourself these questions to see if the answers don’t immediately come to you:
- Why are people currently coming to that page?
- What problem are they hoping to find an answer / solution for on that page?
- How can I add or amend the content on that page to make the person realize that my business is the solution they’re looking for?
- Once I’ve added in a few paragraphs to help the website visitor realize I’m the solution they’re looking for, what do I want my CTA to be?
- Why will this CTA grab the attention of the people visiting this web page?
- How will the page this leads them to, keep them interested in my business?
For those of you wondering if people actually delete those pages instead of figuring out a way to redesign & reword them, the answer is yes. Last year I worked with a company where a VP (10 years my senior) advised these exact top ranking pages be deleted instead of re-worded . . . this is probably why they had an outsider come in to help him 🤭
After you identify and build on your opportunities for quick wins it is time to look at other opportunities on the horizon. Starting with this question…
Step 5: Identify Keyword Ranking Opportunities
How do you signal to search engines that they should consider ranking your snazzy website for specific keywords?
- Pick 20 keyword groups that you want to rank for
- Use 1-5 (this number depends on your unique business & competitive landscape) of those groups of keywords in each of your mega-posts. If you don’t know what a megapost is, don’t feel bad, I made the word up. Spell check is also skeptical of my claim that this should be a word. Anyways, a megapost is a single piece of digital content that is composed of more than 10,000 words. It can be written, recorded, filmed or a combination of all three. It just needs to all be on one web page or group of interconnected pages).
- Use the LSIKs of all keywords used on that page
- Choose one keyword to use in the meta-tag, meta-description & URL
- Rotate the keywords used in the following content on that page:
- The alt-text of the images & infographics
- Filenames of images, videos & infographics
- Titles of images & videos
- Anchor text in navigation & content text
Step 6: Clean up your URLs
Once you know what you rank for, we get to finally have fun! Working on ranking for your target list of keywords.
We start the SEO growth game with cleaning up your URLs. Go through your website and clean up EVERY URL. The URLs of websites you want indexed, should not be longer than a few words. Use 301 redirects to let search engines know where the content on the previous URLs have been moved to.
The goal is for the short URLs to
- Be easy for fans who already know your domain name by heart to remember
- Tell the search engines which keywords that page wants to be ranked for
Step 7: Guest Appear on Podcasts
A really great way to build up a number of high quality backlinks going to your site AND increase your brand awareness AND engage with your followers is to go on a virtual speaking tour by guest appearing on radio shows and podcasts. This allows you to expand your reach to new audiences while creating really rich contents for new and old followers alike.
One strategy I found that works really well and is a win-win solution for both you and the podcast host is to write out a script prior to the podcast recording. This not only allows you to make sure that you are on the same page with the flow of the conversation it also makes it easier for you to later take that script and turn it into multiple posts. Every week, after the recording, create a new short post and at the end write “this is an excerpt from a recent interview on ____ to listen to the full interview click below”. Not only will it help you to produce more rich content, it’ll get people listening to the podcast for longer.
Where can you find a podcast to guest appear on?
Yes: Archive.org, DailyMotion.com, Udemy.com, Vimeo.com & MetaCafe.com,
The entire SEO landscape is filled with people pursuing one of those coveted top search engine results, the minute you reach the top the game switches from offense to defense. You must start working to protect your top ranking position.
New SEO Vocabulary
- Megapost: a single piece of digital content that is composed of more than 10,000 words. It can be written, recorded, filmed or a combination of all three. It just needs to all be on one web page or group of interconnected pages
- Google’s Webmaster
- Marketing School: SEO
- Search Engine Nerds Podcast
- SEMRush Blog
- The SEM Post
- BrightEdge SEO blog
- Moz blog
- Google + Local
- Portent Blog
- Search Engine Watch
- Ahrefs Blog
- Gotch SEO
- Cognitive SEO
- Kaiser The Sage
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