Your SEO Marketing Cheat Sheet for 2016

Keeping your SEO campaign up-to-date is a crucial part of many marketing strategies. This is especially true in Vancouver, where over 380,000 small businesses employ their own strategies to stay ahead of the game.

Is your website getting the traffic it deserves? How often do you spend time on reviewing your SEO practices? If you haven’t reviewed your SEO this year, now is the perfect time.

Refresh Your SEO

This January, we challenge you to refresh your SEO. Just like how you reflect on your lifestyle for New Year’s Resolutions, your business needs an SEO checkup every once in a while.

Here are three tips to guide you through your SEO strategy:

  1. SEO isn’t just about page rankings. Ultimately, it’s about driving qualified traffic to your site.
  2. The best SEO strategy is creating content that adds value to your customers.
  3. SEO isn’t just for robots that crawl your site. Good SEO strategy is optimized for readers AND search engines.

With those 3 guidelines in mind, let’s dive right in to our SEO recommendations!

SEO Strategy

To ensure that your content is found by robots (i.e. Google) and read by humans, you need to ensure that your website and page posts are properly optimized. We’ve provided an SEO strategy review for you to critique your strategy in 3 easy steps:

SEO Keywords

How relevant are your keywords going into 2016? Have they been pulling their weight in the last year? Unless your traffic is constantly improving, it may be time to refresh your keywords. List out all the keywords you’re optimizing for. Are they all relevant? Which ones drive the most traffic? Take your keywords and categorize them as follows:

  1. Primary Keywords – High volume keywords that experience a lot of traffic from Google.
  2. Secondary Keywords – Low-Medium volume keywords that drive relevant traffic to your site.
  3. Long-Tailed keywords – Phrases derived from your Secondary or Primary keywords.

Some secondary keywords have the potential to be primary keywords with enough traffic. You may also want to review the long-tailed phrases that drive relevant traffic. Look to your Facebook and Twitter accounts – which posts gained the most Likes? The most Clicks? The most…Sales?

It’s possible that your best keywords have been under your nose the entire time. Don’t leave them unnoticed!

SEO Content

The best SEO strategy is to create content that adds value to your customers. This gets linked by third parties, and create backlinks that lay the foundation for a solid SEO backbone. These are the questions you need to ask yourself to create strong content:

  1. Where do your customers frequent? What do they read? What are they looking for?
  2. Do you create content that matches their needs?
  3. Does your content add value to your customers, or does it simply talk about an interesting topic?

The “human” side of SEO often blurs with the “technical” side of SEO in that strong content often supports, and is supported by, SEO tactics. If readers are interested in what you’re saying, you’re most likely using keywords and phrases that Google recognizes as appealing to your target audience.

So ask yourself: Are you adding value to the customer? Or are you simply writing for Google’s robot?

SEO Optimization

Now that you’ve identified that your content is good enough to be read by humans, it’s time to make sure that it’s read by robots. Here’s a quick on-page optimization guide:

  1. Your title should be no more than 70 characters long, including spaces. Keep it readable.
  2. Keep your meta description at 155 characters or less. Treat it like an elevator pitch for your post.
  3. If your focus keyword is highly competitive, consider using a long-tailed keyword or phrase instead. Take the road less traveled.
  4. Use your focus keyword in the title, meta description, and at least twice at the beginning and end of your post.
  5. Your content needs to be a minimum of 300 words to carry enough weight for SEO.
  6. Don’t use the “bold” function for your headers. Use the Heading 2 (H2) formatting instead.
  7. Do not duplicate title tags. Google might think it’s spam. No-one, including robots, likes spam.
  8. DO use interlinks – links that direct the reader to other parts of your site. Your site should be a spiderweb of good times.
  9. DO use images, and tag them properly. Robots and readers alike will appreciate that.
  10. DO promote your content on social media.

There are many factors that underlie SEO and some of it may not relate to content at all. Your website has to load in less than 2 seconds. Your sitemap needs to be nice and clean. But content usually takes the spotlight for SEO strategy because that’s the factor that drives ongoing growth.

Good SEO takes time to build, so refresh your SEO – today! If you like what you’ve read, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter! You can also visit our branding agency in downtown Vancouver. We always have chocolate.