SEO is one of those areas of marketing that is often misunderstood by clients. When it comes to increasing website traffic, clients tend to think it’s a flip of a switch.
As marketers or consultants, it’s our job to educate our clients on the different aspects of whatever kind of marketing strategy you’re putting together in order to help them improve their business.
It’s not only our job to do our job — but it’s also our job to make sure the clients knows what’s going on as well. In order to have good client communication, we have to be transparent, let our clients know everything involved in executing a good strategy and manage exceptions.
Search engine optimization is one of those areas of marketing that is often misunderstood by clients. When it comes to increasing website or blog traffic, most clients tend to think SEO is a flip of a switch.
Sometimes the expectation is that one blog post will increase their online traffic ten fold.
But we know it doesn’t work that way.
SEO is a process that can only work over time. It’s not about one or two blog posts and a couple of tweets. It’s not even about one person doing one thing.
It’s not the sole job of the marketer, web developer or writer. It’s not even the sole job of an SEO strategist. In fact, in takes all these roles working together for several months to execute effective SEO and it’s up to us to ensure our clients understand that.
If you’re working with a client and need to educate on the various facets of SEO, I’ve rounded up some notes below that you can cross check against when putting your own brief together.
For the Writer or Blogger to Optimize the Copy for SEO
The writer or blogger developing the copy must think of SEO as the process of trying to answer people’s questions. When a user types in a query into a search engine, you must try to be the answer. That’s how search engines work. The best answers, get the best results and the top rankings.
Google Keyword Planner. This is your bread and butter! Play around with this tool as it’s helpful for figuring out how people are searching so you can use those same keywords in text and titles.
Targeted Keywords. In order to get your pages to rank in Google search, you have to think about the words that someone might use to find your website or blog post. Your website’s page must answer someone’s search query. Use the Google Keyword Planner to help determine the best keywords to use in your post. Don’t keyword stuff!
Links in the Content. Use authoritative external links within the body of the text. Also use in-site links as well. .i.e link to other pages or blog posts within the body of the text.
Quality Content. Even though we’re discussing Google and search engine rankings, it’s always important to note that as marketers, bloggers and writers, we write for people, and not for rankings.
Your website or blog posts must offer informative and engaging content. Your content must be accessible, easy to read and designed for your target audience. Don’t keyword stuff! Your keywords should be included in your copy in a natural, organic way that makes sense to the reader.
For the Webmaster or Site Owner to do in the Back-end of the Site
Once you determine your content and figure out your keywords, several things need to happen in the back-end. You’ll want to work closely with your client or the webmaster on this — whoever is managing the actual site. If the content is on point — but it’s not being optimized in the back-end, it’ll be a wasted effort.
Title Tags. Once you determine your content and figure out your keywords, you’ll need to use those same keywords in your post title. Title tag refers to the keywords used in the tab of your browser. This typically defaults to the title of the post, so as long as your post title includes your keywords, you should be covered.
H(#) Headings. H headings are the sub-titles or sub-headings that you might use throughout your post or at the top. There are typically options for H headings depending on how prominent you want your sub-heading to be — H1, H2, H3, H4, etc. Whichever number you use — all H headings count for good optimization when your keyword is included.
Keywords in Meta Descriptions. You should also be using your keywords in your meta descriptions. If you already use Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin, you’ll notice the box at the bottom of your post. You’ll want to ensure that you’re creating post descriptions or post summaries that include your keyword. It’s also important to include your keywords in the first 50 – 100 words on the page or in your blog post.
Internal Anchor Text, <strong> Tags and <em> Tags. Anchor text are the words in your post that you use to hyperlink. Whenever you hyperlink to a word within your post or within the copy on your website page — try not to link to words like, “read more here,” or “use this link”. Try to write the post or sentence so that you can hyperlink to the keyword. It’s also good practice to bold (strong tag) and italicize (em tags) keywords when appropriate.
Keyword use in Alt Tags and Image Names. Readers like relevant images and photos to go along with text. Images keep the content engaging and can often make a big difference in illustrating the key points of a post. But it’s important to ensure that you’re naming the image files accordingly.
Use your keyword to name the image file before importing the image into the post. File names provide information that helps Google understand what your images are about. You should also try to create alt tags on each image. Optimization is not only important for your text. Your images need to be optimized for search engines as well.
Keyword in the URL. Before you hit publish on your post — make sure that the URL also includes the keyword. Again, if you use the Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin, your URL will automatically default to the post title. If it does not — the URL structure can easily be edited to include the keyword.
Off-page SEO Factors for the Client
Off-page SEO simply tells Google what others think about your site. People only cite, reference and share content they like. If you have a lot of valuable links pointing to your pages, search engines will assume that you’ve got great content — the type that provides value for readers.
You’ll want to inform the client about this aspect of SEO and work with them on creating off-page SEO assets such as guest blog posts and editorials on other authoritative sites.
External Links. External links are very important to Google. It’s almost impossible for Google to determine the value of any web page if there are no links pointing to it — no matter how useful or in-depth the page content might be. Activities such as guest blogging and other editorial contributions to authoritative online publications or sites can generate links back to your website or blog.
Social Media. Social media is an important part of your off-page SEO. By using social media channels to distribute your content you can extend your network online, connect with other thought-leaders in your niche and promote your website to build an online reputation.
Search Engines. Submit your website to the most popular search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN, Altavista, Alexa, Alltheweb, Lycos, Excite, etc., to get listed for free.
Additional notes for your client, or a digital strategist, or SEO strategist that’s part of your team to do in Google back-end.
Use Google Analytics and connect it to Google Search Console. This will tell you the exact words that people are typing into Google to find your blog posts.
Monitor the Analytics to see how people are coming in, what blog posts gets the most site traffic and at what page they are leaving from.
Other considerations: Is the client capturing leads through the blog? Is the client providing downloads like a tip sheet, access to more videos, a private Facebook Group, a product for purchase?
As you can see, SEO is not always a one-person job that is completed with one blog post. SEO can sometimes involve several professionals working together — including the client — and it does take time.
Have any of your clients been concerned with the topic of SEO? How did you handle it?
Image via Studio 5 Innovation