If you haven’t once called SEO frustrating, you’re doing SEO wrong.
You want to improve SEO but you often feel like it’s going nowhere. The success stories you see online don’t help much either as they always seem to leave you with many unanswered questions.
Are these digital marketers minimizing their successes? Personally, I suspect most are. And they are definitely not doing anyone a favor.
SEO strategy is a must
The good part you can take from SEO is the strategy. How so? Because that’s the part that offers answers to simple questions: such as the what, why, who, how, and when.
Your average content marketers will kindly offer you tips to improve SEO but stumble over their words when asked to clarify why they make certain suggestions. Or how about those “ultimate SEO guides” with a total of 30 words, numerous meaningless screenshots, and graphics that frankly insult your intelligence as such:
I’m sure this isn’t even the worst example of a ridiculous attempt at diversifying content you’ve laughed at. If you’ve been on a quest to gather strategies to help improve SEO for a bit, you’ve seen a lot.
Take it from someone who has been doing internet marketing for a few years: channel all your attention and resources on user intent.
User intent is what Google cares about the most. Surely you’ve noticed how the latest biggest shifts online were things like mobile optimization and the commodity of the Google Answer Box. These are very much user intent-related shifts. Case and point.
Can’t optimize without planning
Most fans and practitioners of internet marketing get into SEO and really put in the work. But that might be the problem.
Search engine optimizers get so absorbed in the nitty-gritty of finding ways to improve SEO rankings – heavy keyword research, writing meta tags, extremely time-consuming link building – that they lose sight of the bigger picture. Assuming they had built a bigger picture to move toward in the first place.
You need to have a SEO plan. One that’s simple and fits your needs at whatever stage you are at.
Where to start with your SEO plan?
Figure out what you want to optimize. Then list the specifics: why, how, and when you’ll do it.
Writing a bunch of keyword-stuffed articles about more or less the same thing is not a plan. Yet, digital marketers do it. And then they don’t get results, and then they do the research they were supposed to do before creating any content at all. No judgment. We’re all on our separate learning journeys.
Your SEO plan has a very practical purpose. It’s there to give you the grounds on which to prioritize when you’re about to get overwhelmed by the process.
And with SEO, the threat of getting overwhelmed lurks around the corner all day every day. Unless you have a clear plan to follow to snap you back to what it is you want from your attempts to improve your site’s rankings.
Numbers keep it real
No matter the complexity of your SEO plan, it’s solid if it has defined goals.
Too many digital marketers get away with the idea that SEO is so complex that it’s tough to put into words the actions and objectives related to it.
Don’t be that person. Set some clear expectations. Your first thought might have been “get more traffic,” but you can do better. How about “get x % more traffic by MM/DD/YYYY.” Now it’s getting real.
If it helps to be more specific, make your goals metric-based. Tie your SEO goals to some numbers so that you know where you’re at all the time. With the amount of data you have to deal with when doing SEO work, your decision-making will be more on target if you have some numbers to look at and compare.
SEO tools vs SEO analyst
However, be careful not to get stuck too much on what the numbers show you in your efforts to improve SEO. In fact, only be number-obsessed on the operational side, not when it comes to content creation.
This is where we talk about search volume inconsistency. You’ve seen it, I’ve seen it. You try 3 keyword tools, and both show you strikingly different results. To say that SEO tools deliver airy outcomes is putting it lightly.
How are you supposed to achieve your SEO goals by relying on flawed data? Frankly put, you don’t do that. What you can do instead of blindly trusting SEO tools is go with your gut and start creating content.
After the content has been out there for at least a month, you optimize it based on the numbers related to the posts. It’s the lesser evil. And you learn to use data from the frontlines which is a serious skill to have long-term.
Remember to narrow in on accommodating user intent. To boost SEO rankings on your site, focus on subject matter first, not on keywords as you are delivering content to humans first, and crawlers second.
Do this and you have no reason to go into a panic every time an algorithm change is announced.
Do this and snippets of your content may end up in the Google Answer Box since you’re answering real questions for real people.
It makes sense in its essence, right? It’s nothing more than an extension of the basic supply and demand concept. At what point would formatting your titles in H1 and your subtitles in H2 outweigh people getting information of value from your content?
Never. It’s never going to be the case. And if you’ve snickered at that delusion, you didn’t need me to blatantly point it out to you.