The SEO Process for Ranking Higher in the Search Engines

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Change is good for every industry, especially when it forces everyone to up their SEO game. I’ve been in the SEO & digital marketing industry since long before Google dominated search, and I’ve seen a lot of changes to SEO during that time — some good and some bad. Today, we’re living in an entirely different world.

Google is reported to change its search algorithm around 500-600 times each year.  In 2016, Google conducted almost 30,000 experiments and launched 1,653 algorithm changes...that's almost 5 times PER DAY. While competitors still use past SEO tactics that no longer work OR if they do not adapt to these constant Google Algorithm changes to stay ahead of the game, this means that the SEO for Scranton Gillette Communications will continue to grow leaving our competitors behind.

 

"THE ART OF LIFE LIES IN CONSTANT READJUSTMENT TO OUR SURROUNDINGS." ~ Kazuko Okokaura

 

WHAT IS OUR SEO PROCESS TO RANK OUR SGC BRANDS HIGHER IN THE SEARCH ENGINES?

 

1. PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION - Monthly SEO Site Audits

Our SEO Team begins by organizing and prioritizing your web pages every month based on a SEO Site Audit crawl. We can start by defining issues with existing pages where they currently sit. We'll find On-Page, Off-Page, and Technical SEO Issues. This SEO Site Audit should be run on a monthly or bi-monthly basis to identify severe, moderate, and minor issues so that we can resolve them quickly.

2. Keyword Research

We can divide keywords into 2 groups:

  • Keywords that Editors want to target (From Editors)
  • Keywords that editors don’t know that they are ranking for (Striking Distance, "low hanging fruit" or Quick Win Keywords)

The web has a big outreach if you are looking to improve targeted web traffic to the site. If you target a keyword phrase with 0 to <200 Avg. Monthly Search Volumes then it will not bring as much traffic to the website compared to synonyms or related terms that more people are actually searching for. If you ADAPT for the web and do keyword/topic research targeting higher search volume keywords with low to medium competition, then you can reach a bigger audience to attract more web traffic to your site.

Identifying new keywords or topics that we aren’t targeting yet using our in-house SEO Platform tool and doing a competitive analysis to see the keywords that our competitors are ranking for will help grow website traffic. 

For competitive analysis, you basically want to go out and find all your competitor’s websites. You can use both direct competitors (competitors that sell the exact same products as you) as well as indirect competitors (other businesses in your industry that don’t sell the same products but have the same audience).

Once you have a list of all these competitors, make a list of all the keywords THEY rank for that you think may be relevant and then exclude the ones that you rank for. Now you’ll have a HUGE list of keywords to target and build out content!!

Kabam, now you have very valuable keywords that are worth targeting! Now you need to either optimize your current content for those keywords, or build new content!

Build out content focused on targeted keywords and add internal links to that content. This type of content will help your target audience with their problems and questions that will get them into your website. 

You can also re-optimize evergreen content to get the maximum value out of your existing assets!

By optimizing our existing web pages with targeted keywords that have higher search volumes, re-applying On-Page SEO for those keywords, and including relevant links to these web pages via internal and external linking, we can increase the rankings a lot faster than totally new keywords.

3. Website Optimization & Content Development

TIP: Write your content first and then apply SEO to it afterwards. Many editors find it easier to just write the article first and then go back and apply the targeted keyword to it. 

We want to make sure the content of our web pages are optimized with targeted keywords and cover this topic in depth. Not only do we need to tell the reader what the content is about, but we also need to let Google know what it is about when it crawls your page.

Optimize your Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, URL, Header tags, and Images to include your targeted keyword. For your body content, be sure to "pepper in" the targeted keyword. Don't overdo it! Otherwise, Google might pick it up as spammy.

Check the body content keyword density ratio by going to live-keyword-analysis.com and copy & paste your text there. There are instructions on that website that you should be able to follow. A 1% to 3% keyword density ratio is the sweet spot when it comes to optimizing your content for news articles, blogs, or general web pages.

Check the readbility meaning when you "pepper in" the keywords, make sure your sentences are readable by humans where it doesn't look like you are overusing the keyword within your content.

Use anchor text (hyperlinks) at least 4 times within your copy to related internal pages to increase time on site, pages per visit, and decrease bounce rates. Giving visitors more paths to click on within your copy allows for a better user experience. User experience is not only good for readers, but Google also loves it and will reward you for it!

We generally write ORIGINAL content, but if there is partial text or paragraphs in your copy that is copied from another source, Google appreciates that you give credit where credit is due by using an outbound hyperlink to the web page that you copied the content from. If your content is 100% copied from another source (e.g., press releases), then use a canonical tag that includes the URL to that web page and also include "Source: website name [hyperlinked to the exact web page the content is on] at the bottom of your copy. Duplicate content can hurt your rankings if you do not cite your sources.

The focus here should be about building out in-depth content (that’s what Google likes to see) that answers users questions. Focus on creating long content 500+ words which tends to rank better. Anything under 300 words is considered “thin content” and won’t rank very well or not at all.

After you have built out the content, then you'll need links and amplification of your content to drive up the rankings. 

4. Outreach

Link building sometimes gets a bad rap, but if you look at the data, it’s really what is driving rankings. The goal of link building is to increase the number of external websites that link to your site. This increases your page’s credibility and results in higher search engine rankings. Having great content can get you ranked in the search engines, but without links it makes it harder to rank your content higher in the search results.

The more exposure or links to your web page (external or internal), the higher your rankings will be. Just like in high school the more friends you have, the more popular you will become. Same holds true for web pages...the more links (friends) you have pointing to your web page, the higher your page will appear in their search engines. Also, just like with friends...you have to hang out with the right crowd. All the links that are pointing to your web page should be relevant and related to your keyword or topic. You don't want any bad links that are unrelated pointing to your web page because it will hurt your rankings in the search engines.

So when you start on your first link building, this is the plan I suggest:

Social Profiles: Build up your social properties (Facebook, Twitter, G+) authority properties + additional ones. This signifies you are an actual brand. Get as many of these as you can. This will give you brand links + diversified links. When you create content on your site, post it to those social properties to keep natural links or "link juice" flowing and your social accounts active.

Build Relationships: For good link building, you need to build good relationships. There are plenty of opportunities to build new contacts. You should start with niche-related communities: forums, blogs or social groups, such as related Facebook groups. Make the first step and start contributing with interesting and relevant comments and posts, providing contextual value to each discussion. By actively participating in these online communities focused on your niche, you will not only gain some good backlinks, but you will always have access to the newest industry news and be able to connect to some interesting people that share your passions.

Recover your dead backlinks: Sometimes you might find broken links or "Page Not Found" to your website. This may be the case if the location of your page changes or if another webmaster on different website misspelled your link. In both cases, these backlinks will return a 404 error. Such issues may also commonly occur after a site was re-launched or migrated to another domain. You should then redirect these backlinks to other active relevant pages. You should try and recover this power and trust those links have either by recreating the page, or redirecting the link to another existing page with the same keyword or related topic.

Here is a complete list of Link Building tactics that can help you get more backlinks to your web pages: http://pointblankseo.com/link-building-strategies

* Please check with me first before trying some of those link building tactics. As I mentioned, Google changes its algorithms hundreds of times per year so some of those link building tactics found on pointblankseo might be outdated.

5. Traffic Increase, Reporting & Measuring Results

First, you’ll want to understand that SEO definitely takes time. It would be nice if you could build links one day and see results the next, but Google just doesn’t work like that. So make sure you set your expectations that this is a long-term strategy and don’t be alarmed if it takes time to ramp up and start seeing results. The SGC sites are established so results will come sooner and the results may appear much quicker. 

SEO SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) is done every month to ensure we are moving in the right direction. SWOT Analysis has been used by marketers since the 1960s; but it's also a great technique to help define your SEO Strategy.

The SEO Team will produce weekly and monthly SEO reports to gauge the web performance and progress of the websites. These reports are useful to see overall web stats, traffic sources, keyword rankings, SEO Conent performance, engagement, time on site, competitior analysis, etc… We use this valuable information to see what we can do to improve your rankings and content.

 

Conclusion

In 2017, research has shown that 51% of traffic on average comes from organic search, so being dominantly seen in the search engines is very important.

As the Google algorithms become more effective at differentiating artificial attempts to manipulate ranking from legitimate ranking signals, and they get better at understanding or even predicting what a searcher needs, we will see a lot of competitors — those who don't or can't keep up with the constant changes — will not be able to compete in the search engines for their industry. This means only those who are truly passionate about SEO (like Scranton Gillette Communications) will stick around and rank higher in the search engines.

 

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SEO Manager

With over 16+years experience in SEO, Web Analytics, and Digital Marketing, Rex has experienced, troubleshooted, and adapted to all types of SEO and Digital Marketing scenerios over the years. He...

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