The world is becoming increasingly competitive when it comes to running an online business. Today, SEO Houston expert is more important than it has ever been. One-third of consumers in the U.S. have used Google or some other tool as a way of starting their online purchases, more than three times the number that has started their search on a retailer’s site or in a retailer’s app. Only Amazon is ahead in terms of being the starting point for product research. If you want to take advantage of that, you need a good SEO strategy. Here are four building blocks that can help both B2C and B2B brands achieve the next level with their SEO.
Crawlability: Build a Strong Foundation
If you want your site to feature in the search results, it must first be found by the relevant search engine. This means that you need to ensure that the site is visible to crawlers. The robots.txt file is a key component of this. Make sure that the file is present, and that it contains instructions telling the search engines which pages it should index, and which it should ignore.
You should also have a sitemap which explains the structure of the site to the search engines. Some content management systems update sitemaps automatically for you, but not all do, so you should make sure that you have a good sitemap, and that it is up to date. It should include all of your product pages, categories, and subcategories, and be updated regularly. When you update your sitemap and robots.txt, submit them to Google and other search engines so that they know to come and re-crawl your website.
If your site has a lot of content that relies on Silverlight, Flash or some other ‘interactive’ platform from a few years ago, then you will have some issues there because that content is not crawlable by the search engines. You should make it a priority to get that content converted to something more modern such as HTML5 or Flash. Again, update your sitemap, and submit it to Google once the conversion is done.
Optimize Your Content
Once you have all of your crawlability issues solved, the next step is to make sure that your content is useful, valuable, and relevant. Use the Google Keyword Planner to start making a list of the keywords that you want to target based on both search volume and expected ROI. Use that list to plan out your content and to enhance your meta tags as well. Start with the top-level pages and work through all of the categories and subcategories on your site. If you have products or service pages listed, then block those out too.
A potential alternative to working through the site is to focus on optimizing select pages, for example, if the one specific page or category is doing very well, use Google Search Console to figure out why then optimize the category page based on that to boost the performance of the page. This is a good way of guiding your future SEO efforts.
Build Engagement With Other Brands
Off-site SEO is useful, too. This is a way of promoting your site not just to the search engines, but also to other people through influencer and blogger relationships. You can start off-site work quite early on while you are still building up the rest of your on-site content. With that said, the more complete your site is, the more SEO benefits you will get from link building and from promoting your site to influencers and bloggers.
Link building takes time and research, as well as patience, and you should make an effort to understand the ethics and best practices laid out by Google before you make a start. The best way to find potential links is to use a tool such as SEMrush that helps you to work out where your backlinks originate from. This tool will display a list of potential sites, so you can reach out to them and send out link requests. Don’t ask to link up with all of them, focus on high-quality sites with good traffic, and with a strong social media presence.
The same goes for influencers. Look for the influencers that are most relevant to your industry or niche, and work with them. The influencers with the biggest following aren’t always the best choice for your business. You want ones with a good ROI, and that might mean micro-influencers that have a lot of trust and authority with a smaller group of followers. It doesn’t make sense to spend a fortune on influencers with hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of followers if their word does not carry a lot of weight.
If you already have a decent SEO program then your focus should be on content creation. At this stage, you need to go beyond just describing your products and services, and start answering questions instead. For example, if you run a hairdresser’s, write about how to make the hair dye or perm last longer, or how to stop hair getting frizzy in humid conditions. You will need to do keyword research to work out the kind of questions that get a lot of searches, and you should look at what your competitors are doing as well.
Use tools such as SEMrush to identify content gaps based on your market and the search phrases that are popular. For example, you might already have “haircuts” and “semi-permanent hair dye” covered, but there may be other searches that you have missed, such as “long hair perm” which could generate traffic too. With this kind of analysis, you can come up with a huge list of keywords that can be used to write useful non-promotional content.
You do not need to do this until you have reached a good level of technical SEO. Crawlability must come first, and optimization is important too. Once those technical aspects are in place your influencer marketing will be more effective, and content creation comes on top of that to help build up organic traffic. All of the steps are important for the growth of your site.