Understanding what SEO stands for – Search Engine Optimization – is essential to digital marketing success. Search Engine Optimization is a process designed to increase both the quantity and quality of traffic your website receives from other search engines like Google through web pages or a blog post.
The ultimate goal?
To make sure that when potential customers type certain keywords into the Google search console or other search engines, it’s your site and/or blog post that they see at the top of those results.
But there’s more than just pleasing search engine algorithms; creating an optimal user experience should be an integral part of any successful strategy too.
Developing an SEO Strategy for SEO marketing can seem like a daunting task.
This process, often shrouded in technical jargon and complex strategies, is critical for any business looking to increase its online visibility.
But fear not!
We’re here to demystify the world of SEO marketing, breaking it down into manageable steps that anyone can follow.
No matter your expertise or familiarity, this manual will assist you in comprehending the complexities of optimizing your own site for search engines.
You’ll learn about keyword research tools, content creation strategies, link-building techniques, on and off page SEO, and much more.
The Power of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in Content Marketing
As coaches, therapists, and wellness practitioners navigate the digital marketing landscape, one tool continues to stand out: Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Unlike traditional organic social media marketing platforms like Instagram or Facebook, Search Engines like Google provide a unique opportunity to business owners who enjoy creating quality content and want to leverage the power of organic search results to generate more traffic to their websites and their businesses.
Prefer a more interactive visual experience? You can explore our free 90-minute on-demand workshop for scaling without social media to understand the core principles of how search engines work and how you can leverage SEO to ditch social media altogether by clicking here.
Understanding Inbound versus Outbound Search Intent
But why is SEO so great? We’ll use a comparative process that outlines the difference between Social Media Marketing and SEO Marketing.
When the average marketer is creating content for social media, they are focused on creating content that will interrupt or disrupt the user to get their attention and try to get them to pay attention to what they have to say.
This is often times where we see the wild and outlandish content produced on social media platforms that focus heavily on quantity of content rather than quality.
I explain the full concept of the Attention Merchant Business model in the blog post here along with a complete podcast episode to accompany it.
Inbound SEO Strategy
On the flip side, Search Engine Optimization is very much the opposite experience where that same user is choosing to actively seek out information online using search engines like Google to ask questions and find answers.
Instead of you having to compete and keep up with the trends on social, the user, through the power of a well optimized SEO strategy, finds your epic blog posts and other websites that have all of the relevant information to answer their question and end their search.
The user is coming to you, hence the term INBOUND. Alternatively, with cold outreach, direct marketing, and social media marketing, YOU (the business) are actively pursuing clients and reaching OUT to capture their attention, hence the term OUTBOUND marketing.
SEO Optimized Content Versus Social Media Content
Unlike traditional social media posts that have an average lifespan of 30 minutes to 48 hours, the average blog post ranking on the Google search console averages a minimum of ONE to THREE YEARS of continuous growth and visibility.
You can see the comparative growth outlined below.
The Power Of Blog Posts
Additionally, your SEO efforts go even further by providing the opportunity for you to compound the amount of site traffic and website visitors month after month and year after year which continues to build the reputation of your entire site content and position you as a leading expert in your niche.
In the example above, we can see how the blog posted in 2019 with a minimal amount of 18 monthly views continue to grow in it’s reach and engagement over the course of the last 4 years and is averaging 802+ views every single month through google search, you can see the full blog post from this example on our business partner’s blog here: https://meljudson.com/instagram-dms-cold-outreach-that-actually-works/
We can also see from the image above, how this single blog post is also ranking for other related keywords and keyword phrases with varying search volume.
Search Volume is an important metric to measure that identifies the average amount of monthly searches for any specific key phrase or key term based on a complex algorithm used by search engines.
The higher the search volume, the more traffic potential there is for any specific key phrase or topic.
In order to understand how SEO strategies can benefit your own site and business, it’s important to understand how search intent works.
Search intent is a technical term used to describe what the user is actively looking for, there are a few different types of search intent that are important for you to know:
Informational Search Intent tells search engines that the user is looking for information relating to a specific topic.
This can be identified by using terms such as “how to” or “what is” or “step by step” within the search queries or questions- aka the phrase you type into the google search console.
Transactional search intent is about helping the user identify information pertaining to making a purchase and often is paired with terms like “best” “top” or “versus” which provides search results often related to articles that compare the top products or services in any niche or industry.
How To Get Your site’s pages ranking on Google
These words or phrases are known as keywords and are critical to helping search engines find and match relevant content with relevant queries.
In the image linked above, we can see the search results when we create a google search for the phrase “Branding and Web Design Packages” and what other sites are currently ranking for the primary keyword “branding and webdesign”
In this example, the particular page that is ranking for this term is our business partner, Mel Judson and her homepage that has been optimized to rank #1 on Google Search for this term.
We can also see in the image, the other sites that are competing to rank for the same keyword or key phrase.
We’ve broken down a simple overview of how the organic search process works in the image below
How To Research Keywords You Can Actually Rank For
Now that you’ve started to understand the way search engines work, the next step is exploring how to leverage different SEO tools to analyze and create a powerful SEO Strategy.
There are different types of keywords you can try to write for, below is a brief overview of the main types of keywords and the benefits of each:
The Primary Keyword is the larger topic of what you are looking to explore and can often times be seen as 1-2 word phrases like “Business” or “Online Marketing” which tend to have a much higher search volume (SV) but with higher SV, comes higher competition and difficulty ranking especially for a new site that has minimal link building or on page SEO built into it.
If you’ve never created and SEO Strategy before, it’s crucial you focus on long tail and short tail keywords to target for your blog posts that have a lower SV but are easier to rank for because there’s less competition.
Short Tail Versus Long Tail Keywords
Short Tail Keywords – these are keywords made up of 2-4 words that have some specificity but often have a higher search volume since they’re more general terms.
Long Tail keywords – these are keywords made up of 5 or more words and often referred to as keyword phrase, long tail, or LTKW and focus on a very specific topic that often is correlated with lower search volume because of how niche it is an example of long tail keywords are “Online Business Course For Stay At Home Moms” or “How To Create A Boho Mirror DIY On A Budget” by adding more words to the search, we’re getting more specific and telling search engines exactly what we’re looking for.
So HOW do you find keywords you can rank for?
There are two SEO tools we recommend to all clients
Ahrefs – This is the number one keyword research tool for any serious blogger or online business that’s leading the way in SEO tools optimized for ranking but comes at a higher ticket price of $99/month for their base plan. If the ticket price isn’t in your price range, the next option is below.
Ubersuggest – If you’re looking for a more cot effective keyword tool, uberuggest is a great option that offers daily SEO tips along with an entire library of information on how search engines work along with SEO new and updates and costs $29/month
Key Metrics To Aim For Keywords
Not all Keywords are created equal.
Keywords are one of the core components of on page SEO that control your web pages ranking and how you can help your overall site or any specific page of your site start to rank for the keywords you want to be found for.
Attached below is a graph from our SEO course for online business owners demonstrating the 4 core KPI’s for choosing the optimal Keywords for your site and blog posts:
Newer blogs are aiming to have a medium to low SV with under 1000 people searching every month to have a higher chance of ranking
We want to see a decent amount of traffic potential meaning how many folks we can expect to visit our site from that word but again, lower traffic is fine when just getting started.
Keyword Difficulty is one of the more important measurements and something you need to look out for when picking words to rank for. If you’re a brand new blogger or have never created an SEO Strategy before, ensure you are only picking keywords with a KD under 10-13, if you have a decent amount of SEO built into your site, you can target more difficult keywords with a higher score.
Cost Per Click is a less important metric unless you’re running an SEO strategy that focuses on paid advertising but it’s helpful to see how much marketers are willing to pay to be placed on the first page of Google
User Experience And Its Influence On Search Rankings
Apart from driving traffic and increasing visibility, good user experience also impacts how well you rank in SERPs. For instance, Google confirmed last year that Core Web Vitals will become ranking signals moving forward.
If you’re interested in furthering your knowledge about such trends, check out resources like online courses or blogs dedicated to staying updated with changes in the world of search engine optimization.
In order to have a successful SEO strategy, you must first understand the fundamentals of on page seo and off page seo to ensure your quality content isn’t getting docked visibility and reach due to lack of proper setup on the front AND backend.
On Page and Off Page SEO Metrics That Matter
On page SEO refers to everything that’s within the actual blog posts or web pages of your site and how you’ve structured data in a way that’s easy for search engines to crawl and understand.
If you’ve done your proper keyword research, you’ll know exactly what keywords you want to be ranking for and want to ensure you’re including those keywords throughout your blog posts and web pages.
It’s crucial that your main keyword you want a specific page to rank for is within the page title and ideally within the slug URL of the page. For example, when targeting the keyword, SEO Coach, I’ll include SEO Coach in the TITLE of the blog post and in the URL i.e. sophiekessner.com/seo-coach to help search engines quickly understand what the page is about.
AVOID KEYWORD STUFFING
Keyword stuffing is a form of black hat SEO that involves trying to manipulate algorithmic systems in order to rank higher on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) without necessarily offering real value to users visiting the page.
We see this when other websites will add in unnecessary sentences, or hide text on the page to try and include more keywords throughout but there isn’t any real value behind the content on the page.
Sometimes these techniques can seem tempting as quick-fix solutions, but beware: not only do they often lead to poor customer satisfaction rates – even if they initially manage to fool bots behind the scenes, soon enough major players like Google and other search engines understand and will penalize accordingly, causing significant damage to reputation and rankings that far outweigh temporary gains made at the outset.
Proper Structured Data
Another core principle of on page SEO is understanding how to properly organize the content of your blog or website in a way that Search Engines can easily read.
This includes using proper Title Tags such as H1, H2, H3, H4 throughout your site.
H1 should always be reserved for the Title of the page and only used once.
H2 is used to break up sections of the content and should be used sparingly
H3 is like a subsection of H2 and should be neatly organized under that topic
H4 is the additional sub section of H3 that takes it even deeper and helps to organize complex ideas or topics.
Remember, even if you’re creating high quality content and done your keyword research, if you’re not properly creating the content on the page, your SEO strategy will suffer.
Google Images and Alt Text
When creating content, it’s also important for you to include google Images that can be indexed by the search engine through the form of alt text.
Alt text is the way you describe the image to a search engine like Google. It’s essentially a description of the image since search engines are unable to crawl an image itself, they use alt text to read and understand what the image is about.
Alt text is different than the actual title of the image you’re using but should also be correlated to it. An example of Alt text is having an image of a dog and using “Golden Retriever on Grass” in the alt text to help improve organic traffic from both Google Images and any other search engine where a user may also be looking to find an image or blog about a Golden Retriever.
For more complex graphics, it’s helpful to incorporate an SEO strategy that includes providing a more detailed explanation of what the graphic is of while also using keywords within your description to improve organic traffic.
Meta Descriptions and Meta Tags
Meta descriptions are a tool used to provide a brief summary of the page as a way to encourage increased click through rates from organic traffic that comes through search results.
Essentially, whenever someone searches for something on Google or any other search engine, they land on what’s known as the SERP or Search Engine Results Page. On this page, they aren’t able to read every blog in detail BUT they can see a meta description under the title of every blog.
This meta description is under 180 characters and briefly summarizes what kind of quality content the user can expect to find by clicking on the link.
Though having a meta description isn’t directly on the page of your blog or web page, it’s a crucial factor to increase organic traffic from search results.
Here you can see an example of a meta description used for one of our blog posts.
Notice how the meta description includes keywords relevant to the blog post as well as providing a snippet of what the reader can expect by clicking over.
If you notice that you’re not seeing a huge click through rate even though you’re ranking on Google, it’s important to review your meta description and compare it with other websites on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) to see how you can improve.
If you pay any attention to SEO news from other SEO coaches or consultants in the industry, one of the biggest topics you’ll hear about is link building and internal linking.
Here’s what you need to know as a foundation for building out your SEO strategy to improve organic traffic from google search;
The Art of Internal Linking
Internal linking is the process of having multiple pages of your own website linking and referring back to other relevant and useful pages on your site.
Each time you have a page on your site linked within another page, these are referred to as Internal Links and are helpful for helping both users and search engines better understand the interconnectedness of your website.
It’s crucial that you include internal links on every page of your site, otherwise you may get hit with warnings such as an “orphaned page” which refers to a page on your site that has to internal links or no incoming links reaching back to it.
Technical SEO and Local SEO
Local SEO refers to your ability to use keywords pertaining to your physical location to target traffic that is within that area.
This is especially beneficial for brick and mortar stores with an actual store front but can also be helpful for ecommerce sites that want to build a name for themselves within their local area first while they begin to branch out.
The easiest way to build local seo is through Google My Business and creating a simple and free GMB page with a physical address for your business.
By doing this as part of your SEO Strategy, you can leverage Search Engine Optimization through the GMB system to send additional organic traffic from google search on maps and even yelp to find your site and click over to your content.
Mobile SEO & Page Speed For Search Engines
Technical SEO refers to the importance of how the user experiences your overall site which includes topics like page speed, load time, mobile optimization and more.
Most online business owners have a desktop site they love, but in today’s modern world, it’s crucial we are also checking for mobile seo which refers to how easy it is to navigate a site on mobile.
Mobile SEO can be simple components such as how easy it is to read the text on the page, image load time, how big the buttons are, the color contrast of the colors on the page etc. That all impact how a user experiences your site and overall, the mobile SEO ranking for your site.
Page Speed is one of the more important variables for any SEO strategy and has to do with how quickly a site on your page loads. This might seem like a rudimentary topic but it’s crucial for anyone serious about content marketing to recognize the impact of a slow loading site and how that will often deter users from visiting or reading anything you’ve written, regardless of much how high quality content you create.
If your site is too slow, it’s time to dive into more technical seo strategies to improve your overall load time and ranking.
Crafting Your Unique SEO Strategy
Now it’s time to put it all together and create your own SEO Strategy
Step 1. Keyword Research
Conduct proper research for your own business and track performance over time using tools such as Ubersuggest, Ahrefs or Google Analytics can reveal areas needing improvement as well as successes worth continuing to build upon in future efforts.
Choose a list of 10-15 Keywords you want to target based on the Keyword KPIs shared about above.
Step 2. Optimize Your Site For SEO
Go through your entire website and ensure you’ve optimized all of the variables talked about in the on page and off page SEO section to enhance your sites loading speed, mobile optimization, alt text, proper titles, headings, structured data and more.
Remove any broken links or broken images and use free tools like Ahrefs or Ubersuggest to help you see where else you can improve your overall site score for readability to improve your ranking
Step 3. Start Blogging
Now that your site is ready to go and you know what you want to rank for, it’s time to get busy creating consistent blog posts full of high quality content you know your audiences is searching for.
Spend time testing different topics based on your own keyword research and regularly refer back to the core tools to see how you can improve your content and ranking.
Step 4. Start Linking
As you continue to build your own library of content, it’s important you’re building out links both to and from your site with other credible websites that can help build your authority online.
Spend time creating an ecosystem of webs linking relevant blogs and content to other valuable pieces on your site and refer to other helpful sites when appropriate.
Take chances and see if you can guest blog on other websites to help improve your referring domains.
Rinse and repeat!
Custom SEO Strategies For Coaches and Therapists
I explain an in-depth overview of SEO strategies for coaches and keyword research in the blog here and have another blog post that tailors SEO tips for therapists and other wellness practitioners here.
If you’re looking to create an SEO strategy for your own online business, you can learn more about how we help clients inside our course, The Online Business Automator, that teaches health and wellness experts the step by step process to doing keyword research, creating high ranking blog posts, and tracking data to improve your ranking on search engines so you can get off social media marketing all together.
If you’re curious about working with an SEO coach or consultant, you can learn more about The Online Business Automator here.