Whether you already have a website, are thinking of creating one or having one designed, it is always necessary to start your SEO journey with a plan. This will help you develop your overall Internet Marketing Strategy.
Map out, ideally on paper who your ideal visitors / customers are. You may already have a good idea of your customer demographics but you need to think about how they are likely to find you on the Internet.
Here is how to succeed in your SEO campaigns for 2013
Think about whether your target visitors will only use search engines or will they find you from other sources?
For example, your target group may:
– Use Social networking sites
– Visit websites of professional bodies that you are – a member of or could join.
– May read certain online magazines, forums and blogs.
Analyse the competition.
Take a look at your competitors in the area, especially those with well ranked websites. Where does their website address appear? What directories do they advertise in? Are they on Facebook?
Set a budget for your marketing strategy.
Marketing online can be totally free if you use the right techniques and do it all yourself. You may however, allocate an employee to the task or subcontract the work to a professional.
Some techniques for online marketing do require paid services such as email marketing and Pay per Click Advertising which you may wish to consider as part of your overall strategy.
An important starting point is keyword research. List what search words and phrases your target customers are likely to use to find your services online (these are known as keywords or key phrases). This is where a group of people help, as they will no doubt produce more ideas together, than you can alone. It is useful to bounce ideas off people that are not linked to your company, or proposed website, as you will be surprised at the difference between the keywords you perceive people would use to find you and what they are actually using.
A useful tool to help you analyse keywords and phrases is the Google AdWords Keyword tool. This is free to use, you just need to sign up for a Google account if you do not have one already. It is based on data collected from Google and specifically from AdWords campaigns but is relevant to organic searches too.
Just like on the High Street, where you try to have an edge over other businesses that are similar in nature, most online businesses also have a good idea of who their competitors are. Unlike the High Street, however, where you can simply stand outside and see how busy the competitor is, maybe pop in and see how well trained their staff are and how much they seem to be investing; it can be more difficult to get a feel for how well your online competition is doing, or benchmarking yourself against them.
The first place to start is simply by entering the key phrases that you have drawn up and see who appears at the top of Google’s ranking.
Enter all the phrases and you will soon see a pattern. If a competitor is ranking well for a single phrase then it may be that they have this phrase in their Domain name and used it within their website because it is the obvious phrase in the industry i.e. it may just be a lucky coincidence.
If, however, a certain domain is cropping up for all the phrases, then they may have spent some time on optimizing their website.
Keep a list of all the main competitors that appear on page one for all the key phrases. Take a look at their website, see if they have had it designed professionally or if it is a cheap or free website package or even may have produced it themselves.
When analyzing a competitor’s website start with the content:
– Is there plenty of it?
– Is it updated regularly?
– Is it unique and interesting?
– Do they have a blog, and if so are they posting regularly or do they just have one because they thought they should?
– Are the internal pages focused on particular key phrases?
Jot down any ideas that you may wish to use or improve on (see what works and what doesn’t).
Your SEO strategy or plan for 2013 should include a list of all the websites that you aim to obtain links from and the order you would wish to go about it. You can always update your plan once you have a better idea of the best places to start and when your in the hands of a good SEO Company.