This is a guest blog post by Straight North, a marketing agency with a strong focus on SEO which operates its Charlotte office outside of our hygge jay street location. To learn more about their business and the services they offer, click here to go to their website.
Is your SEO campaign improving too slowly, stuck in neutral, or worst of all, moving in reverse? To maximize your investment, it’s important to recognize the situation and address it as quickly as possible. Here are three important steps you should take to substantially improve your SEO campaign.
1. Review Your Keyword Strategy
An SEO campaign is only as good as its target keywords. The best target keywords are search terms you can rank highly for, have high conversion potential, and generate enough Google queries and traffic to produce significant campaign ROI.
But even if you started your campaign with the absolute perfect target keywords, they may not be perfect anymore. Among the factors that cause keyword effectiveness to decline:
- New competitors with big SEO budgets targeting the same keywords.
- Shifts in demand for your products and services.
- Growing importance of non-targeted keywords.
This last point is currently a major issue. The rising popularity of mobile search, which produces shorter keyword phrases, and voice search, which produces conversational keyword phrases, may be affecting your results, especially if your site receives lots of mobile traffic. If you haven’t reassessed your target keywords within the last 12 months, it is time to take another look.
2. Review Your Site’s UX and CRO
While target keywords are critically important, you also need to ask: Is our SEO challenge a lack of traffic, or a lack of conversions? Companies sometimes forget the real payoff for SEO is generating sales leads or online revenue. Double-digit or triple-digit growth in organic traffic has little value if it fails to produce revenue. What’s more, even if organic traffic has leveled off at a satisfactory volume, a higher conversion rate will greatly improve SEO.
The greatest improvements in website conversions come from issues relating to UX (user experience) and CRO (conversion rate optimization). Among the important problems to fix:
- Confusing navigation.
- Poor page loading speed.
- Hard-to-read content.
- Hard-to-understand content.
- Irrelevant content.
- Poor or limited visual content.
- Clumsy shopping/check-out experience.
- Clumsy mobile experience.
- Poor calls-to-action.
- Uninspiring offers.
- Hard-to-find contact forms and phone numbers.
- Lack of customer testimonials, product reviews and other credibility/social proof elements.
- No display of related or substitute products.
- Lack of website security/privacy functionality.
It is important to note that many of the issues that affect UX and CRO have a direct impact on SEO. For instance, Google’s algorithm puts evermore emphasis on mobile-friendliness and page loading speed. If your website is lacking in either area, rankings will suffer alongside conversions.
3. Review Your Internal SEO Support Systems
How your business operates internally, even in areas seemingly outside the sphere of SEO, have an enormous impact on your campaign. In our experience troubleshooting campaigns, we’ve identified several issues that frequently wreak havoc on otherwise solid SEO efforts. These include:
- Subpar handling of phone inquiries. If organic visitors (or ones from any other source) languish on hold or talk to someone ill prepared to answer their questions, the chances for a conversion drop precipitously. Additional training, improving automated phone attendant functionality, and/or adding live chat to the website are ways to correct this sometimes-invisible problem.
- Undoing SEO content on the website. SEO campaigns almost always involve adding or improving on-site content to enhance the rankings of target pages and overall site authority. However, this work will be compromised if content edits are later made by people within the organization who don’t take SEO into account. In these situations, keywords are edited out of content, important internal links are rewritten or removed, target pages are eliminated or overhauled, and other on-page SEO elements are undermined. Making sure website edits are reviewed by the SEO team will propel your campaign forward.
- Being too hands-off. The philosophy at our agency is, the best client is an informed and involved client. Systematically review campaign performance, ask questions, offer ideas, and make sure changes in campaign performance — both negative and positive — are observed and explained as quickly as possible.
Make It Greater!
This article has focused mainly on underperforming SEO campaigns. However, if your campaign is clicking on all cylinders, you are in the perfect position to improve even more. Consider expanding in any or all the following ways:
- Expand your basket of target keywords.
- Add local SEO campaigns to penetrate important geographic markets more deeply and/or expand into new ones.
- Increase production of off-site content for linkbuilding — one of most effective ways to improve site authority and individual page ranking.
- Increase focus on optimizing visual content — video and image search on Google may be excellent sources of new traffic and conversions.
If you’re not sure how to proceed on any of these fronts, talk to your marketing team, sales team, and customers — in terms of product/service interest and geographic market potential, they know what’s hot and what’s not.