If you’re looking for SEO advice, as are the many agencies who come to us with the question, “Where do we start with SEO,” our answer is below. We’ve put together an easy-to-follow 10-step guide – an SEO Content Playbook if you will – to help you understand the SEO roadmap and give you the freedom to put an SEO program in place that best utilizes the resources available to you.
While Galileo Tech Media is an SEO Company that handles full-spectrum search engine optimization for many clients, we also love helping in-house teams improve SEO on their own. As a partner. That is why we joined the In-House Agency Forum and started a blog.
Our In-House Agency Services blog offers additional “DIY SEO” Content insights and resources to highlight some of the best ways companies are working to boost their rankings. It offers tips and tricks that can be used immediately to make a difference in Search Engine Results Page [SERP] placement. Our blog also offers lessons for workload management including suggestions for handy task management tools to store in your toolkit and methods to streamline processes that agencies may want to adopt.
Our “7 Lessons on Workload Management” post was recently published on IHAF.org, offering a wealth of ways to stay on task and stay effective. We’ve learned these lessons while working with our in-house agency partners, managing projects big and small. We believe these 7 Lessons are share worthy, as the strategies we manage collectively are only as beneficial as they can be efficiently implemented. We believe our number one lesson is to start your SEO campaign, strategy or task with a Pilot. This allows you to properly gauge effort and resources, find efficiencies and discover the most effective tools.
So, yes, we love to share information and share our expertise with customers. If you are responsible for SEO Content at your organization please read on; we’re sharing our approach and would love to talk to you about your particular situation.
Assess Your SEO Presence | Technical SEO Audit
Before implementing an SEO initiative, it is important to conduct a Technical SEO Audit. A full audit will give you insights on how your website performs in a number of technical aspects and will list a set of prioritized action items. There are quite a number of website content audit tools in the market today that give beginners and SEO professionals a comprehensive review of a website’s overall performance.
- Deepcrawl – Galileo uses Deepcrawl for in-house agency client work. Deepcrawl is a comprehensive website crawler analyzes your site architecture to understand technical issues and monitor them. This is vital to improve SEO performance.
- Mondovo – With Mondovo, Galileo can perform quick website audits to use in preparation for a pitch or proposal, or for potential clients who would like a complimentary audit.
Assess Your SEO Presence | Backlink Audit
Backlinks are links that are directed towards your website and are one of the most important ranking factors to search engines. Backlinks are important for SEO because some search engines, especially Google, will give more “authority” to websites that have a good number of quality backlinks and they consider those websites more relevant than others in their results pages for a search query. The more reliable, relevant resources that link to a page, the more reliable and useful the page must be… thus earning the page higher search visibility.
A professional Backlink Audit examines a domain’s current links and evaluates how good they are for the site. The audit also uncovers “Toxic Links” that do more harm than good and provides recommendations to improve future Link Building strategy. Perhaps most importantly, a Backlink Audit provides insight into competitors’ backlink strategies.
- Link Research Tools – This SEO Audit tool helps you drive traffic to your website by understanding your market and your competitors. It assists companies with link building by offering little-known strategies that work.
- Moz Open Site Explorer – We use Moz OSE to research backlinks, find link-building opportunities and discover potentially damaging links.
Understand the Playing Field | Google Analytics (GA) and Google Search Console
One of the first things a website owner needs to do is set up Google Analytics. When you use Google Analytics, you have a complete real-time view of the playing field–your website and your competitors. More specifically, Google Analytics tells you:
- How much traffic your website is getting
- Where the traffic comes from (referring sites)
- Where your audience is (geographic location)
- What your most-viewed or most-visited pages are
- How long each visitor spends on each page
- What your visitor footprint or navigation flow looks like
- Which page your visitors exit from
- What calls-to-action get the most response
- Where your audience is accessing your website (device type, browser type, etc.)
Capture Searchers Based Upon Intent | SEO Keyword Research
Through intent-focused keyword research, you can learn about what motivates a customer to make a purchasing decision. This, in turn, helps you better craft content that speaks to the consumer and delivers solutions to problems or needs.
Before you begin focusing on the keywords you should use in your content, you need to know for what keywords you currently rank. Keyword Research data allows you to see if you’re missing opportunities to target keywords and if you should leave content that is working as is. We suggest targeting any higher demand keywords you uncovered once you establish visibility/authority. This happens typically around the 6-month mark.
- Google Analytics Search Console – This is a free tool you can add to your website’s backend. It shows you for which keywords you appear and where. As an example, if you see you’re ranking on Page 2 for a keyword that is critical to your business, you should create more content around that term to build visibility.
- AdWords Keyword Planner – Galileo uses AdWords Keyword Planner to find new keywords and phrases, and to gauge keyword competition level and volume.
- KeywordTool.io – Galileo finds that this is a great tool for uncovering long-tail keywords and phrases to serve as topic focuses for new blog posts.
Assess your Competitors’ SEO Visibility | SEO Keyword Research
Keeping your ear to the ground for what your competition is ranking gives you valuable data from deep page insights. This information helps you grow your own search traffic, and monitor and rank in your specific niche. The following tools research backlinks, find link-building opportunities and discover potentially damaging links, as well as help you pinpoint new opportunities.
- SpyFu – Galileo uses Spyfu to search for competitors and download their keywords. This tool is easy to use and it lets you learn your competitors’ SEO tricks and paid search strategies, and avoid any mistakes they are making.
- SEMrush – With SEMrush, you have a powerful suite of SEO marketing tools including those that assist with competitor research.
- Moz Keyword Explorer – Get ideas for keywords, view SEO competition metrics and track rank with Moz Keyword Explorer.
Create Wise Content | SEO Content Marketing
Use the data uncovered in your keyword research to update your website’s content with the right mix of keywords. When creating new content, use long-tail keywords that zero in on the intent behind your target audience’s searches.
We suggest you publish at least 1 blog post per week to your site. This will increase reader engagement and search visibility. You don’t have to come up with a long, completely new piece of content all the time. Curate content for your audience by writing a 2 to 3-paragraph point of view and then link to a high-authority or high-relevance article. This will let you create more content and become an authority in Google’s eyes.
- Yoast Plugin for WordPress – This tool is invaluable. Yoast Plugin for WordPress handles the technical SEO optimization for your blog posts and gives you suggestions for improving readability.
Create Wise Content | Content Hubs
Use Content Hubs to create wise content that offers in-depth and valuable information for readers. Using your SEO keywords, create hubs or groups of related content that address the intent behind your customers’ searches at every step of the buyer journey.
Content Hubs can be comprehensive of the various pages on your website as well as your social media channels. Depending on your business’s offerings, you may have a couple or several Content Hubs that address related topics and customer concerns.
A Content Hub Strategy can be applied to any organization looking to target and dominate a niche of the population. Think of Content Hubs as groups of SEO Content focused on a specific topic. Galileo creates a primary Content Hub with a main piece of content that sets the tone for all of the content you will create as a business.
Take a look at this example of a Content Hub on Galileo. Our primary Content Hub topic is “Travel SEO.” This is the hub page https://galileotechmedia.com/travel-industry-seo-services/, and we have dozens of blog posts written about the topic that link back to this primary page. Our Link Building efforts focus on this primary page as well. Visually, the primary page looks like the hub of a wheel. All other content created [such as blog posts] should be ancillary content that gives depth to the primary subject matter and a broader scope of information for readers who want to learn about your niche. These supportive pieces of content are like the spokes of a wheel. The hub, along with its spokes, are necessary for motion – in your case, motion bringing readers to your website and converts them into customers.
Maximize Your Geographic Visibility | Local SEO
According to Kelsey Group, roughly 74% of Internet users conduct local searches. Combine this with a steady increase in mobile device use that we’ve witnessed over the last several years and a pattern emerges.
Your potential customers are searching for products and services on the go, where and when they want to find and use them. This means that companies need to know how to optimize for local search and show up in local search engine results, ideally in Google’s 3-pack. Are you appearing for location-based services? Or when someone searches within your area?
- Google My Business – Claiming and verifying your business’s local Google My Business (GMB) listing is an important first step in a Local SEO strategy. It increases your chance of showing up in Google’s Local Pack, Google Maps listing, Local Finder and organic rankings.
Increase Search Authority | Link Building
To increase search authority, put your Backlink Report to good use and go after the sites where your competitors are listed. Also, identify publications with high domain authority and trust scores. These, of course, should be relevant to your business and content topics.
One-on-one outreach to publications can be a solid Link Building strategy, but this type of negotiation can be difficult for a beginning team. Sometimes, even if an in-house team handles a load of SEO work, this task is outsourced to an agency.
- Ahrefs – This handy tool is a backlink checker that identifies issues that may be holding your SEO strategy back.
- Open Site Explorer – Moz Open Site Explorer helps you identify opportunities for link building. It also researches backlinks and analyzes anchor text.
- Majestic – With Majestic, you can view inbound link data as well as site summary data. It’s an easy way to see instantly who is linking to certain pages.
- Monitor Backlinks – Check your bad backlinks and discover your competitors’ good links with Monitor Backlinks. This is a must-have SEO tool.
Video is becoming very important and hosting video on YouTube is an important ranking factor. It makes sense, since Google owns YouTube. Optimizing YouTube for SEO can therefore really help you increase traffic and customers while improving your ROI.
While the goal of optimizing YouTube might be the same for every company, there are some very different strategies for YouTube Channel SEO. Here are nine things you can do to enhance your YouTube Channel for SEO, though your actual efforts will vary slightly based on your product or service and related goals.
We hope you find this SEO Content Playbook helpful.
We partner with our clients’ in-house teams to improve all processes, including SEO, on their own or with us, and trust as a manager of SEO and Content. Our “DIY SEO” blog posts illustrate more ways we assist companies that are working to boost their rankings. If you have questions, or want to discuss how to implement a program at scale (last year we implemented over 20,000 pieces of content for one client alone), please reach out. Not sure? You might find our SEO Operations Assessment a handy framework to think about making your SEO efforts more efficient and effective and improve the ROI you deliver to the customers your agency serves.