BackStory: This is a two-part back story. Part 1 of the story is the “cobbler’s shoes” story, you know, the one where you spend so much time working on your client’s success that you neglect your own. Part 2 has a little more weight. Up until the very end of 2022, GreenBanana SEO had two owners, two owners of a marketing agency who got along but never seemed to agree on what the GreenBanana website should look like or how the content should be written. The net result: the site was mediocre, and the SEO content was…. meh.
I’ll spare you all the transition details ( or maybe save it for another post). Still, the short version is that after the buyout, I could do whatever I wanted to the GreenBanana site, so I began optimizing in February. I selected a handful of keyword phrases, 9 to be exact, and began creating content and pages one by one.
1. Choose your SEO Keyword Phrases and choose them wisely.
I knew what phrases I wanted to rank for, so I got to skip the regular deep dive that we do for prospective SEO clients. I started with a list of easy wins, medium wins, and B.H.A.G’s ( Big Hairy Audacious Goals..if you are familiar with Jim Collins).
I like to start with the easy wins for three reasons:
- The easy wins rank a little faster.
- When you rank, you get a little confidence boost.
- All ships rise with the tide when it comes to SEO, so your little wins will increase content, ranking content, traffic, and click-through rate, which will contribute to your BHAG phrases.
Any decent SEO will tell you the answer is already on page one. At GreenBanana, we have a custom tool that helps analyze page one rankings. The tool spits out more than 750 ranking factors ( 762, to be precise ). One keyword phrase, by one keyword phrase, I analyzed each and every factor to determine what Google decided was essential to rank that particular term. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you want to frame it, every phrase is different, so every ranking strategy is just a little different than the next, kind of like a snowflake.
3. Design an SEO content plan.
The competitive analysis helps to create a content roadmap. If you are targeting a competitive keyword phrase, one page won’t create enough topical relevance to rank, so often, you must create a multi-page structure that supports your target keyword phrase.
4. Create relevant SEO content.
Anyone who has ever listened to me speak knows I constantly refer to Google as a ‘relevance engine.’ If you want to rank for a target keyword phrase, you have to create a page that is relevant to that target phrase. Google defines relevance by term frequency, term entities, and term support, AKA latent semantic indexing (L.S.I). When writing a page, you must consider each of the aforementioned ‘relevance’ factors.
5. Develop your SEO pages.
Code Matters. Google reads the HTML code on your page; it does not read the pretty, user-facing output that you see when you go to a web page. Simply adding content is not enough; you need to tell the search engines where to look and what to look for. Incorporating relevance into your H tags, Alt tags, Meta descriptions, and Schema, to name a few, is essential for ranking.
6. SEO Promotion.
Talking about yourself is not as much of a validator as other people talking about you. This is where linking comes in. Search engines look for relevant content on relevant sites to point back to your pages. Getting links to a site is not easy, but it really does make an impact on search rankings.
7. Celebrate the SEO Wins and Keep Going.
SEO is hard, and Google is a moving target; during the initial seven months of this SEO journey, Google had six core updates! SEO takes time; ranks do not happen overnight, and links typically take 45 days to get picked up by search engines. It is very easy to get discouraged when your pages don’t rank, and it is even more discouraging when they go down. It is essential to look back at the small wins. Even if you move from page 70 to page 60, that means you did something right; identify that and keep going. Once you achieve page one rankings, go back to your research, find more phrases to rank, and get back to work.
Ranking Keyword Phrase Increase!