When executed properly, search engine optimization is a serious undertaking.
There are an infinite number of ways to drive more traffic toward your site and improve SEO. Each approach involves research, analysis and trial-and-error.
And the job is never done.
You can certainly move the needle when it comes to SEO, but it won’t be easy and it can become overwhelming. Many people become so overwhelmed, in fact, that they quit before trying even one approach.
In fact, according to a recent survey, 54% of small businesses have no budget put aside for SEO efforts.
If those businesses are hoping SEO goes away, they are destined to be disappointed. SEO is here to stay and there is an easy way to get started.
First, you need to find a strategy worth your time and effort. It can’t demolish your budget and it needs to produce results.
What is that Strategy?
Believe it or not, the answer lies in with your competitors.
By analyzing your competition, you can skip the trial-and-error. You don’t need to spend a boatload of money or deploy your entire marketing team to the task.
Begin by learning more about SEO. Decide which SEO metrics are most important for your business and allow those elements to be the guiding light for the project.
Next, look at the content of your competitors. See what they are doing to address those important SEO metrics.
Then leverage all of the hard work of your competitors to identify those specific SEO strategies that will provide the most benefits to your business. And while you’re at it, drive some of their business toward your own.
Think of these 3 steps as a checklist for your next SEO project:
1. Review Backlinks
Backlinks are important for driving traffic, increasing brand awareness and improving your search ranking.
Backlinks continue to be a driving force for Google ranking. In short, the more backlinks you get, the higher you will rank with Google. Because effective link building is all about trust and popularity, only quality backlinks provide forward momentum.
The benefits of backlinks are many:
You gain increased visibility on Google, which is priority one.
The backlinks themselves begin driving already-interested traffic back to your site.
You gain entry to and become established on new sites and in new markets.
Backlinks establish the brand as a thought leader.
There are many tools out there that can generate a list of competitor backlinks.
Explore the competitor content that has been backlinked. Is it better than yours? If so, then you know where to begin.
2. Create Better Content
For Google rankings, quality is king.
To improve rankings, drive traffic and attract leads, content must be informative and useful. As you know, this takes time.
But when you spend just a few minutes examining competitor content that is getting backlinks, you can use that information to produce content with better quality and improved SEO.
Here is what you should look for:
Length. Most content is just over 1,000 words. Top ranking content, however, is at least 1,750 words. If this is not doable for you, no problem. The goal here is to beat the competition. So, if they are writing 600-word posts, try to at least double that.
Outline. No need to recreate the wheel. Scan their content and extract the basic outline. See what valuable information they are conveying. Lay your content out in the same way, but provide better information. You can use Google’s Related Searches Box to add additional highly-targeted information.
The goal is to make the content so good that users never need to go back to Google and perform another search during their buyer’s journey. Make them seek you out next time with content so good they have no other choice.
Once you know your content is better, reach out to the sites that were backlinking your competitors and convince them too.
3. Beat the Competition with Page Speed
Users are impatient. When sites take too long to load, they bounce.
Google knows this and uses site speed in the ranking algorithm.
So, find out how fast the websites of your competitors are and make sure that yours is faster.
You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool to run an analysis on your competitors’ sites.
An easy way to dramatically improve speed is to ensure images are properly compressed. There are many tools out there that can help with this.
Don’t let your business become overwhelmed by SEO. The most important step is the first one. And it’s easier than you think.