10 steps to get fast SEO results
Let’s make things more systematic. Whenever I consult marketing teams on SEO I promise them that results will come after their efforts. To fulfill these promises I use a chronological approach to fire-start the process. Here it is:
- Start with a thorough keyword research
- Arrange all keywords in broader keyword themes
- Pick the keyword themes that are most relevant to the market and existing website
- Choose the specific keywords within each theme as new pages to write
- Make a hierarchical URL cluster for each keyword theme
- Decide on specific URL’s and make a graphic structure how pages are linked
- Decide on SERP title and meta description
- Determine the topics you will cover for each new webpage
- Start writing
- Publish your webpage (and don’t forget to put in a Call to Action)
This approach will work. The most important steps are 3 + 4 + 5 + 9. We already talked about step 3 and 4. With step 5 we will add the logic that search engines love. If one of our keyword themes would be “Houston car rental” we may find the following keywords as relevant:
houston car rental houston car rentals cheap houston car rental exotic houston car rental luxury houston classic car rental houston sports car rental
Then there may be separate keyword themes that will add relevance to the above mentioned themes such as the theme rentals by car make with separate keywords like:
Ford Fiesta car rental
Jeep Cherokee car rental
Ford Mustang Cabrio car rental
Lamborghini car rental
Porsche car rental
Rolls Royce wedding car rental
We can add logic by using a simple hierarchical structure that may look like:
Of course we can make other breakdown URL structures from our keyword themes. What’s important is the logical interdependence between linked pages and the hierarchy (broad comes before specific).
If you will follow the above mentioned steps I guarantee you that you will get the fastest results possible. But how fast and what search volumes you will trigger depends upon some important issues like:
1. The seniority and health of your domain
Search engines love websites that are proven. They prefer older ones they can trust and they do not want to be manipulated which also benefits established domains and websites. Yes my friends, Google appreciates the stability and steadiness that comes with old age.
2. The competitiveness of your market niche
Do not think you can squeeze your website into the top spots of a highly competitive niche overnight. It takes more time the more webpages compete for the same keywords. But do not be intimidated about that. Within time you can beat them all.
3. Your copywriting ability
Your webpage content should be brilliant. It must be specific, relevant and adding value to the people behind the search query (never forget that there is a real person behind each and every query). The most important difference between poor and brilliant content is the value it will offer to your target audience. Say it straight, give all you’ve got and approach your subject from all angles. And never forget: write in a original and personal style.
4. A little bit of luck
Hope is never a good strategy but when you do everything right luck may help you. What am I talking about? Surely, you don’t want to hear that all depends on luck. Well, it doesn’t. But when you write 10 superbly written articles, do everything right on a technical level and follow all necessary steps you will notice that not all of these 10 published webpages will score as high as you wanted on search engine results pages. Sometimes search engines just do not pick up your content like you might hope. Do not get bothered by that, it happens to all of us. You may call this bad luck but as I am a positive guy I turn it around and tell you that when you do a brilliant job Mr. Luck will push it further than you expected. But cut him some slack, sometimes he takes a break, you do too.
Look at the results, and keep looking!
Do your SEO efforts lead to something? Yes, if you do it right. But what are we after? In most cases we want a rise in organic traffic. Well, we want more, we want a rise in relevant organic traffic. And in most cases we want this new traffic deliver conversions whether it be leads, subscriptions or hard online orders. I miss something you might think. What about ranking? Don’t we want our webpages to rank higher on certain keywords? I can say it to you plain and simple: I don’t give a heck about rankings. They are too difficult to gauge in an objective manner. And why should I focus all my attention on a bunch of single keywords as the bulk of the traffic and the most relevant traffic is in the long tails? Forget about rankings. I know your client or manager may be interested in them but it is up to you to explain they are chasing ghosts. Okay, but where to look for this rise in organic traffic? Google Analytics will do just fine. Go to your channel metrics and dig into the organic channel. How is the traffic volume evolving over time? That is my first question. Second is how each and every webpage is contributing. Here I am looking for what I call my engine pages, the ones that trigger organic traffic. Look for the new webpages you have published in the last 6 months and see how they drive in traffic (or not). But there is something you must reckon with. Even if your webpage contributes to the overall volume of organic traffic it sometimes doesn’t show up in your list of webpages that trigger organic traffic. In a number of cases Google and other search engines supply the Homepage on their SERP’s although another webpage contributes to the relevance. This doesn’t sound logic but it happens. Search engines often show people the front door of your website even if it was one of your deep cellar pages that matches the search query and was responsible for showing this result. This may occur more with webpages that are relatively older.
In general it works like this:
- A new webpage will begin showing organic results within 2 months after publication (ingeneral, when all is done well and the requirements are met like we discussed here above).
- This webpage will show up in your Analytics report under destination URL’s within theorganic channel metric.
- This webpage is gaining more and more momentum in the period of 2 months between 36 months after publication as it will trigger more long tails and even some important combinations or single keywords.
- After 36 months the volume remains stable.
- As this webpage has built up relevance on some keywords or combinations it will spread thisrelevance over the complete website (not in an even way but it will spill over relevance to other pages).
- Search engines may now decide to show the Homepage instead of the webpage it started therelevance. It depends on the search query whether they will do this or not.
You will have to look at your results with the above in mind. Most important however is to look, think and report the results. Motivation will follow. And this is what we are after. We want to show the results of our perspiration in order to fire start a continuing process of smart content building.
So, what to do?
Start with your list of keywords and put them in a thematic order.
Select those keyword themes and keywords that are most related to your proposition and existing website content.
Write with a heart for customers and a mind for search engines.
Keep track of the results and be sure to distribute them among the ones that decide upon budgets and time allocations (management) and all people who are actually doing the nitty gritty work of writing and publishing.
The number 1 rule for effective SEO: Analyze – Think – Write – Add value – Add logic – Analyze – Report – Motivate – KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!