If you know one thing about SEO, it’s that it’s the most popular marketing tool in the world, right? Well, this isn’t exactly right as 70 percent of businesses don’t have an SEO strategy, which is great news for you. That means there’s less competition standing in your way from building new traffic.
Well, it all starts with the right knowledge and SEO tips, and that’s exactly what we’re here to offer. Here’s everything you need to know about SEO in 2022.
What Is Search Engine Optimisation?
You’ve heard the word SEO plenty of times, but let’s define SEO exactly?
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is an important digital marketing strategy in which you optimise your website’s content for search engine result page (SERP) like Google. Google, and other search engines, use “crawlers” to crawl through and index as many pages on the web as possible. When it does this, it uses several factors to determine web pages that will rank higher depending on the search query.
Consequently, websites that want to appear on the first page for a specific keyword will have to compete to optimise their content for Google’s algorithm. Fortunately, the factors that Google uses are entirely public, which means that if you follow their guidelines, you can rank your content toward the top.
However, their algorithm changes all the time. Based on new standards and issues that arise each year, which is why it’s so important to stay up to date on SEO standards.
Why Is SEO So Important?
So, why can’t you just use advertisements, social media, and email campaigns? The era of print and old-fashioned tactics is over as mail campaigns don’t work as good, flyers go in the bin, and business cards are a waste of money?
Nobody is suggesting that SEO will make any other marketing effort obsolete, but we are suggesting that SEO is a necessity when it comes to competing in today’s business world. Whether you’re a small, local business or an international enterprise, SEO can benefit you the same way. Also, why would you pass up another opportunity to build customers, brand awareness, or traffic to your website, especially if it’s free?
As a disclaimer, nearly every business will put money into an SEO campaign in one form or another. However, it is possible to carry out an effective SEO strategy for free if you have the time and are willing to learn about it.
Most entrepreneurs will choose to spend money upfront, especially on their website. The difference is that there is a significantly lesser need for ongoing expenses, which will save you money in the long term.
With a PPC ad campaign, you not only have to pay to create the ad content itself, but you will have to pay every time someone clicks on your advertisement. If your conversion rate is 2% and your cost is £1 per click, then you’ll need to earn $50 per customer to break even.
Conversely, once an SEO strategy takes off, you could receive thousands of clicks per day without ever having to spend any extra money. Once you have the content, it’s yours to keep.
Organic traffic is the traffic you don’t have to pay for or prompt. It’s the traffic that finds you on the search engine rankings and not the other way around.
Well, don’t underestimate the value of this type of traffic, as most users skip right over the search ads in favour of the top organic results. Of course, this has multiple benefits, as you will drive more traffic to your site and start out on an initial note of trust with your target audience. However, you will have to get onto the first page to achieve this.
There’s even a joke in the marketing world about it: “Where did the SEO specialist hide the body? On the second page of Google.”
Unfortunately, there is a lot of truth to that joke and we as users tend to change the search query before we go to the second page of SERPs. Moreover, this is reflected in the numbers. Believe it or not, the top organic search result receives over 25 percent of the traffic from every page combined. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean you have to compete with the giants of your industry every time, as you can try to use a diverse keyword strategy.
Diversifying Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Another major benefit of SEO is to diversify your digital marketing strategy, and with the benefits of organic search and long-term savings, it’s an important addition to any marketing strategy. See, there is no “end goal” for an ad campaign, email campaign, or anything else. You will always want more followers, more subscribers, and higher conversion rates. However, with SEO, once the strategy comes to fruition, the need for upkeep is limited, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Improved Brand Loyalty
When users click on organic results on Google, they start on an initial note of trust. More and more, users are becoming desensitised to advertisements, and even resentful toward them. Well, that isn’t too surprising considering the average person in the UK sees over 5,000 ads a day, and it’s only getting worse. For that reason, many users will not only trust organic results more but are more likely to make conversions and continue to repeat their patronage.
Remember, getting new customers is half of the marketing: keeping them is the other.
What Are The Key Components Of An SEO Strategy?
Before we discuss how to use search engine marketing, let’s first understand the fundamentals. Here are the three main pillars of any SEO strategy.
UX Web Design
From Google’s perspective, it would reflect poorly on their search engine if they were constantly promoting low-quality sites to their users, right? Consequently, a website designed for user experience (UX) is essential, as it goes hand-in-hand with SEO on every metric. The most important factors include:
- Page structure
- Link structure
- User interface (UI)
- Page loading times
The list goes on, but Google places the most stock into these factors.
Think of your website as your most important digital asset, as it affects your entire marketing strategy.
Believe it or not, the average user exits a site within 3 seconds if the page doesn’t load in time! Moreover, what else will affect your ad campaigns, emails, social media, and SEO strategies at the same level? A strong website builds the foundation for your marketing strategy to grow. Hence, it’s no surprise that poor websites are one of the most common reasons why 70 percent of marketing campaigns fail.
Content Marketing Strategy
Keyword utilisation, quality information, and consistency are key when it comes to your content marketing strategy. Whether it’s a blog, video platform, or anything else, content marketing is how an SEO strategy grows.
Google uses off-page factors, primarily to ensure that you are who you say you are and that you know what you say you know. Without using off-page factors to rank your website, a random person in their basement claiming that “kangaroos are actually fish” could rank as highly as a serious authority on the topic of marsupials. Moreover, the way Google understands a website’s authority on a topic is by seeing how many other websites vouch for their credibility.
When another website links to your website, this is called a backlink.
Consider the BBC for a moment. They have the most resources out of any other news outlet in the region, so they post many unique stories each day. So, how does Google know to trust them and offer them as a source? Well, the Guardian, the Independent, and plenty of news outlets around the world will then run the same story and link to the BBC.
For this reason, the BBC can write a mediocre article about any topic they like, and an expert in the field may write a much better article on the same topic, but the BBC is still likely to rank ahead of them.
Like it or not, this is how you establish authority in the eyes of Google. Also, the way Google determines that your organisation is what it claims to be is by looking at other off-page factors like your social media presence, Google My Business and other directory listings, and more. If everything is consistent, then there won’t be any issues.
Your Guide To Successful Content Marketing
Remember, the reason content marketing is so important is that people search for information far more than they search for brands. How is anybody going to find your website if you only have a few pages dedicated to services and contact information?
The truth is, unless they search for your brand name specifically, they won’t.
Well, that’s why we’re here to teach you how to develop a successful content marketing strategy.
Choose A Medium
Without a close second, a blog is the most popular form of content marketing available, as they require the least resources to start and they are easily indexable by Google. However, any type of content you wish to use for comparative advantage or to skip the line is great. Try to develop a strategy for it ahead of time.
Using the right keyword research tools, you can create a list of relevant keywords to use in your website’s content. Write these out and develop a strategy for spreading them (naturally) throughout your site.
Remember, you need to offer the information that people are most likely to search for, which starts with topic creation.
Using your keyword list, start listing potential topics to write (or create other content) about. For example, a company that sells wilderness survival gear may have topics like:
- How to stay safe from bears while camping
- Best communication devices in remote areas
- Best insect repellent for your skin
- How long do emergency meals last?
While these are only a few examples, you get the point. Whatever your niche is, start creating a list of topics as soon as possible and work to create content for them.
Timing, word count, keyword density, and more will play a role in the optimisation of your content. Try to post consistently, and at least once a week (two to five is best).
Create your content in advance and set reminders to post your newest content consistently. Also, try to use both internal and external links throughout your content. Aim for at least two or three of each link for every 1,000 words of content.
Link internally to other relevant pages on your site.
When you use a call-to-action (CTA) at the end, you can link to your contact or services page. Throughout the content, you can also link to other blog articles. Then, link to outside sources for statistics or any references you need to use.
From there, try to use your target keyword as much as possible without “stuffing” it in too many times. Use it organically, along with other secondary keywords from your list to help support it. Lastly, word count is important, but not too important. You should never try to inflate the word count with “fluff” or filler content, as this will only result in SEO penalties.
If you manage to get a piece to 2,000 words with useful content, then great. However, 1,000 words of useful content is better than 2,000 words that’s half “fluff”.
Now, there are plenty of other strategies to help optimise your content. For example, the “topic clusters” strategy suggests you create one large piece about a topic you want to rank for along with dozens of other smaller pieces that link to it.
Can You Still Build An SEO Strategy From Scratch?
Essentially, you can still build a viable SEO strategy that can compete with existing content.
While it may feel like an uphill battle at times, it’s never too late to develop an SEO strategy.
First, you need to start by analysing the top page on Google for the most relevant keywords to your site. Search for the terms you want to rank for and open each site on the first page into different tabs. From there, plug each URL into your favourite SEO tools like SEObility or any others. This will tell you which keywords they use the most, keyword density, and the SEO “score” for their website quality.
After that, scroll through and use their pages one after another. Make note of their:
- Page structure
- Linking structure
- Challenges you face
- Information quality
Once you have an idea of the quality of these sites, you’ll develop a general understanding of how to excel ahead of them.
Remember, an SEO strategy without competitor research is like running through an obstacle course with a blindfold on. Make sure you know what you’re competing against before you start your strategy.
A Great Website
Without a close second, the most important factor to stand out and start ranking is to improve the quality of your website.
User interface (UI) and UX design are the most important pillars of a quality website, and it acts as the foundation for your entire SEO strategy. Why would Google want to offer a low-quality site to its users, and why would other websites want to link to your site if it’s unresponsive or unappealing?
Everything starts with the quality of your website, so investing in web design services from a company with SEO knowledge is critical to future success.
After analysing the competition, you have a few options.
First, you can choose to create similar content to theirs and hope for the best. Of course, you will also be joining with other smaller players in your industry attempting the same strategy. Second, you can choose to go in your own direction and hope for the best. This requires a “guessing game”, and if users don’t love your style, then your strategy is unlikely to take off.
Lastly, your option is to create similar content to the top page on Google and make it better.
Regardless, always focus on promoting quality content, as this is the only way to ensure long-lasting success. Even if low-quality content ranks at first, you will be penalised by Google’s algorithm in the future, severely limiting your strategy.
Conversely, if you remember anything from our content marketing advice, remember to generate content for your users, not for Google’s algorithm.
Essentially, if something on your page doesn’t seem like it will help Google’s algorithm, but you’re certain it will improve your users’ experience, keep it. UX always improves SEO.
If you want to rank at the top it is paramount to stand out with the content you create. Unfortunately, in certain industries, the competition makes this difficult.
One of the most obvious ways to try to immediately stand out is to create a different type of content, such as:
- Video content
- Charts or tables
- Interactive content
- Audio content
The list goes on. For an example of the immediate benefits, search for anything on Google.
Right away, you will notice the structure of the SERPs and see a few search ads at the top, followed by a few organic web pages, maybe some images, a carousel for videos, a Google Shopping feed, and a few more organic web pages.
Consequently, if you quality video content in an industry with oversaturated blog content, you will have a much easier time appearing on the first page. Serious competitors in the field may be creating blog content and landing on the 10th page, depending on the industry. However, that’s far from the only way to allow your content to stand out. While focusing on quality, get creative and use your comparative advantages to excel.
Also, try to keep promoting branded content to help with originality and standing out from the competition.
Offer Better Features
Beyond the content on your pages, offering better UX features than your competitors could help boost your strategy exponentially.
For example, if you notice that your competitors’ blogs have a lot of popups and it’s difficult to scroll through their site, try to beat them at UX.
In this case, avoiding popups and offering a table of contents won’t directly benefit your SEO value, but it will help improve both user retention and page interactions. Both of these will help your SEO value over time.
Beyond that, try to have a clean navigation system, internal linking structure, and page structure.
Also, following the “mobile-first” principle when developing a website could help you stand out from the competition. Google rewards sites with excellent mobile design and features, as up to 70 percent of web traffic now comes from mobile devices.
First, you should always start with the low-hanging fruits and add your website to all appropriate directories. These could be local, industry-specific, or major ones like Google My Business.
Then, link to your website on social media, share your blog posts on various platforms and ask your close affiliates for links.
From there, you will need to work on building a backlink channel, which is slightly more complicated. So, what’s the easiest way to build quality backlinks?
Well, you may not like the answer but they have to come with time. Building a quality website and a quality content marketing strategy will effectively give other sites a reason to link to yours.
You can also create content specifically for other websites to link to, such as specific calculators (compound interest calculators, calorie expenditure calculators, etc.). This is known as “linkbait” in the industry.
Link building is one of the greatest frustrations of building an SEO strategy. It is very hard and time-consuming but vital.
Diversify Your Keyword Strategy
Lastly, we want to offer some advice on your keyword strategy to help you receive both short-term and long-term SEO benefits. Primarily, you want to diversify your use of long-tail and short-tail keywords for the best results.
Fortunately for those new to SEO, long-tail keywords are often overlooked and underused, and they are plentiful.
For example, someone selling cars may have long-tail keywords like “used Volkswagen Passat”, “used 2012 Volkswagen Passat”, and “used Volkswagen Passat station wagon”.
While this is one example, it shows how many possibilities there are just for one specific model. They could then add the sedan, other years, other models, manufacturers, add their location (in London, etc.), and change from “used” to “new”.
Well, each of these comes with limited traffic, but also limited competition.
Not only that, but the traffic that does find your pages is likely to be highly relevant.
Consequently, using relevant long-tail keywords can get you to rank at the top of specific searches right away and start building highly-relevant traffic that’s most likely to make conversions.
In the early days of your SEO strategy, this is a great way to start seeing results. Don’t neglect long-tail keywords in your strategy.
Now, if a car dealership manages to rank at the top for a phrase like “used cars” or “new car”, then they will drive loads of new traffic to their site.
Essentially, these phrases have high rewards with high competition.
However, by working toward these short-tail keywords over the long term, you may eventually rank for one of them with consistency and dedication.
If you do, you’re likely to see results for years to come. Ranking at the top for one high-traffic keyword is all it takes to single-handedly keep a business afloat, potentially for years, and once you’re there, it won’t cost you an extra dime.
Understanding The Basics Of Local SEO
An SEO strategy is bound to look very different between an e-commerce giant like Amazon and a local pizza shop. Here are some of the key differences local businesses need to understand.
For a business relying primarily on local traffic, using locations in your keywords is a great way to boost your relevant organic traffic.
For example, an ice cream shop will use keywords throughout their website content such as “ice cream near me” or “ice cream in Worcester”. That way, when people search for such location-specific terms, they will be matched with the right websites.
Google Maps Optimisation
Another great way to boost your local SEO prospects is to list your business and location on Google Maps. From there, fill out every prompt asked of you, upload pictures, and try to optimise your listing.
This way, when somebody arrives off the train or enters your town for the first time and they search for “restaurants near me”, yours could be the first one to appear. Even if you aren’t necessarily the closest to them geographically.
Also, this will have the added benefit of reinforcing your location to Google.
Local Directories & Affiliates
When creating a profile on Google My Business, always include your address, as well as every other applicable prompt asked of you. This will help optimise your listing and confirm to Google that you are who you say you are.
Next, look for local directories in your area and try to list your business on as many as possible. Again, this will solidify your location and standing with Google.
After that, reach out to local affiliates and ask for backlinks to your website. This can be mutually beneficial, as you can then link to their site in turn.
For example, a bank in London getting a link from the Financial Times would be a major boost to their SEO prospects. However, any link from local businesses, especially if they’re related to your industry, will help your strategy.
Important SEO Trends In 2022
Now that we understand the most important aspects of SEO, let’s get up to date. Here are some of the newest trends to understand and potentially incorporate into your strategy.
Greater Focus On Interactive Content
Video or infographic content may help you stand out, but interactive content is even better for SEO. Not only does it help you stand out, but it often retains users for longer and allows for more engagement.
For example, quizzes or interactive sheet music will help with user engagement and experience, both of which directly impact SEO value.
Optimising for Voice Search
More and more, people are using Siri, Amazon Echos, and Google Homes to conduct their searches. For this reason, content marketers are working to adapt their content to meet these demands.
Comparing how you search for questions on voice and how it differs from typing. Most often, it’s in the form of a question.
For example; “Hey Google, what’s the weather like in London?” instead of “London weather”.
Moreover, these are completely different keywords, and Google Home’s AI doesn’t know how to change them to the easier search version.
Consequently, keywords are quickly turning more into queries rather than phrases.
Every year, mobile traffic becomes more and more dominant. Nearly everybody in the developed world has an internet-capable mobile device, and websites have to adapt.
As a result, many websites are adopting the “mobile-first” approach and optimising for mobile devices as a primary step instead of desktop devices.
Greater Integration Of AI
Both for content optimisation and creation, AI is becoming far more advanced. Well, it’s quickly making its way into the SEO world and you can expect more companies to use it as a supplement to their strategies in 2022.
How To Choose SEO Services
We now know the importance and the basics of search engine optimisation.
Again, you have two options when starting an SEO strategy; do it yourself, which requires a massive learning curve and a lot of time, or hire professional SEO services.
Unsurprisingly, most organisations will choose the latter. However, not all services are created equal. Here are the most important factors to consider before choosing SEO services.
Web Design Services
An SEO agency that doesn’t offer web design or technical SEO services can’t do much to help you. Content marketing services are great, but if you’re building a house on a broken foundation, then it’s unlikely to go far.
For that reason, always ensure that any SEO agency you may hire understands web design and SEO trends. There are even important questions to ask when hiring web designers as well!
We’re fortunate enough to live in a time where we can read previous customers’ reviews of products and services online. This is to your great advantage, especially used correctly.
Moreover, a one-star or five-star review means nothing without context. Take the time to read through what people have to say about these services before making a decision.
Online reviews can only tell you so much. Not all SEO agencies will offer case studies. However, if they do, they are a great way to understand the effectiveness of their previous services.
If any of their previous clients were in a related industry, then that’s even better! However, testimonials and reviews can fill this void if not.
Beyond online reviews and case studies, references are an even better way to judge an SEO agency’s performance. Instead of taking a look online and seeing random statements, you can control the questions you want to ask.
Before making a decision, ask an agency for references and find out whatever you want to know. How communicative they were, whether or not they were transparent about pricing, or anything else.
Of course, nothing comes for free, and you should look for prices that reflect the quality they offer. Remember, you get what you pay for in most cases.
You don’t want services that break your entire marketing budget, but you also don’t want to hire insufficient services that will need correcting in the future.
Consequently, have a budget in mind before searching for services. Look around for the standard rates in your area, and find a price that reflects your needs.
For the price you will be paying, you want to know that they are offering quality services. As we mentioned, some SEO services offer the world and deliver underwhelming results.
Ideally, you want to find an agency that offers realistic expectations for the right price. SEO strategies take a few months (at least) to come to fruition, but the payoff is worth it.
Moreover, if the agency is offering “top page on Google in a week” when you’re currently on the third page, that’s a serious red flag.
Frequently Asked Questions About Your SEO Strategy
Lastly, there are some common questions about SEO for beginners that we thought we’d clear up. Hopefully, they’ll answer your final questions on how SEO strategies work!
Link Building – Should I Buy Links?
Generally speaking, no.
Many companies will offer “1,000 backlinks in two weeks”, but they are nothing short of scams.
You will have to pay upfront and these links are bound to be of low quality if you ever receive them at all.
Secondly, even if you did receive all of these links, Google’s algorithm will recognise this immediately and penalise both the seller and possibly even you.
Like it or not, Google has a lot of power on the internet, and its algorithm becomes more advanced every year.
Third, if the links you buy don’t come off as scams and they offer a reasonable amount of links over time, you’re still playing with fire. A penalty from Google has serious, lasting effects.
How Can I Build My Website’s Authority?
Naturally, this is the next question.
Unfortunately, beyond creating quality content that you believe in and that helps your users understand a topic more thoroughly, there isn’t much you can do.
Is AI-Generated Content Good Enough?
AI-generated content has come a long way. If you’re trying to rank for a very niche keyword like, then it may be good enough to rank. However, if you are serious about SEO and looking to build a long-term SEO strategy, then AI content is a no.
The reason quality content is so important is both for user engagement and to avoid Google’s “panda penalty” for promoting low-quality content. However, you can use AI as a supplement, but use your industry knowledge to complete the content.
How Often Does Google Index My Site?
Many people wonder when Google will recognise their new content and newest website updates, and how it works. The truth is, Google is never not indexing your content, so don’t worry about any significant delays.
Google indexes over 130 trillion pages across the web every day, and yours is bound to be one of them.
Build Your SEO Strategy
Now that you know the fundamentals of SEO, how it works, and how you can start building your strategy. Remember, SEO takes time, so the sooner you start, the sooner you will see results. If the budget allows you might want to find out why you should hire an SEO agency as the best option for an SEO campaign.
Remember to build a strong foundation, be consistent, promote unique content, and most of all, be patient! The results will come soon enough.
Stay up to date with our latest digital marketing advice and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or for help with your strategy!