The Extended SEO Checklist: Four Steps To Help You Outshine Your Competitors
When you’re executing a digital marketing strategy, there’s so much you need to keep track of.
Social media campaigns, email marketing campaigns, paid social — it can all overshadow the importance of having an effective SEO strategy.
But make no mistake: Your relationship with Google (and your audience) depends on how well you’ve followed this SEO checklist.
To put it in simple terms, SEO is the foundation of your marketing efforts.
If you put the time in now, you’ll notice that it’s significantly easier for audiences to find your content and brand.
Remember, you’re not the only business in town.
If you want to attract and convert consumers like no one else can, you must outshine your competitors in every aspect of marketing.
In my last piece, I shared six keys to a successful SEO strategy.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the SEO principles that your competitors aren’t paying enough attention to today.
1. Conduct competitor analysis properly.
When I talk about “researching” and “setting goals” while establishing an SEO strategy, it’s important to note that these things don’t exist in a vacuum.
You’re not just researching keywords and figuring out what kinds of blog posts to write based on Google Analytics data. You’re not setting arbitrary, vague goals (even if this is your first business).
Your strategy needs to have a basis in something.
And if you’re looking for a great starting point, look no further than your industry competitors.
Let’s be honest: You’ve probably already looked at some of their content.
It’s natural to wonder what your competitors have to offer.
I’m talking about going a step beyond that.
Don’t just scan headlines.
The goal is to take an in-depth look at what makes their websites tick.
Should you be analyzing their writing and determining how their content falls short? Yes, of course.
But you should also make observations about their websites and UI.
How long do certain pages take to load?
Does it feel intuitive when you navigate their websites?
Are there too many images?
Start to paint a picture of their SEO shortcomings, and determine how your website can outshine theirs.
2. Understand the power of reviews.
I believe that this is by far one of the most criminally underrated SEO principles in the digital marketing landscape.
Let’s ignore the fact that online reviews are a fantastic way to show potential consumers how serious you are about providing the best customer experience possible.
In fact, we’re not going to discuss how important online reviews are when you’re trying to become an online authority.
For now, let’s just focus on the value that reviews offer if you’re looking to be acknowledged by Google.
While there are plenty of factors that impact search rankings, online customer reviews are typically a strong signal to search engines that communicate authenticity and authority.
Reviews matter, plain and simple.
If it matters to Google and it matters to consumers, it should matter to you.
So, reach out to customers and ask them to leave reviews and testimonials after they buy your product.
3. Use SEO tools wisely.
Let’s face facts: Trying to build the perfect marketing strategy can quickly turn into an absolute nightmare.
No matter what kind of business you’re running, you have dozens of different variables to keep track of.
And successful marketing strategies rely on your ability to determine key metrics and make real-time adjustments to your campaigns.
If you want to increase your traffic, engagement and conversion rate with an effective marketing campaign, you’re going need the right tools for the job.
One of my personal favorites? Ahrefs.
If you’re researching “best SEO tools,” Ahrefs is probably going to pop up a few times — and with good reason.
Ahrefs has a wide range of impressive features that you can use to elevate your digital marketing campaigns.
Its most well-known feature, the site audit, is essential when identifying the weaknesses in your marketing strategy.
Ahrefs can analyze the SEO state of your website and quickly determine ways that you could improve your ranking.
You can also use it to accurately determine competitor backlinks.
If you’re trying to become an online authority in your industry, this can be a powerful tool to have in your arsenal.
Some of my other favorites include Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Moz Pro.
4. Get serious about local marketing.
When you hear the phrase “local marketing,” you might think about someone hanging up flyers at a coffee shop or doing an interview on a local radio station.
But local marketing takes on a completely different look when it comes to SEO.
The truth about Google is that it has a pretty simple goal. With every single search, it strives to give users the most immediately useful information possible.
And if someone is shopping for a specific product, being able to offer them local solutions is massively valuable.
Of course, there are a few steps you’ll want to take to make this as smooth as possible.
Ensure your business address is listed clearly and that Google thoroughly understands the details of your business location.
A great tool for this (especially if you aren’t sure how to get started) is Google My Business.
My Business makes it easy to verify your business with Google directly, as well as ensure that the lines of communication between you and consumers are constantly open.
When it comes to digital marketing, there’s a tendency to focus on what’s new and exciting.
But if you’re serious about building an online brand that both Google and consumers pay attention to, your marketing efforts can’t become one-dimensional.
And creating the best content in the world won’t mean a thing if you can’t attract an audience.
Take the time to perform thorough competitor analysis, leverage the utility of online reviews and arm yourself with the right SEO tools.
If you’re able to do that, your SEO strategy is going to be leaps and bounds ahead of your competitors.
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