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Here's a cliché between digital marketers: SEO not what it used to be.

And here are the true statements you don't hear often: Your strategy optimization for 2018 should not focus only on keywords.

Most companies understand the basic concepts of SEO and why it is important. However, when it comes to developing and executing an SEO strategy for your business, creating quality content for the keywords your customers are looking for is exhausting.

SEO strategy for 2018

Modern SEO strategy is the process of organizing the content of a website by topic, which helps search engines like Google to understand the intention of users when searching. By optimizing a website around a particular topic, you can rank well for longer keywords related to that topic.

Here are eight steps you can take to make sure it's yours SEO based on a good strategy.

Make a list of topics

Keywords are the heart of SEO, but in fact they are no longer your first step towards organic growth. Your first step is to make a list of topics you want to cover from one month to the next.

To get started, compile a list of about 10 short words and terms related to your product or service. Use the Google Keyword Tool to identify their search volume and create variations that make sense for your business.

Short keywords are usually more prevalent in use, and are therefore more competitive and much more difficult to optimize for content that will fight for a good organic position in search engines. Longer keywords (long tail keywords) are what you should pay attention to and around which you should optimize the text of the blog and force them as keywords.

We'll figure out how to use these words in just one minute.

By using search volume and competition as a measure, reduce your list to 10-15 keywords that are important to you. Then rank this list in order of priority or relevance to your business.

Each of these keywords is called a “pillar” and serves as primary support for a larger “cluster” of long keywords, which brings us to our next step…

Make a list of long key phrases

Here you will start optimizing your pages for specific keywords. For each column you identify, use the Keyword Tool to identify 5 to 10 longer keywords that are related to the original keyword.

Use subtopics to come up with a blog post or website idea that explains a particular concept within each major topic you identified in step 1. Include these subtopics in Keyword Planner to identify the longer keywords on which each blog post will be based.

Together, these subtopics form a cluster. So, if you have topics of 10 pillars, they should be ready to support one cluster of five to 10 subtopics. This SEO model is called a “cluster topic,” and modern search engine algorithms depend on them to link users to the information they are looking for.

Here is a short video about this concept:

Think of it this way: The more specific your content, the more specific the needs of your audience - and the more likely you are to convert this traffic u leads. This is how Google finds value in the websites it searches for; pages that are dug into the interconnection of a general topic are considered the best answer to a person's query and will be ranked.

 Build pages for each topic

When it comes to websites and search engine rankings, trying to rank a single page for several keywords can be almost impossible. But there is a stumbling block that stands in the way:

Take the topics of the 10 pillars you chose in step 1 and create a website for each of them that explains the topic at a high level - using the longer keywords you got for each cluster in step 2. The pillars page on SEO, for example, can describe SEO in short sections that introduce keyword research, image optimization, SEO strategy and other subtopics as identified. Think of each page of the column as content, where you introduce your readers to the sub-topics you will develop in your blog posts.

Use the keyword list to determine how many different column pages you need to create. Lastly, the number of topics for which you create a page pillar should match how many different products, offers, and locations your business owns. This will make it much easier for your users to find you in search engines, no matter what keywords they use.

Each website must include relevant content for your potential customers and include images and links to pages on your website to enhance the user experience. We will discuss these connections in Step 4.

Set up a blog

Writing blogs can be an amazing way of ranking for keywords and engaging users of your website. After all, every blog post is a new website that gives you another chance to rank in search engines. If your business doesn't have a blog yet, set it up. Here you will elaborate on each subtopic and start running on Google.

As you write each blog post and fill in your clusters, you need to do three things:

  1. First, don't include long keywords more than three or four times throughout the page. Google doesn't consider exact keyword matches as often as it used to. In fact, too many instances of your keyword can be a warning to search engines to "manipulate keywords." This can penalize your website and lower its rank.
  2. Second, link to the column page you created on this topic. You can do this in the form of tags in your content management system (CMS) or as the body text of the article.
  3. When you publish each blog post, link it to a column page that supports this background. Find a point on the page of your column that introduces the rise of this blog and link it here.

By connecting both the pillar and the cluster in this way, you are telling Google that there is a link between the long keywords and the comprehensive topic you are trying to rank for.

Write a blog regularly

Not every blog post or website you write should belong to a cluster of topics. There is also the value of writing about topics that your customers care about, so that your website's authority "catches" Google's eye. This will prompt Google to pay special attention to your domain as you add content to your primary topics.

Domain authority in SEO is a ranking that measures how popular and reliable search engines see your website. It is calculated based on how websites connect to each other on the World Wide Web.

With that in mind, make a point on your blog at least once a week. Remember, you blog primarily for your audience, not search engines. Write about things your audience is interested in, make sure you include relevant keywords where appropriate, and your audience will slowly notice and start clicking.

Keep in mind that not every topic will be equally important, and as your clusters descend, you need to set priorities based on your company’s needs. So, create a list of all the different websites you would like to create and rank them. Next, make a schedule and make a plan to build these pages.

Update your list and prioritize those websites that will help you best achieve your business goals.

Make a Link-Building plan

The cluster theme model is your way forward in SEO this year, but it’s not the only way to get your website content ranked higher when it is created.

Our first five steps are dedicated to on-site SEO tactics. Link building is the primary goal of off-page SEO, and is also a huge factor in how search engines rank your website. What is link-building? I'm glad you asked.

Link building is the process of attracting links (also called "backlinks") to your website from elsewhere on the web. As a general rule, the higher the authority of a page on the home page, the greater the impact it has on the rank of the website to which it links.

Take some time to find different ways you can attract inbound links to your website. Start small - you may share your links with other local businesses in exchange for links on their sites. Write a few blogs and share them on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. Consider approaching other bloggers for guest blogging opportunities through which you can link to your website.

Another great way to attract incoming links is to use your blog to publish articles related to current events or news. This way you have the opportunity to connect with influencers or other bloggers in your industry.

Follow SEO news and trends

Like total marketing space, search engine space is always evolving. Staying on top of current trends and best practices is a difficult task, but there are more online resources that can make it easier for you to stay on top of news and changes that can affect your website and your SEO strategy.

Some of the sites to look at:

  1. SEOmoz
  2. seobook
  3. Search Engine Roundtable
  4. Search Engine Land
  5. Hubspot

Step 8: Measure and track your SEO success

Measure and track your SEO success

SEO can take a lot of time and effort. Why spend all this time and effort if you do not see the fruits of your labor? There are many metrics that you can track daily, weekly or monthly to keep your SEO plan on track and measure your success.

Since the metrics you care about are organic traffic (traffic coming from a given search engine), look for a tool that allows you to track your total traffic and how your pages rank under each keyword your site targets. SEMrush is a great reporting tool just for this purpose.

Create a monthly dashboard using Excel, Google Spreadsheets, or a web analytics package so you can track how much traffic is coming to your website from organic search.

Also, tracking indexed pages, potential contacts, return on investment, inbound links, keywords, and your actual ranking on the SERPs (search engine results page) can help you identify your success as well as identify areas for improvement.

I hope that I have managed to bring you at least a little closer to the concept of SEO, as well as give some guidelines on what your strategy should look like in the coming year.

If you are still not sure you can do it yourself or if you have any questions or need help with SEO, feel free to contact us contact.

Made by Nemanja Nedeljkovic - Senior Account Manager @Digitizer

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