7. Keyword research. Specific target keywords aren’t as important for SEO success as they used to be, now that Google search is fueled by semantic and contextual understanding, but you should still be able to identify both head keyword (short, high-volume keywords) and long-tail keyword (longer, conversational, low-volume keywords) targets to guide the direction of your campaign.

While most search engine companies try to keep their processes a secret, their criteria for high spots on SERPs isn't a complete mystery. Search engines are successful only if they provide a user links to the best Web sites related to the user's search terms. If your site is the best skydiving resource on the Web, it benefits search engines to list the site high up on their SERPs. You just have to find a way to show search engines that your site belongs at the top of the heap. That's where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in -- it's a collection of techniques a webmaster can use to improve his or her site's SERP position.
At Evolve Impact Group, our desire is to build a trusted partnership with you. A partnership that provides you unparalleled value, not just in fulfilling orders, but making real impact for your business. We offer a range of marketing services including Brand Consulting, Print Production, Design, and Digital Marketing.  Interested in learning more about us? Discover Evolve Impact Group
If you havent see it already, check out the links in shor's comment below - there are some great resources in there. In some cases you can also consider surveying your current audience or customers through email, on-site surveys or SurveyMonkey.  Be sure to ask for some profiling information that you can use for determining specific persona needs like age, sex, location, etc. (Probably best not to make it sound like a creepy text chat like I just did though...)  :)

ClickFlow – ClickFlow is a tool we built to help companies increase organic traffic without more backlinks or posting more content. Through ClickFlow, companies can automatically see which pages on their site have the most potential to grow revenues – such as pages that have high impression count in search but a low click through rate. Using that information, ClickFlow will keep track of headline tests to help grow your click throughs from search terms you already rank for.
Yet another great article, so many great points, and high quality consistency is a key.  I use a great saying for my clients when telling them about their online marketing efforts, "If you can't say anything good about it, then don't say anything at all." Even if they hate something, saying nothing. Prevents hot headed discussions that usually are bad for publicity and are sometimes very hard to remove. They should be adding to the web, not taking it away.
Now that you’ve created high quality content that your target market needs (and wants) and have attention-grabbing headlines to engage them and encourage them to read further, go back and review everything you wrote. In your review, look for additional places where you can naturally place keywords. Can you switch a sentence around to include a keyword? For example, on a page about marketing automation, “Identify the best customers and convert more” could be changed to “Marketing automation helps you identify the best customers and convert more.” Also, consider whether you can create a keyword phrase by adding a word in front of a keyword? If I have a sentence talking about “marketing campaigns” and “marketing automation” is a keyword for my page, I would add “automated” to “marketing campaigns.” Do several review passes. You may be surprised at what opportunities you miss the first, and even the second time, around.
Like many SEOs, I was hired with one vague responsibility: to set up an SEO program and achieve results. Like many SEOs, we jumped right in and started spewing out SEO audits, rewriting title tags, offering up link suggestions, rewriting URLs and so on. And like many SEOs we promised results. But what we didn’t do, until that fateful launch, was develop a comprehensive strategy.

Based on the initial analysis, an SEO consultant identifies specific deficiencies on the site, as well as opportunities for targeting new search traffic, and prepares a report for a search engine optimization campaign. This report will include recommendations for both on-site and off-site tactics that will support the overarching SEO strategy. The SEO will provide these recommendations to your so that you can begin optimizing your website, or the SEO can implement recommendations herself (often with the assistance of a qualified web developer). A professional company ideally will offer SEO solutions tailored for your individual circumstance. This will depend on factors such as the size of the site, if it is operating in a competitive or saturated market, whether it is a new website, is focusing on growth or ongoing maintenance and so on.
While working at a Fortune 100 company for nine years before moving to lead my current team, I became fascinated by customer behavior. What kinds of digital offerings most deeply engage customers in their digital lives? I started by looking at some case studies of the products, services, communications and experiences that had been embraced and adopted by customers during the first two decades of the internet. Over a period of seven years working on inbound marketing campaigns, what I found was a recurring pattern of three behaviors that drove the adoption of new digital experiences, which I call the three core behaviors of a network:

Many of the classic SEO elements still hold a lot of weight, things like incoming links and internal structures so we’re having to optimize for those but at the same time most see the writing on the wall – AI is pushing its way into the algorithm and with it an increased ability for Google to understand a user’s intent and whether a page meets that intent and deliver that as a result that irrespective of many of those classic signals.
Make it as easy as possible for users to go from general content to the more specific content they want on your site. Add navigation pages when it makes sense and effectively work these into your internal link structure. Make sure all of the pages on your site are reachable through links, and that they don't require an internal "search" functionality to be found. Link to related pages, where appropriate, to allow users to discover similar content.
Dig deep into everything you ever needed to know about links from anchor text to redirection. Read this series of pages to understand how and when to use nofollow and whether guest blogging is actually dead. If you're more into the link building side of things (working to improve the rankings on your site by earning links), go straight to the Beginner's Guide to Link Building.
On one specific project, one of the SEOs on my team was brought in during the wireframe stage. T­he entire product team held SEO-specific meetings every week to go over specific recommendations, taking them very seriously, and leaning on every word our team said. We were thrilled. We were hailing their efforts, promising big wins for the relaunch, and even hyping up the launch and it’s projected SEO results in the company SEO newsletter.
Another excellent guide is Google’s “Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.” This is a free PDF download that covers basic tips that Google provides to its own employees on how to get listed. You’ll find it here. Also well worth checking out is Moz’s “Beginner’s Guide To SEO,” which you’ll find here, and the SEO Success Pyramid from Small Business Search Marketing.
The kind of content you create depends on your audience's needs at different stages in the buyer's journey. You should start by creating buyer personas (use these free templates, or try makemypersona.com) to identify what your audience's goals and challenges are in relation to your business. On a basic level, your online content should aim to help them meet these goals, and overcome their challenges.
Really great article. In some cases when you are creating strategies there are many SEO companies that focus more on finding link building opportunities rather than actually create visual assets or other link earning content. Do you think more emphasis should be placed on creating these assets first based first on understanding hot topics or refining a customers pain points?

Users will occasionally come to a page that doesn't exist on your site, either by following a broken link or typing in the wrong URL. Having a custom 404 page30 that kindly guides users back to a working page on your site can greatly improve a user's experience. Your 404 page should probably have a link back to your root page and could also provide links to popular or related content on your site. You can use Google Search Console to find the sources of URLs causing "not found" errors31.

I second Rand's comment!  Congrats on moving from the corporate world to the independent consultant.  This is my goal for the near future.  I too have been testing the waters of independent consulting, but it doesn't quite pay the bills yet!  Sometimes I feel like I should find a mentor who has been where I am now and is where I want to go.  Perhaps i'll find a few in this community over time!
Traditional marketers have long used content to disseminate information about a brand and build a brand's reputation. Taking advantage of technological advances in transportation and communication, business owners started to apply content marketing techniques in the late 19th century. They also attempted to build connections with their customers. For example:

At seoWorks, we have a list of packages together that are suitable for sole traders through to multi-million dollar global enterprises and can be customized to your individual business. Contact us and find out more about our SEO experts and how we can help you find the best solution to suit your future and present needs and work closely with you to implement an SEO strategy plan to achieve optimum results for your site.
Studies have proven that top placement in search engines generally provide a more favorable return on investment compared to traditional forms of advertising such as, snail mail, radio commercials and television. Search engine optimization is the primary method to earning top 10 search engine placement. Learn more about the search engine optimization process and discuss an SEO strategy for your site when you contact a search engine specialist today.
Most people start out with blog posts, but if you want to venture out and try producing other content pieces, consider which ones you want to make. For instance, if you've been doing weekly blog posts for the past year, creating an ebook that distills all your blog posts into one ultimate guide would be a one way to offer information in a different format. We'll go over several different types of content you can use further down on the list.
Thanks so much for this entry, Laura! I loved the way your post is so practical, straightforward, newbie-friendly - and most importantly, how it emphasizes the bottom line at all times. It's easy to get "lost in the fog" of SEO with so many looming tasks and forget the main purpose, so it's wonderful to have a straightforward outline of what to do and why certain tasks need to be done. I look forward to reading your future insights!
To build your digital marketing strategy, you need to decide what content is going to help you reach your goals. If your goal is to generate 50% more leads via the website than you did last year, it’s unlikely that your ‘About Us’ page is going to be included in your strategy -- unless that page has somehow been a lead generation machine in the past.
This is excellent and should be intuitive for marketers (and SEO pros are marketers!) but we often take the short cut and neglect critical details. What would also reinforce the strategy is way of providing solid projections for SEO (these could be based on industry trends and statistics). Clients now ask for ways to calculate ROI and they need numbers to get budget approvals. Increase in traffic by X,  increase in qualified traffic and leads, conversions etc, some way of quatifying the expected return.
You should optimize your site to serve your users' needs. One of those users is a search engine, which helps other users discover your content. Search Engine Optimization is about helping search engines understand and present content. Your site may be smaller or larger than our example site and offer vastly different content, but the optimization topics we discuss below should apply to sites of all sizes and types. We hope our guide gives you some fresh ideas on how to improve your website, and we'd love to hear your questions, feedback, and success stories in the Google Webmaster Help Forum1.
How are you transforming mass online marketing to one-to-one interaction and engagement in your online marketing plans? How do you become a source of valued content for your customer? Always focus on the customer care. Be consultative in your online conversation. Seek to ask and go deeper into a prospect's business challenge, and be very honest in your marketing campaigns to ensure you are progressively qualifying the prospect.
Maybe this feels a bit too scattershot for you. Buzzsumo also allows you to find and observe influencers. What are they sharing? By clicking the "view links shared" button, you'll get a display of all the unique pages shared. Sometimes "influencers" share all types of varying content crossing many topics. But sometimes, they're pretty specfic in the themes they share. Look for the latter in this competitive research stage.
When a business has many citations with few inconsistencies, Google has more evidence that there is a relevant business is in that location. Therefore, Google is more likely to show that business listing when visitors in that area search for a related phrase. To quickly improve the number and consistency of your citations and improve your local SEO, consider using a service such as Yext, BrightLocal or Moz Local.
The leading search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo!, use crawlers to find pages for their algorithmic search results. Pages that are linked from other search engine indexed pages do not need to be submitted because they are found automatically. The Yahoo! Directory and DMOZ, two major directories which closed in 2014 and 2017 respectively, both required manual submission and human editorial review.[39] Google offers Google Search Console, for which an XML Sitemap feed can be created and submitted for free to ensure that all pages are found, especially pages that are not discoverable by automatically following links[40] in addition to their URL submission console.[41] Yahoo! formerly operated a paid submission service that guaranteed crawling for a cost per click;[42] however, this practice was discontinued in 2009.
Unlike most offline marketing efforts, digital marketing allows marketers to see accurate results in real time. If you've ever put an advert in a newspaper, you'll know how difficult it is to estimate how many people actually flipped to that page and paid attention to your ad. There's no surefire way to know if that ad was responsible for any sales at all.
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