In my previous role as the head of Marketing at a web development agency, SEO was always a pain area.
Some of the reasons include:-
- Limited resources at disposal (that’s a no brainer)
- No prior experience of my team with SEO
- Too many SEO components to focus on
- No clarity of which SEO component to prioritise
- Lesser clarity on what’s actually works in SEO
Our SEO goal was very clear: to generate at least 10 qualified enterprise level leads per month from our target market of North America and Western Europe, within 6 to 8 months, and then scaling that up from there.
We were targeting some highly competitive keywords around web development, e-commerce development and mobile apps development services, so we knew our path was going to be tough.
Our approach to getting started with SEO
There are so many best practices to follow in SEO that most of the times, I was facing a decision paralysis.
It was frustrating at that time but now I realize it was quite natural to feel that way. When you are new to SEO, it becomes increasingly difficult to decide what to pick and what to ignore. And you end up leaving most of the so-called ‘important stuff”.
And that breeds a lot of anxiety and frustration.
Important then is to keep moving ahead step by step, focussing on what you are doing rather than what you are leaving behind.
Here are some specific actions that my team and I undertook at the start of our SEO journey:-
- We decided to invest in content marketing and learn SEO on the job.
- We started with a major overhaul of the corporate website, followed by stepping up the blogging effort(Read our blog on Blogging Tips). Extensive keyword research preceded both these activities.
- We focussed on easier to rank long tail keywords, even with lower search volume. In the initial days, it’s Important to get noticed by Google, even if that means low organic traffic.
- We built our topical relevance for the chosen keyword groups by publishing few cornerstone articles and supporting them with secondary articles.
- We kept on optimizing our on-page and on-site SEO parameters since they were under our direct control.
- We focussed on extensive content promotion on social media. As a result, we generated a couple of backlinks but we never put our heart into link building.
My deductions based on 4 years of SEO experience
We started seeing the SEO results (in terms of ranking and lead generation) within 6 months of our start.
In that period, I debunked a lot of SEO myths and created my own deductions, based on which we further scaled up the SEO strategy.
Here are some for your reference:-
- SEO is a full time job. You can’t have someone else outside your organization doing it part time for you.
- You can get started by hiring a freelancer but if you are serious about SEO, you need to move it inhouse asap. There are so many moving parts to SEO and majority freelancers charge per “moving part” basis. That makes outsourcing very costly.
- On-page and on-site optimization is extremely, extremely important. They are too critical to be ignored and are the foundation stones of any SEO campaign.
- Link building and off page SEO accelerates your ranking journey, no doubt about that.
- However, you can still rank on the top even with no backlinks and no off-page SEO efforts. YES, that’s true and I validated this hypothesis through one of my personal experiments as well (via my blog www.jaintushar.com ).
- You can maintain your top ranking positions even against good DA website; even with no off-page SEO, no backlinks and a lower DA. I did that, not for one website but for two.
My biggest SEO learning
Most of the SEO industry makes you believe that it’s just link building in SEO that works.
While link building accelerates your ranking, it’s a tough thing to do. It needs time, effort, intelligence, networking and luck. And small teams may not be sufficiently capable to do this.
Contrary, my approach now is to write highly contextual, LSI optimized content focussed towards a long tail keyword. I then keep on optimizing the content for on-page and on-site parameters over a period of time.
Finally, why OnPage Champ?
Content is the basis of any SEO campaign and it takes a lot of effort to optimize it for SEO.
Competitor research has a critical role to play here.
It’s extremely important to understand how the top ranking results have structured their content and HTML, and then finding ways to outshine them.
This is one exercise that all SEOs do manually, spending hours of effort in culling out the relevant information and then building their hypothesis.
Another challenge most of SEOs (including me) face is that majority of the on-page optimization is guess work. There’s no way to correlate the on-page SEO efforts to ranking fluctuations, just like what you get from backlinking tools (i.e. number of backlinks generated co related to the gain in ranking).
Well, not anymore.
Additionally, you also get an option to track any web URL on the internet for on-page changes vis a vis its ranking fluctuation.
SEO journey is not the same for all. Everyone has their findings, especially if you are a first timer determined to find your own way. If you have any such learning, do share it in comments below.
And finally, with OnPage Champ we are quite hopeful to make your SEO faster by 10X, at the same time increase the predictability of the efforts you put towards on-page seo.
You can signup up here. We offer a very generous freemium plan.