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SEO: Lifting the Veil and Demystifying the Process

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the art of strategically drawing high-quality traffic to your site. Because the more traffic you get to your website, the more opportunities you have to convert prospects to clients, right? It seems simple enough.

The problem is that SEO refers to many different things. It can refer to the backend structure of your website (technical SEO), the content you produce (on-site SEO), or the paid campaigns you run (off-site SEO). Plus, with outside factors affecting performance – like search algorithms, competitive bidding, and proprietary optimization tools – it can be incredibly challenging for brands to know where to start or who to trust.

At Brown Bag, we take a pragmatic approach. We are lifting the veil and demystifying the process. We’ve boiled it down to three key steps: seed list, study, and implementation.

Step 1: Keyword seed list

The first step to improving your technical, on-site, and off-site SEO rankings is to create a keyword seed list. These keywords should cover all of your brand’s primary verticals, products, and services. The trick here is to put yourself in the mind of your consumers. What are they looking for? What phrases will they use to search for you?

A great starting point is to comb through your current website, paying particular attention to headlines, drop-down menus, and recurring phrases. Google Analytics and/or AdWords are also great resources to pull live data on your site’s traffic and search behavior. Combine these keywords with the ones you pulled from your website audit, and your seed list should be in good shape. As a rule of thumb, aim for 30-50 keywords in total.

Step 2: Keyword study

The next step is to understand how your keywords stack up against the competition.

At Brown Bag, we conduct a keyword study to compare your keywords to search data pulled directly from Google. From this, we can understand the number of times a keyword is searched, how many competitors are bidding on it, and even their average bid cost.

We then combine and synthesize all of this data to determine a value score for each keyword. Some keywords will be highly searched and highly targeted by other advertisers. These will result in quality leads, but at a high cost [medium-value score]. Others will have low search volume and low associated costs. These will be relatively cheap, but probably not yield the best results [low-value score]. The sweet spot is identifying those terms with high search volume and low competition [high-value score]. These are keywords that we can own and use to drive affordable, qualified traffic to your site.

And since Google likes to keep us on our toes with their bidding and search algorithms, it’s important to review and refresh these keyword studies annually.

Step 3: Implementation

Now that we have identified your brand’s most profitable and popular keywords, we can be intentional about how to optimize your website, content, and paid strategies.

When high-value keywords are used throughout your website, search engines see that your site matches consumer searches. Include the keywords on page URLs, site maps, copy, and descriptions. Then, the search engine will rank your website higher in results. 

We can also take the learnings acquired through the keyword study and apply it to the kinds of content we create and publish going forward. The keywords with the highest value are your opportunity to shine. Create thought leadership content around these topics to keep consumers engaged and active on your site. The more they believe you are an expert in their areas of interest, the more likely they will be to take action on your website.

We can take this a step further and apply these learnings to paid strategies to reduce costs and gain efficiencies. Think of the keyword study as your paid search cheat sheet. It eliminates the guesswork (since we already know average bids and competition for each keyword). And it allows us to more accurately forecast results before the campaign has even gone live. Pretty epic, right?

So – now what?

By now, you’re probably thinking, “ok, ok, that all makes sense…but I’m still a little overwhelmed.”

Fear not!

At Brown Bag, this is one of our superpowers. We have a team of digital strategists and search analysts devoted to delivering best-in-class SEO for our clients. Give us a call today, and let’s get your website the love and recognition it deserves!

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