A blueprint for SEO success

SEO for beginners: A blueprint for success

Securing a spot at the top of the search engine results pages can be seen as akin to finding a golden ticket to Willy Wonka's factory — it's a coveted prize that can dramatically transform the fate of your business. But achieving this feat requires more than just luck; it requires a strategic, well-informed approach to search engine optimisation (SEO.)

This blog provides a simple blueprint to help you implement a successful SEO strategy.

SEO audit & keyword research

1. SEO audit & keyword research

The first step in your SEO journey should begin with a thorough SEO audit and keyword research. This initial phase is about laying down the groundwork by assessing your website's current SEO performance to pinpoint areas of improvement.

Whether it's on-page elements, off-page tactics, or the nitty-gritty of technical SEO, understanding your starting point is crucial to ensure your strategy targets the right audience and competes effectively in your niche.

Key aspects of an SEO audit:

Technical SEO

This refers to the optimisation of the technical aspects of a website to ensure that it can be easily indexed by search engine crawlers.

  • Site speed and Core Web Vitals: These are a set of metrics that measure real-world user experience for loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of the page.
  • Security checks: Are the site's security certificates and protocols up to date including proper use of HTTPS URLs?
  • Crawl errors: Use tools like Google Search Console to find and fix errors that prevent search engines from reading and indexing your site properly.
  • Sitemap and robots.txt: These help search engines understand the structure of your site and what parts of it should be indexed.

On-Page SEO:

On-page SEO involves optimising the content and HTML source code of individual web pages to make them more attractive to search engines and users.

  • Keyword research: Find the right words or phrases (target keywords) that people use when they search for content related to your site. Competitor analysis is a key part of this!
  • Meta tags and descriptions: These are the bits of text that appear in search results. Check to see if they are clear and include your keywords, so people know what your page is about before they click.
  • URL structure: Keep your web addresses (URLs) short, sweet, and relevant.
  • Check image optimisation: Ensure images include descriptive titles and alt text (text that describes an image).
  • Content review: Assess whether your content is high-quality, relevant, and user-friendly.

Off-Page SEO:

This involves activities conducted outside of your website to improve its reputation and authority.

  • Backlink analysis: These are links from other websites to yours and can help establish your site as an authoritative source.

Each of these elements of SEO is critical for ensuring a website's visibility and ranking in organic search results. They work together to create a strong, searchable, and competitive online presence.

Website updates for SEO

2. Website updates

With insights from your audit, the next step is to refine your website's infrastructure paying particular attention to key factors that Google and other search engines use to rank pages.

Some of these changes may include:

  • Enhancing your site structure, loading speed, and mobile responsiveness
  • Updating your meta descriptions, title tags, headings, and alt text with carefully selected keywords
  • Improving your Google Core Web Vitals
  • Addressing any website security issues
  • Implementing schema markup which helps search engines understand your content better (Schema markup is a code (semantic vocabulary) that communicates to search engines what your data means, not just what it says.)

Remember, a user-friendly site encourages longer visits and higher engagement rates signalling to search engines that your site is valuable, thereby improving your rankings.

SEO-rich content plan

3. SEO-rich content plan

Content is king, and in the world of SEO, this saying holds truer than ever.

Crafting a content calendar is your next move, focusing on producing articles, blogs, and videos that are not only rich in relevant keywords but also brimming with value for your audience. Your content should address their questions, offer unique insights, and provide solutions they hadn't even realised they needed.

Pillar and cluster content plan

One way to do this is to create a pillar and cluster content plan. This approach involves selecting broad topics (pillars) for which you want to rank, and then creating clusters of related, more specific content that links back to the pillar content. This strategy helps organise your content in a way that's easy for search engines to understand and rank.

Key steps in producing a pillar and cluster content plan:

  • Identify key themes or topics relevant to your audience.
  • Create comprehensive pillar pages that provide a broad overview of these topics.
  • Develop cluster content that addresses specific aspects or questions related to the pillar topics.
  • Link between the pillar and cluster content.

By consistently publishing high-quality content, you don't just catch the eye of search engines; you establish your brand as an authoritative voice in your industry. This is a surefire way to climb the organic search rankings and capture the attention of your intended audience.

4. Link-building & social media engagement

You can now look to strengthen your SEO efforts by building high-quality backlinks from reputable sites in your industry. Additionally, leverage social media platforms to share your content and engage with your audience. Social media signals can indirectly boost SEO by increasing traffic and visibility.

Here are 3 tips to help you on your way with backlinking:

  • Reach out to influencers and industry blogs for guest posting opportunities.
  • Explore backlink possibilities by analysing competitor strategies.
  • Engage with your community through social media to share your content and foster connections.
SEO monitoring

5. Monitor, analyse, and adapt

The final piece of the SEO puzzle is ongoing monitoring, analysis, and adaptation. Use analytics tools to track your website’s performance across various metrics, from keyword rankings to traffic sources. Analyse what works and what doesn’t, then adapt your strategy accordingly.

Here are a few tools you may find useful:

  • Semrush: A comprehensive SEO tool that helps you perform keyword research, site audits, and competitor analysis.
  • Ahrefs: A very similar tool to SemRush, user preference and budgets would influence one use over the other.
  • SEOsurfer: Useful for content optimisation with tools such as a content editor and SERP analyser.
  • Google Analytics: Essential for tracking website traffic, user behaviour, and conversion metrics.
  • Google Seach Counsel: This is a free tool offered by Google that helps monitor and maintain website presence in Google search results.

It's also important to stay updated with trends and changes with search engine algorithms to keep your content relevant and ranked high. We've found the below useful sites to check in with!

  • Search Engine Journal: Offers the latest SEO news, guides, and case studies.
  • Moz Blog: Known for its insightful articles on SEO and marketing trends.
  • SEMRush Blog: Provides in-depth tutorials, tool updates, and industry insights.

In Summary

Mastering the art of SEO is no small feat, but by following this guide to SEO, you're well on your way to securing your spot at the top of search engine results. It's about being meticulous, strategic, and, above all, patient. The rewards of a well-executed SEO strategy are immense, offering a pathway to enhanced visibility, engagement, and ultimately, business growth.

Need help on this journey? 

At h2o creative, we've helped businesses across industries achieve SEO success with comprehensive audits and ongoing optimisation services.

We recently worked with Cadonix on their SEO and achieved:
📈 583.5% increase in organic traffic
🔍 193.7% increase in the number of keywords ranked for
⭐️ SERP features across a range of high-value keywords

Read the full case study here and when you are ready to achieve the same for your business just get in touch!