How to Create an SEO Strategy for 2022
Any business owner that ventures a look online is aware of SEO.
Understanding what effective SEO strategies are and how to implement them is a different story entirely.
The issue becomes further muddled as Google continuously updates and refines its search algorithm to adapt to a changing internet. Thus we find ourselves with countless how-to articles online that are likely filled with outdated info and misleading tips.
Thankfully, getting your brand’s SEO in order is not impossible, but doable by anyone with the proper knowledge and SEO management tools.
We’ll define the three main types of SEO, why they matter, and finish with solid SEO strategies for 2022 and beyond.
The Three Types of SEO
Before you can begin to improve your SEO, you need to understand what it involves.
Currently, there are three key areas of SEO that go into an overall effective strategy.
On-page SEO applies to everything that you place on the web page.
This type of SEO helps dictate what search terms your web pages rank for as well as how high you rank for them. Ranking factors for on-page SEO include:
- Content quality
- Keyword selection and placement
- Meta descriptions
- Alternative text
In addition to this, Google utilizes a rating system to grade the trustworthiness of your content overall. They readily provide their full book of rater guidelines here.
If On-Page SEO applies to everything “on-page,” the same is true for the alternative.
Off-page SEO refers to any ranking factors found on another domain aside from your own.
Examples of off-page SEO ranking factors include:
- Backlinks from other domains
- Directory listings/citations
- Business reviews
If Google finds that other trusted domains regularly point back to your site for information, it lends credibility to the quality of your content. Similarly, having listings that match the business info on your site builds confidence with Google’s search crawler.
Finally, technical SEO refers to factors that affect site performance as well as Google’s ability to index your content.
Technical SEO ranking factors include:
- Page loading speed
- Site mapping
- Internal and outbound links
- Duplicate content
- Website security
- Schema markup
All of these factors can make it easier or more difficult for Google to crawl your site. The better Google’s crawler can access and index your content, the more likely you are to improve your rankings.
Creating a Comprehensive SEO Strategy for 2022
Understanding the different types of SEO points you to the ranking factors you need to address.
However, you still need to understand what the most effective strategies are to get those ranking factors trending favorably.
Without further ado, let’s get into the most important tactics you need to be using to help your website rank higher.
On-Page SEO Strategies
1. Map Your Site for Keywords
Anyone remotely familiar with website rankings knows one important term – keywords.
Optimizing a webpage for specific keywords will help that page rank on search engine results pages (SERPs) when a user includes that keyword.
However, the biggest mistake website owners make is attempting to rank multiple pages for the same keyword. While it seems intuitive to include an important keyword as much as possible, doing so can hurt your results.
Attempting to rank too many pages for similar keywords and content is what is known as keyword cannibalization.
Here’s essentially what happens.
Business A attempts to rank for “SEO strategies” on multiple web pages. Each page has great, informative content.
However, when a user searches this keyword, Google finds multiple pages on the same domain. These pages end up competing against one another, lowering the potential results for each.
This is a primary reason why successful SEO strategies include keyword mapping. This helps brands ensure that they have a specific page dedicated to content for a specific keyword they’re attempting to rank for. Furthermore, focusing more high-quality content on one page will improve the value and quality of that page for search rankings.
Selecting specific pages for keywords becomes increasingly important as you add more content and pages to your site. Then, as your brand creates more valuable content, you can revisit pages and update them as necessary. This also helps your domain to appear timely and up-to-date to Google’s crawler.
2. Create a Content Blog
Content marketing and SEO work in perfect harmony.
To improve your SEO, you need more high-quality content that’s relevant to your industry and offerings. A blog gives you the space and freedom you need to accomplish this.
Successful blogs can include everything from industry updates to business insights, to educational pieces. All of these present an opportunity to provide something free and of value to your prospects and customers.
More pages dedicated to high-quality topics means that you’ll have more gateways for users to find you. A potential customer might not search with terms that land them on your home page, but a well-placed blog topic could be just the key to gaining their attention.
Here are some tips for getting the best results with your blog.
- Keep a list of interesting topics based on keywords you want to rank for
- Don’t forget about long-tail keywords, which are generally less competitive
- Focus on writing a great article, not on stuffing keywords (Use 3-4 times throughout)
- Aim for a minimum of 1,000 words (but always choose quality over quantity)
- Create opportunities to include call-to-actions
- Create opportunities to naturally link to other pages or blog topics within the article
- Include relevant high-quality images
Furthermore, be sure to keep a map of all of your blog topics. This will help you to avoid the problem of keyword cannibalization in the future as discussed above.
Instead, you can refer to your keyword map, revisit your published blog, and update it with new information when applicable. Not only does it strengthen keyword rankings, but it will inform Google’s crawler of new content and help your pages appear up-to-date. This can help your content appear more useful and worthy of ranking than similar content that’s older.
3. Optimize Titles and Headers
Titles and headers are huge for SEO for both general web pages and blog pages.
The reason for this is that Google’s search crawler looks at these H1-H4 tags to interpret and understand the content. Likewise, headers also allow readers to decipher the content meaning and layout quickly and efficiently.
This is especially effective for long-form content. Readers might have an interest in the overall topic, but you can maximize engagement by specifically highlighting key points throughout the article that are more captivating than others.
Titles and headers are the road map for everyone that visits your page. Make it easy to get to the destination by thoughtfully planning yours ahead of time.
4. Don’t Forget Meta Descriptions and Miscellaneous Tags
A web page’s meta descriptions and tags further assist in your keyword rankings.
The meta description is the short text that appears below your page name in SERPs. It’s your opportunity to quickly gain the attention of users so that they choose your result over competitors.
A great meta description consists of roughly 155-160 characters. This helps to keep your message concise and prevents it from being cut off by display limits. Furthermore, any keywords you use within the meta description get highlighted in bold to help users identify them.
Every page on your site needs a well-written meta description. You can typically find this within your CMS by accessing your page settings.
There are other similar tags and descriptions you can add to your page when applicable. Among these includes alternative text for your images and videos. This helps users understand the content if it fails to load, and also allows you to add keywords once more if applicable.
Off-Page SEO Strategies
Off-page SEO goes beyond the content found on your domain.
To maximize your SEO efforts, you’ll need to establish your brand in other locations online. This can be relatively simple to difficult depending on the resources you have available.
Here are some key ways that you can start generating some external references as soon as today.
1. Social Networking
Social media is the way of the internet.
There are an estimated 4 billion active users on all platforms with that number expected to rise each year. It’s a primary way for users to connect and that also includes brands.
If you’ve yet to get your brand on social media, your SEO is just one of many excuses to start.
A regularly updated social media account can allow you to:
- Share content with users on new platforms
- Provide more effective customer service
- Generate brand awareness and followers from new demographics
- Connect with peers in your industry
Establishing a following with your audience on social media is a great way to generate inbound links to your domain.
Similar to your content blog, getting more links directing to your domain helps with boosting your daily traffic and engagement. You can use your social profiles to promote your new articles and benefit both channels simultaneously.
A bigger benefit of social media is the ability to like and share. When you post content on social media, your followers can like and share it with their associations. This acts as free marketing and gets your content in front of more eyes that can choose to engage with it.
The more links you have pointing to your domain, the more likely you are to gain more traffic. The more traffic your website receives, the better your SEO will be.
2. Guest Blogging
Guest blogging will also require social networking.
However, getting your brand name published on someone else’s domain is powerful for SEO. Like social media, it builds awareness with new audiences. You can then take advantage of the opportunity to plug your domain, which adds one more backlink to your profile.
Whenever you obtain backlinks from highly-ranked domains, that authority and trustworthiness transfers to your site by association.
Many website owners will be eager to entertain guest blogs in a mutual exchange. Rather than paying money for the work, you will typically write for their site while they write for yours. Both sites benefit from gaining new, interesting content while giving both website owners a quality backlink.
The type of content depends entirely on your agreement. You may need to create a full-fledged article for their website or simply provide a short snippet for a roundup piece.
In either scenario, the ultimate goal is to acquire that backlink and get your name seen by new prospects.
3. Use Local Directories
Signing your business up for local website directories is great for building local SEO.
Local SEO refers to any strategies designed to help your website rank with users searching for businesses within your area. You can improve your local SEO by circling back to your keywords. Terms like “plumber near me” or “best Thai restaurant” are examples of local SEO keywords.
Whenever you create a profile for your business on one of these sites, your brand has a chance of appearing in local searches.
Much like the content on your site, you should optimize your listing profile appropriately. This is a great opportunity to rank for local keywords or any other terms relevant to your core offerings.
You should also ensure that your business information is up-to-date and accurate. Include images of the workplace or your offerings to give users a better idea of your brand.
When your listing profile is optimized and strong levels of engagement, it will be more likely to show up at the top of search results.
Technical SEO Strategies
Finally, your company can cement its SEO strategy by taking care of key technical SEO ranking factors regularly.
1. Optimize Your Page Loading Speeds
According to Google, as your loading time increases from 1 to 10 seconds, your bounce rate increases by 123%.
The bounce rate refers to any time a user clicks on your page but leaves without taking any action. The visitor doesn’t just hurt you immediately, but the heightened bounce rate will negatively impact your overall SEO.
Fast loading isn’t just a preference for most visitors, it’s officially a ranking factor for Google. Not only is it their goal to provide searchers with accurate information, but to also ensure that the user experience is ideal.
For starters, you can utilize a tool like PageSpeed Insights to test your loading times. While it’s possible to attain near-instant load times, it’s a difficult task. You ideally want to shoot for roughly 3-5 second load times at the maximum.
You can improve loading times by:
- Utilizing asynchronous script loading
- Optimizing on-page images
- Hosting videos on external servers
- Enabling browser caching
- Upgrading or switching to a faster website host
2. Optimize for Mobile
More than half of all web traffic is now coming from mobile devices.
You can test how friendly your site is for those mobile users by using Google’s test here.
The test will tell you the exact health issues present on our site that are negatively impacting the mobile user experience. Work closely with your web developers to find convenient ways to improve your website design and layout to remedy these problems.
Many common mobile site issues can be remedied by implementing the strategies above regarding improved loading speeds. Phones generally have less internal power and weaker internet connections, so less content to load will greatly improve the process.
Furthermore, most modern CMSs allow you to create separate layouts for desktop and mobile. Always be sure to test out how your content appears and loads on a mobile device before publishing it to the internet.
3. Implement a Link Building Strategy
We mentioned this above regarding your content blog, but internal link building is an aspect of technical SEO.
The reason for this is that the Google search crawler follows internal links found on your site. It uses this to better interpret the purpose of your content and how it interacts with other pages on the site.
The more quality internal links a page has, the more likely Google may be to feature that page in relevant search results.
Furthermore, well-placed internal links should keep your readers interested. When you link from one topic to another of immediate interest, the user is more likely to spend more time on your domain. This will boost your page clicks, average session duration, and potentially other metrics that can drive up your overall SEO value.
4. Audit and Repair Broken Links
While quality links help your SEO, broken links can harm your website in several ways.
As described above, the Google search crawler will attempt to follow any links either internal or outbound on your site. If the link is broken, Google may abandon the crawl early, preventing it from indexing any other content on your site. This can make your SEO work for naught.
Secondly, a broken link leads to a poor user experience. If users attempt to click a link on your site and end up with a 404, they’re far more likely to bounce away from your domain. A higher bounce rate is a red flag for Google and hurts your SEO value.
Broken links happen for several reasons, including:
- Entering a URL that no longer exists
- A typo in the URL
- The URL leads to a redirect that is unsuccessful
Fortunately, all of these are easy issues to correct. Simply edit the link on the page to feature the correct URL where applicable. You always want to minimize the number of redirects you use on the domain as this will also help with overall loading times.
5. Omit Duplicate Content from Indexing
Duplicate content is always a red flag for Google.
It can confuse the crawler and prevent it from properly judging the quality of the content. It can also be an indicator that the content is not original and plagiarized from another source. In either case, the content appears less valuable than a page with unique material.
However, there are rare cases in which using duplicate content on more than one page is a necessary strategy. You might have duplicate content if you are in the process of migrating content from one URL to another. While the old page still exists, you end up using a redirect to send users to the new page version.
If you have a scenario in which you must have duplicate content, there is a way to avoid SEO penalties.
You will need to use what’s known as a Robots.txt file on the site. This is an HTML file that essentially instructs Google’s search crawler on which URLs to crawl and which to avoid. This way, you can highlight the correct version of the page and skip over the other.
Robots.txt is useful for several reasons and can help you to conserve your crawl budget. Google’s crawler may only crawl a certain number of pages on your domain per month, so it’s ideal to be mindful of this when creating new content.
6. Secure Your Website
Another ranking factor for SEO with Google is website security.
Specifically, you’ll want to upgrade your website from the HTTP protocol to HTTPS.
HTTPS stands for “Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure,” and is a way of securing any communications that happen between the end-user and your website server.
While it’s perhaps less important for a general informational site, any pages that collect data or feature financial transactions require it.
Not only does Google use HTTPS as a ranking factor, but seeing the secure logo on your site is more likely to inspire trust and confidence in your users.
To make this change, you’ll need to purchase an SSL certificate for your site. A basic certificate should cover most websites, but domains that feature a large number of information exchanges like an eCommerce site may want to upgrade to something more sophisticated.
Check with your current domain host as they likely sell SSL certificates within their platform. This should make the transition much easier than purchasing from a third party and setting it up manually.
7. Utilize Schema Markup
Finally, schema markup is an SEO tool that can further assist Google in identifying the content on a given webpage.
Schema markup, also referred to as structured data, is a coding language that you can use to tag and classify content on your page. With the right schema applied, Google can better index the site and deliver high-quality information to users.
Schema markup can be used to identify several things including logos, company names, ratings, dates, important personnel, and much more. There are hundreds of schema available for anyone to use.
This language not only helps with content on the page but can improve the way your result looks on a Google SERPs.
For example, check out this result for “iPad Mini Best Buy.”
With schema markup, we know a lot about the result without clicking. We can see star ratings, numerical rating, reviews, pricing, and stock. This has more value than a result that would lack this information without schema markup.
Schema markup is an advanced SEO tactic and requires some studying to properly implement. You can start learning more about it here.
Implement These SEO Strategies in 2022 for Business Success
SEO is an ever-evolving practice, but these tactics will always remain relevant.
Furthermore, your competitors will also be implementing these tactics, which is why improving your search rankings is never an easy task.
However, actively monitoring your site’s health and content performance will point you in the right direction. Take advantage of free tools such as Google Analytics and PageSpeed Insights to stay up-to-date with both.
Other SEO management tools such as SEMRush can further assist with areas such as link audits and keyword research.
Ultimately, you will need to determine what your best offers as well as your goals to create the perfect SEO strategy. This will dictate what types of content to create so that you can measure, rewrite, and re-engage with the audience for optimal results.