How to Beat Your Competition in SEO

Regardless of the industry, or length of time one has been in business—staying on top of SEO trends is essential for achieving success in the online world. Whether the search engine be Google, Yahoo, or Bing, there is common ground when it comes to determining the quality of keywords. Business owners who manage their own online marketing and marketing professionals who want to stay up-to-date with the most common online marketing trends should consider the following if they want to edge out their competition and step up their SEO game.

Content Is Key

According to Forbes contributor Jayson Demers, the quality of online content is more important now than ever. While the primary goal of all online content is to drive more traffic to a website, landing page or online store, it must be written with great attention to detail. This is not to say that content cannot have personality, but that it must be well-thought-out, original, and relevant to the target audience’s wants and needs. However, this is not to imply that all content is or should be directly related to the industry, business or products and services provided.

Understand What the Target Audience Wants

In order for content to be of great quality, website owners must perform the necessary market research to accurately identify what their target audience, and that audience’s desires. Many who are new to online marketing or online content creation make the mistake of focusing only on content that is promotional or sales heavy. The most important thing is what a business’s clients want and need, above and beyond the products or services being provided, and this should be the focus of the majority of the content. An understanding of what customers want can be used to create engaging content that will keep readers coming back for more. For example, a business owner who provides home storage solutions may create online content related to DIY home arts and crafts. DIY crafting is not directly related to home storage, but is still in within a shared area of interest.

Understand How Keyword Placement Has Changed

The way in which keywords are recognized by search engines has changed drastically over the last several years. For a long time, identifying long-tail keywords and placing them once every hundred words or so was a successful method of improving optimization. However, online marketers soon began to manipulate this success, stuffing unrelated keywords into irrelevant, low-quality content. Now such keyword placement is likely to hinder success in optimization.

Understand What Makes Quality Keywords

While the exact formula for SEO success will never be shared by popular search engines, what is clear is that short-tail keywords and individual keywords related to both the industry and target audience are essential for achieving success. For example, keywords for a wedding planner might include: bride, groom, flowers, bridesmaids, wedding, honeymoon, makeup, or rings.

Keywords Must Flow Naturally

Using the example of the wedding planner, the suitable keywords above will be easy to incorporate into the business owner’s online content. That being said, the keywords must flow naturally. This means that content must be created for trending topics within the industry, notes digital marketing blogger Tyler Tanigawa, without force-feeding the keywords. In fact, overuse of keywords will negatively impact SEO.

Identifying Keywords

Since long-tail keywords are no longer as relevant, many online marketers have even eliminated their subscriptions to costly keyword tools. Currently some of the best ways to identify effective keywords within an industry that will appeal to a target audience is to utilize Google’s free tools, which include Keyword Planner, Google Trends, and Google Analytics. These tools are fairly intuitive and allow online marketers to stay on top of their SEO strategies and monitor their effectiveness. The tools can also be used to identify keywords industry competition is using. Also take a look competitors websites to identify the title tags and meta-keywords they’re employing to bring them success, says AJ Kumar, an Entrepreneur contributor.

Effective SEO methods are constantly evolving, but one thing is for sure—content is king, and quality content is never a losing strategy.