Four Step Process to Improve Your SEO Strategy

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Four Step Process to Improve Your SEO Strategy

In a nutshell, the goal of search engine optimization is to have search engines rank your web pages' relevance so they competitively place in the search results, ideally placing at the top of the search results. The process of optimization is an ongoing process which requires several rounds of research, testing, tuning, monitoring and maintenance. Not only is this a multi-step process, but never ending since markets and related keywords tend to be subject to market trends and shifts in market conditions.

Here's a simple but effective four step process to improve your SEO strategy:

Identify Your Target Market

The first step of the four step process to improve your SEO strategy is to identify your target market, until you accomplish this you'll be stabbing in the dark. Though not a mind-blowing revelation by any means, it is often missed, omitted or blatantly skipped. If you are running an AdWords campaign and you do not know your target market, you might as well be giving your per-per-click campaign money to the search engines. Amazingly, your competition may identify your market for you. Keep reading.

Identify Your Competition

Identifying your competition, your real competition, is mission critical, but that can be a tricky task if you do not know what niche market you are targeting. Once you've identified your niche market, you'll have a much easier time identifying your competitors which will go a long way in determining a search engine positioning strategy and the keywords to drive your strategy.

TIP: Identify a competitor that has already tested and found proven keyword strategies.

Identify Your Niche Keywords

By now you should have identified your niche market as well as identified who your competitors are, so armed with that information it is now time to identify your niche keywords and keyword phrases.

Compile a prioritized list of targeted search terms related to your niche market. For starters, put yourself in your prospective customers' shoes, and ask yourself, what would you type into a search engine to find your product or service? Up yourself one by asking prospective customers, if you are already in business and have a customer base, then you will gain the greatest insight by asking your customers directly. Again, customer surveys are are a great way of obtaining this mission critical data. 

Once you've identified a targeted list of keywords and keyword phrases, use this list as the basis of further research by running them through Google Keyword Planner, formerly known as Google Keyword Tool. The objective of running your keyword list through Google Keyword Planner is to determine their global and local activity and the competitive grade of each keyword.

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Test, Monitor and Record...

Review your campaigns and make adjustments to improve them and keep them running smoothly and profitably. Test, monitor and record everything you do as it pertains to your search engine rankings and any activity you're engaging in to improve it, and do the same for your web traffic. Keep a journal dedicated to your optimization efforts and only for your optimization efforts. Record your keywords, keyword phrases, when you first introduced them, business case for using them, etc. When it comes time to assess the effectiveness of your campaigns, or lack thereof, your record keeping will prove invaluable. When you make adjustments, make a record of why you made the adjustment and what you changed, how you changed it, and on what date you made the change, so you can track your changes and the results of those changes over time. The objective is to build a historical database. There are many tools out there to help you record and store your data, my favorite is a spreadsheet. 

PRO TIP: Build organizational habits from how you organize the time you dedicate to research to your personal organization and organization of your data and tasks. To coin a cliché, "search engine optimization is not rocket science", this is true, but it is detailed orientated. 



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