7-Step SEO System for Top Search Rankings
Achieving top search rankings is largely based on planning and persistence. If you can follow a smart plan, while also improvising when necessary, you can rank for all but the toughest keywords. You do, however, need to be persistent, sticking with the process even when you are not seeing the results you anticipated. Only the top few positions get significant traffic levels, so visitor levels and income won’t improve until your hard work kicks in and your site hits a prime spot. Even with the various algorithm changes that occur, SEO is a simple process at its core. The following plan is one that can help your SEO efforts, ultimately leading to improved rankings for a great number of keywords.
Keyword Research and Competitive Analysis
Keyword research is the first step in the process as it will inform you if the niche is worthwhile. A niche with minimal search volume is unlikely to be profitable, limiting the opportunities for success. Aim to generate a large keyword list, ideally using the Google Keyword Planner and alternative tools that produce different results. From your main list, isolate the most appropriate terms with the highest search volume. You can then perform competitive analysis on the top three websites for these preferred keywords. Tools like Moz and Ahrefs can offer good analysis, allowing you to be confident that the search terms are realistic and viable. The secondary keywords from your original list can be used throughout the site and within your anchor text profile.
On-page optimization is a quick process, but one that is often overlooked. Avoid outdated tactics like keyword stuffing, instead focusing on creating content for readers. You should, however, build content with your keyword list in mind, integrating your main keyword and related search terms into the title, content, and description. Image alt tags should be descriptive, while each URL can also feature the main keyword.
The quality of content is far more important for SEO than in the recent past. It had been possible to create optimized content that was created primarily to appeal to the search engines. However, algorithm updates reduced the effectiveness of this strategy, with more focus now being placed on quality. A high bounce rate will adversely impact your search position, so work at keeping visitors on your site for longer periods of time. You can still include a mix of keywords within the content, but ensure they feel natural and relevant to the overall concept.
Link Building Plan
There is no single link building plan that will work for every site, so you need to adapt to circumstances. A local site, for example, can see good results from citations and local directories. A general niche should focus on acquiring quality links from authority sites. Initially, analyzing your competitors will reveal many link building opportunities that require minimal effort. You should also reach out to relevant sites for opportunities, including guest posting and partnership opportunities. Directories, social media, and contests are all methods that provide backlinks, but try to be discerning about the sites you get links from. Ideally, you will build a network of influencers who will link to each new article you post on their blogs and social media platforms.
Anchor Text Strategy
Many of your links will come as a result of good promotion. Plenty of others, though, will be gained from guest posting and other methods where you are in control of the anchor text. In the past, focusing the majority of your anchor text efforts on a single keyword could produce results, but this is more likely to cause a penalty. Instead, aiming for natural distribution is key. Aim to get an even distribution of anchor texts between the URL, brand name, and a variety of associated keywords, with your target search terms being used sparingly on the most powerful sites. You should additionally ensure that links are being directed at many pages on the site, avoiding a situation where most links only go to a single page.
Monitor Analytics and Optimize
SEO requires analysis and optimization, so be prepared to change your plans depending on results. For example, your backlink profile could indicate a high number of backlinks with the same anchor text, making it wise to try to develop links with some variation. You could also find an internal page begins to rank for a number of keywords with high search volume. In this case, changing your focus to this ranking page could bring new visitors far quicker, while also improving the authority of your entire site.
SEO is not a process that you can stop. You may be able to maintain rankings for a while, but eventually, competitors will catch up. You can, however, reduce the amount of work, maintaining your rankings with regular content updates. As discussed, developing relationships with other influencers will ensure your new content is promoted to a relevant audience, but you still need to continue building these relationships over time. SEO maintenance can be easily managed, though, with the potential to outsource many laborious tasks.
If you can follow these methods, there is no reason you cannot rank your site for a variety of terms. As mentioned, SEO requires persistence, so you will need to fight the urge to use any risky strategies that might only offer short-term gains. Instead, follow sensible strategies that will lead to authority and trust for your website. When the search engines recognize the quality of your site and visitors like what they see, your site can eventually become a fixture in the search engines, providing traffic and consistent income.