In the past, you could write a short article, sprinkle in a few keywords, and it would rank on the first page of the search results with minimal effort.
But those days are long gone.
Google’s ranking algorithm has become increasingly sophisticated over the years. You can’t just slap up an article and expect it to start ranking.
As the online landscape grows more competitive, simply having a website just isn’t enough. To stand out and drive measurable results, you need an effective search engine optimization (SEO) campaign.
In this article, we’ll look at what an SEO campaign is and how you can create your own to improve your rankings in Google.
What is an SEO Campaign?
An SEO campaign is a well-defined plan that you follow to improve your rankings in search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. It encompasses keyword research, on-page optimization, link building, and more.
Why You Should Create an SEO Campaign
When you’re looking to buy something, where do you go?
There’s a good chance that you use Google, and you wouldn’t be alone either. One global survey found that 51% of shoppers start the purchase journey using search engines.
An SEO campaign enables you to position your products or services in front of your target audience. It can drive more organic search traffic to your site and generate more sales for your business.
Does SEO work?
To illustrate how effective SEO can be, we worked with a client in the financial niche — one of the most competitive industries online.
We developed an SEO campaign for this client, and after nine months of work, the site now ranks for over 25,000 keywords and attracts over 80,000 visitors a month.
Take a look at the results for yourself:
It’s worth mentioning that this site had practically zero traffic initially. But thanks to the SEO campaign we implemented, its current traffic value is estimated at over $350,000 per month.
So how did we take a site that was barely generating any traffic and get it ranked for some of the most competitive keywords in its space?
Let’s find out in the next section.
How to Create an SEO Campaign in 7 Steps
Anyone can benefit from a well-executed SEO campaign, whether you’re a budding startup or operate an online store. But putting one together isn’t easy.
To get you on the right track, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to creating and launching your own SEO campaign.
1. Perform an SEO Audit
The first thing we do when working on a new site is conduct an SEO audit.
An audit shows how a site is currently performing. Most importantly, it reveals any problems that could be affecting its rankings.
As an example, we worked with a car dealership to implement an SEO campaign. However, this client had a significant drop in rankings due to one of Google’s Core Algorithm Updates.
The site had tons of “thin content” — content that provides little or no value. After addressing these issues, we were able to improve its rankings within a few months.
Use our free SEO audit tool to see how well-optimized your site is for a keyword.
Simply enter your URL, a keyword, and your email address. Then click “Scan Now,” and you’ll receive a comprehensive report in seconds.
The tool will analyze the page based on the keyword you entered. It will then generate a list of suggestions of things you can do to improve your site.
Next, log in to your Google Search Console and click “Manual actions.” This will tell you if your site has any manual actions against it.
If no actions have been taken against your site, you’ll see the message below.
Be sure to also perform the following:
- Identify crawling errors
- Fix broken links
- Set your canonical URLs
- Remove low-value pages
- Ensure your site is mobile-friendly
- Improve loading times
2. Conduct Keyword Research
Keyword research is a vital aspect of an effective SEO campaign. It involves identifying the search terms that your audience is entering into Google.
Here are a few ways to find relevant keywords that you can target.
Start by typing in keywords that are related to the products or services you offer. Google will then display a list of autocomplete suggestions.
The “People also ask” section is a great way to find out what questions your audience is asking.
Be sure to scroll down the page, and you’ll see more related searches.
These are all great examples of keywords that you can target in your SEO campaign.
With our free Google Keyword Planner Tool, you’ll be able to expand your keyword list even more and see details like monthly search volume, cost per click, search trends, and more.
Here’s an example of what comes up for “protein supplements:”
Go through the list and add the keywords that are relevant to your products or services.
Competitive Gap Analysis
Another great way to find keywords is through your competitors. You can do this by conducting a competitive gap analysis — the process of identifying keywords that your competitors rank for, but you don’t.
Use our free keyword gap analysis to help with this step. The tool lets you compare your site against three competitor domains.
3. Target “Easy Win” Keywords
If your site already ranks on the first or second page for certain terms, all they need is a little nudge to get them higher. These are what we call “easy win” keywords.
Enter your URL into our free Google Rank Checker Tool to identify the terms that your site currently ranks for and what positions they are.
The following example looks at keywords that Simplified Building ranks for. We’ve also highlighted keyword phrases that are on the verge of ranking in the top three results.
We use the following selection criteria to find “easy win” keywords:
- Positions 4 to 30
- KD (keyword difficulty in Ahrefs) equal to or less than 30
- CPC value of at least .01
Optimizing these pages and building more links to them can improve their rankings.
4. Optimize On-Page Factors
On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing individual aspects of your web pages. It improves the relevance of your site and helps Google understand its contents.
Optimize the following areas:
Title tags (typically H1 tags) are the title of a web page. They’re also one of the first things that users see in the search results.
Include your keywords in your title tags and keep your title tags to 60 characters or less. If your title is too long, it will automatically be truncated.
Meta descriptions are snippets of text that appear below the title tag in the search results.
These aren’t necessarily a ranking factor, but a compelling call to action (CTA) can get more users to click through to your site. Include your target keywords here and keep your meta description under 150 characters.
SEO-friendly URLs help search engines and users understand what your page is about.
Include your target keywords in your URLs (e.g., yourdomain.com/target-keyword) and use hyphens between the words to improve readability.
Here’s an example of a site that does on-page SEO right:
The page title and URL include the target keywords, and the meta description includes a clear CTA.
Header tags use H2, H3, and H4 tags to break up your content. They help Google understand your writing and improve overall readability. Be sure to include your primary and secondary keywords in your header tags.
When uploading any images to your content, make sure to add alt text or a short description that describes the image.
Finally, the content itself is an important on-page factor.
Include your target keywords and related terms throughout your content. However, make sure that you’re writing naturally and don’t stuff your writing with keywords.
Check out our on-page SEO optimization guide for more information.
Need help with on-page optimization? Check out HOTH Optimization, and we’ll help optimize your content for you.
5. Publish Quality Content
Optimizing existing content can give you some early wins in your SEO campaign, but you also need to focus on content creation.
Publishing content helps improve your visibility in the search results. It also raises brand awareness and drives more traffic to your site.
As an example, imagine that you’re a store owner and you’re looking for information on processing mobile payments. It’s something that your customers have been asking about.
So, you search for something like “process mobile payments” and see the following:
Because this content ranks at the top, it reaches people who are looking to process mobile payments — something that Square just so happens to offer.
Go through your initial keyword search and look for keywords that you can create content around.
Keep the following in mind as you publish content:
Answer the User’s Search Intent
To help your content rank, you must consider and satisfy the search intent — the goal that someone wants to achieve when performing a search.
Search for the keyword you’re targeting and see what’s already ranking to get an idea of its intent before you start writing.
Go More In-Depth
Longer content tends to generate more traffic than shorter content.
Aim to publish more long-form content. But make sure that you’re providing value to your visitors and not simply stuffing your content with more words.
Include Multimedia Like Images and Videos
Make sure to include plenty of visuals throughout your content. This will improve readability and increase overall engagement.
Include Internal Links
Internal links (like this one) are links that point from one page to another. They help users navigate your site and make it easier for search engines to crawl your pages.
Include internal links throughout your content where relevant.
Use an Organized Structure
Nobody wants to read large blocks of text.
Use header tags like H2, H3, and H4 to structure and improve the readability of your content. Be sure to optimize these tags to help Google understand what the page is about.
Remember to Optimize On-Page Factors
Of course, make sure that you optimize all on-page factors (covered in the previous section) when publishing content.
Want high-quality content written for your site? Then be sure to check out HOTH Blogger to get professionally-written content for your business.
6. Build Relevant Backlinks
Link building is the practice of getting other websites to link back to your website.
Think of backlinks as “votes” from other websites. They signal to Google that others find your site credible and useful, which in turn has a positive impact on your rankings.
Here are ways to get quality backlinks to your site.
Guest Blog on Other Sites
Guest blogging is when you write and publish content for other sites. The easiest way to identify sites that accept guest posts is to search for your keywords and add “submit a guest post.”
Then simply reach out and pitch an article. Of course, be sure to read through any guidelines before you submit content.
Repurpose and Syndicate Content
Another powerful link-building strategy is to repurpose existing content and syndicate it to other platforms. For example, you can turn a blog post into infographics, videos, and even social media posts.
If other sites are linking to a competing site, there’s a good chance they’ll link to yours.
Use our Backlink Checker Tool to view the top backlinks pointing to a competitor. Then go through the list and reach out to those sites to request a link.
Getting backlinks isn’t easy, but you need them to rank higher. Check out our full range of link-building services that we offer.
7. Continuously monitor your SEO results
SEO takes time — depending on the keywords you’re targeting, it can easily take months or even longer before you start seeing results.
Be sure to track metrics like organic traffic, keyword rankings, backlinks, and conversions to ensure your SEO campaign is on the right track, and don’t hesitate to pivot if something isn’t working.
Get Your SEO Campaign off to a Strong Start
Just as you need a road map to get to your destination for a long journey, the same is true with SEO. You’re bound to run into obstacles unless you have a clear plan.
Follow the steps laid out here to create and launch a successful SEO campaign.
Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve covered:
- Conduct an SEO audit
- Conduct keyword research
- Target “easy win” keywords
- Optimize on-page factors
- Publish quality content
- Build relevant backlinks
- Measure and track your results
Need help putting together an SEO strategy for your business? Schedule a free consultation with our SEO experts to learn more.