If you’re trying to drive as much traffic to your engineering website as possible, then you hopefully already know how important SEO is in 2019. For many marketing managers, it’s still the absolute core of a successful growth strategy. However, what worked a few years ago in SEO doesn’t necessarily still work today. Often, you’ll find that the most effective SEO strategy relies heavily upon strong keyword research.
The keywords you decide to target could actually make or break the success of your marketing campaign. In this article, we’re going to look at a few SEO basics to give you a quick recap, alongside some relevant and actionable keyword research tips that you can start using today.
Why is SEO so important?
While there might be a few alternatives these days that could get you some traffic, search engines are still the number one traffic source for the vast majority of marketing managers – and that means you, too. You can’t get to the top of search engines like Google without an effective SEO strategy. And these days, that almost certainly starts and ends with the right keyword research.
Some keywords are simply far too broad to provide you with the right sort of traffic, and we’ll look into that in a bit more detail soon. Others might be too niche or simply don’t have the right search volume to allow your site to grow at the required rate. Getting a grip on keyword research is one of the foundations of a competent SEO strategy. Let’s have a look at a few more SEO basics:
The basics of SEO
As a marketing manager, you should hopefully already know a bit about SEO, but here’s a quick recap in case you’re just starting out:
1. Keyword research
You need to start with keyword research, and the success or failure of your SEO marketing efforts could depend on how well you do it. There are a number of tools out there that’ll help you drill down on exactly the sort of keywords you want to target for your business.
Your main aim with keyword research is to find the perfect balance between terms that are “easier” to rank for that still provide you with a ton of traffic. You don’t want worthless search terms that are never going to provide you with visitors, but you also don’t want to try and target unrealistic terms that get tons of searches but a smaller business like yours will never be able to get on the first page for.
When you decide on the right keyword research tools for you, they’ll be able to provide you with a range of data on different keywords you’re interested in, along with some similar suggestions for new keywords you might not have thought of. Then you’ll be able to compare how many searches each of them are getting with how easy they are to rank for, so you can find that sweet spot for your business.
Remember, you don’t want to just find one or two keywords – get lots of them. You can create different articles and content that target specific keywords to build a far-reaching SEO strategy.
2. On-page SEO
After you’ve done your keyword research and have a selection of different keywords, you’ll want to start creating content that’s optimized for them. That means including the right number of keywords in different articles, along with making sure you’ve got the right tags, as well as some other strategies like internal linking. You can find out a bit more about on-page SEO in 2019 here. One of the best WordPress plugins for this is Yoast SEO, so you might want to get your hands on that if it’s relevant.
3. Off-page SEO
This is where the hard work often starts. Off-page SEO basically refers to backlinking, which is a strategy where you try and get links to your website from other sites, often with a selection of anchors made up from your keywords. Backlinking is the real core of a successful SEO strategy, but it’s not something that can be done overnight.
There are a number of different ways to find backlinks in 2019. One important thing to remember is that the off-page SEO landscape has shifted somewhat over the last few years. You might have used to be able to get thousands of backlinks overnight that would help your business, but you simply can’t rely on these sorts of tactics anymore. Actually, if you try and take too many shortcuts, it could harm your overall ranking or see your site penalized by Google.
An effective SEO backlinking strategy these days is normally built around an organic process that gets quality links from relevant authorities in your industry. The more relevant a linking site is, the more importance Google will place on the link when deciding how high to rank your website. The more quality content you produce, the more likely other reputable websites are to link to it.
How to fine-tune your SEO with long-tail keywords
If you’re tired of trying again and again to get on the first page of Google for a highly-competitive search term without much success, you’re not alone. Thankfully, there’s actually another way.
As you probably already know, if you can’t get on the first page of Google for a specific term, you might as well be nowhere. You probably think you want that broad term with loads of monthly searches, but it might not actually be the best keyword to target for your business.
You see, these broad terms might get lots of searches every month (that’s lots of potential traffic), but they’re also much harder to rank for because they’re super-competitive. Everyone’s trying to target them. What if you could bypass these terms and find alternatives that are easier to rank for? You can with long-tail keywords.
What is a long-tail keyword?
If you’re unsure what a long-tail keyword is, it’s normally a suffix or prefix that you add to a broader term to fine-tune the audience.
If your main keyword or search term is:
- “engineering software”
Long-tail variations might be:
- “best engineering software”
- “best engineering software 2019”
- “best engineering software 2019 discount”
You can really take this as far as you want to find the optimal configuration for your business.
By adding a long-tail suffix to your search terms, you’ll find keywords that are much easier to rank for. That means you could rank on the first page for five different long-tails before you even rank for one broad term. While each of these will provide you with less traffic, it soon adds up.
Targeting your ideal customer
There’s one other thing to remember with these niche terms – they might actually be providing you with visitors that are more likely to spend money with you.
When you target a broad term, you’ll be getting lots of visitors who didn’t necessarily want what you’re offering anyway. That’s the problem with trying to capture as many visitors as possible. But with the right long-tail suffix, you can get more of the sort of visitor who’s more likely to spend money on your site – so it’s a win-win situation.
Try adding things like “discount,” or the current year to your search terms. These provide active visitors who might be more likely to spend money with you. Avoid terms like “free” as these do the opposite. They provide you with visitors who aren’t likely to spend money with your engineering business.
Hopefully, these tips have been enough to get you started with basic SEO and keyword research, so you can start making the most of your online presence in 2019.