November 2, 2017

How SEO Can Help You Effectively Reach Your Audience

Running an online business can be awfully hard — but you probably already know that.

If your business is all sunshine and rainbows, you wouldn’t have time for a lengthy post about SEO. You’d be in online shopping or booking sites, reaping the sweet rewards of your success.


Seriously. Why bother learning something that requires tons of effort, time, and money if you’re already 100% satisfied with your results?

Put simply, you desire to be invested in SEO because you want more.

You want a bigger audience. You want more traffic. You want more profits.

Those are exactly what SEO can give you. That is if you do everything right from the ground up.


What’s the big deal about SEO anyway?

Already have your own website? Then you may have spent a great deal of cash on a developer or poured in countless hours designing it yourself.

Either way, it feels terrible to have no one there to appreciate your hard work. It doesn’t even matter if you have the best product or website in the world.

That’s why any brand, regardless of size, needs to pay attention to digital marketing and its many branches.

SEO just so happens to be one of the most important and effective areas of marketing there is ROI-wise.

In case you didn’t already know, SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s the collection of practices that will make your website visible via search engines.

Here are a few statistics that you might find interesting:

These figures speak for themselves, but know this: SEO is a “go big or go home” kind of deal.

You either aim for one of the top three spots or give up SEO altogether.

According to statistics, the first position on Google gets a 33.64% CTR click-through rate. This falls off to 9.25% in third place and only 3.98% from position 5 onwards.

Source: Advanced Web Ranking

That’s why, if you’re in charge of SEO, you never sleep on the job. You should always be on the lookout for the next opportunity that can get you ahead of the pack.

In SEO, these opportunities fall into two types of strategies: on-page and off-page.

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO encompasses everything that occurs within the website’s infrastructure. This includes factors like the website’s content, keyword density, internal links, and back-end components like hosting.

While there’s no step-by-step blueprint that applies to everyone, there are a few checkboxes that can guide your on-page strategy:

1. High-Quality Content

Just like any other branch of marketing, quality content will be the bread and butter of your SEO strategy — on-page and off-page.

It’s not really rocket science. Search engines like Google have a duty to provide the best information possible that matches the user’s queries.

To do this, they need to make sure high-quality articles are boosted while terrible ones are pushed down in SERPs. That’s why your content must be polished, valuable, unique, and loaded with engaging images.

Sure, you’ve probably seen these adjectives before when reading about “SEO-friendly” content. But these qualities are actually prescribed by Google itself in this Search Console resource.

2. SERP-friendly Titles

Apart from the content, the title of each post must also be optimized for search engines.

The first advice SEO consultants would probably tell you is to inject your primary keyword into each title  — preferably somewhere near the beginning.

This may be helpful for the relevancy and indexability of your content. But whatever you do, make sure it doesn’t compromise user experience.

For example, a keyword-laden title like “best gaming mouse, wireless gaming mouse, cheap mouse, for sale” isn’t very inviting when seen in SERPs. Any user can probably tell that it’s written by a greedy marketer whose main goal is to make a sale.

Remember, in addition to rank worthiness, the post title is also responsible for reeling in users.

Instead of a blatantly-promotional title, be sure it “speaks” to your audience and encourages them to click. It must be written in a way that it piques the interest of your target audience.

Here’s an example:

3. Meta Description

The meta description has no effect on a post’s SERP rankings, but it’s a huge factor when it comes to click-throughs.

In simple terms, the meta description is the 160-character description that appears underneath page titles in SERPs. It gives the audience some context on what the post is about.

Here are a few appropriate examples of meta descriptions:

Writing meta descriptions can be incredibly tricky. You have to be keyword-oriented, genuinely interesting, and descriptive about your content — all within 160 characters or less.

As far as keywords are concerned, it’s also preferable to put them within the first sentence of the meta description.

It’s been stated time and time again that they’re only beneficial for click-throughs —not as an actual ranking factor. But judging from the examples above, it’s hard to ignore the pattern when it comes to keyword placement.

4. Engaging Visuals

Utilizing visuals in your content impacts SEO in many ways.

For one, featured images or videos can effectively capture the attention of online readers. In turn, it can boost their average time on site and reduce bounce rate — both of which are important metrics that can affect a site’s overall rankings.

Visual content can also be ranked independently for search engines that include image and video searches. Doing so creates more ways for your target audience to find you.

Finally, adding visual images in social media posts significantly boosts their shareability.

According to Buffer, tweets that contain a picture get 150% more retweets.

Source: Buffer

5. Internal Link Structure

Adding internal links to related posts not only helps the audience explore more of your site. With the right implementation, it also establishes the information hierarchy of your content and distributes “link juice” — the key ingredient to boosting authority and rank worthiness.

Remember that, when indexing sites, search engines use web crawlers that map content through links. If you want them to discover all of your posts and pages, then make sure you have a solid internal link architecture.

A popular internal link structure is the “silo”, which organizes content into keyword categories.

Source: The Neil Patel Blog

In addition to the key on-page factors described above, here are a few more things that demand your attention:

  • Outbound links to other authoritative pages for relevance.
  • Social sharing buttons for discoverability.
  • Website loading speed for dwell time and minimal bounce rate.
  • Maximum uptime for year-round crawlability.

Off-Page SEO

If you think on-page SEO is time-consuming, then you should take a look at off-page SEO.

For the non-SEO-savvy, off-page SEO involves tactics that are done outside of your website. For this, below are some of the off-page factors that you need to worry about:

1. Inbound Links

Once you’re done with the on-page SEO groundwork, a huge chunk of your campaign will be dedicated to link building. It’s the practice of obtaining links from authoritative sites, like blogs, industry news outlets, and other popular publications.

Link building involves strategies like guest blogging, publishing infographics, digital PR, and leveraging relationships with webmasters.

Source: Moz

While nothing about link building is meant to be easy, it does lead to a number of significant benefits. It drives organic traffic to your site, improves your domain authority score, and ramps up the credibility of your brand.

2. Diverse Backlink Profile

Next, to link building, the second most important off-page SEO activity is avoiding Google penalties. One way to do this is to make sure you have a diverse backlink profile.

In link building, being “diverse” means optimizing for multiple keywords and obtaining links from different sites. For example, if your primary keyword is “SEO agency Toronto”, here are other keyword variations that you should optimize for:

  • SEO company in Toronto
  • Search engine optimization Toronto
  • Online marketing company Toronto
  • Toronto SEO consultant

Whatever you do, avoid using the same keyword as the anchor text for most of your links. Doing so is considered “over-optimization” in the eyes of search engines and often results in a penalty.

3. Social Media Presence

Your brand’s social media presence may not directly affect your SERP rankings, but it does impact SEO in other ways. It can maximize your content’s potential for links, help you reach a bigger audience, and foster trust in your brand.

Social media networks are also excellent platforms for user engagement. Launching a hashtag contest, for example, can help you raise brand awareness and bring more traffic to your site.

Comparing the lists of on-page and off-page factors, you might think that on-page optimization takes more time, energy, and investments.

Here’s a little news flash for you: it’s not.

Link building alone requires a special set of skills and tools — potentially costing hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

If you have plenty of time in your hands, you can most certainly handle some aspects of link building yourself. But if you really want to be a disruptive force in your niche, then you’ll need a full-service SEO team.

What are the benefits of SEO?

What’s that? Putting your brand in front of millions of search engine users isn’t enough to justify the costs of SEO?

You’re tough to impress — but, no matter.

If you’re still not convinced that SEO is integral to online success, then here is a list of other SEO statistics that might change your mind:

  • When it comes to lead generation, 57% of B2B companies and 41% of B2C marketers rank SEO as the most effective. (Source: Search Engine Land)
  • 82% of marketers think that SEO is becoming more effective. 42% believe it’s significantly more effective. (Source: Marketing Dive)
  • Before a major purchase decision, 81% of consumers perform some form of online research. (Source: Adweek)
  • Leads acquired from search engines have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound strategies like email have 1.7%. (Source: Search Engine Journal)
  • Think you can buy your way into SERP placements? Statistics show that 70-80% of users ignore paid ads and focus on organic listings. (Source: Search Engine Land)

From a marketing standpoint, SEO also has the benefit of purchase intent.

Think about it. What’s the first thing you’ll do if you’re interested in a product?

Unless you already know the brand you want, chances are you’ll go to Google and do a quick search. And as you click the first three results, you’re filled with anticipation.

Will this product be the answer to my problem?

That’s the kind of feeling you need your audience to feel when they see your brand. But if you rank anywhere from 5 and above, their excitement might’ve already worn off when they click your site.

SEO Case Studies

At this point, you’re probably well aware of what SEO can do. But you may want to see for yourself how successful SEO campaigns go.

Without further ado, here are five case studies that show SEO being used to great effect.

Robbie Richards: 11,065% More Traffic in 6 Months

Link to full case study:

Robbie Richards is an online marketing expert who successfully ranked a UAV website to Google’s first place in six months.

His plan consisted of only six steps: keyword research, content creation, on-page optimization, lead generation, content promotion, and link building.

Do note that this is exactly how most SEO campaigns are structured. Granted, the drone niche was relatively new during Robbie’s campaign, but unlocking 11,065% more traffic with SEO is nothing short of amazing.

Brian Dean: #1 Ranking in Google and $100k in Monthly Revenue with White Hat SEO

Link to full case study:

Brian Dean is a well-known SEO expert who runs Backlinko. He also invented the “Skyscraper Technique” — a link building strategy that involves looking for popular content, creating something better, and promoting it to the right channels.

In Brian’s case study, he covered how the food startup SnackNation used the Skyscraper Technique to reach #1 on Google. Their approach included a personalized email outreach campaign and a handful of white hat strategies.

A few months later, the campaign resulted in a total of 41,992 page views and a recurring $100k a month in revenue. And if that’s not enough to get your heart pumping about SEO, we don’t know what is.

Dmitry Dragilev: Ranked #1 for a High-Volume Keyword in Under 3 Months

Link to full case study:

In collaboration with Brad Zomick of Pipedrive, Dmitry Dragilev pulled off one of the most impressive SEO timelines ever. They were able to slice through a high-volume keyword market in just under three months.

Dragilev and Zomick outlined their strategy in 8 steps:

  1. Choose the right topic
  2. Create bad-ass content for their own blog
  3. Optimize their on-page SEO and engagement metrics
  4. Optimize their site’s internal links
  5. Find people who are most likely to link to their content
  6. Reach out to those people
  7. Write guest posts on popular blogs
  8. Fine-tune their content with Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency or TF-IDF

Normalizing their content also played a huge part in their success. It’s the long and tedious process of replacing over-optimized keywords with related terms — also known as Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI keywords.

OutreachMama: First Page in 4 Competitive Keywords

Link to full case study:

Getting to Google’s first page, even without landing one of the top three spots, is impressive in its own right. Now, imagine doing it four times — in competitive keyword markets.

This is what OutreachMama with their own official site. In eight months, they managed to snag first page spots in the following keywords: blogger outreach service, blogger outreach services, white label link building, and guest blog service.

Still not impressed? How about the fact that they did so using only three strategies?

Guest posting, blogger outreach, and the Skyscraper technique — these are all strategies you can execute yourself with the right resources. It’s only a matter of having the right knowledge, effort, and never-ending patience.

Nathan Gotch: 502% More Organic Traffic Using 4 DIY Steps

Link to full case study:

Lastly, Nathan Gotch of Gotch SEO deserves a mention for exemplifying link building in its purest form. Using his four-step strategy, he manages to get up to 502% more organic traffic for client sites.

The steps are as basic as it gets:

  1. Look for keywords that you can actually compete in
  2. Develop powerful content based on your chosen keywords
  3. Launch content promotions
  4. Improve the experience of readers

Step four is actually quite crucial since a lot of website owners tend to neglect performance after some time. While it’s natural for a website’s performance to degrade over, you can always ensure a stable user experience with proper maintenance.

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Best Practices of SEO

At this point, you’ve probably stared at your screen for quite a while.

Yes — everything about SEO, including learning about it, can be quite a challenge.

It’s just that hardcore. 

But don’t you worry. To make this post worth your while, we’re ending it with a quick list of actionable SEO tips.

Let’s get right into it.

1. Never Stop Improving Your Content

We cannot stress enough how important content quality is for SEO. It is imperative for link building, guest blogging, social media, and any other branch of SEO you could think of.

On-page or off-page — your strategy’s success depends on how compelling and valuable your content pieces are. So, whenever you have time to spare, look for ways to level up your content game.

2. Learn the Art of Repurposing

In online marketing, you can run out of content ideas insanely fast. But if you master the art of repurposing, you don’t ever have to worry about your creative juices running out.

One example of repurposing in action would be the Skyscraper Technique. There’s also turning old posts into infographics, recording podcasts using old ideas, and repackaging visual content into slideshows.

3. Make Authority Building a Hobby

SEO and online authority have a symbiotic relationship; neither can exist without the other. If you’re not actively managing an SEO-related activity, do something that can benefit your brand’s authority.

Some repeatable tactics include publishing new blog posts, participating in the social community, and sharing relevant content to your existing follower base.

4. Select Your Tools Wisely

Today, there’s a whole slew of tools that can be used for SEO, influencer outreach, and online marketing in general. While they’re great for saving time and accelerating results for small businesses, they can also quickly drain one’s capital.

A simple tactic is to take advantage of free trials or demos to gauge how a tool fits your marketing ecosystem. And in case the vendor doesn’t offer one, you can always rely on reviews and tutorials.

5. Don’t Forget Mobile

It’s been two years since Google announced that there are now more searches on mobile devices than on desktop. That’s why, regardless of niche, you should pay attention to the experience of your mobile audience.

Fortunately, attaining mobile friendliness is now easier than ever. Creating a responsive site is a good start, but if you want a strategy that matches your specific needs, then you should consult the Google Mobile-Friendly Test.


Looking at the entire scope of SEO can be daunting. You practically need to improve every single facet of your online marketing in order to make it work.

But, you know what they say: If you want to eat an elephant, you have to take one bite at a time. GoSmrk can help you get the ball rolling with our one-two punch SEO solution — comprising of on-page optimization and link building.

By conducting a deep analysis of your site, market, and goals, we can provide you with a cost-effective action plan that’s tailored to your brand.

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