Like all aspects of marketing, SEO should not be done on an ad-hoc basis. For it to work effectively and drive valuable traffic to your website, it needs to be planned properly. Whilst this guide cannot cover all aspects of SEO, it does cover the main things you need to get started. Read our guide to discover how to create an SEO strategy before you get started.
How to Create an SEO Strategy
Step 1: Audit Your Website
Effective SEO starts with a good website. Your website does not have to be big, expensive or fancy. However, it does need to be well-structured and functional. E-commerce websites should have products well-organised into categories. Vitally, the steps required for your customers to checkout, sign up or enquire should be easy to follow and as concise as possible.
Remember that the aim of SEO is to get your website found. For SEO to be worthwhile, your website needs to be properly set up to convert that website traffic into sales or leads.
You can audit your website yourself by asking other people what they think of its usability (or take a look for yourself). An SEO agency would be able to carry out a much more detailed website audit using specialist software.
Step 2: Keyword Research & Allocation
Once you have a well-structured and functional website, it’s time to begin building your SEO strategy. A successful SEO strategy requires selection of appropriate target keywords. Your target keywords are those search terms you want to optimise your website for. Depending on the size of your website, you will want to start with 20-30 target keywords. Very niche businesses may want to target fewer keywords.
Your target keywords need to be selected carefully:
They must be relevant to your business,
They must be relevant to your audience (i.e. are people actually using them?)
They need to be realistic
The last point is key. Some keywords will have a higher search volume than others, and this usually makes them more competitive. More competitive keywords are harder to rank for. It is a good idea to target a spread of keywords - choose some that are more general, with a higher search volume as well as others that have a lower search volume.
Example: Online Retailer Selling Horse Riding Boots
An online retailer of riding boots will probably want to target obvious keywords such as “horse riding boots”, “ladies riding boots” and “children’s riding boots”. The keyword “horse riding boots” has a search volume of over 6,000 and a keyword difficulty of 34 (SE Ranking, October 2022). This makes it a relatively valuable but also competitive keyword. On the other hand, “short horse riding boots” has a search volume of 260 and a keyword difficulty of 15 (SE Ranking, October 2022). This makes it an easier keyword to rank for.
Keyword Research Tools
There are a couple of free keyword research tools available. Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends are two examples, and they will help you get started. SEO marketing agencies like Purple Horse Marketing use more specialised tools such as SE Ranking to gather, analyse and monitor more advanced data.
Every page of your website needs a focus keyword, and this should be unique to every page. ideally, you should also allocate a secondary keyword and reserve keyword to each page. This will take some time, because you will need to organise your keywords based on where they are most relevant. Our SEO specialists complete keyword research and allocation for our equine SEO marketing clients, and we carry out ongoing keyword research every 6-12 months.
Step 3: Write Your Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions
This next bit sounds highly technical, but it’s actually just basic SEO. Every page on your website needs a meta title and a meta description. If you don’t specify one, Google will just pull one from the text on the page. Meta titles and descriptions are what you see when you search for something in Google. Each search result has a meta title (in blue) and a meta description (in black), and they are used by search engines and search engine users to identify what the website page is about.
Your meta title should be around 55-60 characters long and it should include your focus keyword. Your mets description should also include your focus keyword, but it should be around 155-160 characters long. Use an online character counter to check the length of your meta titles and meta descriptions, and store them in a spreadsheet.
Your website CMS should indicate where you need to enter your meta titles and meta descriptions. If you aren’t sure, go to your website admin’s help section.
Step 4: Write Your Header Tags
For the purposes of this guide, we are focusing on H1 (header 1) tags. These also tell Google and your readers what is on the website page. They appear on the page itself, usually at the top. In your CMS, they will be marked or formatted as “h1”. Again, refer to your website admin help section for assistance.
Your H1 should include your focus keyword. It needs to clearly state what the page is about. Again, store your H1 tags in a spreadsheet.
Step 5: Create Your SEO Strategy Schedule
SEO is not something you can just do once and forget about. It needs to be carried out over several months and reviewed at least annually to work effectively. Once you have your keywords, meta titles and descriptions and H1 tags mapped out in a spreadsheet, it’s time to plan your SEO schedule.
Depending on how much time you have to commit to SEO, you should aim to optimise one or two pages every month and write at least 1-2 blog articles each month. We will cover page optimisation and blogging in a later guide. In the first month, you should aim to do your keyword research and allocation and enter your meta titles, meta descriptions and H1 tags. This will provide your website with a very modest SEO boost within a couple of weeks and lays the foundations for the rest of your SEO efforts.
Remember: You will need to optimise your website pages, images and blog articles in order to get the full benefit of SEO. This guide simply outlines the initial stages of creating your SEO strategy.
We Are Equestrian SEO Experts
Purple Horse Marketing are one of very few equine marketing companies providing equestrian SEO services. Our clients benefit from our bespoke SEO strategies, designed to help their businesses grow online. We provide sustainable, long-term digital growth solutions to equine businesses across the UK. Visit our contact page today to get in touch or book your free equine marketing consultation.