Any SEO company in South Africa worth their salt will have their own techniques to bring about a successful SEO campaign. The more companies you work for (both internationally and locally), the more you realise that everyone has their own way of doing things. Over time you realise that a lot of what you read online about SEO is either out of date or straight-up wrong.
It seems almost counter-argumentative that I am also writing an article about SEO and posting it on the internet, but hopefully, I can prove to you that through the many SEO agencies that VR Squared has worked with in the past, we have learned a few valuable marketing techniques.
And we would like to share them with you.
So on with it then… A good SEO campaign is broken up into several sections – Review, Research, Setup and Maintenance. Let’s go through these steps and see what elements of each make up a good SEO campaign.
Reviewing your customer’s website
Whether your customer has a website or is planning on having a website, it makes no difference; a full review of either the current site or the plans for the new site is absolutely essential. It is in fact better to do this before the site is built as a part of the development process as this review process looks at the website design, the structure of the site, the content, URL’s and the technical backend.
If you do it beforehand, you get to save on development time by avoiding having to go back and make changes; while your site is also built with SEO in mind, thus making your site more likely to drive higher volumes of traffic.
Either way, you look at what you want to achieve with the website and this sets the basis for your research and setup processes.
Researching the best keywords for your customer
Like most other marketing techniques, I usually start my SEO campaigns with some competitor analysis. This step gives me insight into what is working for my client’s competitors and why. Find out what worked for them and mimic it, or find out where their campaigns are lacking and fill the gap.
The next up is keyword research, which is absolutely essential to the SEO process and a pivotal point in any SEO campaign. The manner in which this process is handled could literally make or break your SEO campaign. A South African SEO company that is managing a local client would focus their keyword research on localised terms, terms that are used regularly in the Google.co.za search engine rather than Google.com. It is good to understand your customer, and get a feel for how they type their queries; colloquialisms can also play a large part of this process, like using “braai” instead of “barbeque”.
If you get this part of the process right, the rest of the SEO campaign simply falls into place. Now that you have found the terms most likely to bring your customers to you, you need to start incorporating them into the site correctly, so that you begin ranking for those specific terms.
Setup the website to be SEO friendly
The first step in the setup process for me is to make sure the website is ready for analytics so that I can monitor the progress of my SEO campaign. The second is looking at the site structure, improving the code for page load speed and then optimising the URL’s so that they read well and incorporate the chosen keywords that you are targeting.
Once this foundation is laid out, you can begin generating content. Often this incorporates writing or re-writing the Titles, Meta descriptions and main site content for each page. Good optimisation using the previous keyword research is essential here. Try not to stuff your content so chock full of keywords that it becomes unreadable and ensure that the keywords flow naturally into the article and are surrounded by relevant terms.
This leads me to the last part of the SEO campaign, something SEO companies in Cape Town have a reputation for – Link Building. These days search engines place a higher priority on quality links over the old “quantity of links” approach. Ethical link building is about generating quality content for other sites and encouraging them to link back to you, as well as generating content on your own site good enough that your customers will link to you through social media and their own blogs.
Maintaining your rankings
Now that the site is ready to be published, we move onto one of the most underrated marketing techniques in SEO – the content strategy. Building a good content strategy is not just about writing a few articles related to your keywords, it is about engaging your customer base. Write about things that people want to read about, talk about your products and why they are great. Engage your customers and they will share your posts, tweet your blogs and talk about you online. This part of the process helps to facilitate natural link building, updated keyword incorporation and keeps your site active and relevant.
While the value of SEO lingers for a lot longer after you stop working on it than other marketing techniques, it still dwindles over time and requires maintenance to keep you ranking well. You need to stay active in the eyes of the search engines, your keyword research needs to be updated every so often to keep with the times and you need to be able to measure your progress. South Africa needs SEO companies that can offer a good SEO campaign that includes both a setup and maintenance plan. This way we not only increase the online presence of our local businesses, we keep them at the top.
My conclusive thoughts
In conclusion – digital marketing campaigns are not just about SEO, marketing is not only online and there are many other ways to market your business. Any good marketing campaign will identify multiple marketing techniques and make use of all of them; the trick is to understand what each one is for. SEO is to help your website be found by people looking for your service, so if you own a website and you want to drive revenue or conversion through that site, then SEO is absolutely essential to that process. Use SEO to achieve your marketing goal, integrate all your marketing techniques to create one fully cohesive marketing plan and you will be on the path to success.