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The Art and Science of Minimum Viable SEO Strategy

Part 1 of the Epic Tale: Establishing long-term excellence

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If you’ve worked in marketing in some capacity in the last few years, you’re probably familiar with a certain syndrome. It’s called “bright, shiny object” syndrome, and it affects marketers all over the world as they become distracted by the latest fad or trend in the marketing world. Whether it’s Snapchat for your B2B financial firm or Instagram for a funeral home, you may have been the victim or carrier of the syndrome (and that’s OK). With all of the new channels and marketing opportunities developing almost daily, it’s increasingly difficult to stay on top of the digital marketing world.

This is why few channels have lasted with the development of the internet as a more lower cost sales vehicle.

SEO might be one of the more “senior” digital marketing channels in the modern era, but it remains a vital component of many businesses’ marketing efforts today. With effort, organic search can continually drive traffic to your website at a significantly lower long-term cost versus paid channels.

Since not all marketing teams are structured for long-term SEO excellence, we here at FortyFour would like to provide you with a few tips for developing an approach to SEO that is attainable without multiple SEO specialists and a team of consultants breathing down your neck.

With the minimum viable SEO strategy, your primary goals should be three-fold:

  • Optimize the technical SEO performance of your website
  • Identify your main topics and keywords
  • Create higher quality content than the competition

Keeping these goals in mind, let’s walk through how you can achieve them.

Technical SEO audit

A technical SEO audit focuses on the behind-the-scenes components of your website that ultimately affect how search engines read your content. Remember, search engines are using “robots” to read your content, so there’s not a human deciding whether to rank your page versus another. You may think your web design is the greatest ever made, but if your site is full of duplicate content, duplicate page titles, flash modules, or 1GB images, you might lose out against the basic HTML-Craigslist ad-style page on the same topic.

To start, you should identify your SEO tool set. Screamingfrog is a tool that has been around a long time in the SEO world and is available for free (up to a certain amount of pages crawled). If your website is less than 500 pages overall, you may not need the paid version initially. Moz, formerly known as SEOMoz, is a great paid tool to utilize for ongoing SEO audits and management. In addition the ability to identify technical errors, Moz connects to Google Analytics and will offer tips for optimizing individual pages and your site as a whole (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg).

After you have a garnered a crawl tool, initiate the crawl. If you’re using Moz, you will receive a list of prioritized issues ranked high, medium, or low. If you’re not using Moz, you can still create your own technical SEO priorities based on this list:

High Priority

  • Duplicate Page Content
  • 4XX Client Error
  • 5XX Client Error
  • Crawl Attempt Error
  • Title Missing or Empty

Medium Priority

  • Duplicate Page Title
  • Missing Meta Description Tag
  • Title Element is Too Short
  • Title Element is Too Long
  • Temporary Redirect
  • Search Engine Blocked by robots.txt
  • Meta Refresh

Low Priority

  • Long URL

If you’re just starting out with SEO, the best resource is Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO. Even advanced SEO specialists often refer to documents and guides from Moz and related communities, as search engines continue to frequently evolve.

After you’ve solved most of the technical issues with your website and pages, next you’re ready to move on to the research phase.

In Part 2, we’ll walk you through our approach to keyword research and how you can be effective at identifying SEO opportunities for your business.

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