Having an SEO strategy is essential for all digital publishers, regardless of publication size or niche. SEO, short for search engine optimization, is the key to bringing more readers to your website, whether they’re coming for the latest news or for your evergreen content. The goal with any SEO strategy is to improve click-through rates through organic search results.
SEO strategies can be simple or complex, depending on how deep you want to go and how much you’re willing to spend. At its core, an SEO strategy should involve setting up a website to rank higher for relevant keywords on search engines like Google and Bing.
With an SEO strategy, publishers are trying to get traffic for free. Who doesn’t love something that’s free? We call the free search engine traffic that comes from places like Google and Bing “organic,” “editorial,” or “natural” traffic. This is in contrast to paid traffic, which comes through search advertising.
Why is it important for digital publishers to have an SEO strategy?
With the right SEO strategy, a publication will rank higher on search engine results pages. We call these SERPs. The first goal is to get the publication on the first page of search results. So when a person searches for a relevant keyword, that publication’s articles come up first.
Ranking highly in search engine results guarantees more website traffic, and that’s a major win for publishers who rely on traffic and display advertising revenue for financial success.
Publishers with an SEO strategy see their webpage links appear higher in search engine results. That means their website is more discoverable on search engines like Google and Bing, and it leads to more website traffic. Greater website traffic means more opportunity for conversion, so a publication can grow its membership program or its subscriber base. It also means more views and clicks, which leads to greater revenue from display advertising.
Publishers who implement sophisticated SEO strategies see significant return on investment (ROI). But even those publishers who don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on a custom SEO strategy can still take advantage.
How do you attract and engage your audience with SEO? Entire books have been written about this topic, and there’s no way we could cover everything you should know in one blog post. However, we are going to cover a few of the basic elements that should be a part of any digital publisher’s SEO strategy.
Before you can optimize your website, you need to decide which keywords you’re optimizing for. Learn which words or phrases people are most likely to search for when they’re looking for your website. (For example, “Charleston news,” “Sacramento prep sports,” or “Dallas interior design”) You’ll want to start creating content based around those keywords or phrases.
If you’re an established publisher, you probably already have years worth of archived content containing those exact keywords. That’s great news. It will make implementing your SEO strategy even easier. Because you already have high-quality content containing relevant keywords, you can skip straight ahead to improving your website’s efficiency and architecture. Consult with a developer to make sure your schema markup is up to date.
Other factors that can play a role in determining where your webpage ranks in search results include how frequently you post new content, how effective your metadata is, and whether you’re using alt-tags correctly.
5 Steps to Creating an SEO Strategy:
Step 1: Make a list of relevant keywords
Step 2: Analyze the first page of Google results for those keywords
Step 3: Create high-quality content that includes those keywords
Step 4: Optimize content for on-page SEO
Step 5: Improve and update content over time
As a digital publisher, you should have a strategy in place that automates these steps. For example, your editors might want to assign articles to writers based on relevant keywords.
Digital publishers will also want to take advantage of the different software and cloud-based tools available for automating SEO. Yoast SEO is the most popular SEO plug-in for digital publishers with WordPress websites. You can read a complete guide to setting up and using the Yoast SEO plugin, here.
If you are lost trying to come up with an SEO strategy, you don’t have to do it alone. The WordPress directory includes hundreds of plugins designed specifically to help websites rank higher in search engine results. You can also reach out to an agency like Web Publisher PRO. We specialize in helping digital publishers optimize their websites to increase revenue, and we offer virtual consultations. If you’d like support in developing an SEO strategy that works, get in touch with our team.