Part of the fun of working for a great agency is being encouraged to think. Here are some of the things we’re thinking about.

SEO Basics: 3 Steps to Mastering Search Engine Optimization

August 15, 2019 Gina Gallup

SEO analyticsPR these days seems to be all-encompassing. It’s pitching to media, writing releases and articles, facilitating interviews, creating posts and campaigns for social media, email marketing, inbound marketing, blogging, creating infographics and on and on and on.

And I love that, by the way – I enjoy doing all the things.

Bottom line: PR is based on content. And if you do it well (and we do it well), it can work in any medium.

PR has actually been morphing into content marketing, which makes sense. And that’s why it now includes analytics and search engine optimization (SEO). Those pieces are vital to any marketing strategy. We’re all searching for something – all the time – on every kind of device. That means everyone is using search engines – including your company’s prospects. A good, consistent SEO strategy ensures your content is driving the right traffic to your website, and it targets the people who will be interested in the information that you can provide.

When someone clicks to your site, it’s intentional and measurable. And if you are incorporating inbound marketing or some way to capture the contact information of your visitors, you can understand what your visitors value, create segmented lists and directly target your current customers and prospects according to what you know they are interested in. Plus, you can track what visitors do, evaluate the effectiveness of your content, turn those visitors into qualified sales leads and see ROI.

Probably, you already realize all of that. You’re ready to get on board the SEO train, but maybe aren’t just yet sure what to do? Here are the three steps to get you started.

Bottom line: SEO is crucial to your business. If you’re not grabbing those keywords and using them consistently, your competitor will be.

Step one: Find the right keywords
  • Learn what people are typing in, how frequently, how relevant the terms are to your business objectives, and how competitive the keywords are.
  • To research keywords, take yourself out of your business and put yourself into the shoes of your potential customer.
    • Write out the services you offer – but remove jargon and insider language. Use language that your customer would use.
  • Use tools – like the Keyword Planner in Google Ads, Keyword Tool or Moz’s Keyword Explorer – to look at search volume metrics and see how competitive they are. Less common variations and long-tail keywords are easier to rank for.
    • Most people change what they’re searching for and get more descriptive as they go to quickly find the results they want (e.g. from “car” to “Toyota Camry” to “used 2015 Black Toyota Camry with nav”). Those more descriptive searches are long-tail keywords.
  • Make sure you have keywords for each area of your business.
Step two: Assign keywords throughout your site
  • Go through each page of your site and distribute one keyword per page.
    • Secondary keywords may still be included in the copy; don’t remove a keyword just because it’s not the page’s targeted keyword. But only focus on one per page.
  • Excel – and some other specific SEO analytics tools – can help you keep track of the pages of your site, the target keywords and an editorial calendar.
  • You may need to add pages to your site to include keywords.
  • The targeted keyword should go in each page’s URL, h1 tag, copy, meta title and description, alt tags of photos, file names, etc.
    • Separate words in a URL should be hyphenated so the search engine understands them.
  • The target keyword should lead to relevant content, which will keep users on your site longer and show search engines that you are providing valuable information.
  • Don’t force anything – keywords should be used naturally.
SEO analysisStep three: Evaluate the results
  • SEO can’t be set up once and left alone. There should be ongoing measurement and assessment.
  • See if visitors are using your targeted keywords to come to your site and if your site is ranking for those keywords.
  • Check Google Analytics and other integrated tools to see if the keywords are driving conversion actions and business objectives.
  • Audit your site’s SEO periodically with additional tools like Google Search Console, SEMrush’s SEO Toolkit and Woorank.
  • Adjust your strategy based on what you learn.
  • Don’t be afraid to change out keywords to see if something new will work better.
  • Revisit the exploration every quarter – or at least a few times per year – to make sure keywords are still performing well or if there are new ones you should use.

Once you have your SEO strategy outlined, reinforce it with well-crafted, unique and quality content – it’s worth the investment. Write for your company’s buyer personas, blog regularly and promote with social media and email marketing. Incorporate public relations tactics to get your SEO-ready content on other influential and credible websites, and incorporate links – under target keywords – back to your website.

Bottom line: SEO is crucial to your business. If you’re not grabbing those keywords and using them consistently, your competitor will be.


Want to learn more about SEO? Check out the courses offered on LinkedIn Learning.


Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in December 2016, and was updated in August 2019.

2 comments on “SEO Basics: 3 Steps to Mastering Search Engine Optimization
  1. seoservics says:

    Anyone who operates a website (homepage) needs to be aware of the search engine and take measures to improve the search ranking and display it at the top.
    This is because the reality is that attracting customers to websites still has a large influx of search behavior, and winning the top search is a major key to successful web promotion.

  2. Stephen Gallup says:

    Thanks for the information. Things continue to change exponentially.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *