When it comes to search engine optimization, one can easily feel lost at sea. Results are anything but immediate, and Google’s search-filtering algorithms continue to adapt. The reality is that it may take months before you realize whether your targeted keywords, titles or descriptions for your website pages are driving real results.
One extremely effective strategy to abate your SEO fears is to utilize pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, which also provide analytics to help you understand what you’re doing right.
Start with keywords. Selecting the right keywords for your website is a difficult process of projecting how the public will search for your product or service. Develop your initial list of targeted keywords by internal brainstorm, public/customer survey, keyword usage analysis or all of the above. You can very quickly gain a true understanding of which keywords perform best – due to all of the analytics available – which allows you to slim your list down if it’s quite large. Once you’re sure of the keywords that proved most effective, then optimize your website with these keywords by incorporating them into your content.
A/B test your meta titles. Getting your website to return from a search query is only half the battle, the other half is converting the search into a click. Similar to an email subject line, your meta title tag is a critical interaction between your brand and the consumer. What is a meta title? It’s the webpage title that provides search engines an overview of the content on that page.
Much like the keyword process above, build your list of theorized best titles and apply them to your pay-per-click ad. Vary and stack your campaigns so that you can effectively A/B test (testing the performance of one variable against another) your way to success. This strategy gives you an almost immediate understanding of what content will work best on your site for SEO optimization – meaning the content that is going to drive the most ideal prospects to your site.
Don’t forget about meta descriptions. Much like titles, your page descriptions can also be fine-tuned through an A/B testing approach. While you may be happy with improved rankings from keywords and titles alone, page descriptions are still a valuable component of search rankings, and you never know when search algorithms may change and give more weight to one component over another.
Unlike SEO activities that may take months to yield results, pay-per-click offers immediate understanding of how your targeting activities impact website traffic. Take these results and customize your website keywords, titles and descriptions, then simply turn your PPC campaigns off when you’re driving enough traffic through organic or unpaid efforts.
As with most marketing activities, regular analysis is needed. Spend time sifting through your new data to best understand what it says about your brand and marketing strategy.