5 Ways To Win at Search (Roundup)

If you’re thinking it’s time to get serious about your SEO, here are five sure-fire ways to win at search this year – and beyond:

  1. Know your audience
  2. Use the right tools for informed SEO
  3. Find out what the best are doing …. and do it better
  4. Take SEO training
  5. Maintain a good reputation
  6. FAQ: How can I win at search engine optimization (SEO) in 2023 and beyond? 

1. Know Your Audience

SEO is about knowing what your audience wants, then making sure you have what they need at the moment they are searching. That’s the simplified version, anyway.

So it’s important to do the work to understand your audience, and how SEO can support their customer journey. Check out these tips for more …

3 Steps to Define Your Target Audience for Your SEO Program

In SEO, defining your audience means understanding what they search for. If you don’t know what your target audience would be searching for online then you won’t be able to create content that resonates with them. This can negatively impact conversions.

So, what to do?

  1. Demographics: Study your target audience’s demographics. How do those characteristics play into what you have to offer? You can build profiles for both consumers and businesses, depending on if you’re B2C or B2B.
  2. Keywords: Keywords, aka search queries, are simply the words and phrases that your target audience might use to find out more about what you have to offer, or the topics you’re a subject matter expert on. Keyword research fuels ideas for relevant content for your website.
  3. Qualitative research: Interviewing your target audience is a great way to get inside their minds when it comes to what they want – or even their experience with your website.

For more, check out: 3 Steps to Define Your Target Audience for Your SEO Program

How SEO Supports the Customer Journey

SEO is a marketing activity, and like other marketing activities, it supports the customer journey from awareness to action.

In fact, research shows that people first turn to search engines for discovery and comparison shopping – and that the organic search channel is responsible for driving a majority of revenue over other digital channels for many businesses.

Here are a few ways that SEO supports this customer journey:

Awareness phase: As prospects turn to the search engines to discover what you have to offer, you need to show up in the search results. SEO exists to help you do just that.

Consideration phase: Showing up to the party is one thing, but persuading your prospects to engage with you is another. There is plenty of competition in the search results, and SEO tactics like a compelling search listing to garner click-throughs and great content on your site keep moving your prospects forward.

Decision-making phase: While SEO’s ultimate goal is to drive traffic, our website exists to convert visitors. Decision-making tools and customer reviews can go a long way to helping with this. And a good SEO team will suggest ways you can convert organic traffic better.

For more, check out: How SEO Supports the Customer Journey

2. Use the Right Tools for Informed SEO

You can’t do SEO well without the right data. Building an expert tool stack is one of the first steps to winning at search.

Here are some tips to help …

7 Google SEO Tools Every Website Publisher Should Use

These seven tools are a must-have in your SEO tool kit:

  1. Google Analytics 4
  2. Google Search Console
  3. Mobile-Friendly Test
  4. PageSpeed Insights
  5. Page Experience Tools
  6. Google Trends
  7. Search Quality Rater Guidelines

For more, check out: 7 Google SEO Tools Every Website Publisher Should Use

By the way, if you are considering AI content tools as a solution – don’t. They are at best tools, good for outlining or quoting statistics, but it is not a content creation solution.

But it is a worthy tool. Read more about this in my article: AI-Generated Content Is a Tool, Not a Solution.

The Top SEO Software That Experts Use Every Day

There’s a tool for almost every SEO activity out there (and there are a lot of activities to do). We compiled a list of the tools we use on a daily basis for SEO activities like:

  • Crawling
  • Data aggregation
  • Competitive research
  • ADA compliance
  • GDPR compliance
  • Google algorithm affects
  • Content optimization tools
  • SEO browser extensions and tools

For more, check out:

3. Find Out What the Best Are Doing … And Do It Better

There’s a reason that content is ranking on Page 1 of the search results. Our job as SEO professionals is to figure out why. Of course, there are plenty of tools and strategies to help us do that so we’re not wasting time simply guessing.

Here are some strategies to beat the competition …

SEO Should Beat the Competition, Not the Algorithm

The goal of SEO is to avoid trying to beat a search engine algorithm, which consists of endless combinations of signals. The goal is to beat your competition, but how do you do that? Start by figuring out which websites are ranked at the top for your target queries. Then, create better content.

Keep in mind that when someone conducts a search on Google, its algorithm attempts to establish which webpage provides the most pertinent answers and offers the optimal user experience.

We can never know which algorithmic signals Google applies to a query, so we can never optimize perfectly. We can only try to be the least imperfect compared to the pages that are already ranking.

For example, all else equal, do you think Google would choose Page A over Page B if Page B was a slow-loading website?

For more, check out: SEO Should Beat the Competition Not the Algorithm

How to Do Competitor Research for SEO

So you want to figure out exactly what the competition is doing … here’s where the heavy lifting comes in. You’re going to need the right tools and a roadmap.

Here are some common ways to discover and spy on your competitors in the search results using the SEOToolSet, our own advanced suite of powerful SEO tools:

  • Check out the Research Summary report, which gives you detailed information about the domains and webpages ranking for your target keywords.
  • Then run the Multi Page Analyzer (MPA) tool to see what the competition is doing to rank. The Single Page Analyzer goes into more detail.
  • Next analyze their link profiles using the SEOToolSet Link Report.
  • Then you can look at the competition’s website health using the Site Checker.

Also don’t forget to do a SERP analysis to see what other types of content are ranking aside from the blue links.

For more, check out: How to Do Competitor Research for SEO

4. Take SEO Training

One of the best ways to gain a fresh perspective on SEO is to take training. Even the most seasoned SEO professionals prioritize learning.

That said, there are many ways to further an SEO education. Let’s discuss ….

What Is SEO Training?

Simply put: SEO training teaches you how to increase your website’s online visibility and traffic from search engines.

There are many types of educational opportunities out there, including:

  • Online training
  • In-person training
  • Books

Beware of trying to cobble everything together from multiple sources, though. If you are serious about your SEO education, then look for a training course that organizes the chaos and filters out the wrong information. Bad SEO information can kill a website.

For more, check out: What Is SEO Training?

What’s Your SEO Learning Style?

Which type of SEO education is the best first for your preferred learning style? Not everyone learns the same way, and knowing this helps you evaluate a training course.

Most people will fall into one or more of the following learning styles:

  • Visual: You prefer graphic elements over words.
  • Auditory: You prefer lectures and discussions.
  • Read/write: You prefer written information.
  • Kinesthetic: You learn through doing.

Spend some time analyzing the following formats so you can figure out which resonates:

  • Online training
  • Classroom training
  • Books
  • Supplemental learning
  • Membership websites

For more, check out my article on Search Engine Land: What’s Your SEO Learning Style?

It’s Time to Rethink Your SEO Training

The majority of learning during the pandemic took place online. As a result, online learning has evolved over the past handful of years.

Now, people are expecting more from their online learning than they did in 2019. They want more than just a status set of videos, they expect engagement.

Many people want to learn remotely with the option to engage with instructors and other students. And they want all types of content that cater to different learning styles and lifestyle preferences.

This is why it’s time to rethink what SEO training can be. As a company that’s been at the forefront of SEO training for more than 20 years, we’ve reimagined what virtual SEO training can look like.

For more, check out: It’s Time to Rethink Your SEO Training

5 Questions to Evaluate Any SEO Training Course

Always do your due diligence before signing up for SEO training. Here are five questions to ask before taking an online SEO course:

  • Who created the course? Do they have the experience and knowledge to provide reliable guidance?
  • What materials does the course cover? Know ahead of time the concepts you want to learn, then evaluate your options.
  • How is the information presented? Not everyone learns in the same way or expects the same thing from a training course.
  • How fresh is the information? Search evolves at break-neck speed. Depending on the topic, you don’t want a course that hasn’t been refreshed in a few years.
  • What kind of reviews does the course get? The proof is in the pudding – what are students saying about it?

I wrote more about this on Search Engine Land. See: 5 Questions to Evaluate Any SEO Training Course.

And by the way, we’ve got an excellent training platform at SEOtraining.com. If you’re in need of expert online training with updated resources to help you win at search, you’ll find no better place.

5. Maintain a Good Reputation

Maintaining a good reputation can indirectly impact your search engine rankings. Here are some strategies for understanding reputation and SEO …

Is Sentiment an SEO Trust Signal?

Trust is a big deal to Google – it has said in its Search Quality Rater Guidelines that reputational research is key to understanding if a site is trustworthy or not.

For that reason, we believe that sentiment analysis should be a part of SEO strategy. For more, check out: Is Sentiment an SEO Trust Signal?

How to Use Sentiment Analysis to Strengthen SEO Trustworthiness

With the right tools and looking in the right places, you can begin to get a sense of how people view your business.

We take that data and use it to enhance our SEO audits and track the success of campaigns. Armed with the right sentiment data, we can help businesses:

  • Address customer complaints
  • Resolve satisfaction issues
  • Reward happy reviewers
  • Reinforce the brand’s reputation and trustworthiness

For more, read: How to Use Sentiment Analysis to Strengthen SEO Trustworthiness

There you have it – five strategies and multiple tactics to help you win at search this year. Follow the steps in this article and you can breathe new life into your SEO program.

Want expert help to win at search? Contact us today for a free consultation.

FAQ: How can I win at search engine optimization (SEO) in 2023 and beyond?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an ever-evolving field. In order to stay ahead of the competition, adapting strategies and tactics to the evolving digital landscape is crucial in order to succeed at SEO in 2023.

Understanding Your Audience is Key to an Effective SEO Campaign

Be an informed SEO by arming yourself with the appropriate tools and data. Form an expert-led tool stack for gathering insights and making wise decisions; Google Analytics, Search Console and PageSpeed Insights are essential. In addition, consider installing browser extensions, competitor research tools and content-optimization tools as these will allow you to optimize your website while staying ahead of the competition.

SEO isn’t all about beating search engine algorithms — it’s also about outshooting your competition. Assess what the top sites in your field are doing to provide answers for specific searches, then strive to surpass that by offering superior user experiences, optimizing page loading speed and using decision-making tools. Improving your competitors’ strategies will help you increase organic traffic.

Invest in SEO Training

SEO is an ever-evolving field, so ongoing learning is a necessity. Consider investing in SEO training courses to gain a fresh perspective, expand knowledge and keep abreast of the latest trends. Look for courses with comprehensive information that filters out outdated or misleading material; bad SEO practices could harm your website so ensure reliable educational sources.

Maintain a Good Online Reputation

Keeping a positive online reputation can have an indirect effect on search engine ranking. Develop trust with your audience by responding quickly to customer concerns and rewarding positive reviews. Use sentiment analysis to gauge how your company is perceived, then use this knowledge to enhance SEO audits for maximum performance gains by building trustworthiness into the fabric of your brand and business.

Implementing these strategies and staying informed about SEO developments will position you to be successful in 2023. SEO should be approached as an ongoing process. Remain proactive, adapt to changing priorities and optimize your website continuously for maximum performance.

Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn or through the BruceClay.com website.

See Bruce's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (1)
Still on the hunt for actionable tips and insights? Each of these recent SEO posts is better than the last!

One Reply to “5 Ways To Win at Search (Roundup)”

I’m a firm believer in the idea that providing the best answer to a searcher question is key to modern SEO.

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