As a new year begins, many business owners and leaders set new goals and prepare themselves to take on new challenges. One technology hurdle that everyone should address at the start of a new year is their search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Once you get your SEO off to a good start, it can set your website, social media, and overall marketing plans on a solid footing for the rest of the year. So let’s take a look at some of the key considerations.

Connect & Configure

Initially, you need to teach search engines about your website. Thankfully, Google and others make that possible by offering their own SEO tools which you can connect to your site. So your search engine strategy process begins by making sure that all of the right connections are made and the right information has been provided so that Google can understand your website and you can begin monitoring data from tools such as Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

Competition Research

Using Google Search Console, you can see how your website performs for a variety of criteria, and where it ranks for certain keywords and phrases. Using even more advanced SEO tools, you can compare your results against some of your competitors to try and look for opportunities to outrank them for some keywords or phrases that you want to compete over. The more that you know about your industry and the players, the better than you can tune your own content to speak to the audience. With a solid search engine strategy, over time you will find yourself rising up and improving your average search engine rank for those terms that you are competing over.

Ongoing Analysis

Your website is a living document that should always be growing and changing. Make sure to conduct a monthly check-in to review the data provided by the Google Analytics and Google Search Console tools. There is a wealth of information there which your team will be able to dive into and pull terrific business insights from. For example:

  • One month you might find higher than normal traffic flowing into one of your product pages. After a closer look, and you can see that a significant portion of it is coming from Facebook and other social media sites. So with that knowledge, your marketing team can develop a new push to increase the visibility of that specific product on social media channels.
  • You see in the data that a blog post from last year keeps showing up in your top 5 most visited pages on the site even though you haven’t been sharing or promoting it recently. Your team is able to develop a webinar around the subject matter and attract a big audience that was looking for the topic. You are able to further cement your brand as a leader and expert on the topic.
  • On the flip side, perhaps you have published 4 straight months of blog posts on a single topic and you notice very little traffic or social media shares (engagement). Looking at the data your team agrees that it is time to change it up and try a few months of different blog posts and videos to see what might increase engagement and bring in higher audience numbers. Sometimes the data provides the reality check that everyone needs before too much time and productivity is wasted on a tactic that isn’t providing results.

Decisions regarding your website should be driven by data whenever possible. These tools help leaders to make informed, reasoned choices which can always be evaluated later. If you want to start the year on the right foot, get your search engine strategy set-up properly in January and then make sure to conduct monthly evaluations and strategy sessions each month. By the end of the year your digital presence will be in a much stronger position than it was when you started out.