Developing An Overall SEO Strategy


Developing an overall SEO strategy for you site that generates robust and productive search traffic, multiple page views and repeat viewers is an effort that requires pre-panning and then attention and focus on a daily basis.  The key aspects of your SEO plans are:

  1. A deep understanding your content based on ongoing research on your current search traffic
  2. A small targeted list of search terms you want to rank high on
  3. Ongoing work to create SEO harmony on your site for those search terms.
  4. Follow Standard SEO best practices
  5. Use the Rayos to maximize viral news events (updates vs new stories)


Understanding Your Content

The first step to developing a good SEO strategy for you site is having a deep understanding of your content, how it is organized and how it is being used. This most often includes both page and article analysis of your site metrics to determine what types of content are getting the most traffic on your site. A simple list of the top 10-20 pages and top 10-20 articles on your site will likely reveal trends that you can use as the foundation of your SEO strategy.

Repeat this exercise of evaluating your search traffic regularly to watch for developing trends that you can leverage editorially to make continuing improvements to your site’s SEO.

Choose Targeted Searches

To increase the success of your SEO efforts, choose 4-5 search terms or phrases that you want to appear on. When choosing these search terms, keep the following in mind:

  • These searches should relate directly to the kind of content you do well and already have a robust amount of content related to. In other words, the searches should not be aspirational, but rather a succinct reflection of the kind of content on your site.
  • These searches should not be overly broad such as a geographic region or a term like “wellness” that already has several large established sites who own that term.
  • These search terms should use terms that real people are likely to use. A good way to make sure you are putting yourself in the mind of the average search user is to look at the related searches and suggested searches Google gives you when you put in your search terms. Do reconnaissance on other sites that have a similar brand promise in other markets. Make note of consistent terms used on a majority of those sites.

Below are some examples of some search term research and results to give you a better idea of how this effort can impact your site.

Regional Tourism Site Example
After researching other travel websites and Google related searches, the customer changed the name of its Restaurants Page to “Where To Eat” to better match the search term “Where to eat in X” which was suggested by Google as well as used in over 50% of the other tourism sites.

Community Magazine Site
After searching several similar communities the customer found that Google often suggested “schools” as a second or third term after the community name. The customer decided to change their “Learning” section to “Schools” to better capture that traffic.

Create Harmony on your site

Harmony is a concept in SEO that indicates that your site has a robust amount of good content on one specific topic and that topic consistently described. For example, imagine a Family Magazine Site for Madison, Wisconsin. They are primarily targeting the search term: Madison Schools. Below would be a description of an education page on that site with strong and low harmony.

Low SEO Harmony Strong SEO Harmony
The navigation title says Learning, but the page title is Education. The navigation and page title is Schools
Articles about the school district refer to District 196, Madison Area Schools, Madison Schools, District Schools, etc All articles consistently refer to the school district as Madison Schools
Articles about general learning and strategies do not include ties to how they impact or can be implemented in Madison As much as possible general learning articles include a paragraph about that topic as it relates to the Madison area with an H2 heading called: Madison Schools & Area Learning Opportunities
The page description is empty The page description is Madison Schools and Learning: Information for parents
The article image file names are random numbers and have no alt tags All images used in articles are named with keywords including Schools where appropriate and include alt tags with “Schools”

Note: Using terms and keywords when the content on the page is not related to that term is a practice called keyword stuffing. For example having an article about children’s birthday parties and still using Madison Schools in the title, image name etc would be considered keyword stuffing. Google will remove a site from searches for this practice.

Where To Focus Your Time

Because there are so many variables involved in SEO, it can be difficult to decide where to focus your time. Below is a prioritized list of TownNews’s recommendation on where to focus your efforts. Note: some of these items are decided during the site build process and some require ongoing diligence when populating the site.

1. Write good linking titles of articles
2. Optimize your page and menu titles and descriptions by including strong, consistent, keyword search terms
3. Follow SEO best practices for writing articles
4. Optimize image file names with key words and always include ALT tags on your images
5. Write good SEO meta descriptions for your articles and pages