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9 Steps to Grow Your Online Visibility and Improve SEO

Posted by John Aikin
on August 10, 2023


SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, affects your website's visibility in search engines such as Google. It’s simple. The higher you are on search pages, the higher your chance of generating traffic; the more you conform to SEO practices and strategies, the higher you rank. Here are nine helpful tips that will assist with your optimization efforts and start growing your online visibility, thus boosting your exposure:

1. Define your brand

The very first thing you need to do is to define your brand. You need to know who you are and what exactly you do. Not just your industry but the specific problem(s) you solve for your customers.


Knowing what you do will help you decide what terms you need to rank for. SEO is competitive, so realistically, you'll only rank high for one or two main keywords. Determining what exactly you do can help you decide what you want to be known for in the eyes of the almighty Google.


For example, we specialize in creating high-performing websites for SaaS companies that use HubSpot. So, our focus is on building domain authority around terms like "SaaS websites" and "HubSpot websites" and keywords that support that mission. 


Of course, we do much more than build custom websites for SaaS companies, so we create additional content to support our other lines of business. But in the grand scheme of our website, these other terms we rank for will always be secondary to our primary goal.


2. Define your audience

Once you decide who you are as a brand, you must figure out who your audience is or will be. This will help determine your primary keywords, but especially the secondary keywords you'll try to rank for on specific website pages or blog posts.


Knowing your audience can better target your content for their search results. Think about the questions they would ask and what they want to find on search engines. Position your content to answer those questions and solve their problems.


Consider using H1 and H2's to directly mirror or respond to what they'll enter in a Google search. The better you know your audience, the better you'll be able to create content that responds to their needs and resonates with them.


Remember, SEO is not only about keywords. It's also about building trust and respect from website visitors, which helps to build domain authority. The end goal shouldn't be clicks; it should be conversions. Make sure you're creating content and ranking for keywords that resonate with your target audience.


3. Keyword research

Now that you've defined your brand and audience, you must determine which keywords you want to rank for. The key is to find relevant words with a high search volume but minimal competition to increase your chances of ranking for them.


To help uncover these keywords, you can use a free tool such as UberSuggest, or paid platforms like SEMRush. You can even use simple strategies like beginning to type in keywords to Google and seeing what the suggested autocomplete is. Still, this strategy will not show you how competitive the keyword is.


Find one to two keywords relevant to your business and focus on ranking for those first. You can also use similar, supporting keywords to help. Start with a small focus. It's doubtful you'll be able to rank for every buzzword in your industry. That's why we decided to tightly define our brand and audience first so we can start with ranking for what we do best and branch out from there later.


4. Technical Audit

There are many factors beyond keywords that can affect your SEO ranking. That's why it's also important to regularly perform a technical SEO audit to find less noticeable issues that might hurt your SEO score.


Using tools like SEMRush, Google Pagespeed, or HubSpot's native SEO checker to uncover issues hiding below the surface. Slow page speed, broken links, and other topics can negatively impact your SEO, so using these tools to monitor your website health is crucial.


It's also good to monitor bounce rates that can hurt your domain authority. This is usually less of a technical issue and more of a content issue but essential nonetheless. It may tell you to re-write your content or restructure a page to keep visitors engaged longer. You may even discover a specific stage in your funnel where people fall off and remove or rework it to increase your conversions and improve SEO.


5. Content audit

Performing a content audit is an essential step to take before creating any new content. It will tell you what you already have and, just as importantly, what you don't.


This serves two purposes:

  1. You'll re-discover what you already have. Listen, things get lost and forgotten about, especially in positions with high turnover rates, like marketing teams. Strategies change, personnel changes, and things quickly get lost in the shuffle. Taking a complete inventory of your content can be a goldmine. You may find a campaign from two years ago that performed well that you can quickly refresh and re-promote. You may find many half-finished blogs from someone no longer with your organization that you can quickly wrap up and get out the door. Find things that can be refreshed and reused, making your life a little easier.
  2. You'll find what you're missing. Performing a full content audit will also help you realize the gaps in your content. Maybe you're a full-service marketing agency, and you know you've published a ton of content around design principles, copywriting, and SEO. Still, you've yet to mention that you offer custom development work! Now you know where to start building your next topic cluster.


Download our free content audit worksheet to help you get started.


6. Content creation

Now that you know what content to create, it's time to start creating! This is likely how you'll discover whether blog posts, social posts, podcasts, videos, or whatever channel you use.


Create unique content that provides value and will be shared. Remember, SEO isn't just about keywords. It's also about the quality of your content. And make sure to show some personality.


Many people view businesses as faceless entities.  They’ll be more apt to utilize your service when they realize you're down-to-earth humans like they are.


Look at brands like Wendy's, dbrand, and Liquid Death. They are not the most exciting industries, but they stand out, have a unique brand voice, and deeply connect with their audience. You don't need to be as wild as them, but be yourself.


Also, be sure to leverage reviews and social proof. Showcasing positive feedback from clients helps humanize your organization and establishes authority.


7. Keyword audit

When making new content, especially written content, perform a keyword audit before publishing. This will ensure that you are ranking for the keywords you intend to.


Once again, there are many tools you can use to help. We recommend using the content writing assistant tool from SEMRush or a platform like SurferSEO. These platforms will help you find and plan keywords for your content, then give you a score on how well it ranks for the chosen keywords. They'll also give you tips for improving SEO ranking and recommend supporting keywords to help you rank for your primary words.


8. Use AI... with caution

Generative AI tools like ChatGPT are, without a doubt, beneficial for content creators. They can help you overcome writer's block, develop new ideas, and generate new content faster. But be careful. You typically don't want to publish content directly from these sources because it comes off as fake, and you can even get flagged for using AI content which can harm your SEO rankings.


We recommend only using these tools to research and develop outlines in the planning process. Using the proper prompts can also go a long way toward getting more usable responses from these platforms. Regardless, we recommend running any computer-generated content through an AI checker to avoid potential negative impacts on your SEO score.


9. Hire an SEO specialist

To take things to the next level, you can hire an SEO agency like Web Canopy Studio to help your efforts. They can handle backend development tasks you may not be able to or dedicate the time you don't have to optimize your website. 


SEO can be a rabbit hole. It's complicated and constantly changing; sometimes, it's just better to leave it to the professionals.


A Marathon, Not a Sprint

It's also important to remember that investments in SEO are long-term investments. They are extremely valuable and will pay your organization dividends in the long haul. But you can only expect to climb to the top of Google searches after some time.


Consistency is the most important thing. Follow these steps and consistently generate quality content around your keywords, and slowly but surely, you'll see your search rankings rise and your business thrive.





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