In-house SEO teams and individuals are in a unique position – they’re able to focus on a single industry and company, whereas SEO agencies and freelancers face the task of executing campaigns for multiple clients in a variety of industries.
If you’re an in-house SEO professional, you’re probably already being bombarded with questions and demands for solutions to problems. But what tactics do you have at your disposal? What tools are in your toolbox?
This article presents the top 10 tactics for in-house SEO professionals; basically, what I would do if I was an in-house SEO manager.
#1: Analyze Existing Top Keywords, and Begin Tracking their Rankings
The first project of any new SEO campaign should be thorough keyword research and analysis. The goal is to identify what keywords for which you want to rank at the top of search engine results pages, find out what your current rankings for each of them are, and track their rankings over time to gain insight as to whether your SEO campaign is having a positive effect on rankings and traffic. There are a few great tools for conducting keyword research that I recommend; all of which are owned by Google itself.
Google Webmaster Tools
The keyword data in Google Webmaster Tools, within the “Traffic” section, shows you what search queries resulted in traffic to your website, along with queries for which your website was displayed as a search result. Besides the number of impressions, it also shows average CTR and position (to determine ranking positions and automatically track them over time, I recommend MySEOTool).
Google Analytics also displays data based on queries that resulted in traffic to your website, within the “Traffic Sources à Sources à Search à Organic” section. Unfortunately, many of these keywords will likely be clumped into the “(not provided)” umbrella, which means that the user was logged into their Google account at the time of the search.
Google doesn’t display search data gathered from users that performed search queries while logged into their Google accounts. Nonetheless, Google Analytics still provides useful keyword data that should be considered during the keyword research phase of the SEO campaign. For a more in-depth guide on using Google Analytics in your SEO campaign, see my article “The Definitive Guide to Google Analytics for SEO Professionals.”
The free AdWords Keyword Tool gives a comprehensive keyword overview that allows SEO teams to look at how their site compares to others based on keywords relative to your industry or your website content.
You can also specify a category and geographical location. These keyword ideas are generated for paid search campaigns, but this can also give some good ideas for top search terms that an SEO team may want to focus on that they hadn’t thought of before.
You can sort by competition, number of searches, and location. In this example for a printing company’s website, you can see the many variations of the original keyword search for “custom t-shirt”. It looks like many want to create the design themselves, which works great because the printing company has a design-your-own-shirt tool. By promoting this through SEO and content (blogs, press releases, guest posts, etc), the company can continue to drive more traffic to their new design tool.
Once a base list has been generated, make sure that the ranking page has the most popular terms included naturally, as well as in the title tag, meta description tag, and H1 tag. To further build relevance for your pages’ targeted keywords, do some strategic internal linking from other pages on your site using those keywords as the anchor text.
#2: Google Webmaster Tools: Lots of Cool Things To Do
Google Webmaster Tools also allows you to view your search queries and your average position for those keywords, but the data does vary. For instance, this website has a popular article on a summary of available magazines for marketers. Look at the difference in data for the keyword “marketing magazines” in Analytics and Webmaster Tools: