Hello, does SEO still work?

Anna M, marketing manager
Anna M, marketing manager
Feb 20, 2024
12 minutes
Is your target audience, traffic, and conversion just empty words for you? But you surely know that 25% of users click on links from the first page of Google, and only 3% reach the 7th page. So, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the only way to through, specifically by working on keywords, technical aspects of the website, content, and link profile.
Let's dive into each of these stages. There isn't a specific ideal order for them, and some will need to be done regularly. However, you should start working on them long before the first line of code is written. The preparation work for a website creation involves business analysts, designers, and an SEO specialist. So, get comfortable and listen to what needs to be done.

Preparatory works

Any successful SEO strategy begins long before the website becomes a reality. It consists of the following actions.

Competitor Analysis

Start by examining your competitors, both direct and indirect. Study the keywords used in their titles, descriptions, and content. There are online services like SeRanking, SEMrush, and Ahrefs that provide tools for such analysis.
Determining the main competitors for the inquiry "buy branded clothes"
In addition to keywords, we look at meta-data, the number of inbound/outbound links, and examine the content (which texts are used, how much). For individual businesses, we assess the structure: i.e., what categories, and subcategories exist. In essence, we evaluate the website to create your own site map then skillfully.
The collected data is best presented in the form of a table. Highlight with colors which results are positive, which are neutral, and which are negative. From these, select those that highlight the competitor against the rest, and mark what should be avoided.

Gathering a semantic core

This is a list of keywords and phrases you would like to "see" your website for. You can use tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, and AnswerThePublic. They help explore search query volumes and offer ideas for keywords.
We actively use SeRanking because this tool is excellent for forming the initial structure of keyword queries.
Here you can see:
- Inquiry difficulty (the level of difficulty of ranking in the top 10 for this keyword: the higher the indicator, the more difficult the promotion will be);
- Frequency (average number of search queries for this keyword per month excluding identical meaning keys);
- CPC (cost per click received within a Google Ads advertising campaign);
- The most important, in our opinion, block is the selected keywords (keywords semantically close to the analyzed query). This will allow you to expand the core and select not the most obvious queries to build the site structure.
If you plan to have a website with a large number of subsections, you will likely need several iterations to collect semantics. But don't be lazy and already at the design stage, make a basic collection of queries - it will be easier to build the structure and plan the content.

Creating a sitemap

Why? Firstly, it will help in planning the layout and optimizing the placement of content and internal linking blocks. Secondly, search algorithms are constantly changing. Implementing SEO at early stages will make the site more flexible and easily adaptable to these changes.
Congratulations! The preparatory stage is complete. However, working with SEO is an ongoing process, so let's take a look at what needs to be done regularly.

Analysis and selection of keywords for the semantic core

If you thought that building a semantic core was a one-time task, congratulations, you were mistaken. After wireframing the screens, semantics becomes an integral part of the strategy at all subsequent stages.
The collected semantics need to be uploaded to monitoring services. For example, to the SeRanking we mentioned earlier (we still don't get paid for advertising). Additionally, include the queries of your main competitors and monitor the dynamics of their visibility. You'll be able to adjust your strategy and content based on this data.
Grouped semantics for a client selling cars on lease

Content optimization

Content is the foundation of your website's SEO strategy. Without it, search engines have nothing to rank. Here we include everything that your audience reads, watches, or listens to:
- Blogs
- Website texts
- Infographics
- Videos
- Podcasts
- Social media posts
There was a time when it was trendy to stuff a bunch of "keywords," and people suffered from unreadable and silly texts because they were written for machines. Now it's all the other way around. If the text seems inadequate to the robot, your site will hang out in the back alleys of Google.
Why do you better to bother writing the text yourself, from scratch, without resorting to copy-pasting, and without shifting everything onto the shoulders of GPT?
Unique content attracts the attention of search engines and interested consumers. While the latter are not yet strong in recognizing the creativity of artificial intelligence, the robot sees another robot from afar and criticizes your laziness)) Just kidding, it just doesn't consider this content better than human content. Therefore, we would advise using only ideas or fragments of AI texts, based on your thoughts.
Quality content demonstrates your professionalism and helps build trusting relationships with your audience. And after all, if you're as cool as you say, why not write about it? Why not tell about the tricks and life hacks you know, why John’s fences are worse than yours, or how come that your benches cost three times more than Michael's?

Technical SEO

Having a technically optimized website is important if you want to attract organic traffic from search engines. The design and content of the site become useless if users cannot access the site or navigate through it.
Technical SEO consists of management elements and settings that need to be optimized so that search engines can scan and index your site. Technical search engine optimization applies not only to the content of the site but to its configuration and elements as well, such as XML sitemap, structured data, page speed, URL structure, navigation, robots.txt, etc.
Website technical optimization deserves a separate article and even a whole guide, which is already started.

External site optimization

External optimization is aimed at improving external ranking factors such as online reputation and link metrics.
A link serves as a kind of recommendation. When an authoritative website with a high rating places a link to your resource, it essentially tells the search engine, "This page can be trusted, just like mine." The more positive recommendations, the higher the likelihood of landing on the first page of search results.
It is also important to ensure that links to your site are natural and high-quality. Search engines may react negatively to an abundance of artificial links.
There are several strategies for acquiring external links. In organic growth, effective methods include exchanging links with partners in your industry, posting on Reddit, Quora, and social media, as well as collaborating with influencers. Purchasing links through paid services is also an option, but it comes with risks, as it may lead to violations of search engine rules.
The main rules for building a link profile:
Obtain high-quality backlinks from authoritative sources. Avoid scattering them on sketchy websites or simply in comments. This is crucial to build a trustful brand and boost your site's ranking in search engines.
Choose websites where your target audience hangs out. It's better to have fewer links but receive targeted traffic. Quality outweighs quantity in this case. It makes no sense to waste time on scattering links across a bunch of irrelevant sites and getting zero results when you can secure a publication on one site that's just right for you.

Tracking results

The final component in implementing an SEO strategy is tracking results.
Pay attention to the site's ranking and traffic to see what works best and what doesn't. Analytics will provide you with a lot of information about your customers. You'll see demographic data of those who click on your links, their behavior on the site, and the times when they are most active online. Understanding your audience will help in content creation and marketing actions.
the photo is from the website seranking.com
1 - Dynamics of positions in organic search results
2 - Review of positions for key phrases in organic search results
3 - Competitors' effectiveness dynamics
4 - Website traffic analysis
You should also stay updated on SEO trends and algorithm changes. Google and other search engines make updates and changes, so make sure you're aware of them and adjust your strategy as needed. Where to do it?
Google's official blog: Google Search Central Blog
It's useful to follow articles on SE Ranking's blog and SEMrush's blog (in general, many similar blogs from SEO services).
There are various channels and chats (then you can stay informed non-stop)

Artificial Intelligence is coming to the rescue

AI has significantly changed SEO since 2022. For example, ChatGPT allows you to upload lists of keywords and analyze which ones are worth using. It helps brainstorm keywords and potential blog topics.
In 2023, there were many discussions about whether Google would penalize content partially created by AI. However, Google updated its content guidelines to clarify that they do not directly prohibit or punish the use of AI for content creation.
Artificial intelligence significantly saves time, but it does not possess your unique experience and does not guarantee the reliability and timeliness of information.


The conclusions are very simple:
Do things properly, and you'll get good results. This applies especially to content. Pay attention to it, write thoughtfully on relevant topics, and success will follow;
Don't forget about the technical side of things. Even if you're not well-versed in technical settings, it's wise to consult with specialists every few months to ensure everything is running smoothly. After all, what is content good if there are no people to consume it?
Share your content. The more attention you pay to sharing, the better your external optimization will become;
Track the results. Taking actions without understanding their impact is a futile waste of company resources.