6 Pillar Approach

Approach #1

Keyword Strategy

Unfortunately this crucial first step is often overlooked.

While everyone loves tracking vanity rankings (for example “Winnipeg SEO“) the majority of  search traffic actually comes from long-tail keywords that are only ever searched a handful of times. It’s the cumulative affect of showing up for thousands of these that results in substantial traffic increases.

Of course we still target the vanity keywords and when they rank they do generate traffic, but by layering the campaign and structuring the site and page content in such a way that Google will see it as an authority on the topic and return it as a result for thousands of variations of search queries, the results are ten fold what they would be if we only targeted a short list of vanity keywords.

This is why we encourage our clients to track the more meaningful metrics of targeted traffic and increases in leads rather than focus overly on the small subset of keywords which we track in our reporting.

As part of our keyword strategy we identify top competitors and are able to reverse engineer what they are ranking for and which terms are driving the most traffic.

Approach #2

Technical SEO

Getting into site architecture and crawlability.

Technical SEO is all about how easy (and safe) it is for users and the Google bot to find what they are looking for. This includes items like mobile responsiveness, SSL certificate implementation, sitemaps, canonicalization of duplicate pages, noindexing thin content, setting up the robots.txt file etc. If you don’t understan anything in that last paragraph fear not. That’s why we’re here.

This also includes site site structure and interlinking, and determining which pages should rank for which keywords.

Approach #3

On-Page SEO

It’s about making sure the page content is relevant to the search term we are targeting.

Basic on-page SEO would be including the main keyword in the meta title and main heading on the page (h1), optimizing image file names and alt tags, making sure there is enough content on the page and that the keyword appears a few times in the content. We take it a few steps further.

We add schema markup to important pages to communicate the meaning of important page elements to Google.

We geo-tag images and add markup to the exif and iptc data embeded in the image.

We use “term frequency-inverse document frequency” (TF-IDF) tools to determine which terms are meaningful and how many times they need to be included on the site based on data from the top ranking sites for that topic. This allows us to identify words that we may not be trying to rank for but that Google’s engine understands are semantically relevant to the

We use “term frequency-inverse document frequency” (TF-IDF) tools to determine which terms are meaningful and how many times they need to be included on the site based on data from the top ranking sites for that topic. This allows us to identify words that we may not be trying to rank for but that Google’s engine understands are semantically relevant to the terms we are trying to rank for.

We use correlation tools to analyze over 500 on page ranking factors and determine which are statistically significant for the specific keyword we are analyzing and also to what degree each factor should be optimized.

Approach #4

Off-Page SEO

Great, so your technical SEO is perfect.

The on-page relevance is second to none… why are we still not ranking? Everything we’ve discussed thus far is something that happens on the website. Off page refers to everything that happens off of the website.

As smart as Google’s algorithms are, at the end of the day they still rely on human signals to determine the quality and relevance of a site. Is the site being mentioned on other relevant or authoritative sites? Are people talking about it or sharing it on social media? Are articles on the site being referenced in other relevant articles?

These are the types of things Google is looking at to determine whether a site deserves to rank highly in the search results.
Off-page is all about getting featured or mentioned in relevant online publications. We do extensive competitor backlink analysis to find where all the competitors are being mentioned and we go out and try to get those same sources when possible. We also do a lot of outreach to bloggers and relevant sites to either get guest post opportunities on their sites (where we can include a reference to our client) or to include our client as a resource in an article they have already written.

Approach #5

Google My Business

It’s the google property that allows businesses to rank in Google Maps.

While it is connected to your website it is an entity in of itself. The algorithm for ranking in Google Maps is substantially different than the algorithm for ranking websites.

We do a number of activities specifically based around improving maps rankings including posting regularly on Google My Business, press release syndication with map embeds in them, build-outs of directory listings with occurrences of the business name, address and phone number, and a few secret sauce items we’d prefer not to mention here for fear of this proposal landing in the hands of a competitor.

Approach #6

Blog Management

Blog helps with on-page and technical SEO.

While the blog helps with on-page and technical SEO because it provides us with supporting content to interlink into the site, it’s actually a much bigger factor for our off-page SEO.

It can be challenging to get mentions that link back to the home page of a site because they would have to be promotional in nature. It’s much easier to get other websites to mention and link back to helpful resources that they can reference and that actually provide added value to their site users.

Part of our off-page strategy revolves around a good content strategy on our clients’ blogs. Because of this we’ve built out a team of writers and content service we are proud of.

We also configure the blog posts to syndicate out to your social properties so outside of the SEO benefit you’re also getting regular blogs posts which are being automatically shared on social media.

As well, each blog post is strategically written either with the intention of ranking for a keyword or becoming a linkable asset.

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The purpose of First Rank is to help businesses generate leads from their websites. We put a focus on SEO, because we believe it is one of the most cost effective and highest converting forms of traffic generation, however traffic alone is not enough on its own to grow your business. SEO should be combined with conversion optimization, email marketing and retargeting to maximize the ROI of your advertising dollars.