Develop a successful SEO strategy
Find a specific area of the SEO strategy development process:
- Strategy Development Process
- SEO Strategy Research
- SEO Auditing
- Strategy Document
- Content & SEO Strategy
An introduction to SEO strategy development
The key to developing a great SEO strategy lies within the foundational and initial work of research, research, then more research, and the more you do the chances of enhanced performance and success increase.
Create a visible and tangible path, upon which to follow leads to success.
After the carefully crafted research, nice presentations and trust won from the client, comes the interesting part - process, execution, and methods of measure.
Great, good luck and let me know how you get on!
Examples of exercises to perform that enable you to grab a deeper understanding of the elements required to create an effective SEO strategy include – event calendars, competitor analysis, content performance, audience sentiment analysis, keyword research and auditing.
Strategy Development Process
Obviously, if it was that easy, you’d not need to hire an SEO agency or ego-centric self-proclaimed genius on all aspects of SEO, some of these geniuses were doing SEO back in the 1930s.
Part 1, the first phase - SEO Strategy – Research:
Let’s make a start with research. This is the obvious beginning and may require different levels of research depending on your initial understanding of the current performance of the website in question.
I develop a lot of strategies for website’s I have already worked on or have recently performed an audit it for. My point here is that often I have a top line understanding of site performance against keyword sets. If I don’t or have never seen the website before I often go to their Search Console panel, if this isn’t set-up then ask for it to be set-up and then check out page performance. These insights shouldn’t be ignored, keywords aren’t what they used to be in terms of SEO process but data within Search Console is hugely useful.
This should be your initial port of call, let’s look at keywords that the website you’ve been passed currently ranks for and begin to put together a keyword research document, that not only considers the actual keyword terms but relatable topics too. These topics will feed into the content strategy arm of the overall SEO strategy.
At this stage I find it helps to create a keyword document that follows in the same vein as a keyword matrix document. You can discover more about these by following the link where you will find an in-depth look into the world of keyword matrix creation.
It doesn’t have to be a complete document; a good keyword document should consider the dynamisms of the keyword universe your site project sits within. Consider the lexical approach to keyword creation, split out the excel doc and have tabs that reflect pages, then consider possible areas that could represent the beginnings of a hub.
Here’s an example of a keyword research document (PDF Download), it’s not rocket science but by focusing on clarity and a clear segmentation of terms, you’ll then have something you can refer to as the project matures.
When constructing your keyword document consider the website structure. Are some of the keyword terms you are seeing relevant to a category, sub-category, or other relevant hub area? Segment your keywords out in accordance with the website hierarchy, I often create sitemaps like these which detail keyword targets to web pages (download kw sitemap). If the website is not live, then create recommended categories or hubs that clearly demonstrate the benefit with the keyword map as your tool.
Part 2, secondary phase – SEO Auditing – Issues:
The traditional approach of the SEO pyramid is fine here; start at the base (technical/foundation) and then move up to the low-mid and do an on-page audit, I separate out UX then complete the tip of the pyramid with an outreach/back-link analysis.
If you have been at SEO for some time and have explored the website, then you may have a strong idea of the issues the website faces already.
The whole point of this process is to establish the websites condition. What is going to be needed to be done to help the website progress within its search landscape?
Putting it altogether
At this point, you will now have a strong understanding of the website, the weak points, and strengths.
All weak areas and present issues should be listed and encompassed into the strategy document. Whether it be under optimised title tags or weak pages in terms of content and direction, it’ll all need listing out and incorporating into your strategy.
At this point, have at least an excel document open, list the issues and account for hours needed to make the fixes. This can be your campaign plan which will lead to the website becoming fully optimised from the ground up.
Once all issues are listed, it’s time to build in the real meat to the strategy.
To give your website’s pages the authority and attention they deserve.
Once you have decided upon the plan and have completed the initial set-up stage (highlighting the issues and timings on getting these fixed) it’s time to create the channels of work that you will be progressing.
Channels to split out that will require weekly or monthly updates (depending on budgets) should be split out here with completion (execution) areas having room for a tick once completed!
Strategy document split
What to include and how to present the SEO strategy in a visual form.
Strategy documents should contain all formulated data that has been used to put together the final product – which should sit on one tab and nicely detail in a chronological layout the objectives for each week. Tabs may include the following detail:
- All previous website condition data, the date you begin with the various channels listed.
- Outreach, along with the type of link and page detail we are targeting along with preferred anchor text
- Digital PR, what is to celebrate (voiced) and at what time for what affect? Installed measures/KPIs
- New content for blog/news area, this is where an event calendar is essential, place relevant content live a good month before natural search volume increases. A great example of this would be an upcoming football tournament. Ensure your content goes live a good six weeks before the event to allow for indexation, crawl, and a strong position in the serps (Search Engine Results Pages)
- On-page optimisation, have you thin pages or pages where the content direction is lost or contributing to pollination from other areas? No matter the on-page issue, incorporate into the strategy document as these issues will need addressing
- Hub creation, if this is feasible create a tab detailing build, is to be all at once or steadily over the length of time desired
Have all the arms detailed that are going to be used throughout the duration of the SEO strategy. Allow for a dynamic approach, we all know that Google can change to goal posts, let’s not let them get away with it with our strategy.
Areas of content strategy
Content, the content strategy is a fundamental aspect of any SEO strategy, along with outreach, digital PR, and the list of fixes from the audit.
Though, not all these aspects are a priority all the time, a lot of the SEO strategy aspects that will need prioritising, will depend on the results of investigations (audits). And the nature of the client, and the events associated with the target audience.
Check out our tips on creating a content strategy by following the link.
Putting a SEO strategy together today, has never been so much like formulating a standard marketing strategy as it has today. A successful SEO strategy will explore the full digital landscape the website sits within, along with business objectives.
Based on the findings, a SEO strategy will align itself to ensure a website’s pages are relevant and found for when a targeted audience member makes the all-important searches.
With the nature of website’s all being so very different, it’s nigh on impossible to have a one stop shop strategy template that works for every website. There are so many variables it makes it nigh on impossible.
There’s no escaping the fact that if you require a thorough and insightful strategy that will attain business objectives, then it’s essential that your foundational work leaves no stone unturned.
Keyword research data is vital and will often result in a bounty of keywords which can be used for various other aspects of search engine optimisation.
Just before we sign this off and you are still wondering -
Why create an SEO strategy?
A formulated strategy aids the timings and organisation of primarily content placement factors (whether it be for your own website or a third parties, both are usually intertwined within the strategy document). Once the website is in a state of optimisation both technically and on-page, the outreach and content development aspect occur. Both the outreach and content creation aspects are heavily saturated in the development of the strategy.