How to Create an Effective SEO Strategy
Learn how to improve search engine rankings – the right way
How old is your SEO strategy? Did you ever have one? If you’re dissatisfied with your website rankings you may need a new SEO strategy. Chances are, your website is several years old and has been largely or totally neglected. To earn and maintain competitive rankings you need to create a SEO strategy and actively manage your website. This article provides ideas, tips and suggestions for creating an effective SEO strategy for a business website.
Think of SEO as a total process and not simply a checklist of tasks. Define your budget and target area, assess the competitive landscape and develop a branding strategy. Develop an understanding of internet traffic sources and how to drive traffic from each channel. Cultivate quality website traffic by completing thorough keyword research which identifies the high traffic search phrases for your type of business. When you understand where to engage traffic, and what part of it you need, you’re ready to make your SEO strategy.
Working on developing ranking for broad terms might consume substantial time and resources yet generate low value traffic. You need to determine what type of customer you want, identify keywords or phrases they actually use and consider user intent associated with each term. For example, if your business sells computers ranking for a high traffic term such as “tablet computers” is probably less valuable than ranking for a lower traffic term such as “tablet PC prices”.
Consider buying motives and create powerful landing pages that engage and persuade the prospect. Now employ the 3D thinking and plan how to coordinate and leverage video marketing, content marketing, social media, link building and related elements. Intangible factors such as timing, volume, pace, ratios and percentages of how these elements are used does matter.
Do it right and avoid problems
Remember that SEO services require strategic implementation, and are not simply items to check off a list. Search engine optimization is a specialty practice. Delegating your SEO to a website guy, relative, friend or office staffer is a bad idea. It is important to note that correcting bad SEO services is very time consuming and expensive. In some cases, especially with link building, bad SEO work can get a domain completely de-indexed. If you decide to do your own SEO work you should spend a LOT of time understanding best practices and quality guidelines. You may need to invest time in clean up activity before implementing SEO improvements. Tools such as the Google Disavow Tool can help your site ranking by eliminating poor quality back links.
If your site has been hit with manual penalties or algorithm penalties you need to contact an SEO company.
SEO Strategies For New Websites
New website SEO strategies and planning must be extremely precise on tactics and timing. Aggressively optimizing a new website can result in serious harm to ranking opportunities and credibility with search engines. This is especially true about link building. A new site that instantly has 5,000 back-links sends red flags about unnatural link acquisition. Being slow to make decisions, or uncommitted to the work at hand wastes valuable time. It is important to utilize every possible method, in measured pace and create a quality footprint that within Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines. New website SEO should definitely be done by an experienced SEO company. For more information you can see this video on SEO Checklist for New Sites.
Benchmarking and Targeting
A SEO strategy should be built on research and analysis of your current situation, needs and objectives. Benchmarking reports, competitor analysis, keyword research and similar data are very important. This data is used to identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities to improve ranking for relevant and high traffic search terms. Often, competitor research reveals some opportunities and tactics that are new to you. Competitor research can also help you to understand their marketing strategy, and find niches or seams they are missing.
It’s All About Point A and Points B,C,D . . . Start by bench-marking your current position (point A), and defining your targets/goals (points B,C,D, . . .). Knowing the gap between these points, and the terrain to be traversed will determine the necessary tactics and tasks. Your plan outline should include on-page (website) work, and off-page work such as inbound content marketing, link building, etc. It is absolutely essential to complete detailed keyword research to identify the terms actually being searched and know the approximate monthly search volume for each term. Although it may be interesting reference material, using PPC keyword tools for SEO planning is not necessarily a good idea. SEO specialists utilize SEO keyword tool sites such as SEMRush, Moz and Ahrefs. As with any tool, having it is one thing, knowing how to use it is another story. Use Google searches for forums, video tutorials and follow SEO experts to develop your SEO strategy plan. Personally we think that Whiteboard Friday videos by Rand Fishkin are informative and helpful.
Implementing and adjusting your SEO strategy
Action Plan and Deliverables
Your SEO action plan needs to specify individual elements that are to be used, how it is to be done, and include milestone completion dates. All work should be cross-checked for consistency with your branding and communications strategy. Common SEO tasks include creating new or additional website content, white papers, video content, social media pages, professionally crafted blog articles, and rich snippets. It is very important to manage the many fine points of your deliverables. The kinds of detail that matter range from tangibles such as word count, content structure, and partial phrase matching to intangibles such as increasing content sharing, or improving bounce rates and time on site. Google specifically measure on-site user metrics as well as off-page data, and on-page content so build this into your SEO strategy.
Implementation, Measurement and Adjustment
Implementation requires website coding, general word processing, managing a variety of web based properties and appropriately skilled personnel. Tracking and measuring your results can be done with free tools such as Google Analytics and paid tools such as MajesticSEO, MOZ and Ahrefs. Making adjustments to your SEO strategy requires a good understanding of search engine algorithms, managing balance of scale and pace, and being able to fully understand what your statistical data means.