How to Develop an SEO Strategy

An SEO strategy is an essential part of any effective search engine optimisation.

If you want your website to rank for key terms, then you need a strategy in place. In fact, without the strategy, it’s likely you won’t even know what the key terms would be.

So what exactly goes into an SEO strategy, and how can you put it to best use?

Site audit

Audit your website and see what is right and what is wrong.

There are a number of ways to do this, but a site audit can identify the areas to improve and where you are doing well.

Once you have identified any errors, put a plan of action into place of how you will fix them.

There may be technical SEO fixes to your site, or further optimisations to make to key pages. A site audit will find most things that are wrong, and give you a hierarchy of how to go about sorting them out.

Keyword research

Make a list of all the topics and keywords you think your customers or potential customers would use to find your brand, products or services.

Then put these into a tool such as SEMrush, Ahrefs or Google Ads Planner. There are many different tools to use, but these are some of the most popular.

This will give you specific search volume for the terms you have entered, and will suggest other related terms that may have a different meaning, or differing levels of search volume.

What you want to find is terms with the highest volume that, realistically, you would be able to rank for. Some terms will be almost impossible if big brands already have a hold of the first page on Google – but that’s not to say there are longer terms or “long-tail” key phrases that you can rank for.

Competitive research

Have a look at what the competition is up to.

It’s likely you know your key competitors. Have a look at the site and use one of a number of tools to identify what terms they target, rank for, and what they aren’t ranking for.

This can give you a good insight into where to take the fight to them, and what opportunities exist where they do not rank.

You can get ideas for content, for key terms or overall website performance.

They may rank for terms you would never have even considered that has a higher search volume than the terms you target. You can then try and rank for the same terms and steal some of their traffic.

Content strategy

Within your keyword research, you might have come across long tail phrases or search terms that include whole sentences or questions.

These can be good for creating content around.

For instance, if you sold shoes online, and people were searching for “what are the best shoes for hiking in” you would want to create a piece of content offering suggestions on the best hiking shoes or boots. But at the same time, you would want a hiking shoe/boot page to rank for the term “hiking boots”. There is a key difference there.

So you will need to identify the search terms that have the right intent behind them. There is no point targeting terms where you think they will not be interested in what you have to offer.

Then you will need to create a content calendar which plans out when and what content you will produce.

Then, of course, you will need to generate the content. This can be blogs, videos, podcasts, or otherwise. Whatever format you think your audience will respond to. But make sure you optimise it to the key terms you target.

Page optimisations

Identify the key product or service pages – though it’s likely you already know these.

Then, consider the terms with the best volume that are most relevant to these pages.

But ultimately – what is the intent behind these search terms? What are these people looking for? Which intent is directly linked to what you offer?

Use these terms and optimise the page that is related to that term around this. This includes optimising the on-page content including body text, images, meta titles, headings, meta descriptions and more.

Ultimately Google decides which pages are the most relevant to search terms, so you need to give Google every indication you can that your page is relevant, and ensure it is actually relevant and as informative as it possibly can be. Make sure it answers the intent behind the search terms.

Link building

How do you plan to build links?

Links are still an important part of SEO.

In theory, you should accumulate links naturally through SEO. If you have content that is useful or informative, people should link to it from around the web.

However, there is no harm in actively reaching out to other sites that are relevant to your brand and asking for links.

Other alternatives include guest blogging and other forms of cross-promotion.

But in terms of identifying relevant sites, you can use certain tools like SEMrush or Majestic to see which sites have the highest authority, and target them in whichever way you can.

Rank reporting

Monitor your rankings and continue to optimise your site.

SEO is not something you can do once a year and forget about. Some people do it just once and think they are set up for the rest of time.

At the end of the day, your competitors will be continuing to optimise their websites and overtaking your positions.

You need to stay up-to-date with the latest SEO trends, news and practices. You need to put this into action.

But not only that, you need to know where you rank for your key terms, and continually optimise the landing pages for these terms. If you aren’t where you think you should be ranking (normally in front of your most key competitor) then there is work to be done.