That may seem like a simple philosophy, but it's extremely difficult to put into practise. To be completely honest, the Stridec team devotes between 10 and 15 hours to each article published on this blog.
What were the outcomes? Organic traffic and conversions havFe increased tenfold year on year. Every year, thousands of backlinks are naturally earned. And a social media audience that raves about our articles.
But I don't like keeping secrets. So, in this article, I'll walk you through the process of developing an exceptional SEO strategy, step by step.
A SEO strategy is a detailed plan for increasing a website's search engine rankings in order to attract more organic traffic. This strategy is built on several pillars, including technical SEO, content strategy, on-page SEO, link building, and user experience.
Simply put, SEO strategy is about providing an exceptional search experience for your target audience.
One of the primary advantages of an effective SEO marketing strategy is that it exposes your brand to searchers at every stage of the customer journey. As a result, your company becomes a trusted, familiar resource for customers regardless of where they are in the purchasing funnel.
Google Search generates a 5.3X ROI for businesses.
In the world of search, deliverables are frequently confused with strategy. However, keyword lists, on-page recommendations, and technical SEO audits are not examples of SEO strategies. They are steps in a larger plan. Confusion is also one of the reasons why most search engine optimization strategies fail. In other words, they're too fragmented and too focused on individual, low-level metrics rather than the big picture.
There are far more steps involved in developing an SEO strategy, especially for a Fortune 100 website, than what is on a basic SEO checklist. The method I've described here only scratches the surface of what you'll need to think about.
However, if you need a quick checklist to keep on hand, download the one below.
Rather than providing you with an SEO strategy template that will lead you astray, let's take a look at the key principles you'll need to consider when developing an organic search strategy. Whether you're a beginner or an SEO expert, it's critical to master these fundamentals.
Set SEO objectives.
Before embarking on a major search engine optimization (SEO) initiative, it is critical to define your objectives. After all, if you don't have clear goals, your SEO efforts won't yield a measurable ROI. It's also critical to link SEO results to top-level metrics like revenue.
Begin by identifying your desired marketing outcomes, and then work backwards to define your process objectives.
Scalability is one of the most difficult challenges that enterprise companies face when developing an SEO website strategy. In-house SEO teams are extremely intelligent and efficient. They understand how to get things done. However, they rarely have the resources to handle large-scale SEO content creation or high-quality link building.
A truly scalable SEO programme extends far beyond plugins and third-party software subscriptions. Stridec's SEO technology solutions identify opportunities for market share, streamline keyword research, and manage blogger outreach.
Scaling your SEO business strategy requires integration and standardization. Lead cross-departmental collaboration with web development, brand management, product management, and sales to that end. Eliminate silos and implement documented processes and systems so you know what's going on and who's to blame.
It is critical in a large corporation to keep executives and other departments informed of progress toward stated goals. Dashboards enable you to scale your SEO reporting to the number of people who need to be kept up to date. It's simple to import data from tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, SEMRush, or Ahrefs, among others.
The process of evaluating your competition in order to improve your own SEO strategy is known as competitive analysis. Examine your rivals' organic search rankings, online reviews, blog strategy, and backlink profiles. Then, investigate their user experience, social media, target audience segments, unique selling points (USPs), and differentiators.
You could expand your investigation by conducting a technical SEO audit. Examine the health of their website, technical SEO implementation, page speed, and mobile friendliness.
Of course, your main competitors should be included in your competitive analysis. It is, however, critical that you include your online competitors. Include websites that rank on the first page of Google for your target SEO keywords, even if they are not direct competitors.
An industry publication, for example, may pose a threat to your search engine results page (SERP) rankings.
The rationale for a dual focus on competitors is obvious. To attract the most search traffic, you must outrank your online competitors as well as your defined competitors.
For example, if you're a cosmetics company, you might not consider the online publisher Byrdie a competitor. Nonetheless, when viewed in the context of the search landscape, Byrdie outperforms the competition and siphons valuable traffic throughout the funnel. Click here to read our Byrdie SEO case study.
Keyword research is at the heart of any effective SEO strategy. It may seem obvious, but it is critical to create content and web pages that your target audience searches for. Large brands frequently overproduce content that does not target specific keyword phrases or repeatedly targets the same term.
Proper keyword research can help you avoid this mistake and increase your SEO ROI.
You'll be able to cover topics thoroughly without cannibalising keywords and diluting value with advanced keyword research. This means increased website traffic, engagement, and conversion rates.
Avoid limiting your research to a specific topic. Single keywords are critical to a high-performance SEO programme. It is, however, equally important to identify the broad topics in which you are an expert and deserve a high SERP ranking.
Topic clusters are an excellent way to leverage broad themes via pillar pages like this blog post.
As you may have noticed, SEO strategy is a broad topic (or pillar page) that covers a wide range of subtopics. In the pillar-cluster model, these subtopics are referred to as cluster pages. Pillar pages provide a broad overview of a topic and provide links to more detailed resources to learn more.
Topic clusters have a wide range of applications. You have the ability to cover the entire spectrum of a keyword group, from high volume head terms to highly specific long-tail keywords. An internal linking strategy allows you to communicate the breadth of your coverage to search engines while also passing inherited link value between relevant content.
Topic Cluster Template (FREE)
Organize your topic clusters and calculate search volume automatically.
How do you come up with keywords to fuel your website's SEO strategy? Stridec created our own set of tools to identify untapped market share, forecast content requirements, and improve keyword research efficiencies.
Aside from proprietary technology, here's a comprehensive list of tools and processes for locating the most impactful search terms.
In our in-depth article about the Voice of the Customer, you can learn more about gathering customer feedback.
Because it underpins Google's search objective, search intent is one of the most important aspects of keyword research. In other words, Google wants to deliver the most relevant content to users as quickly as possible.
A keyword may have a high volume of searches. However, it is possible that it is driven by user intent that is misaligned with your content, business, products, or services. Ranking would be nearly impossible in that case, and any traffic would most likely bounce without converting.
How can you figure out Google's perception of search intent?
Search for your keyword and examine the first 10-20 results. Are they research-driven, solution-driven, or brand-driven?
For example, if the results are primarily how-to articles, creating a case study service page may be ineffective. When a skincare-related search yields results from Wikipedia, WebMD, Mayo Clinic, Healthline, and other related sites, your skincare cream's product page isn't (yet) what the user wants or needs. If the results clearly indicate a different industry, it is best to look for alternative opportunities entirely.
You can't go wrong if you focus on satisfying search intent with your destination pages. Keyword-to-page intent alignment is a winning keyword strategy because it provides the best user experience.
To increase your CTR, it is critical to differentiate your message in the SERP. It's one thing to rank on Google's first page. It's another thing entirely to rank high enough for searchers to click on it.
Both are critical. Poor rankings imply a lack of visibility, and rankings without clicks will not help your business. (A lack of clicks can also indicate to Google that your information is irrelevant.)
Examine what appears on Google's first page for your target keywords. Examine the messaging and copy in SERP listings. Is it possible that they're all saying the same thing? Is it difficult for a searcher to differentiate between results? To stand out if there is a lack of differentiation within the SERP, use more compelling language that still aligns with intent.
GET YOUR FREE ENTERTAINMENT SEO PLAYBOOK
Get Stridec's playbook to help you create a scalable enterprise SEO strategy.
When developing your SEO strategy, keep the entire conversion funnel in mind. Even if you are in charge of a large online retail brand, ecommerce SEO should go beyond product and category pages. Consider how your customers' needs change throughout their journey.
Throughout the purchase funnel, you must provide relevant, useful information as well as a great experience for your audience (ToFu, MoFu, BoFu). Whether new customers are researching broad terms, asking more specific questions in the middle of the funnel, or comparing brands and products at the bottom of the funnel, your brand must be present. If you are not present, your competitors will fill the void.
How can you cover such a large and deep funnel effectively when the customer journey can take months?
Determine the customer's pain points. Then, within the purchase funnel, map keywords to each pain point. Finally, address the fears and concerns that prevent people from acting.
Prospects at the top of the funnel, for example, may be looking for symptoms rather than solutions. As a result, it makes sense to distribute informative blog posts that assist them in understanding the root cause of their problem. Or perhaps they are attempting to educate themselves but are unsure where to begin. Grab their attention with an entertaining piece of related content in this case.
The prospect is beginning to engage with various brands/vendors in the middle of the funnel. At this point, the prospect may be seeking more advanced and detailed content, as well as specific product information.
The prospect may be comparing options and making a final decision near the bottom of the funnel. With a ROI calculator, a competitive comparison matrix, or customer reviews, you may be able to push them over the finish line.
Customers may not have specific companies in mind at the start of their journey. As a result, they are more likely to search for generic, non-branded keywords to learn more about the topic or product area first.
When people start thinking about specific companies, they frequently conduct multiple branded searches. They could look up the product name, the company name, or product reviews. They might look for articles that compare competing solutions. These types of branded searches should provide the information required to answer the searcher's query. However, they must also establish trust with the individual.
Assume one of your customers is about to make a purchase when they come across a slew of 2-star ratings. A slew of negative feedback on ComplaintsBoard or TrustPilot will almost certainly cause them to reconsider and return to researching other options. You could just as easily send a check to your competitors. Furthermore, negative word of mouth would most likely spread (both online and offline), hurting future sales.
If you want to increase your market share, your SEO strategy must take into account both branded and non-branded search queries.
Case Studies for SEO Plans:
Capitalizing on your strengths is a highly effective strategy for dominating organic search results. How? Increase your efforts in the categories where you already rank well.
Rather than focusing on a few unrelated high-volume search terms, attack the vertical in which you already excel until you dominate it. Saturating the funnel with large sets of overlapping keyword groups will help you communicate your expertise to search engines.
Consider this. If you're an expert at chess, you should be able to learn and master hexagonal chess fairly quickly. From there, you might be able to make a name for yourself in the Japanese game of shogi. All of these are strategy games.
Switching from chess to football or basketball, on the other hand, would be significantly more difficult. In fact, despite your superior chess skills, you could be a complete failure at the new sport.
Aim your focus where Google already recognises your brand as relevant and authoritative, and you will see incremental results much faster and easier through a halo effect. In this manner, you can continue to build a targeted ecosystem in order to achieve dominance in that area before moving on to other, more difficult areas.
A keyword strategy by itself will not help you dominate the SERPs. Your website must also be technically sound and search engine optimised. This may seem obvious, but it is frequently the most difficult obstacle for large brands to overcome.
Deep Crawl, Screaming Frog, and OnCrawl are tools that can assist you in identifying critical technical SEO issues.
Internal roadblocks and limited development bandwidth can derail critical technical updates, forcing SEO teams to rely on link building without laying the proper foundation. As a result, technical issues wreak havoc on crawling, link equity distribution, and user experience. As a result, the Google algorithm is less likely to rank your site highly.
On large, complex websites, search engines frequently get lost crawling unimportant page URLs. If you examine your log files for crawl budget efficiency, you may notice indexable pages that receive no search engine bot hits or non-indexable pages that consume bot requests.
Alternatively, you may have noticed that pages with longer load times perform poorly in organic search. Perhaps your URL structure is a problem. Alternatively, you may have mixed content, in which some of the linked content on a page is not HTTPS like the rest of the site. Perhaps you've noticed an increase in 404 error pages. It's possible that your XML Sitemaps have problems, such as outdated or missing URLs.
The foundation of your search engine optimization strategy is technical SEO, which must be prioritised. Your content and backlinks will have a far greater impact on your organic search results if you have a solid technical infrastructure.
High-quality content is one of the top three SEO ranking factors, according to Google's former Search Quality Senior Strategist, Andrey Lipattsev. But what exactly is great content? And how do you create a content strategy that has an impact on your key business initiatives?
Answer: Create an SEO framework for your content strategy.
Stridec employs a wide range of research, strategic development, IA and page-level outlining, and full publishing capabilities to influence pages across your website and throughout your customer funnel. We examine the search landscape in your market to determine the best topics to target, as well as the underlying intent of those searches and the types of content required to rank, such as product pages, blog posts, or long-form content.
An SEO-focused approach to content marketing not only provides Google with an understanding of your relevance, but it also enables you to provide a superior customer experience precisely when your audience is looking for answers on a specific topic. As a result, you'll generate a slew of powerful backlinks while also satisfying your customers.
Even the best content in the world won't bring in organic traffic if it isn't properly optimized for the keywords that people actually search for. On-page optimization, on the other hand, is a vast subject that includes titles, headings, image alt text, anchor text, search intent, schema for featured snippets, and much more.
Read our step-by-step guide to on-page SEO techniques for search professionals if you need a refresher.
Your page title tag, H1 and subheads are the most important on-page SEO ranking signals. Your strategy, on the other hand, should go far beyond headings and meta tags. You must also consider search intent, related entities, coverage depth and breadth, and, most importantly, internal links. And, while the meta description isn't a direct ranking signal, it can improve SERP click-through rates.
Make no mistake: this is a massive undertaking that will necessitate specialised knowledge, technology, and processes. Our content team develops and refines content using a variety of leading SEO tools. But we've also developed our own proprietary technology to fill in the gaps left by these tools.
Plan out your entire on-page optimization project to increase efficiency. Then, create a repeatable process for attacking one page at a time. If you need assistance, you can use our on-page SEO and copywriting checklist.
Off-page SEO (also known as off-site SEO) refers to any actions you take away from your website in order to improve your SEO. Link building, getting published on third-party websites, and being interviewed are all common examples.
Because Google cares about what others think of your brand, on-page optimization isn't enough. You must demonstrate to search engines that others regard your brand as authoritative. You should conduct strategic outreach to high-quality, credible websites and influencers to truly maximise your organic search results.
Keep in mind that not all links are created equal.
One relevant backlink from CNN with a domain authority of 95 is worth far more than 100 links from Pete's Pizza Shop or Betsy's Basket Weaving Blog.
PageRank and trust are crucial. However, make sure the websites you're linking to are also relevant to your brand. Backlinks from a math tutoring website to an auto insurance company are a major red flag for link manipulation. (Note: This is a real-world example, and yes, Google penalised the company when the manipulation was discovered.)
According to Statista, mobile search now accounts for 59 percent of all Google searches, up from 45 percent just five years ago. And this is a growing trend.
With the increasing popularity of smartphones and mobile search, it's only natural that Google has shifted to a mobile-first index model. This means that it's more important than ever to optimise for mobile, or you risk harming not only your mobile results, but also your desktop and tablet search engine results.
Mobile devices account for 59% of all organic Google searches.
How can you ensure that your website is mobile-friendly?
Create a responsive website that is easy to use on smartphones and loads quickly. If your mobile content differs from your desktop content, consider whether your SEO copy adequately covers your target keyword.
Finally, use Google's Mobile-Friendly Test tool to see how Google sees your mobile-friendliness. You can also use Google Search Console's Mobile Usability feature to identify any potential mobile errors. You can test how your content renders on different mobile viewports without ever leaving the page if you know your way around the developer tools in web browsers!
YouTube, the world's second-most popular search engine, is a search and social media powerhouse. Every day, over one billion users watch over one billion hours of video. With that level of impact, you must focus on video SEO.
Because of YouTube's dominance, it is critical for you to round out your search, social, and content initiatives. However, the value extends far beyond increased visibility among your target audience segments on YouTube.
An effective video SEO strategy assists your content in gaining real estate in Google SERPs. As a result, video production and optimization will benefit your digital marketing strategy.
How do you succeed at video SEO?
Begin your advanced video keyword research with tools such as YouTube Suggest, YT Cockpit, vidIQ, KeywordTool.io, and Tubics.
After you've defined your keywords, make awesome videos that outperform competing videos on your target topics. The title, description, metadata, and tags should then be optimised. Improve your optimization by including a video transcript on the page and implementing a video sitemap.
Keep in mind to embed the video on your own website. Also, ensure that the video is relevant to the page it's on so that the user experience is positive.
Voice search is becoming increasingly popular. According to Comscore, voice search will account for 50% of all searches by 2020. Voice-based shopping is expected to reach $40 billion by 2022, according to OC&C Strategy Consultants. Behshad Behzadi of Google confirmed that voice search is the fastest growing type of search.
Instead of typing search queries into a device, voice search allows people to interact with technology by using verbal commands. Voice-based technology is much more than just a means of managing random tasks. Voice search is quickly becoming the preferred method of locating information on the internet.
By 2022, voice-based shopping is expected to reach $40 billion.
Strategy Consultants OC&C
Use tools like BuzzSumo Question Analyzer to identify the most frequently asked questions online across hundreds of thousands of forums, including Amazon, Reddit, Quora, and Q&A websites, to excel at voice SEO.
If you are a retailer or service provider with physical locations, local SEO, which involves optimising a website to be found in local search results, is an important discipline to include in your SEO strategy. It's also important if your market is geographically focused, regardless of whether you have a physical storefront.
Local SEO is especially important for converting interest into actual sales.
According to Google, local intent accounts for 46 percent of all Google searches. According to a Local Search Association report, search engines are the most commonly used channel for finding local business information, with 87 percent of survey respondents using a search engine to find a local business. According to Forrester, mobile devices will influence more than $1.4 trillion in local sales by 2021.
To excel at local SEO, keep your Google My Business account, as well as the many other online local listing sites, up to date. Yelp, Citysearch, and other similar local directories fall into this category. Keep your NAP (name, address, and phone number) consistent across all local listings.
Optimize your pages and content for local terms like state, city, and even neighbourhood names. For greater local coverage, you can also optimise for "near me" searches.
Reviews can also have a significant impact on the outcomes of your local search efforts. According to Qualtrics, 82% of consumers read an online review before buying a product. Implement a programme that asks satisfied customers for feedback.
If your company is global, your SEO strategy should include optimising your website for different target regions around the world. International SEO is the process of optimising your website so that search engines serve the appropriate country-version and language version of your site to searchers in various locations.
Use an international-friendly URL structure so that the country and language are visible to achieve a highly optimised site. Of course, each version of the site should also be available in the local language or languages.
Implement hreflang tags to assist Google in determining which language is being used on a specific page when the same page content is used in other international versions of the site. This ensures that Google displays the correct language version of the site in the SERPs for various searches conducted around the world.
Although branding and SEO are not always directly related, there are many instances where a strong brand reputation improves organic search results. More fans can be attracted by a strong brand. The more fans your brand has, the more they will talk about it, engage with it, share related content, and link to you.
When all else is equal between you and your competitors, the strongest brand frequently drives the most traffic and backlinks, which can send a strong signal to Google that the brand is authoritative.
Consider Airbnb's meteoric rise. They have fully committed to compelling photography and design thanks to their adept branding. The brand, masters of storytelling, features host and guest stories whenever possible. As a result, Airbnb garners a wide range of attention from the media, influencers, and the general public.
All of this contributes to the brand's online visibility and organic search results. There are over 253 million results when you search "AirbnB" in Google (and a whole lotta brand love). Over the last decade, the brand has generated more than 31 million backlinks (in comparison, Marriott.com has approximately 10.7 million and Hilton.com has slightly more than 4 million), posing a formidable barrier to competitors.
Forrester SEO Research
Examine how fully integrated SEO increases business impact.
UX and SEO
The primary goal of SEO is to rank your pages and content in the Google SERPs. And these days, it entails more than just keyword optimization. This implies that you must also provide an excellent user experience.
Why? Because Google's primary goal is to provide searchers with the most relevant and useful results.
As a result, make user experience a key component of your SEO strategy. Satisfy search intent while also considering how to positively engage with your audience. Analyze click and scroll data with behavioral analysis software, and A/B test CTAs whenever possible.
When you provide an exceptional digital experience, you will reduce bounce rate and possibly increase conversions.
Many businesses first create a marketing strategy, complete with initiatives, campaigns, and assets, and then add SEO as an afterthought. Then they try to improve on what they've already created.
SEO, on the other hand, can act as a powerful compass upstream in the marketing strategy development process by using search data as an insight engine. Rather than optimizing fully-baked campaigns, your audience and competitive landscape insights should drive the strategy you implement across all channels throughout the funnel.
This method will enable you to match each buyer persona and piece of content to the most appropriate marketing channel, whether paid, social, or organic.
Look for ways to integrate your SEO best practises with other marketing vehicles to maximise the value of your SEO efforts. SEO can help you improve your online reputation, paid search, public relations, social media, website, and much more. When you approach your marketing holistically, all of your marketing, including SEO, will benefit.
For example, you can concentrate on organic search for keywords that are too expensive to generate a good marketing ROI with paid search. Alternatively, you can use paid search and advertising to gain traffic for a specific keyword while establishing an SEO beachhead.
When it comes to SEO and public relations, you can naturally pass SEO value by seeding relevant keywords within PR placements. As a result, SEO drives improved online performance and ROI from PR victories.
Furthermore, search engine optimization analysis provides useful information to the public relations team. It provides more context for the importance of websites, bloggers, and influencers as part of the PR team's relationship-building efforts.
And public relations is an important component of off-page SEO. As you develop relationships with reporters and publications, you open up new avenues for obtaining organic backlinks from high-quality websites.
Find out more about the advantages of integrated marketing.
Define KPIs ahead of time so that you only track SEO performance metrics that are relevant to your goals. Everything else is a gimmick. Consider KPIs in terms of the 80/20 rule: focus on the 20% of activities that drive 80% of your results.
Is your blog, for example, the sole source of your conversions? Or is it one of your top five product category pages? Track the metrics that show how your top pages are performing so you can implement an SEO content strategy to improve them.
Page Four Tracking the number of Google page one rankings assists you in capturing share of voice, pushing competitors lower in search rankings, and attracting traffic.
Discover which Google ranking factors can propel you to the top of the search results! Ask us how we assess market share opportunity for Fortune 1000 brands if you want to win in the SERPs. Other useful SEO KPIs include:
Learn more about how to consistently generate leads.
You can't just "set it and forget it" when it comes to SEO success. You must constantly optimize your site, publish valuable content, and obtain credible backlinks. Furthermore, always be prepared to capitalize on new SEO trends (voice search was a non-starter years ago, for example).
With this in mind, keep an eye on emerging trends such as mobile search, voice search, video, and structured data.
Every year, attend or watch a video of the Google I/O developer conference for a glimpse into the future. The abbreviation "I/O" refers to input/output, as well as the slogan "Innovation in the Open." Google provides a glimpse into the future during the event, revealing new products, features, and technologies. This will assist you in understanding Google's overall direction.
With the massive proliferation of connected devices, it will be critical to monitor searcher behaviour using various types of devices in various environments and situations. For example, voice search through your car's dashboard may progress beyond what we typically consider when discussing Google search on a laptop or smartphone.
What will not change is the fundamentals of providing a great user experience that matches search intent regardless of where the person is in the funnel.
What exactly is SEO strategy?
A SEO strategy is a detailed plan for increasing a website's search engine rankings in order to attract more organic traffic. This strategy should be built on several pillars, including technical SEO, content strategy, on-page SEO, link building, and user experience.