Seo strategy

Five steps to ensure the success of your campaign

It’s 2017, and most entrepreneurs are fully aware that they need search engine optimization to give their business a boost. Using its power, they can drive more traffic, increase SERPs, and improve conversion rates. But what business owners (and even some digital marketers) fail to realize is that SEO isn’t that easy to master. A proper SEO strategy is necessary to achieve tangible results.

In this article, I explain how to build a winning SEO strategy in five basic steps. With these simple steps in mind, you will turn your site (or your client’s site) into an effective income generator. Let’s take a look behind the SEO curtain.

How to Develop an SEO Strategy in Five Steps

# 1 Select the pages to optimize and promote

Search engine optimization can cost more than you think, especially if you’re trying to rank higher in competitive niches (i.e. legal, real estate, insurance, weight loss , etc.). An effective and profitable SEO strategy depends on your ability to prioritize. So, as a starting point, only select multiple pages to promote and optimize.

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What pages are these? Well, it depends on your industry and your specialization. If you are an e-commerce site, focus on your most competitive products. If you are a service business, select your premier offering or service. If you are a clinic, go for your most common procedures. And so on.

An important factor to consider is the performance of these selected pages in the search. For example, if you want to optimize and promote two service pages but only have the budget for one, choose the page that already ranks higher.

Trying to cover all the pages at once is pointless. As a digital marketer you are limited in time and resources so focus on targeted pages. You can improve the ranking of your key pages, which in turn will give your site a substantial SERP boost.

# 2 run a competitor analysis

After selecting which pages to target, you need to analyze what your competition is doing to get the best search results. Look at their tactics on and off the page.

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Factors to analyze on the page

  • Keywords (in page elements and content)
  • Url
  • Securities
  • Titles and subtitles
  • Images and alt tags
  • Meta descriptions
  • Content structure
  • Content length
  • Widgets and plugins (i.e. social buttons)
  • Loading speed
  • Mobile friendliness

Off-page factors to analyze

  • Number of backlinks leading to the given targeted page
  • Types of backlinks (e.g. directories, listings, blog posts, etc.)

Pay special attention to keywords. If your competition ranks in the top ten search results on Google and you don’t, they most likely did a better job with the keywords than you. Your goal is to correct your mistake by sprinkling your targeted pages with additional keyword synonyms, latent semantic indexing keywords, and long tail keywords. Rely on tools like Ahrefs, Moz, and the Google AdWords keyword planner for research.

You can also get a lot of information from the links. To learn more about the links your competitors are using on their targeted pages, I recommend you use Ahrefs site explorer. Simply paste a URL into the analysis bar, select “Prefix” from the drop-down list, hit the search icon, and navigate to the “Return Links” section of the report. You will get a full list of backlinks to the targeted page. Like that:

# 3 Compare strategies to determine what needs improvement

At this point, you need to take a look at how SEO is performed on your site compared to competing sites. Basically, you need to compare on-page and off-page optimization tactics and figure out what your targeted pages are missing.

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To facilitate this process, answer the following questions:

  • What main keyword (s) are they using on the targeted pages?
  • Do they use LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing)? How many?
  • What is the keyword density?
  • Does the main keyword appear in the first 100 words?
  • Are keywords used in URLs, headlines, headlines, and subtitles?
  • Do the alt tags contain the main keyword or the LSIs?
  • Are the meta descriptions correctly written? How? ‘Or’ What?
  • What is the structure of the content? Content length?
  • Are there any visual elements used? How are these visuals optimized for search?
  • Are there enough bulleted lists and white space?
  • Do the pages have social buttons? Comments section?
  • What types of external and internal links are used?
  • How are these links placed in the content?
  • What is the charging time?
  • Are the pages optimized for mobile?
  • Do they have AMP?
  • Do the pages have pop-up windows?
  • What is the age and authority of competitor pages?
  • Are the contents of the pages fresh?

After you’ve answered all of these questions, write down a list of what each targeted page is missing. It could be specific keywords, reliable links, fancy visuals, proper page structure, etc. Make sure you understand what your competition is doing better than you. Then you can build on their success.

# 4 run behavior factor analysis on targeted pages

Once you’ve determined what your competition does best with on-page and off-page optimization, turn your attention to factors like design, usability, and user behavior on the targeted pages. Analyzing these factors will help you understand why your pages are maintaining a good search position or not delivering optimal results. For these factors, it is best to perform a behavior analysis.

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I don’t recommend using fancy tools. Just go to your Google Analytics account and look at the following metrics:

  • Rebound rate
  • Average time on page
  • Goals (see the “Conversions” tab)

These will be enough to help you understand how visitors engage with your pages, content, conversion forms, and CTAs. However, sometimes GA doesn’t help as much as you need it to.

Say your targeted page has a high bounce rate, bad on-page weather, and no conversions, even after you’ve done all of your optimization tweaks. Basically you have no idea what drives visitors to leave. In situations like this, it makes sense to use heat map tools like CrazyEgg or Lucky Orange.

Heatmaps are great for visualizing and analyzing how visitors read and hover content, complete registration, contact us and subscribe forms, press buttons and click links. Use them wisely to better understand your real issues (like unimpressive images, hard-to-read fonts, incorrect CTA colors, or boring headlines). And don’t forget to write down all the things you can fix, improve, or realistically add to your site afterwards.

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# 5 implement the strategy you created

At this point, when all the data is collected and analyzed, you can start to fully exploit your SEO magic:

  • Optimize one targeted page after another (steps 2, 3 and 4 will help you).
  • Check to see if optimization is helping your pages perform better in search. If not, find out why.
  • Use what you’ve learned to exceed industry standards (create authentic optimization strategies to convince others to copy your tactics).

Remember, SEO is an ongoing process. Keep improving your pages and analyzing what your competition is doing to stay ahead of the game. This way, your SEO strategy will continue to generate income and value.

Conclusion

Having a detailed SEO strategy is fundamental to the success of your site in search. Why? Because it helps focus on the important details while skipping the unimportant things. If you choose to optimize your website for search engines without having a clear cut strategy, your efforts will fail.

In short, invest in developing a targeted SEO strategy that will deliver lasting search value. The five steps above will help you do just that. While SEO is a bit of a boring clinical process, you’re only limited by Google’s guidelines. Be creative to provide yourself (or your clients) with an authentic strategy that matches your industry and specialization.

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What do you think? How to find the ideal SEO strategy? Share your thoughts on social media.

Pinterest Chart: Steps To Succeed With Your SEO StrategyImage credits

The selected image: tashatuvango/Photos

Screenshots of Sergey Grybniak. Taken in January 2017.