One of the fastest and most effective ways of generating qualified and organic leads to your website is to have a well thought-out SEO strategy. To do this, you need to gain a deep understanding of your target market – their needs, expectations, and pain points. Then, you will be able to create a data-driven SEO plan that is both strategic and humanistic in its approach. Mentioned below are some of the essential steps that you will need to implement in order to set yourself up for future success in the digital space.
The Importance of a Coherent SEO Strategy
Specific recommendations and targeted competitive insight are some of the things needed for creating effective SEO strategies. You have to think beyond the basic SEO rulebook in order to get extraordinary results from your digital marketing strategy. Creating your own unique SEO strategy from scratch may not be easy, but if done well, it could yield extraordinary results for your business (or your client’s) in the future.
Some of the elements required for achieving success in this mission include competitive research, target audience identification, goal prioritization, effective content strategies, and search traffic projections. The steps behind this process are fairly universal, so once you understand and implement them, you can make them into a template and use it for every digital marketing project, either for your own business or for your clients.
Effective strategies are the difference between a superstar marketer and an average one. So learning about the best SEO strategies out there and understanding how to modify them to suit your own needs could set you up for future growth and success in your chosen profession, regardless of whether you are a business owner or an employee. With these strategies, you could ensure that your website is always seen by the right audience at the right time, thus improving conversions and minimizing the bounce rate.
The 8-Step SEO Strategy for Marketing Success
Outlined below is a super-effective 8-step SEO strategy used by the some of the most successful digital marketers around the world.
Step 1: Defining the Target Audience
Identifying and defining your target audience is the first step you need to undertake to create an effective SEO strategy. Your target audience is just the specific set or category of people to whom you’re marketing your product or service. If you’re an SEO consultant, then you’ll have to identify and define the target audience for your client and their business.
Identifying and defining a target audience largely involves determining certain information, such as the age, gender, hobbies, needs, geographical location, and financial status of the people who are the most likely to buy your product or service.
The most important factor in this step is zeroing in on the needs or pain points of this target audience. Knowing what they want and which of their needs are not being met will help you decide how you can best attract them to your website and convert them into paying customers.
Some of the ways in which you can identify your target audience and figure out their pain points include market research studies, online surveys, focus groups, industry statistics, and social media listening platforms such as NetBase and Nielsen Buzz Metrics.
Step 2: Performing Keyword Research
Categorized keyword research is an essential tool is the toolkit of any skilled digital marketer. Keyword research should always be broken down into two distinct categories for the purpose of segmentation and prioritization. Some of the factors to consider when conducting keyword research are the needs and wants of your target audience, the type of product or service you are selling, and the industry within which you’re operating.
An Excel template in which to arrange all the lists of the various keyword categories is an excellent place to start. Creating separate tabs in the Excel sheet for the different keyword categories you plan to work with can be quite effective. If you’re working with a wide range of topics and subtopics for your keywords, then you might want to create different worksheets, each devoted to a single primary topic and its many subtopics.
Tools like WordTracker, Keyword Discovery, and the Google AdWords Keyword Tool can be used to determine search volume and store categorized lists of keywords online. Ideally, you should start collecting categorized keyword data by initially researching general, high level words. This will help you determine what topics are popular in your domain, after which you can opt for more specialized, related searches.
Step 3: Finding Gaps and Opportunities
To find the right gaps and opportunities which you can utilize for your SEO strategy, you will need to take two primary factors into account. First, you will have to highlight initial prioritizations, after which you can analyze the current performance of existing sites to identify gaps. Once you understand which keyword categories you can use to promote your business and what kind of search volumes they have, you’ll need to highlight the tabs that you think are important, either because of the search volume or for some other reason.
You can then look at the referral volumes and estimated search volumes of the highlighted keywords to analyze which of them would help your website get on the first page of search engines, thus attracting more eyeballs to your business. Essentially a gap is a topic about which your website has sufficient content, but the referral volume is very low. On the other hand, an opportunity is a topic or keyword that has great search volume and is relevant to your business, but there isn’t any content about it on your website to attract potential customers.
Step 4: Identifying the Competitors
Identifying and defining your search engine competitors is an important step in the process of developing an effective and customized SEO strategy for your business. To identify your search engine competitors, the simplest course of action would be to search your most favored keywords on Google and see who shows up on the first page.
Finding the right competitors to compare yourself with could help you learn a lot about your industry and about marketing in general. You will also have to define competitors by category, meaning that the keyword categories you created in step 2 will need to be utilized to find the different companies that you’ll compete with for different keywords and topics.
To keep the data organized, you may consider creating an Excel sheet wherein you’ll list all of your competitors for the different keyword categories. If you’d rather not collect this information manually, you can use the Keyword Difficulty tool from SEOmoz. With this tool, not only will you get access to a detailed list of your top search engine competitors, you will also get some extra insights into those companies and their digital marketing models.
Step 5: Learning from the Competition
In a competitive market, it is very important to make your website remarkable and different from the others. Once you have identified and defined all your competitors in the various keyword categories, it is time to understand what makes each competitor different, special, or successful. This is done to figure out ways in which you can attract potential customers to your own website, over the websites of your competitors.
When researching your competitors, you can simplify the process by creating a template for the different features and attributes that you are interested in. The tabs for a competitive research template may include things like Features, Traffic, Sentiment, On-Page, and Inlinks. The idea, essentially, is to get a thorough, big-picture glance at what your competitors are doing and what kind of social visibility they have.
Tags, anchor text, inlinks, and product offerings can all be compared and contrasted during this phase of the research. The goal is twofold – to understand what makes the competitors’ websites popular and to figure out the areas in which they’re slacking, so that you can adopt those areas as your niche and excel in them. Landing pages, website content, widgets, resources, tools, and promotion methods are some of the things that can be compared.
Step 6: Creating Customized Strategy
In order to create the customized SEO strategy that is best suited to your digital marketing needs, you will need to bring together all the information that you have thus far collected during all the previous steps. First, you will need to revisit the information about your target audience and their needs. Then, you can add all the insights you collected during the categorized keyword research and highlight any specific gaps and opportunities that you are interested in exploiting.
Finally, all the information and insights gathered from analyzing and studying your competitors will be used here. Product features, consumer sentiments, crawl and inlink comparisons, traffic comparison charts, and all other competitive diagnoses can be added in this step.
Now that you have taken stock of all the data previously collected, it is time to collate the information to achieve insights about which way the market is heading and how potential customers can best be attracted. Charts, graphs, and other visuals can help enhance the efficacy of this process.
Some of the insights that you can draw are the needs, wants, and pain points of your target audience; particular keyword groups that have high search volumes and are relevant to the business; content on the website that is not performing well as well as keywords for which content doesn’t yet exist; features and content that competitor websites have and yours doesn’t; etc.
Step 7: Important SEO Recommendations
An effective SEO strategy is usually product-focused and customized for the business that is using it. However, it should contain certain general recommendations for SEO best practices and optimization options. This is because this strategy document may be presented to clients, senior management, and other stakeholders who do not know as much about SEO/M as it is not their primary area of specialization. In such a situation, the strategy document should cover the basics of SEO so as to not confuse any stakeholders.
Some of the topics that should be covered under this section include press release optimization strategies, SEO for business development, SEO best practices for designers, international rollout recommendations, and keyword placement suggestions for the content and editorial departments.
Training and best practices recommendations should be provided to the SEO team for maximum efficacy and the best possible implementation of the 8-step strategy. A separate, comprehensive best practices document will ensure that while trying to implement this advanced SEO strategy, the business doesn’t trip up on the basics. However, if everyone involved with the project is already well-versed in the basics of SEO, then this step can be skipped.
Step 8: Prioritizing and Summarizing
The final step in this strategy involves the dual functions of prioritization and summarization. There are many elements and steps to a successful SEO strategy, but not all of them are equally important. So prioritizing basically means highlighting the most important parts of the strategy at the end of the strategy document, to ensure that everyone knows what to focus on if they happen to fall short of time, money, or resources. Basically, this is a way to let people know where to start and which parts are essential if they want to see results.
Summarization, on the other hand, is essentially the bow with which you’ll tie the present that is this customized SEO strategy. You can also place the summary overview at the beginning of the document, telling readers about the purpose of this strategy and its potential benefits, instead of jumping straight into the demographics, recommendations, and other technical aspects. Such a two-para overview might highlight some of the issues with the current SEO strategy, the potential outcome of the new strategy, and the reasons why such a custom strategy was commissioned in the first place.
By using this 8-step SEO strategy, you can help a business reach its ideal customers and achieve the heights of success within a matter of months or even weeks! For the best results, be sure to conduct diligent research and learn as much as possible from competitors and industry leaders operating within the same space. This will help you learn from their successes, avoid their mistakes, and achieve your digital marketing goals all the more quickly and efficiently.