TL; DR – This is a high-level overview of how to create an SEO strategy. The emphasis you should have on the different aspects of SEO will vary based on your business goals, industry and budget. However, we will cover some critical questions you should ask, indispensable things, and other important aspects to have a successful outcome with your SEO program. Without knowing the individual business goals it is impossible to be precise, but this should help orient you and give you a broad idea of what to expect and things to consider.
What does an SEO strategy consist of?
On-page SEO– focuses on the content that is actually found on the pages of the site and how to optimize it to increase the ranking of the website for specific keywords.
Off-page SEO– focuses on direct links to the website from other parts of the internet. The number of backlinks a site has from reputable sources helps you build trust with search algorithms.
Technical SEO– focuses on the backend architecture of a website, such as the site code. Google cares as much about technical setup as it does about content, so this position is important for rankings.
How to plan an SEO strategy
- Outline the business objectives
- Technical audit of the SEO site
- Keyword research and search competition analysis
- Verification of content production
- Link Building Plan
What are your business goals?
Your SEO strategy and how you spend your SEO marketing budget should be tailored to your business goals and objectives.
For example, these are some standard business goals and corresponding SEO services that you might expect to emphasize.
Either way, you’ll generally start with a few similar steps to get the ball rolling and cover your bases to make sure your investment has the best impact.
Technical SEO website audit
Chances are you want to start with a website audit. This answers questions like if your site is having problems with:
Next, it’s helpful to get an overview of the current website architecture, organic and other traffic in relation to other channels. We want to know, iIs your site optimally structured so that your key audience can find your site and content in searches? If not, how could it be improved?
A technical SEO website audit basically ensures that your engine is working properly so you know it will perform the way you want it before the money puts high octane gas in the tank.
Tools required for a technical SEO site audit
This is likely to require the use of some tools such as:
Keyword research and search competition analysis
The second step in SEO planning is to do some investigation. This can tell you how your SEO program and site stack up in terms of performance. Are you doing better or worse than your competitor and how? Are there gaps in content that are worth investing in?
Additionally, this will give you insight into what it will take to compete for target keywords or opportunities that you are not currently taking advantage of. The local SEO guide offers this as part of our SEO audits so that we can get an idea of the total addressable market (TAM) and make recommendations from there.
You don’t just want to look at the search volume of a range of target keywords when creating an effective SEO strategy. Starting with an understanding of the company, its goals and competitors first allows you to get personalized advice or insights. The keyword targeting aspect of search engine optimization shouldn’t be an area to skimp on.
It is vital that you fully understand the user’s search intent, know where gaps exist in content, and know which short and long tail keywords are worth targeting. It can have a huge impact on the effectiveness of your content marketing and SEO program. You don’t want to waste resources searching for a search query that you won’t rank for or get users who aren’t your target audience.
Adding a keyword search and competitive analysis provides a more functional list of recommendations than simply saying “fix the X, Y and Z technicalities”. We can learn more about how to use SEO budget to provide competitive advantage and leverage the channel to change the growth of your business.
SEO tools needed for keyword research and competitor analysis in search
This is likely to require the use of some keyword research tools such as:
- Semrush – Keyword Research and Competitor Research
- Clearscope – Content Editor and SERP Competitor Research
Verification of content production
We recommend that you check your current content to see what is performing exceptionally and identify content that is poor or underperforming. Also, the content production process is taken into consideration here.
- What does your editorial content creation system look like?
- Do you have an established cadence for publishing content?
- Who creates the content? Should you use an internal or external resource for the content production or update process?
Link Building Plan
Backlinks are the gas that gets SEO going. It is a significant ranking factor for your web pages and helps build overall site authority. For this reason, you are likely to want to allocate part of your SEO budget to a link building strategy.
There are a few ways to build more backlinks, and different types of content are more effective than others depending on your target audience and niche. In general, you might think about what content people in your niche will link to, for example:
- Generate new content / high quality content (blogs, research, original data)
- Create detailed product guides, instructions or explanations
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pages
In a client case study, LSG has been able to generate 1,952 backlinks to date and the SEO program has generated around 75 new backlinks per quarter.
LSG achieved this by researching potential customers, their interests and corresponding content sources.
We have gained backlinks on, blog, relevant industry and social accounts which would be more effective in turning external customer links into visits and conversions.
—–> Link Building Case Study: Learn more about the SEO program: 900% increase in ARR, from $ 2 to $ 20 million
In addition to backlinks, you want to make sure that your internal links also lead people to your priority pages. So, you should include some focus on page optimization to address any broken links or suboptimal use of anchor text.
SEO tools needed for Link Building
There are many tools for building links, but you could use things like:
- Ahrefs – a link building tool that will help analyze which pages are receiving the most backlinks and which ones need some attention. The user volume data for your web pages will also inform your internal linking strategy if you want to redirect traffic to priority pages.
How to implement an SEO strategy
- Implementation of internal or outsourced SEO content
- Build an editorial content calendar
- Assign and track activities (freelance or using your own internal content team)
Now that you have performed a technical audit to address any technical issues related to SEO or user experience and have addressed your keyword research, you will need to implement your strategic SEO plan.
You can do it all in-house if you have the technical SEO experience, training, time, money, SEO tools, etc. But, if you want to save a lot of money, time and headaches, you will probably want to use an SEO agency for some of these components.
Having an SEO agency that handles everything from strategy to implementation has huge benefits in terms of quality control, communication, and making sure the content is fully aligned with the broader strategy. Check it out if you’re on the fence Internal or outsourced SEO content writing and you want a more detailed breakdown.
At the very least, you should prioritize having SEO experts for the technical audit and some content advice, if not the creation and implementation of the content itself.
If you do it yourself, you will need to have a sturdy one project management system to manage freelancers or your internal marketing / digital content team. They will need to fill in the gaps identified earlier and create an editorial calendar to plan website content for new content, content updates, and any topics or subtopics for other sites such as guest blogs.
A good editorial calendar should look like the one below. It should have a column for your target keyword, H1, title tag, alt text for images, meta description, and any featured snippets you want to target. You can also include the topic and subtopic so any user can see how this piece fits into the broader SEO marketing strategy.
SEO tools needed to implement an SEO strategy
How to develop an SEO content strategy
- Record results, track KPIs and rankings
- Make changes to your strategy
- Update content that doesn’t work
As your SEO program develops, you will need to monitor the performance of your strategy and content. The best way to do this is with a dashboard that allows you to filter by page, keyword and more to see relevant metrics like clicks, impressions, conversations, bounce rate, keyword ranking, page speed, etc.
This will give you an idea of how good you are at ranking and capturing search user intent with your great content. LSG’s custom dashboards also tag keywords based on funnel stages, which allows SEO consultants and clients to drill down and see progress at a high level, as well as drill down to a more granular one.
Creating new content and making sure it works the way you want will likely take up most or a considerable share of your SEO content focus, but don’t neglect updating your content. If you have content that has performed well in the past but has been deleted, it may only need an update to regain some of that traffic.
You can identify these pages by logging into your Google search console. Look for pages or blog posts with a large number of impressions but few clicks. This means that it was classified by terms in the past, but users haven’t seen the value enough to click through. Update the meta description and possibly the title to really grab a researcher’s interest. You can also go to the “query” section to see what it was ranking for and rephrase the copy if needed.
You can do the same thing for any newly produced content that doesn’t resonate very well.
As mentioned in the introduction, SEO planning and strategy can be limited without the knowledge of specific metrics that define the success of your program. This is why LSG creates bespoke SEO strategy guides when consulting with our clients. If you have any questions about SEO strategy, planning, or how we can make the most of your SEO budget, contact us below.