What is SEO strategy?
It will be correct to properly include the definition of SEO strategies when defining a marketing strategy because search engine optimization is part of a marketing campaign.
After some editing of the definition of marketing strategy, it turned out like this:
SEO strategy is a large-scale achievements program of the most important SEO goals of a company (positions, traffic from search, the attraction of target audience through search traffic).
The development of an SEO strategy involves identifying the main objectives that potential clients of the promoted site perceive, the selection of the necessary methods to attract such an audience, the determination of time periods to the main events and the solution of financing issues. SEO strategy is formed by competitors’ sites and your website analysis and source data of the promoted site.
Let’s talk about it in detail.
1. Why are SEO-targets different: positions, traffic, targeted traffic?
Because different companies and project managers set different goals.
- For a company that wants its site always to be visible to users who are looking for a specific search query, high positions on these keys will be relevant.
- A company that does not yet know which type of users will be converted into buyers will require as much search traffic as possible from month to month.
- A company that knows exactly who buys its product/service will only see the percentage of conversions, relative to the overall search traffic, and thus determine the effectiveness of the SEO strategy being implemented.
2. The selection of the necessary methods for attracting the audience can include both an emphasis on expanding the landing pages of the site and an emphasis on building up the external links.
3. Determination of time periods. An important indicator for the site owner, who should understand when it’s better to count on the necessary amount of search traffic, to take this into account in following financial activities. Also, it is useful for the SEO-specialists to understand whether they fit into the designated schedule or not. And if not, what other measures can be taken to achieve the desired result.
4. The question of financing is also important for the owner of the site, as well as the time frame. After all, frequently seo-promotion lasts for months. Therefore, the return on investment cannot be expected soon.
Why do we need SEO strategy?
Experienced specialists will understand that a complex plansuch as website SEO strategy is not always necessary.
SEO strategy is necessary when:
- The owner of the site has ambitious goals to conquer the global market.
- The niche in which you have to work is incredibly competitive, and you need to understand how to reach the top.
- The site is very large, and all types of pages and work on the site cannot be kept in mind.
SEO strategy is not necessary when:
- You are promoting a small regional site and competing only with small companies. In that case, use a strategy that is already being in practice.
- There are not enough resources to implement it. It happens that you are working on your own and there is practically no one to help
- There is only a small budget for links and your ideas.
- You promote the site using black hat SEO. In that case, only outbound links from other resources are important (although in a sense black hat is also a SEO-strategy, simpler).
But first of all, the strategy of website promotion is necessary to determine and systematize the work that should be done by SEO-specialists or instructed by someone from the team to eventually achieve necessary results.
Types of SEO strategies
Unfortunately, we did not find a clear classification of SEO-strategies.
We have found several articles on the topic of building a SEO-strategy on the Internet and in most of them, the classification of species is based on the type of site that we are building the development plan for.
But we inclined to divide the types of strategy by combining two parameters: the current state of the site and the tasks that are put before the expert who promotes the site. So, we divided the strategies into these types:
1st type. “Hop-Hop” strategy
This promotion plan is relevant for sites that are only being created (or are already created, but have a small number of pages), but the goals for the specialist are in the constant and rapid growth of search traffic. That’s why we are doing everything fast (hop-hop).
Features of the “Hop-Hop” strategy:
- We analyze competitors and look amidst their strategies for the most profitable ones to attract traffic in the shortest time.
- Create as many landing pages as possible (these can be service pages and blog pages) and their constant generation.
- We put emphasis not on the quality of content (but we try to make it the corresponding minimum requirements of search engines), but on increasing the number of entry points to the site.
- We increase the reference mass from various resources to maximally cover various sources of links and show search engines that we are perspective and have ambitious goals.
Cons of strategy:
- In pursuit of quantity, we neglect quality. But this minus can be corrected in the future when after the “Hop-Hop” strategy we turn to the strategy “Average performer.”
- Due to the poor quality of landing pages and defocussing in topics (blog pages can include both articles strictly on the topic of the resource and on related topics), a low conversion rate is possible. But this can also be rectified if a team, which is working along with you, will conduct a / b testing and squeeze the maximum out of the incoming traffic.
2nd type. “Average performer” strategy
This strategy is suitable for websites that are not the first day/year on the market, hang out somewhere in the top 10/20 and have enough authority to compete for the first places. And the goals here are: to increase the brand’s authority and attract the most targeted leads from the search. This is a great way to develop the previous “Hop-Hop” strategy.
Features of “Average performer” strategy:
- Pay more attention to already existing pages, optimize them, rewrite, add new ones. Delete pages that do not bring traffic at all and do not exactly match the topic of the resource.
- Try to get better links from other sites, because your site is no longer some newbie, but a good average performer.
- Create only new content ofquality that shows your expertise, which leads to confidence and better conversion.
Cons of Strategy
- A lot of time is spent on creating content.
- The process of advancement is two to three times longer than in the previous strategy. Therefore you will not see results soon.
- Likely you will have to shell out for better and therefore expensive backlinks from other sites.
3rd type. “Mastodon” strategy
This SEO strategy is suitable for site-leaders. They compete only with two or three other “mastodons,” which have been on the market for decades. A battalion of employees are working on each such project. Therefore, the goals for the specialists here will be: to advance more than the competitors and to search for hidden exit points in the top-1, get ahead of competitors even for several positions of keywords.
Features of the “Mastodon” strategy
- A “Mastodon” does not need to worry about increasing the reference mass – it grows by itself because many sites refer to your materials.
- Because the reference goes back to the foreground, the work on the site itself comes to the fore. This can be long operations with internal linking, and work with content on the site. Get knowhow to link one page to another in HTML and work inside such a site can proceed indefinitely.
- It is not enough to simply write high-quality content; you need to think how to create unusual content, non similar to your competitors’. These can be new types of submission of materials (video, infographic, multimedia elements) and the creation of collections of documents on certain topics to cover them as much as possible.
- A little time to external links, however, is worth it. But in the form of searching for resources that mention your site, but did not put (or put nofollow) a link to your source. To do this, it will be enough to contact the owner of such a resource and politely ask for an active link. This does not need to be done by the SEO-specialist, but can be done by an assistant.
Cons of Strategy
- It needs sufficient resources for its implementation. Frequently newcomers cannot cope with such a strategy.
4th type. Online store strategy
We singled out this kind of website separately because their way of promotion differs from the previous three.
Features of the online store promotion strategy:
- Due to a large number of pages on the site, the main point of this strategy is the proper collection of semantics due to correctonpage optimization and content for SEO.
- Through semantics, you will see which pages of filters are still open for the index to attract micro low frequencies.
- Linking is equally important because you will need to constantly bring new products into the index, which will be added to the site. And with a large number of categories and subcategories, this task becomes more complicated.
- Reviews play an important role for online stores: confidence in the seller, behavioral factors and additional text with keys that make your product cards unique.
- External links need to be built up after the primary work on internal optimization is done and when the site has already taken some positions in thesearch results. Your task is to pull up what is not yet in the top and check SERP for better ranking.
Cons of Strategy
- The number of pages can be a negative aspect because you will need to pay a lot for external links for them.
- There are internal problems with the site that are most common to this type of platform: 1) when updating the products, old pages are deleted, “broken links” appear in their place, and an existing product is created by a new web address; 2) duplicate pages appear when the goods differ only in color or other insignificant elements, etc.
As you can see, this is not only a strategy but also a feature of working with people that sell sites.
Based on what data do you need to build an SEO strategy?
The strategy is not just an expert’s experience, which is placed in his/her head, but the numbers and features of a particular niche in which the site is located.
Therefore, we need the following data:
- Semantic core (including analysis of the core competitors). After collecting the kernel, we need to find out what types of queries are available on this topic, their frequency, and approximate competition. Proceeding from this, we can learn: are there any information requests on this topic that can lead to conversion? How popular are these requests to help us calculate the future traffic; how competitive are these requests in order to estimate the budget for promotion.
- Analysis of the size and age of competitors’ websites. It will give us an understanding of the quality of resources, which we have to excel at, and additional information regarding competition in the niche (which affects the budget). For example: if you see that in your niche competitors do not just write articles in their blog, but are accompanied by their own infographics, unique drawings, and multimedia elements, then you will have to provide funds for a good designer or video editor in addition to an intelligent copywriter.
- Analysis of the promotional strategy used by the competitors. Based on this data, we can understand what our opponents lack or what we can use. For example, if you see that competitors are mainly promoted by service pages, and in this niche, there are a lot of information requests, then you can bypass them by creating and filling up the blog.
- Analysis of the linking mass used by competitors. The quantity and quality of the linking mass will give a clearer understanding of the cost of buying links. Also, you will understand what kinds of links you are better to use (for example links from catalogs or comments on blogs or links from articles that are placed by contacting directly with webmasters). Our LinkStrategy SEO tool will help you to find the most valuable links depending on competitor backlinks profile.
All of this data will provide us with more accurate details on:
1. The website dimensions, which is necessary to achieve the TOP positions.
2. The types of pages on this site.
3. The budget for the development of the site.
4. The budget for building links.
5. Traffic, what you can expect from month to month.
6. Approximate terms of receiving said traffic and getting the project to an active development stage.
How to build SEO strategy (step by step guide)
Let’s analyze the strategy “Average performer” in detail.
A website that is already 5 years old; some MF and a couple of HF queries already in the top 10, which hang out in the top 10/20; the site offers legal consulting services in various fields; the site covers pages of services and a blog, which are quite interesting, but not optimized and not worked through to the end of the article;
traffic growth is very slow; the task is to accelerate this growth and outrun the nearest competitors.
The preparatory process for building an SEO strategy
This point is needed for any strategy. You simply cannot begin to do something on the site if you do not have semantics ready and an idea of which keywords already have landing pages, and which ones have yet to be created or corrected.
Therefore, we collect the semantic core first for the main pages (main page and pages of services) with commercial keywords and then proceed to collect information requests strictly according to the subject matter of the resource.
Do not forget to “spy” on the competitors landing pages. Perhaps we missed some interesting keys that they have on the pages of services or in a blog post.
Internal audit and writing of meta and SEO-texts
After collecting the semantics, we compose a table with new meta-for all pages of the site (we cannot touch technical pages if everything is tolerable there). We are developing technical task for new SEO-texts, if necessary (and more often than not). It’s necessary to go through all the existing texts (including the blog) and decide whether you need to rewrite them from scratch or you can just add keywords usingkeywords planner (not spamming). If there are many blog pages, then this step will be delayed for a month or two, without putting off the implementation of the revisions from the website audit.
Looking for and describing all the technical and other errors on the site itself and in detail we define the ways of their solution for the responsible persons (webmaster, content manager, administrator, etc.) in the audit file.
Analysis of competitors
It’s time to look at those with whom we have to compete. Pay attention to semantics (as described above), age, reference profile, “entry points” from the search, content quality (which we can improve).
If there are a large number of links on a site, don’t let it confuse you, because sometimes you can outperform even these “pumped” competitors. Just do a better job than they do.
Also, look at the links they place (directories, comments, links to articles, press releases, spam). On your site, you should place links primarily from articles, and this analysis will help you understand how qualitative the linking mass of a competitors is.
After such an analysis and with the already collected semantics, we proceed to the next stage.
Making a forecast for traffic and increasing the linking mass
Give yourself one year (for more advanced strategies two years) and calculate the following for this period:
- The monthly amount of search traffic (of course, approximate). It is important to be realistic and not to draw a 30% increase from month to month. Even a 10% monthly growth is a fairly optimistic forecast (unless it’s a new site). Better understate your traffic expectations. Take into account the seasonality.
- The number of external links per month that you want to attract to your site to keep up with competitors. If your competitors have too many links and you do not get that much, then just calculate the percentage increase in their link mass from month to month about the total number of links, and try to increase your share in the same percentage. Here it is better to overestimate the number of necessary links to try to build more.
- The amount of money that you need from month to month to build the linking mass. If you have contractors who trade links (or stock exchanges), find out the average cost of links of this quality, and add to it 30%. So you, too, overestimate expectations, but there will be less chance that there will be a budget overrun (which is not easy to reconcile with management). A huge plus will be if you make up two plans: one for yourself, the second for directorship.
Write in details for yourself, which links with which anchors and on what pages you will place, how many requests will be in the top 3, top 5 and top 10 and what percentage of conversion (site visits) they will bring.
In the management plan, describe only the month-to-month, monthly traffic from organic visits and the budget for each month.
Implementation of SEO strategy
This stage is also part of the strategy. Planning is great, but you have to implement it as well. Verification of the correctness of the implementation of revisions according to the audit.
Yes, it needs to be checked. Because you cannot trust anyone (even yourself). Otherwise, it will be unpleasant when you promote a page on which you did not write the required meta tags for SEO.
Increase the linking mass
If you have a link builder on the team, or you have prudently put the cost of this employee’s services in the budget. Then you can make a detailed plan for it and describe which links you need, from sites of what subject, to which pages and with which anchors.
If there is no such person on the team, it’s no good, because then it is work for you to do. Let’s get started: either we contact our contractors (such as the WhitePress platform) and ask them for sites that meet our criteria, or we write directly to the owners of interesting sites and agree. Allocate about 3-4 hours of working time for this activity.
Improve and create new content on the site
This stage is better divided into two substages: making corrections to existing content, collecting semantics and writing a technical task for a new one.
To expand the number of keywords on the page, use our professional keyword suggestion tool. To edit an existing content properly use content relaunch guide of Backlinks. You can also add images or infographics, add videos, make a comparison table based on the text, highlight important quotes, head some paragraphs and make the text more attractive to read.
New content should be created considering the competitor’s strategy, only do it better.
Check the current state of affairs with the planned
Have you forgotten about the plan for traffic and link growth, which we described in the preparatory phase? It should be delayed. Periodically (ideally, once a month), it is necessary to compare the predicted figures and results (by traffic and links) with real ones. And if you are behind schedule, then you need to examine where you failed (perhaps you have to increase the budget or write new content more actively).
This process of implementing SEO strategy will extend for many months, during which you have to improve your site and outrun the competitors.
Nataliya is SEO expert at Sitechecker. She is responsible for blog. Can't live without creating valuable content about SEO and Digital Marketing.