Developing an SEO strategy is not about picking some keywords and writing some blog posts.
You have to take time and do some research to be able to set up an accurate and helpful SEO plan.
In this post, I’m going to share with you my process for creating your own SEO strategy, beginning with finding target audiences and taking it all the way through to wrapping up your strategic plan.
If you want to take your blog’s SEO to the next level, you need a strategy to get there. Here is how you do it:
Identify Your Target Audience
The first step in most marketing campaigns is to identify your target audience. Your target audience is a defined group of people to whom you are marketing your product and who is likely to be interested in buying that product.
To define a content strategy, and determine the right keywords, you must dig deep into the buyer persona. What do they want? What are their needs? What is their pain point?
After gathering these information, you should do keyword research based on what the audience wants.
Do Keyword Research
Now that you have a good idea of the specific needs and pain points of your target audience, you should do some specifically targeted keyword research.
Before you start to write down hundreds of keyword ideas, create different categories.
For example, if you are promoting your blog, you can categorize keywords based on the topics that your blog is about – your blog categories and tags. Or you can create different categories for the different buyer personas.
For example, the keyword topics for my blog would be:
- Email marketing
- Lead generation
- Market research
Then for each category, I try to find the words and terms that my target audience is searching for. Highlight those keywords that have a decent demand and search inquiries.
You can also use keyword tools that allow you to create keyword lists and find new, relevant keywords, like the Google AdWords Keyword Tool.
In addition, you can check out your competitors to see what they are targeting.
Do competitor research
When you identify your competitors, you don’t look at your industry competitors, but the pages that compete for the same keyword.
As I showed you in an example in the previous step, I created categories for my keywords, based on the topics I cover in my blog. For the first part, you can do a search for your keywords in each category, and see who shows up in the results.
Take note of these results. These are your competitors. You don’t have to do research on every keyword, just a few from each category.
But that’s not enough. You want to know who’s doing well.
Looking at their features, on-page SEO, links, and traffic. What tools and social visibility do they have? Why are their sites popular in search results?
If you go to their website, and research a bit, you can learn a lot about their content, landing pages, widgets and tools, and social presence.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What content do my competitors have that I don’t?
- Does this content serve a need my target audiences are looking for?
- How can I create content that is more compelling, more helpful, more valuable, provide it faster, easier, cheaper, etc.?
- How active are the competitors in social networks and which platforms do they use?
- What do they post, and how is the engagement?
- Do they have landing pages with the keywords?
- Are there calls-to-action on the landing pages? What kind?
- Are there external and internal links on their pages or blog posts?
- Where do they get the most traffic?
If you have answered these questions and checked out your competitors more deeply, you will get a picture what they do well, what they do wrong, and how you can make it better, or fulfill the needs for which your competitors don’t provide solutions.
Define the SEO strategy
Moz.com shared their template for this; they use it each time and just add or delete whatever they need to. I found it very useful:
- Specific Terminology to use
- Specific Design elements to consider
- Specific URL considerations
- Specific Internal Linking to consider
- Specific External linking to consider
- Specific Partners to go after
- Specific Flash usage considerations
- Specific Video considerations
- Specific Blogging considerations
- Site Features and Content improvements
- Risks and avoidances
Write down your own recommendations for every listed item, based on your observations.
Prioritize them by which is the most important, and which can wait.
This will be your SEO strategic plan.
SEO strategy Conclusion
When you’ve completed all 4 steps, and taken time with it, you will llikely have a lot of data you can go through and have a clear view of the big picture.
I recommend going through this whole process and setting new goals (or improving the current ones) at least yearly, but you can do it monthly, or every 3 months, especially if your business is growing or changing rapidly.
One important thing to remember: SEO is a long-term tool, and you may have to wait to see results that can react to.
How do you set up your SEO strategy? Let us know in the comments!