Where Do I Start My SEO Strategy?
Before digging into the essence of SEO strategy, I want to take a step back and have a very brief discussion of the difference between strategy and tactics. I will often use these words interchangeably as do so many others out there. Strategy does not mean the same thing as tactics and in order to make sure we are on the same page, I want to do a quick summary of each.
What does Strategy mean?
Strategy is a plan or a blueprint. Strategies relate to a goal. For example, if the goal is to attract new customers to your business, then you would create a strategy to accomplish that goal. An email campaign would not be an effective strategy since it requires having an existing relationship with the email recipient. Using paid media could be an effective strategy since it could put your website in front of people who are unfamiliar with it.
What does Tactics mean?
Tactics are how you implement your strategy. Expanding on the above example, a paid media strategy requires specific tactics. A tactic would be the platform the ad runs on. A tactic includes the copy and images used in the ad.
It Gets More Confusing
The differences between these two concepts is subtle and often confused. It gets even more complicated when you break down digital marketing strategies into sub-strategies like SEO, SEM, Social, Email, and other digital marketing activities. These could be tactics used in your digital marketing strategy or they could be strategies in-and-of themselves.
My focus in this blog post is SEO strategy, so I will be addressing the big plans of SEO and then briefly touching on the tactics that could go into implementing these strategies.
What is an SEO marketing strategy?
If we pull together all the elements we discussed above, we can start to create a picture of what is meant by SEO marketing strategy.
SEO marketing is the process of optimizing a website using specific SEO campaigns (content, link building, local, technical). The goal behind most SEO strategies is to bring traffic to the website through organic search. In fact, this is the only goal of SEO that I am aware of, but I leave room for some other interpretations. Maybe the goal is really about visibility and getting more featured snippets or something. The strategy behind it would relate to the campaigns being run that brings the traffic to the website.
Notice how each strategy mentioned suddenly broke down into specific tactics? The two elements are tied together.
Back to the Original Question
Where do you start your SEO strategy?
The simple and dull answer is with the goals you want to achieve. You start by identifying what you are trying to accomplish with SEO. If you are a business, you are most likely looking for a boost in revenue. It is the basic expectation of marketing to help create the communication around your business to attract more customers. A non-profit or cause centered organization may be looking for more donations or more people to connect with looking for their assistance. In all circumstances, there is a metric that determines success. If you are a publisher, the metric is ad views and new subscribers. Knowing why your website exists and how you measure success is a critical part of your digital marketing.
So let’s assume you already have your goal in mind and you know SEO will need to play a part in achieving that goal. This is a technical way in saying you plan on relying on people using search engines to search for information related to the topic of your website.
So where to start once you know the goal? The first thing you need to do is identify the most important element of your website that is preventing it from achieving that goal. You need to ask very specific questions about your website and you need to find the answers to those questions.
- Does your website have the right content to target the queries you need to target?
- Is your website able to rank for those queries on the first search engine results page, ideally in the top 5 positions?
- Does your business appear on Google Maps and in the local pack on the Google search engine results page when a relevant search is performed?
- Does your website function in a way that is appealing to the people who visit it? (ugh, sorry, I get wordy -- does your website work right? Is it slow? Is it ugly on mobile devices? That sort of thing.)
- How much traffic does your site get? How many keywords is it ranking for compared to your competition?
Most of these questions can be answered by a thorough audit. A detailed audit of your website is how you start your SEO strategy for your website. Once you have an understanding of your website and the answer to those five questions, you will know which tactics you will need to use to bring the strategy to life.
Need Help Getting a Start on Your SEO Strategy?
Francis Digital Marketing can provide you with a detailed audit of your website and recommendations on how to proceed with your SEO strategy. This is complex, but it isn’t unknowable. We have data to direct our actions. We can test. We can know the best course of action to take to help achieve your goals.