SEO Strategy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Crafting a Winning SEO Plan & Getting More Eyeballs to Your Website

SEO Strategy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Crafting a Winning SEO Plan & Getting More Eyeballs to Your Website
Article by DesignRush DesignRush
Last Updated: November 28, 2022

Considering 68% of online behavior starts with a search engine, you shouldn’t think twice whether or not to invest in SEO.

However, the competition is fierce and no matter how hard you try to build links or write high-quality content, Google just doesn’t seem to give you the time of day.

That’s because your SEO efforts don’t work coherently—if you aren’t sure if you need an SEO strategy, this is the sign you’ve been waiting for. 

With a well-thought-out SEO strategy, you can ensure your site is in top shape for SEO success.

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What is an SEO Strategy?

An SEO strategy is a plan of action created to improve a website's ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). 

You can achieve this if you optimize the website content and structure. Reconsider your on-page elements like titles, metatags, and anchor text. Don’t neglect off-page SEO tactics like link building and brand mentions. 

All these are known as ranking factors—and there are over 200.

While there is no single recipe for success when it comes to SEO, a well-crafted strategy will consider the unique needs and goals of the website and its target audience. 

For example, a website selling shoes will want to focus on entirely different keywords than a blog about camping. And a local business will need to thoughtfully select keywords that include their city or town name. 

Creating an effective SEO strategy requires research, analysis, and ongoing experimentation. 

But the effort is worth it — a strong SEO campaign results in more traffic, leads, and sales for your business.

Defined like this, SEO seems quite simple: it comes down to scoring some extra points in the eyes of search engines.

But, how a brand approaches to do this is where the complications arise. 

What works for one business may spell disaster for another, even if they’re in the same industry. 

To create a winning SEO strategy, you have to consider all aspects of your business, especially those that differentiate you from your competition. 

These could be things like your target audience’s age, location, content expectations, etc. 

Only then can you begin thinking of an SEO strategy. 

How To Create an SEO Strategy? 

As hinted above, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to SEO.

On the bright side, there are certain aspects that concern all businesses and can play an important role in improving their search engine visibility. 

Setting goals is the backbone of any SEO strategy, so you have to define them before getting down to business. 

Once you know what you’re after, analyze your website to identify how far you are from achieving your objectives.

On-page, off-page, and technical SEO audits can help determine any areas of improvement.

For starters, a well-designed and user-friendly website is a must. A clean, intuitive design helps visitors stay on your site longer, while easy navigation enables them to find the information they need hassle-free. 

High-quality content is imperative to keep visitors long enough until they convert. And it won’t hurt if they come back for more. 

These are just some areas where audits help by pinpointing underlying issues that are stopping your website from dominating the SERPs. 

Therefore, assessing your website and setting goals is the starting point before you come up with an SEO plan. 

After you know what you’re dealing with and you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, you can start crafting your SEO strategy. 

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Steps to Creating an SEO Strategy

A search engine optimization strategy can either work for you or against you. 

Black hat SEO involves unethical tactics used to trick search engines into ranking a certain website higher. 

These tactics include keyword stuffing, private link networks, cloaking, etc. 

Although you can usually see results faster when relying on black hat SEO, you can’t outsmart Google. 

Sooner or later, you’ll end up with a penalty. 

Instead, you should create an SEO plan that will work for you in the long run. 

Make sure to follow these steps: 

Step #1: Know Your Keywords 

Google has over 8.5 billion searches every day, while people search Google three or four times per day on average. 

Everyone turns to Google to get answers to questions big and small—and this could be your superpower. 

The best way to hint to search engines that your website answers a particular search query is to use relevant keywords. 

That’s why any good SEO strategy starts with keyword research. 

Keywords tell you what your target audience is searching for, and they help you track your progress over time. 

There are a few different ways to approach keyword research, but one of the simplest is to start with a brainstorming exercise. 

Write down a list of all the potential keywords you can think of, then use a tool like Google AdWords Keyword Planner to get traffic estimates for each keyword. 

Once you have a list of keywords that you want to target, it's time to start incorporating them into your website. 

Use keywords throughout your site, including in the titles and tags of your blog posts, in the meta descriptions of your pages, and in the alt text of your images. 

By using keywords throughout your site, you'll be helping both humans and search engine crawlers understand what your site is about.

Before you set your mind on certain keywords, consider the following: 

  • Almost 95% of keywords get 10 or fewer monthly searches while only 0.0008% of keywords receive 100,000+ searches a month.
  • 15% of Google searches have never been searched before. Back in 2007, the percentage of unsearched queries was 20-25%. 
  • 46.08% of Google Search Console go to hidden terms, meaning the tool doesn’t tell you all the keywords you’re getting traffic from. 

Step #2: Audit Your Existing & Invest in New High-Quality Content

As you create your SEO strategy, take a close look at the content on your website. 

Chances are, you already have a lot of great material to work with—the goal is to make sure it's optimized for both users and search engines. 

Start by auditing your most popular pages. 

This will help determine what's working well and where there are opportunities for improvement. 

To conduct a content audit, start by creating a spreadsheet of all the pages on your site. 

Then, for each page, ask yourself the following questions: 

Is the title tag optimized for SEO?

Does the page include the keyword(s) you're targeting?

Is the keyword used in the H1 tag? 

Are there any images on the page? If so, are they optimized with alt tags? 

Is the content well-written and free of spelling and grammatical errors? Does it flow naturally, or does it feel choppy? 

Once you've answered these questions, you'll have a good sense of which pages are already performing well from an SEO perspective and which could use some improvement. 

From there, you can focus your efforts on making targeted changes that will have the biggest impact on your search engine ranking.

When developing a plan on how to rank higher, writing high-quality content can’t be overlooked. 

This means creating well-written, informative articles that are relevant to your niche. 

In addition to including keywords throughout your text, you should also make use of other SEO best practices, such as using header tags and adding alt text to images.

By taking the time to produce high-quality content, you'll be well on your way to improving your website's search engine ranking.

But, we’ll get to the nitty-gritty of a winning SEO content strategy later. 

Step #3: Define Your Most Valuable Pages 

This step is important because it will help you focus your efforts on the pages that are most likely to bring organic traffic. 

When defining your most valuable pages, there are a few factors to consider. 

First, take a look at your website's overall traffic levels. Which pages receive the most views? 

Next, look at conversion rates. Which pages have the highest number of conversions?

The average conversion rate for a website is 2-5% while the top brands across different sectors enjoy rates higher than this, which is why it’s crucial to get to the top of the SERPs. 

When defining your most valuable pages, consider engagement metrics such as time on page and bounce rate.

All of these factors will help you identify which pages are truly valuable to your business. 

Once you have defined your most valuable pages, you can begin to optimize them for SEO. 

Step #4: Conduct a Competitor Analysis

Competitor analysis is a vital part of any business plan. 

By taking the time to research your competition, you can gain invaluable insights into the market, identify potential threats and opportunities, and set realistic goals. 

There are a number of ways to conduct a competitor analysis. 

The most important step is to identify your main competitors first. 

Once you have a list of contenders, you can assess their strengths and weaknesses. 

This can be done by looking at their financial reports, customer reviews, website traffic, and social media activity. You should also consider their pricing strategy and target audience. 

Use competitor analysis tools such as SEMrush and Moz Competitive Analysis to see how well your competitors are ranking for certain keywords. 

By gaining a thorough understanding of your competition, you will be in a better position to make well-informed decisions about your own business. You’ll have an advantage in beating them in the SERPs. 

Step #5: Improve User Experience

If your website is difficult to use or navigate, users are likely to click away and look elsewhere.

One of the best things you can do to boost your ranking is to focus on improving the user experience. Since search engines like Google take user engagement into account when determining rankings, it's important to ensure that your site provides a positive experience. 

There are several factors that go into creating a positive user experience, from the layout of your site to the quality of your content. 

By making sure your visitors have a good experience on your site, you'll not only rank higher in search engines, but you'll also create loyal fans who are more likely to return to your site in the future. 

So if you're looking to give your website a boost, start by making sure that it's easy to use and provides value for your visitors.

Step #6: Build Out Topic Clusters 

Now that you’ve brainstormed some topics and keywords, it’s time to start organizing them into what are called “topic clusters.” 

A topic cluster is a group of related topics that all center around a main keyword. 

For example, let’s say you were brainstorming topics for a blog post about “digital marketing strategy.” Some related topics might be “brand strategy,” “Twitter marketing,” and “Instagram influencers.” 

By grouping these topics together, you can create a comprehensive resource on digital marketing strategies that will be helpful for your readers. 

Plus, this approach can help you rank higher in search engines, since Google prefers content that is organized into themes. 

So, how do you go about building out topic clusters? 

First, start by identifying your main keyword for each cluster. 

Then, brainstorm a list of related topics that you can write about. 

Once you have your list, start creating content around each topic. 

As you build out more and more content, you can link back to older articles to create a web of interconnected resources on your site. 

Not only will this help Google understand what your site is about, but it will also provide value for your readers. 

Step #7: Build Links

If you want people to find your website, build links to your page. 

Links act as a kind of "vote" for your website, and the more links you have, the higher your website will rank in search engine results pages. 

This helps search engines understand that your site is relevant and trustworthy,

There are ways to build links to your website, but some of the most effective include guest blogging, directory listings, and social media sharing. 

Guest blogging is simply writing an article for another website in exchange for a link back to your own site. 

Directory listings involve submitting your website to online directories, and social media sharing involves promoting your content on sites like Facebook and Twitter. 

Step #8: Monitor Your SEO Progress

Monitor your SEO progress on a regular basis to see how well your efforts are paying off. 

Use Google Analytics and Google Search Console to track things like organic traffic and average position in the SERPs. 

This will help you fine-tune your SEO strategy and make sure you’re on the right track.

SEO Content Strategy

If you're running a website, your content must be optimized for search engines. 

This process helps ensure your site appears as high as possible in search results, allowing more people to find and visit your site. 

But simply adding keywords to your content isn't enough—you also need to have a well-thought-out SEO content strategy. 

What exactly is an SEO content strategy?

In short, it's a plan for how you'll create and optimize your content to ensure it's effective and appealing to both search engines and humans. 

This includes keyword research (finding the right keywords to target), creating compelling content that people will want to read and share, and promoting your content through social media and other channels.

Personalization of content should be another important aspect of your overall content strategy. 

Having an SEO content strategy is a surefire way to skyrocket your content marketing campaigns. 

If you’re not sure why that’s important, note these content marketing statistics:

  • 67% of marketers say content marketing generates demand/leads, 72% say it helps educate the audience, while 63% say it supports customer loyalty.
  • 81% of marketers name content as a pivotal business strategy.
  • Content marketing not only costs 62% less than outbound marketing, but it also generates 3x as many leads.

Without a content strategy, it's easy to get overwhelmed or bogged down in the details of optimization. 

A good strategy ensures all of your content—from blog posts to product descriptions—is working together to accomplish your overall goals.

For example, if you're trying to increase brand awareness, you'll want all of your content to be on-brand and support your messaging. 

Similarly, if you're trying to increase sales, you'll want to optimize your product pages for conversion. 

Basically, an SEO content strategy ensures all your content is working together toward a common goal. 

And that's why you need one!

How To Create an SEO Strategy: Takeaway

Now that you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to start executing your new SEO plan. 

Depending on how much time and money you have to invest in this endeavor, there are many different ways to go about creating an effective strategy. 

It’s always a good idea to keep a notebook handy while you plan out your goals and KPIs—and be sure to revisit them periodically throughout the process!

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