An SEO strategy (also referred to as “SEO approach” or “search engine optimization strategy”) is the process of planning, outlining and implementing steps designed to improve search engine rankings.
In other words: an SEO strategy is the process that you follow when you want to get more organic traffic.
The four key areas of SEO that site owners need to consider are:
Of course, these four areas have some complexity and overlap, but understanding your strengths and weaknesses in relation to them is key to focusing your efforts.
Technical SEO can seem a little daunting, but really, what we are talking about is ensuring that a search engine can read your content and explore your site. Much of this will be taken care of by the content management system you use, and tools like Screaming Frog and Deep Crawl can explore your website and highlight technical problems.
If you are a small business using WordPress for your website, technical SEO should be something you can check off your list quickly. If you have a large, bespoke website with millions of pages, then technical SEO becomes much more important.
Much of what is considered “technical SEO” here is part of your website design and development. The trick is to ensure your developer understands the interplay between website design, development and SEO and how to build a blisteringly fast and mobile-optimized site.
Your website should be optimized as a whole and at an individual page level. There is some crossover here from your technical SEO, and you want to start with a well-structured content hierarchy for your site.
Assuming you have a well-structured site, applying sensible optimization is again relatively straightforward. The main areas to focus on here are:
When optimizing your site, take the time to consider your customers. If you are a local business, then local SEO is more important, and your address and location become crucial optimization points.
With solid technical SEO in place, layering your on-page optimization is straightforward. Use tools like Screaming Frog to crawl and identify weaknesses and methodically work through your pages.
Content is king. That’s the saying, right? It’s true in away. Your website is just a wrapper for your content. Your content tells prospects what you do, where you do it, who you have done it for, and why someone should use your business. And if you’re smart, your content should also go beyond these obvious brochure-type elements and help your prospective customers achieve their goals.
For service businesses, we can loosely break your content down into three categories:
It’s important to realize that SEO is important for all these kinds of content, but it is often only really considered for service-type content. SEO is often forgotten when it comes to credibility content like reviews, testimonials and case studies.
Ensure you optimize all of your marketing content, including case studies, portfolio entries, and testimonials — not just the obvious service pages.
A solid content marketing and SEO strategy is also the most scalable way to promote your business to a wide audience. And this generally has the best ROI, as there is no cost per click — so you are scaling your marketing without directly scaling your costs. This kind of SEO strategy is not right for every business, but when it is a good fit, it’s almost unbeatable.
We still see way too many paint-by-numbers approaches to SEO, where local businesses are paying agencies to pump out blog posts that are strategically not a good fit. Ensure that all your content is optimized, and if you are doing content marketing, ensure it is a good fit for your marketing tactics.
Eventually, all SEO rivers run to this one spot: authority building. Building your authority, in large part, involves link building. Links are still a crucial component to developing strong organic rankings; however, links can be the hardest part of SEO to get right.
It really is important here to get your link philosophy dialed in before you start, as this can truly make or break your link-building efforts. While link building is a deep topic that we can’t cover in-depth here, if you can at least develop a positive link-building philosophy, you are already ahead of the majority of your competition.
This kind of natural link should be the backbone of your link-building efforts. This may mean you have to revisit the content on your site and create something of value first, but if you can nail that, then you are halfway home.
Any safe, scalable link-building strategy should be built on this mindset.