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Are you a business owner or blogger looking to improve your website’s online visibility and attract more traffic?
If so, you’re in the right place!
In today’s competitive online marketplace, having a strong Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy is crucial for standing out from the crowd. However, knowing where to exactly start from with so many different techniques can be overwhelming.
That’s why I have put together this comprehensive guide to help you create an effective SEO strategy from start to finish.
I have covered everything from setting clear goals and conducting keyword research to optimizing your on-page and off-page SEO elements, building topic clusters, and tracking your performance over time.
By the end of this guide, you’ll have a solid understanding of how to create an effective SEO strategy that meets your unique needs and goals.
So, let’s dive in and start building your online presence!
Before diving into what an SEO strategy is, it is befitting to understand what SEO/Search Engine Optimization is and why it is important.
What is SEO, and Why is it Important?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of optimizing your website’s content using various techniques to improve its visibility in Search Engines.
In simple terms, it involves improving elements on your website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific keywords and phrases related to your business or content.
For small businesses, bloggers, and beginners, having a solid SEO strategy is crucial to elevate their brand and increasing website visibility naturally.
By implementing SEO strategies, businesses and bloggers can increase the quantity and quality of traffic to their websites, resulting in higher conversions, sales, and profits.
What is an SEO Strategy?
An SEO Strategy / Search Engine Optimization Strategy is a set of planned actions to improve a website’s visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
It involves identifying the targeted keywords relevant to your website and its content, optimizing your website’s content and structure to align with those keywords, and developing a plan to acquire high-quality backlinks to boost authority.
An effective SEO strategy involves combining on-page and off-page SEO optimization techniques to increase organic traffic, improve search engine rankings, and ultimately increase revenue for your business.
Top 8 Steps To Create an SEO Strategy
Creating an effective SEO strategy can seem whelming, but I have broken it down in the steps below:
1. Define your goals
Identify your website or business’ goals before setting up an SEO strategy. Your goal might be increasing website traffic, generating leads, or increasing revenue.
With the new wave of AI (Artificial Intelligence) it is vital to have an understanding on how to approach SEO the new way.
With many sites reliant on AI for content creation, it is vital to stand out from the crowd. Ensure that you personalize your content and most of all make it helpful to users.
2. Conduct a Comprehensive Website Audit
Conducting a thorough website audit is crucial in developing an effective SEO strategy. The audit will help identify technical and on-page issues that need to be fixed, as well as content gaps and opportunities for optimization.
You don’t want to build your house (SEO strategy) on a weak foundation.
Start with analyzing your website for health and performance. Scan your website for broken links and URL structure, ensure that your site has SSL enabled, and for other technicalities.
I use the free Ahrefs web crawler to look for any redirects and broken links on my site.
3. Create Topic Clusters
A topic cluster is a collection of content around a central topic or “Pillar page.” A topic cluster contains your main subject, such as “Finance,” and all other related sub-topics, such as investments, financial management, and security markets.
For example, my blog has topic clusters on SEO, Blogging, Technology, and Product reviews.
Building a topic cluster is a powerful SEO strategy that can naturally elevate your website’s visibility.
Topic clusters help Search Engines understand your website content and establish your website as an authority in the area since you have exhaustively covered topics.
The authority from topic clusters can help improve your ranking in search results and drive more organic traffic to your site.
A topic cluster comprises a pillar page and a group of related subtopics. The pillar page serves as the main information page on a specific topic. At the same time, the subtopics provide more detailed information on particular aspects of that topic.
Each subtopic should link to the pillar page, creating a web of interlinked content relevant to a particular search query. This positively helps with spreading domain authority around your whole website through a SILO structure.
A good topic cluster also keeps visitors on your site for long.
Have you ever visited a site, and just as you finish reading a blog post, in the related posts section, you end up clicking on another post that gets you hooked?
Now such a website has a good interlinked topic cluster. This is what you want to achieve with your cluster. To become an exhaustive authority on a given topic.
Conduct thorough keyword research to build a topic cluster to identify a central topic and related subtopics your audience is interested in. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, Ahrefs, and Google Trends to identify high-traffic keywords and topics relevant to your brand or business.
Next, create a comprehensive list of subtopics related to your central topic. These subtopics should cover a range of specific aspects of your topic, with each subtopic serving as a separate page that covers a particular part of your topic.
Make sure to include internal links between your subtopics and your pillar page, ensuring that search engines can easily crawl between them.
Focus on high-quality, informative content that provides value to your audience. Use different media in your posts, such as images and videos, to engage your audience and keep them on your site longer.
4. Perform Keyword Research
Keyword research is identifying and analyzing the search terms or phrases people use when searching for information on search engines.
Keyword research involves researching and selecting relevant words or phrases for your website or business.
Input your desired topic, such as “Furniture,” in Google Keyword Planner (Free). The tool will display all data on your keyword and other related queries.
The next step is analyzing these keywords for metrics such as search volume (find out how many people are searching a given keyword).
Competitiveness or difficulty. How hard is it to rank on the first page of Google for the keyword? Usually, when you find high authority websites (With high Domain Authority, DA) ranking on page 1, such keywords are hard to rank for. You should keep this in mind as you target keywords. You need a strong backlink profile, as I will expound on step 6 of building an SEO strategy. later
The trend of such keywords. Some keywords are seasonal, and some tend to gain more traction at certain times of the year.
Such metrics help you understand what your audience’s needs are so that you can determine which kind of content they are in need of.
You can use various keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, a free tool from Google, to help you find keywords and their search volume.
Other freemium tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush can help you identify keyword data, analyze your competitors to optimize your content, and help you come up with a winning SEO strategy.
5. Analyze Your Competitors’ SEO Strategy
Identify the keywords and strategies your competitors are using, and look for ways to make your website and content stand out.
Check your competitor’s social media platforms and how they promote their content. Optimize your website’s content on those platforms. If there are any social platforms they are not utilizing, take over!
Check their content for the keywords you want to write about. Find out the content they wrote around the topic and how they structured it.
For instance, there is a certain format of structure that Google finds fit for certain web content. If you do not follow the same formatting for your blog, I’m afraid Google is likely not to push your web pages higher in search results.
So to find out such a format, you need to conduct a competitor analysis.
Insert your keyword into the Google Search bar and hit Enter.
Analyze the first ranking pages, giving you the structure and formatting of the content you want to write about.
Check for things like word count to have an idea of what amount of words your content will have. Look out for the external links used, language (i.e., beginner-friendly language), and use of short paragraphs, among others.
Simply propagate from what is already working for your competitors.
For example, you might find out that they arranged their content into sizeable headings, and short paragraphs, and maybe they include a FAQ section in their blog posts.
Sometimes, you can even go ahead and make the content better than the existing one.
Altogether, there is no hard fast rule, but you must be critical when assessing your competitors.
Find ways of giving your audience answers without having to go through a hassle. Be direct and substantially cover topics to be helpful to readers.
This way, your SEO strategy will be effective.
6. Optimize On-page SEO elements.
Optimizing a website for on-page SEO elements is essential to creating a successful SEO strategy.
On-page SEO involves optimizing posts and pages of your website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). This is done by optimizing on-page elements, such as Title tags, Meta descriptions, and Headers, to make it easier for search engines to crawl and index your website and improve the user experience for visitors.
- Title tags. Make your Title tags concise and relevant. Ensure that you include the main keyword for that page in the Title. A well-optimized title tag can significantly improve a website’s Click-through rate (CTR) from search results, leading to more organic traffic. Simply put, your Title should make a user wanna click!
- Meta description. Another important on-page element to optimize is the meta description. This short descriptive text appears below the title tag in search engine results. The meta description should be a brief and compelling summary of the page’s content that entices users to click through to the page. Ensure that you include the target keyword(s) in the meta description, which can also help improve the page’s relevance.
- Headers. Headers, H1, H2, H3, and H4 tags, are important on-page elements that should be optimized. These tags are used to organize the content of a page into distinct sections and sub-sections. They help to improve user experience and break chunks of text into readable sections. Ensure that you include the target keyword in these headers to help search engines better understand the main topics covered on the page.
Besides the above, there are other on-page SEO elements you should pay attention to, such as optimizing images with descriptive Alt text and image title tags. Compress the pictures or use recommended WebP image file format for your images. Compressing image file size can improve page speed and user experience and positively impact search rankings.
7. Optimize Off-Page SEO for your blog.
Off-page SEO involves optimizing elements outside your website that affect your ranking in search results.
This includes backlinks, social media presence, and other factors that influence the perception of your website’s quality and authority.
Build High-Quality Backlinks
Identify opportunities to build backlinks from other reputable websites, such as through guest blogging and social media.
Additionally, you can scan prospective websites from which you want a link for broken links. Once you identify broken links, you can reach out to the website owners to see if they can replace the broken link with your page covering a similar topic.
Even when the link is not necessarily broken, reach out and persuade the website owners about how your content is the best version of what they linked to previously.
Keep in mind that as you go over your link-building strategy, you’ve got to keep within the guidelines of Google. You don’t want to spam build links and eventually get your site banned.
Social Media Presence
Building a strong social media presence can help increase your website’s visibility and drive traffic. You can create profiles on popular social media platforms and post regularly with links to your website.
This gives Google signals about the presence of your site on the web.
With the above tips, you can easily grow authority through backlinks to your site, increase Domain Authority, and eventually rank higher in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
8. Track your performance
Setting up an SEO strategy without tracking your results wastes time.
You need to know exactly what is and what is not working.
That is where an analytics tracking tool comes in handy.
The most amazing thing is that you do not need to spend a penny since it freely provides analytic tracking platforms such as Google Analytics. Google Search Console to enable you to gather data on the performance of your website.
Identify the winning areas and also spot the underperforming keywords and posts. Know what works and improve on what needs to be fixed to enhance your SEO strategy.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I Learn SEO on My Own?
Yes, learning SEO on your own with the help of online resources, tutorials, and courses is possible. Some useful resources for beginners include Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide and Workaguide’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO.
Congrats! You have made it this far and are ready to drive organic traffic to your website.
A successful SEO plan needs a solid understanding of your audience, competitors, and search engines. You may build a solid basis for an effective SEO strategy by defining clear objectives, conducting in-depth keyword research and competitive analysis, and optimizing both on-page and off-page SEO components.
Increasing the authority and relevance of your website through topic clusters and creating a backlink-building schedule while conducting routine website audits and monitoring performance can help you stay abreast of the most recent trends and continuously refine your strategy.
Keep in mind that SEO is a long-term game that needs patience. An effective SEO strategy will increase rankings and, eventually, traffic to your site.
I hope you found this article helpful. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.