How to develop effective SEO strategies

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most effective marketing channels for businesses because it specifically targets people who are really in need of a product, service or information (through search). An SEO strategy only becomes effective when all the actions it involves help to significantly improve the whole quality of a website or a brand’s web presence (for the long-term). These are some key points to develop effective SEO strategies.

1. Understand the site, business, target market, current situation, and actual needs
Firstly, you must understand everything about your client’s website. This phrase points out your SEO campaign’s objectives, through determining:
• Type (and Size) of Website – Is it an e-commerce, community, publication, enterprise or a small business?
• Nature of Business – Which industry or business type is it? Is it a highly-competitive one? Who are its top competitors? How long has this industry/business existed?
• Target Market – Which clients group? Is it targeting local, national or global market?
• Current Situation – How long has it been in the business? How’s its sales/revenue generation? What are its top competitors doing right (and wrong)?
• Actual Need(s) – Recover from a penalty? Grow organic traffic? Improve Sales? Or is it just to build awareness for branding?
2. Identify problems and challenges
Secondly, you have to identify clearly all problems and challenges by determining these areas.
• Site issues – There are a few technical SEO checklists you can start with:
Technical SEO: Webris
Local SEO: LocalSEOChecklist
Link Audit: Distilled, BuiltVisible
Penalty Diagnosis: Google Algorithm Change History
• Budget – is the budget enough to build a competitive SEO campaign? How many hours (per month) will the team need to perform all the tasks?
• Competitiveness – How difficult is it to rank for the top target keywords? Is the company competing against big brands? What do the competitors do?

3. Finding opportunities
Once you’ve finished the above steps, it will be easier for you to find and identify opportunities you can take on through the following processes:
• Keyword research – Which keywords do the site can have chances of ranking well in a short period of time? Which
keywords aren’t your competitors ranking well?
• Competitive Intelligence – Which categories are your competitors focusing on and which not? What sites are linking to most of your competition?
• Content gaps – Make an inventory of the site’s key content assets, are they lacking any foundational content pieces or relevant topic areas that haven’t been covered? What are the topics that your competitors are missing from? Can you beat your competitors’ information-rich content assets?
4. Coming up with solutions
Some SEO problems are easily solved by stringing the following results:
• Actions to address what the site actually needs.
• Fixing the site’s main issues.
• Knowing the opportunities to take advantage of to build a momentum.
5. Set the strategic goals you want to achieve for your SEO campaign
Every task and action in your SEO strategy must be aligned with your client’s whole business goals and all your weekly goals must positively impact your campaign’s long-term objectives.
With the right strategies, no matter what the goals are, they should be well within reach.