How to define an SEO strategy

When dealing with a process of SEO optimization for a new customer it is important to know that the possible activities to achieve the results are really many and only after gathering all the useful data we will be able to make the right decisions and offer professional SEO advice.

Some activities may be more efficient than others in specific situations and markets, so it is not possible to define the universal SEO strategy. In some areas, backlinks still win, in some it is very useful to write content, in others it is important to be active on social networks …

The best SEO strategy is that which adapts to the environment and to the players involved, and that is why we will start talking about two specific activities aimed at studying the reference market in depth and then moving on to the technical analysis of the website and only eventually we will define potentially more effective strategies.

How to define an SEO strategy

To define the SEO strategy we will have to face 4 different activities :

  • Analysis of research habits
  • Analysis of the online competition
  • SEO Audit, technical analysis of the website
  • Definition of strategies

Analysis of research habits

To generate quality traffic it is important to intercept the right keywords and gain visibility on these searches, so let’s start with the analysis of keywords and the generation of an effective keyword list .

Do you think it would make more sense to position yourself for “necklaces” or for “pearl necklaces online” ? Although the first term has much more traffic than the second, it is clear that the second term is much more oriented towards conversion and therefore to generate money and profits for the customer.

In the early years of the Internet it was easy to find little-minded niches and positioning itself by strategic terms was not the exceptional enterprise of J. Ax. Today it’s not like that anymore . Google has in its index something like 100 million Gigabytes of web pages  (about 46 billion pages estimated) and although the “visible” web is just the tip of the iceberg considering the deep web, Google has admitted not to have sufficient resources to index all the visible web and often must delete resources that it considers of low value. Free space is only in memories?

So we understand that it is no longer easy to find free market niches, there are pages on anything that comes to mind. Through a correct and profound analysis of users’ research habits it is possible to give a value of convenience to each term and find again some precious opportunities. This value of convenience is called KEI and is calculated by comparing the volumes of search traffic and the SEO competition.

There may be cases like this:

  • Keyword 1: traffic 1,000, competition SEO 10,000, KEI = 100
  • Keyword 2: traffic 1,000, competition SEO 100, KEI = 10,000

Data in hand, who would choose the term 1 to optimize your site? I bet no one. However, when I analyze customer sites, I often realize that this analysis was not done and who runs the website has no idea what these numbers are.

Analysis of the online and market competition

I like to explain myself with examples … Consider these two cases:

  • Situation 1: The client wants to position himself for “Hotel New York” with a new site and a budget of € 1,000
  • Situation 2: the customer wants to position himself for “handcrafted shoes online” with an online site for 10 years and a budget of 10.000 €

As we can imagine, the work and effort required are very different for an SEO working on these two projects. In the first case, perhaps the efforts will never be sufficient to achieve the desired goal by the client. Where do I want to get with this example? What I want to emphasize is the importance of understanding the level of competition in the sector in which the customer operates. In detail we have to assess the feasibility of entry into the market, to understand if the niche is saturated or not and if the customer will have the opportunity to emerge with important positions in SERP.

Let’s start with the analysis of the competitors and the reference market. We define the steps to follow to structure a correct analysis of online competitors:

  • Starting from the analysis of research habits, define a set of high-traffic keywords and industry specifics – we use 10 to 20 keywords extracted from the previous analysis, non-generic but conversion-oriented terms and strategic terms for the client’s business .
  • Analyze SERPs and the results shown – Are there many AdWords ads that take care of organic results? Do local results get more visibility? Does the image box appear in the SERP? Are there any videos? What kind of sites appear on the front page?
  • Identify the most common competitors – Based on the queries made with the set of keywords defined in the first step, which websites appear most often on the front page? Are they direct competitors or are they informative sites?
  • Evaluating competitors’ online strength and authority – Do the most recurring sites have strong and growing backlink profiles? Do they get many social signals? Do they link building?
  • Understanding the strategies of each competitor – Which traffic channels and content sharing do the competitors use? Do they have the local page on Google Plus? Do they use Facebook? How often do Twittano? What level of engagement do they have on the various social networks? Do they collect user reviews?

These are just some examples of questions we have to ask ourselves when we have to study a market niche. The more answers we give and the simpler it will be to define a winning SEO strategy.