What is an SEO strategy and how do you plan one?

03 Mar 2023  |  by Katie Harvard

5 min read

You may be familiar with, or at least understand the basics of, what SEO is. You might have already decided that SEO is worth investing in to help grow your business. What you may not know is how to go about creating an effective SEO strategy that will improve your ranking and produce results. Let us illuminate the basics of what makes up an SEO strategy, and how you can plan and implement one for your business. 

What is an SEO strategy?

An SEO strategy is the combination and organisation of various SEO tactics. Tactics are actions you take to achieve your objectives in which you implement these tactics to reach your goal, this is your strategy. Using tactics randomly with no real thought behind them wastes time, money and resources - no matter how good they may be. The strategy is what ties everything together. 

More than half of marketers think that SEO is essential to growing your business online, so having a well thought out, metrics-driven strategy is crucial to using SEO to its full potential. Fail to do so and you risk missing out on the benefits that good SEO practices can bring while expending energy and effort in the process.

What are the main SEO strategies?

Simply put, the goal of SEO is to help your business rank highly on search engines for the keywords and topics you want to be associated with. Ranking highly means you will be seen as authoritative and reputable, and that standing will earn you more prospects and customers.

Broadly speaking, all SEO can be put into 3 categories: on-page SEO (website content, and ensuring that it does well); off-page SEO (building links to your website from elsewhere online); and technical SEO (optimising the inner workings of your website, such as its code). Within these categories, different strategies may be put in place to improve performance.

Here are a few of the main SEO strategies that your competitors are likely to already be implementing, and the tactics that they make use of:

Keyword research and targeting

Researching the keywords people are using to search tells you exactly what potential customers are looking for, and how many of them are looking for it. You probably already have an idea of what keywords you want to be associated with and rank highly for. Using genuine data from your desired audience is a more effective way to tackle keywords than simply assuming what your ideal customers are looking for online. 

Tactics you might want to implement in your keyword targeting strategy include; focusing on relevant keywords that your competitors aren’t currently ranking for, considering user intent when integrating keywords into your content to prevent it from being spammy, and taking advantage of seasonal trends.

Content marketing

Content marketing involves the creation and sharing of original content (featuring relevant keywords) to generate interest in your business. Your content may not even be directly focused on your products or services but can divert attention to them after having drawn in prospective customers. 

Helpful, engaging, user-friendly content can help to boost your visibility and authority. Your content marketing strategy may include tactics such as; regular blogging, posting infographics, or hosting and sharing webinars.

Link building

Links are how search engines crawl the web, and help determine where they should rank a web page in search results. One of the most effective ways to drive organic traffic is earning links from other websites - for example, someone linking to a product or service they have used and rate highly, or a source of information they found useful.

These are referred to as backlinks. Manufacturing poor-quality links through black hat tactics such as link farms can accrue steep penalties, so it’s important to approach link building with integrity.

Tactics to help with link building may involve; offering free templates or tools, putting together case studies and whitepapers, the use of social media, and clever placement of links in your own content. Link building goes hand in hand with content marketing.

Optimising your website

Making sure that your website runs smoothly and is user-friendly is an important part of technical SEO. Considering the fact that currently 50% of B2B enquiries are placed through mobile phones, it’s also important to include mobile optimisation in this strategy. 

Tactics that can help with optimising your website include; improving loading speeds, using responsive design aspects, and updating outdated content. 

How should you plan your SEO strategy?

There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to SEO strategy. Your needs are your own, and as you sit down to plan your SEO strategy it’s important to identify exactly what they are.

Check your goals

Conduct an audit of your website to identify its strengths and weaknesses and where you would like to see improvement. You may also want to do additional research on your target audience and develop your buyer personas, to help tailor your content more specifically. Create an image of where you should like to be within a certain time frame, compared to where you are now. This overarching goal will be the place you want your strategy to take you.

Set your targets

You can’t set targets without understanding your benchmarks. Conduct an audit on your website to identify its strengths and weaknesses, and identify where you would like to see improvement. Look at your budget and resources, and set realistic, quantifiable targets. Try to avoid using subject language in your targets, such as being “more”, or doing “better”.

Choose your tactics

Looking at your goal and your targets, decide which tactics are the most likely to get you where, and choose when and how to implement them. For example, coinciding with a website redesign with the launch of a new product could be effective - going for the redesign a week after your product has been launched would be confusing. 

Track and monitor your SEO efforts

If you have set out a SMART strategy (one that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound), you should be able to accurately track how successful it is. Use this data to make adjustments where necessary, and to demonstrate to any stakeholders or senior management that your strategy is working.

See how Apteco can help you

Having good instincts is a gift, but having data-led insight is the ribbon-wrapped box of marketing. Apteco solutions utilise creative technology driven by an empathetic understanding of customer needs. We want your data to be easily digestible so that you can feed your customers exactly what they want, just as they’re realising they want it. 

Keeping marketing campaigns consistent across multiple channels, integrating seamlessly with existing applications, and using automation to free up your valuable time, Apteco software might be the key to bringing all of your marketing goals together and making them achievable. 

Katie Harvard

Marketing and brand specialist

Katie joined Apteco in 2017 and has worked in design and marketing for over 20 years. Before starting at Apteco, Katie refined her skills in advertising agencies and large global corporates. In 2012 she started her own marketing consultancy which she ran until she moved to the UK. Katie is passionate about design and branding. 

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