How to create an SEO strategy

This SEO strategy guide will walk you through the various steps to producing a successful plan, from defining your target audience to producing exceptional, link-worthy content. Many years of trial and error have gone into this strategy guide and although SEO has undergone a significant transformation, these fundamental principles remain the same. Before you think about keywords and content, we first need to cover the absolute fundamentals of search marketing, context.

Who are your target audience and their personas?

Who are your target audience and their personas?

If you’re just starting up online we would always recommend defining your target audience. Your target audience will define the types of keywords and content you will look to produce. Furthermore, it will help you understand the content’s tone of voice and wider branding, user journey and sales funnels.

Tone of voice

Let’s assume that your target audience are “french wine connoisseurs”, the wine experts who like to understand the different wine appellations, wine regions and their history. Wine connoisseurs understand wine, their enthusiasm for knowledge and understanding helps them make informed decisions about their next purchase, They are typically big spenders. The style of writing and tone of voice needs to be informative, articulate and enticing. Understanding the different audiences will help guide the content strategy and keep them engaged. The more engaged your readership is, the more likely a conversion will occur.

What if a keyword is relevant to more than one target audience?

What if a keyword is relevant to more than one target audience?

The user experience is crucial for both mobile and desktop users, but it also helps the different target audiences navigate to deeper pages on your site. If the wine connoisseur and the average wine drinker land on the same page, navigation becomes a vital part of separating the user funnels. Product tags, filters and sub-categories will help to guide the different personas, FAQs and hotlinks (links that take users to the relevant part of the same page) can also act as support for both users and search engines.

What if a keyword is relevant to more than one target audience?

The user experience is crucial for both mobile and desktop users, but it also helps the different target audiences navigate to deeper pages on your site. If the wine connoisseur and the average wine drinker land on the same page, navigation becomes a vital part of separating the user funnels. Product tags, filters and sub-categories will help to guide the different personas, FAQs and hotlinks (links that take users to the relevant part of the same page) can also act as support for both users and search engines.

Keyword Research

Keyword research will help you determine individual search volumes, identify competitors & wider content strategy. But before you get carried away with targeting keywords with the highest search volume, it’s worth noting the following.

Content Silos

Content Silos will help to group certain topics under one main theme. There are two distinct types of content silos:

Physical Silo

Physical Silo

A physical silo relies on URL structures to group core topics under a unified directory, this makes it easier to manage content, navigation, and internal linking. Here are some examples of physical silos:

/boots/ankle-boots/
/red-wine/french/product-name/
/gallery/bedrooms/

By structuring your site this way, it helps search engines and users better understand a website’s core themes. Additionally, any backlinks you acquire at these deeper levels will filter up the silo, helping the core topics to rank better. However, if you have a website with multiple topics or lots of deeper content, it can become quite messy to manage. We would never recommend a physical silo with a depth level of more than 3 (/page1/page2/page3) due to lengthy URLs. 

Virtual Silo

Virtual Silo

A virtual silo relies on internal linking to help search engines and users understand the context of a site. A virtual silo will typically have flat URL structures and rely on navigation, sidebars and content mapping to help build the internal link relationships.

Wikipedia is a good example of a virtual silo.

There is a lot of speculation as to which silo type is better, we have seen clients rank well using both types.

However, having simplified URL structures looks cleaner on mobile devices, and having the keyword in the URL may also benefit click-through rates too.

Virtual Silo

A virtual silo relies on internal linking to help search engines and users understand the context of a site. A virtual silo will typically have flat URL structures and rely on navigation, sidebars and content map to help build the internal link relationships.

Wikipedia is a good example of a virtual silo.

There is a lot of speculation as to which silo type is better, we have seen clients rank well using both types.

However, having simplified URL structures looks cleaner on mobile devices, and having the keyword in the URL may also benefit click-through rates too.

Content Production

By this stage, you will have a clear understanding of who your target audience is and their personas, competitors, keywords and a complete picture of what your content plan should look like. But before you put paper to pen or hire someone to do it, you need to know what to write for each page

Skyscraper Technique

Skyscraper Technique

Although not an exact science, the skyscraper technique allows you to extract the common themes and headers of the top performing pages for any given search term.

For example, if you’re a local locksmith and you want to produce content around “emergency locksmith”, complete a search in Google and analyse the top ten results for that keyword.

You can use a tool like URL Profiler to extract all of the headers and analyse them for common themes.

Once you have a list of common headers and topics, create the page plan around those common themes. To improve the page, use the SEMRush keyword magic tool to find related keywords and questions, build out an FAQ section for even better contextual relevance.

Technical Writing

Technical Writing

Technical writing is the ability to understand content through the eyes of a search engine, or more specifically, a natural language processor (NLP). We will cover this subject in more detail later, but once you have created the page template and the content is written for each section, head over to text razor – https://www.textrazor.com/demo – and paste your content into the box.

Text razor emulates an NLP and looks to identify and understand words and sentences on the page. Any words it picks up (known as entities) will produce a topic score. The topic scoring is important with a score closer to 1 indicating the certainty in which a machine can understand the context of the page. Run your competitor pages through text razor to get a feel for what topics they score highly for, look to replicate a similar score for these topics (if not better)

Technical Writing

Technical writing is the ability to understand content through the eyes of a search engine, or more specifically, a natural language processor (NLP). We will cover this subject in more detail later, but once you have created the page template and the content is written for each section, head over to text razor – https://www.textrazor.com/demo – and paste your content into the box.

Text razor emulates an NLP and looks to identify and understand words and sentences on the page. Any words it picks up (known as entities) will produce a topic score. The topic scoring is important with a score closer to 1 indicating the certainty in which a machine can understand the context of the page. Run your competitor pages through text razor to get a feel for what topics they score highly for, look to replicate a similar score for these topics (if not better)

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to rank for generic terms with high search volume (and typically much higher competition). Don’t be afraid to produce content around longer tail keywords which typically serve the users search intent much better. Make sure you consider your sales funnel when producing content. Each page should act as a stepping stone to the treasure.

And lastly, don’t rule out keywords that are loosely related to your product or service, a great example of this can be found in the hospitality industry. If you’re a hotel, consider producing content or a directory for things to do in the area. That way you capture an audience who may be in the research stage but has now been introduced to your brand.

Need an experienced SEO team?

Need an experienced SEO team?

Call now for a free consultation

Contact US

Let’s Talk.

CONTACT DETAILS
institute of direct and digital marketing logo

Connect.

CONNECT ON LINKEDIN

Find Us.

ADDRESS

11 Woodlands Drive
Kings Langley, Herts, WD4 8NQ