In this post, you will Learn How to Create an Effective SEO Strategy that works in 2020 and beyond.
To make it simple I have divided the SEO strategies into 6 different steps
- Preparing a Keyword List
- Analyzing First Page Results
- Detailed SEO Audit
- Page optimization
- Content Creation
- Promote content to acquire links
What is SEO Strategy?
SEO strategy is a step by step method of planning, outlining and implementing steps designed to improve organic ranking.
In other words: an SEO strategy is the process that SEO Experts follow before and after completing website development in order to bring more free search engine traffic.
In fact, This is the repeatable SEO strategy that I am going to share with you.
Step #1: Create a Master Keyword List
SEO Success depends on selecting the right and less competitive keywords on the initial stage. That is why keyword research is the first step in creating an SEO strategy.
Finding keywords is not rocket science today, but choosing the right keywords for your business is most important. Below is a list of tools that you can use to find keywords
- Google Keyword planner
- Google Search suggestion
- Google Trends
- Competitors title, description, heading tags
Using the above tools you have prepared a seed keyword list, now it’s time to differentiate keywords based on the search intent. There are 3 types of search intent available. You need to do keyword segmentation according to user intent. Let’s understand it first:
Informational intent: When users are searching to learn in-depth about a particular topic. For example, If users search “learn SEO”, the keyword intent for a search term is related to information.
Navigational intent: When people are looking for a specific website or location, the query falls under navigational intent.
Transactional / Commercial intent: When people search for specific products or services in order to purchase.
Step #2: Check Google’s First Page With Keyword
Once you have prepared a master keyword list, it’s time to analyze all keywords and check what type of content is ranking. Take one keyword and search in google and monitor the pattern like
- Is that keyword ranking with list-type content
- Do the top 10 results have videos?
- The content length of top 10 competitors
Once you understand the first-page result and type of content that ranks high, it’s time to create unique and better content to rank high.
Step #3: Do a proper SEO Audit
Starting an SEO campaign without an SEO audit is like riding a car without brakes. You must start doing an SEO audit to understand what is missing and what wrong has been done.
IF you are preparing an SEO strategy for the new website then it might be different compared to the old website. However, learning the SEO audit concept in detail will help you to avoid silly mistakes.
Backlink Profile Audit
Step – 1: Are backlinks high-quality?
Always start your audit process by analyzing backlinks profile, because in most cases websites facing penalties and issues due to low-quality links. Let’s look at a few examples of low-quality links
- Links placed with exact match keywords
- Anchor text-based links from unreadable content
- Anchor text links from web 2.0 websites
- Links from different niche directories, blogs, forums
Now once you identify the links the next step is to work on.
Don’t remove the Low-Quality backlinks
Website authority depends on the quality and quantity of links. If you start removing all the low-quality links, then you start losing domain authority and in most of cases, you lose the keyword rankings.
So that’s why I don’t recommend removing low-quality links right now, Instead at this point just focus on creating new high-quality links.
Build high-quality NEW backlinks
It’s important to maintain a ratio of low vs high-quality links. Sometimes websites do not get higher ranks due to lack of high authority backlinks.
Websites like Moz, Backlinko, Neil Patel also have low-quality backlinks, but the ratio is very small compared to high authority links.
So instead of wasting initial time on removing low-quality links, we can focus on building high authority new links.
Step 2: Slowly remove the worst links
Once you have acquired tons of high-quality links it’s time to reduce the number of low-quality links.
Contact the website owner having low-quality links and ask them to remove it.
Also, don’t do the removal process aggressively instead if you get 5 high-quality links just remove 1 low-quality link.
Step 3: Are the backlinks relevant?
Whenever you acquire new backlinks make sure that it comes from the relevant sources.
Do you know how to decide link relevancy? Well, there are two methods to understand the link relevance.
- Links that come from local websites
- Backlinks from similar niche
If the links are from local websites and similar niches then do not worry and keep acquiring more. And when you build new links make sure you start your link building campaign with the below structure.
- Start getting your first 20 links with 100% relevance
- Next 20 links with 75% relevance
- Next 20 Links with 50% relevance
- Rest 25% links with relevance.
If you are planning to rank on local keywords then focus on getting links from local websites, directories, and blogs.
Step 4: Are the backlinks hitting the right pages?
Most of the cases we noticed that people are targeting main pages for acquiring backlinks and do over link building on transactional keywords.
We should avoid such mistakes and get backlinks on pages that have some informational value. We need to acquire links on all pages to build a solid foundation.
Step 5: Put constant effort to acquire new backlinks
SEO is an ongoing process why? Let me show you some reason
- It’s an open process and any SEO professional can easily identify anyone’s SEO strategy, backlinks and start working on it. So to stay ahead of your competitors you need to get more new backlinks.
- Every day many websites get shut down due to maintenance cost and if you have links from the website you will also lose value.
- Other websites may find more valuable content than yours and may remove your links.
So considering the above factors I personally recommend that you keep acquiring new links to stay above the competition.
Step 6: Is the anchor text over-optimized?
Before 2012 to rank for a keyword you need links with the same keywords. We are Now in 2020 and the rules have changed.
If your website gets maximum links with the same anchor text, it’s sending a strong signal to Google that the links are not editorial.
High-Impact On-Site Factors to Audit
Step 1: Are you targeting the right keywords?
When you start creating SEO strategies make sure that you have targeted the right keywords. Structure your website pages with information, transaction and comparison keywords.
Identify the search intent and analyze the first page and if it requires a new page to rank that keyword just do that.
Step 2. Check your site architecture
Proper site architecture is the backbone of Succesful On-Page SEO and Google ads. It helps search engine crawlers to easily index the next page. Also if you have done proper architecture then it will improve link equity.
Internal links: In many cases, we noticed that people don’t give attention to taking benefit of internal linking. Make a list of relevant pages and do proper internal links to gain more votes.
Make your ALL pages easily accessible: Make sure that all pages are easily accessible by a crawler. Only avoid pages that you don’t want crawlers to index.
Value of internal Links: This is very important to understand the Value of getting Internal links. The value of internal linking from header and content is high compared to links from footer and sidebar.
Link Depth: It’s important that you keep a link structure that easily indexes. If your link click is very deep it’s hard for search engines to index it. By using a tool like screamingfrog you can easily identify the deep links.
Anchor text: It’s important that you use smartly anchor text in internal links. Whenever possible avoid using exact match anchor text as menu internal links because in most cases if you acquire external links with the same anchor text, it will hurt your website with over-optimization.
Use breadcrumbs: This is important for a large website. It shows a clear hierarchy of internal pages.
Megamenu: If you have an eCommerce website or have maximum categories use the mega menu so that users and crawlers can easily access pages.
Sitemap: Make sure you have a sitemap
Step 3. Are there any content-related issues?
Thin content: Make a list of pages that have very less or thin content. Either add additional content or remove that page.
Duplicate content: Make sure that your whole website has unique content. Sometimes pages created from date, author, categories, and tags have duplicate content issues. You can use a duplicate content checker tool and fix the issue.
Keyword cannibalization: Make sure that you target 1 keyword per page, sometimes accidentally we focus the same keywords in the title and due to that it’s difficult for search engines to give weightage to one page.
When two pages have different search intent there will be no issue, but targeting the same keyword with the same intent will create issues.
Over-optimization: Whenever you write content, keep keyword density at lower compared to industry suggestion. Focus your primary targeted keywords in Title, URL, Description, Heading tags and H2 tag.
Step 4: Does the website have technical issues?
Improving technical SEO, you are not only improving your website user experience but also improving search engine ability to crawl your page more effectively.
Crawling & Indexing: Crawling and Indexing is critical for a website because if search engines are not able to crawl or index the page, How can they provide you rank. Make sure that everything is allowed in robots.txt file and robots tag.
Mobile-friendliness: After the introduction of the Responsive website, the Mobile-friendliness website is becoming more important for spiders and users.
- Check your website with a Google mobile-friendliness tool and see how search engines see your website. Check proper gapping between clickable elements.
Page loading speed: Always monitor your website speed with tools like Google page speed insight or Gtmetrix.
Make sure that your website loads within 3 seconds. If Your website load time, the page request is higher, make a list of slow pages and contact web developers to fix it.
Generally optimizing scripts, images, enabling browser caching, fixing render-blocking, using CDN can improve website speed.
Redirects: Make sure that you avoid redirection chains. Make a standard practice of using 301 redirections for renaming any page URL.
404s & broken links: 404 pages are missing pages on your website. If you have created pages previously and deleted make sure that you do proper 301 redirections.
Broken links are pages that exist on a website but accidentally you have written the wrong URL, this will give a negative effect on your users and search engine.
Now once you identify all the issues in the SEO AUDIT phase it’s time to optimize it.
Step #4: Page Optimization Strategy
Once you know what to fix, it’s easy for you to start fixing it. Your audit report will guide you on which pages have issues and what you can fix.
Generally, start optimizing your website pages with
Add Title Modifier: Improve your website title by adding modifier words Like “Best” “Year – 2020 ” “Tutorial” “Guide”
Target 1 Keywords: Most of the time on an initial stage we noticed that we target multiple keywords on a page. My advice is that take 1 keyword at a time and improve the page quality and promote it until it ranks.
Move Page in Higher Site Architecture: To improve page performance it is important that it is easily accessible by crawlers. To do this you need to improve your existing site architecture. Either you do internal linking from the home page or add in a header.
Authority Transfer: You need to add one more step in your strategy to improve existing page ranking. Make a list of higher authority pages from your website. You can do this easily by the use of SEO tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz.
Optimize each page with anchor text-based Internal links. This will not only improve your website organic ranking but also improve the page authority of other pages.
Step #5: Content Creation Strategy
Now you have everything available in hand including keywords and website issues. You have also fixed the issues as per audit and also done needful optimization.
If you still do not rank higher then it’s time to work on creating new content assets that provide more value.
Every business has to create content that provides unique information that people like to link on their website.
Create a video related to your service or product and add it to the transaction page. This will not only improve your website time spent but also improve user experience by adding trust.
Add Customers / Client Testimonial
Sharing your customer feedback has a great impact on your page time spent. Customers love to see the other customer experience. This will also improve your website conversion rate.
Add Small Stories:
Like service testimonials, adding your customer’s stories can also improve conversion rates. This will also help in adding website word counts.
Every service and product page has a common question that customers ask all the time. Adding FAQ will add additional unique content.
Step #6: Promotion Strategy
Most of the SEO campaigns failed in the promotion stage. It’s very important that you put extra effort into your Promote SEO strategy.
If you have awesome content and if nobody knows then no one links it, but don’t stop there. Create your brand presence and shortly you will get maximum links. Follow this technique for branding and linking.
Contact similar sites’ owners and ask for links to your content. There are lots of techniques available for these techniques. You need to build relationships with other website owners to get more links.
Share your content on social media sites like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram and more.
Promote in Question & Answers sites:
If you have solved someone’s problem then the questions might be available on websites like Quora, Forums, Google Questions and more.
Take a similar concept and write for another blog website. This will help you to get additional backlinks. Make sure you follow guest blogging guidelines while taking links.
Lead Capture & Automation:
Always capture leads so that you can engage your existing readers by sharing new content. This will bring additional traffic to your site.
These 6 steps are my Proven SEO strategy that I am using to rank all my websites. These are simple and effective techniques that work in 2020 and in the future, it will also work.