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How to Create an Effective SEO Strategy 6

How to Create an Effective SEO Strategy

New to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and wondering how to create a winning SEO strategy? Truth be told, with each new Google algorithm, SEO has become a supremely complex web of SEO ranking factors and outcomes. Yet, as detailed by Google’s webmaster guidelines, there are universal principles to base any effective SEO strategy on.

In this guide, we explore the steps towards creating a structured, reliable, and actionable SEO marketing strategy.

What is an SEO Strategy?

In digital marketing, an SEO strategy is a long-term plan for increasing the overall credibility and authority of a website. This can be accomplished through a variety of techniques, such as keyword research and optimisation, link building, and content creation. However, crafting an in-house SEO strategy can be a challenging task from the get-go as it requires a thorough understanding of the latest search engine algorithms, as well as a deep knowledge of the specific industry or niche in which the business operates.

Having your own SEO strategy can be a highly effective way to improve your online visibility and ultimately drive more traffic and revenue to your business. If this is your first time developing an SEO strategy, there are some important steps you will need to take note of, including:

  1. Staying up to date with changing algorithms: Search engines like Google frequently update their algorithms, which can significantly impact a website’s ranking. It is important to stay up to date with these changes and adjust your strategy accordingly.
  2. Identifying the right keywords: Keywords are phrases and terms that people use when searching for information online. In order to select the right keywords, businesses must consider factors such as search volume (how often people are searching for a particular term), competition (how many other websites are targeting the same keyword), and relevance (how closely the keyword aligns with the business’s products or services). We recommend mixing in long tail keywords to maximise your website’s opportunities.
  3. Creating high-quality content: To rank well on search engines, a website must have high-quality, relevant, and engaging content. Having this content written in-house, however, can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, especially for small businesses with limited staff and resources.
  4. Measuring and analysing results: An effective SEO strategy requires ongoing measurement and analysis to determine what is working and what needs to be improved. This can be difficult for in-house teams, especially if they do not have access to specialised tools or expertise.

If you are interested to get started, conducting an SEO audit should be your first step to preparing the groundwork for a successful SEO marketing strategy.

What is an SEO audit?

An SEO audit is a comprehensive analysis of a website’s performance and visibility on search engines. It helps identify any technical issues or opportunities for improvement that may be holding back a website’s ranking. Without a thorough understanding of a website’s current SEO landscape, it will be tricky to create a targeted and effective strategy for improvement.

An SEO audit thus comes in handy to highlight the most pressing issues that need to be addressed first and helps businesses prioritise their digital marketing efforts.

How long does an SEO audit take?

The length of time that an SEO audit takes can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the size and complexity of the website being audited and the level of detail and depth of the audit itself. On average, a full SEO audit would require two to eight weeks; however, it can be reduced significantly if the correct tools and techniques are used.

SEO tools such as Google Search Console and Semrush can help streamline the process and provide valuable insights into your site performance, broken down into digestible metrics. With these tools, you can gain visibility on issues that might be hindering your website’s success. From crawl errors to backlink authority, Google Search Console and Semrush offer detailed diagnostics that help users pinpoint areas that need more attention.

What to do after your SEO audit

After conducting a thorough SEO audit of your website, be sure to record the results as this will provide a baseline for measuring the effectiveness of any subsequent SEO efforts. By keeping track of the results, you can see how your website’s SEO has improved over time and identify any trends or patterns that may be impacting your search engine rankings.

Additionally, ensure that the results from the SEO audit are understandable so you can effectively communicate the findings and proposed changes to relevant stakeholders, such as team members or clients. By presenting the results clearly and concisely, you can make sure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.

Setting SMART goals for your SEO strategy

With that in mind, another key aspect of a successful SEO strategy is setting the right goals. Not only does this ensure that your SEO efforts are focused and impactful, but setting goals also allows you to track your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your strategy along the way. In order to be effective, you can apply the SMART criteria:


Goals should be clear and specific so that it is straightforward to understand what is being achieved. For example, instead of setting a broad and vague goal to “improve search rankings,” a specific goal might be to “increase the number of keywords ranked on the first page of Google from 10 to 20.”


Goals should be measurable so that it is easy to track progress and determine whether the goal has been met. In the example above, the goal is measured by the number of keywords ranked on the first page of Google. You can use keyword position tools like Google Search Console, Semrush and for a quick overview of your keyword rankings.

You can also leverage Google Analytics to dive deeper into metrics like average session duration and bounce rate, allowing for more informed decisions with regards to the best keywords for your SEO strategy going forward.


Goals should be actionable, meaning that there is a clear plan of action for achieving them. In the earlier example, the actionable steps might include conducting keyword research, optimising on-page elements, and building high-quality backlinks.

Realistic (or Relevant)

Goals should be realistic and relevant, meaning they are achievable given the resources and constraints of the business. It is vital to set practical goals as unrealistic goals can lead to frustration and a lack of motivation.


Goals should have a specific time frame for completion, which helps to create a sense of urgency and ensures that progress is being made.

Here are a few examples of SEO goals that meet the overall SMART criteria:

  • Improve the number of pages indexed by 20% over the next month.
  • Boost the number of organic visits to the website by 10% over the next six months.
  • Reduce the bounce rate for the website by 10% within the next three months.
  • Increase the number of backlinks from high-authority websites by 20% over the next quarter.

Before putting your SEO strategy into action

Depending on the size of your organisation, you may also need to get other departments onboard to kickstart your SEO strategy. From senior management and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) who will be discussing the overall marketing budget to the web team involved in integrating changes, each team plays a key role in achieving success. By solidifying a relationship among departments, your SEO goals can be better achieved with valuable cross-functional collaboration throughout the organisation. Here’s what you may need to do next:

1. Winning the buy-in from management

Without approval from management, it can be difficult to execute your SEO efforts effectively. Yet, when it comes to securing the buy-in required, one of the key difficulties that many faces is the fact that SEO can often be seen as a technical and specialised field, and may not be fully understood or appreciated by those outside of the industry. As a result, you may find it hard to communicate the value and benefits of SEO to management.

As compared to one-time projects with a clear end date, SEO is also a long-term effort because it involves making changes to a website and building up its authority over time in order to improve its search engine rankings. This can be a slow process, especially if your SEO competitor analysis reveals a high level of competition or has historically not performed well in the search results.

As such, the ongoing nature of SEO may sometimes conflict with the pressing priorities and immediate demands faced by businesses, making it challenging for them to allocate the necessary time and resources towards implementing and maintaining an SEO marketing strategy.

To overcome these challenges, there are a number of strategies that you can use to get buy-in from management. Some specific steps to consider include:

  • Clearly articulate the value and return on investment (ROI) of SEO: By setting SMART goals for the campaign and tracking the progress of these goals over time, you can demonstrate the tangible benefits of SEO and help ensure that it is given the necessary priority and resources.
  • Focus on the business’s overall goals and objectives: Show how SEO can help support and achieve the business’s overall goals and objectives. You can then make a stronger case for the need for SEO and secure the necessary buy-in from management.
  • Communicate the benefits of SEO in terms that management will understand: This might involve using industry benchmarks and data to illustrate the potential impact of SEO on the business’s bottom line, or discussing the competitive advantage that SEO can provide.
  • Highlight the potential risks of not investing in SEO: Give an idea of the potential cost of not investing in SEO to convince management of the importance of this strategy.

2. Explaining SEO strategy outcomes to CFOs

Besides securing buy-in from management, it is equally important to gain the approval of your CFO to move forward with your SEO strategy. SEO requires investing time and resources over a period of time to achieve success, therefore a CFO needs to be assured that the expected cost and strategy align with budgetary considerations. Not only must they give the go-ahead to the apportioned funding in SEO, but also understand how it will support the growth of the business.

  • Speak in their language: To effectively communicate the value of your SEO efforts to the CFO, it may be helpful to first understand their goals and priorities. What metrics are they focused on? By thinking from their perspective and breaking down the potential returns into clear metrics like ROI and customer lifetime value (CLV), you can show that an investment in SEO is worth every dollar.
  • Present the CFO with concrete evidence: Come prepared with data and case studies demonstrating the ROI of SEO for similar businesses or industries. By showing how SEO has positively impacted the bottom line for other companies, you can make a compelling case on its advantages for the business.
  • Monitor the same KPIs: After site optimisation, relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) to watch include keyword rankings, organic impressions, organic traffic, organic click-through rates from search engine result pages and conversions. It is also important to look at the length of time customers remain on a page. Achieving a balanced understanding of these KPIs can be crucial when it comes to giving CFOs greater confidence in approving investments in SEO strategies.

3. Collaborating with the web development team

Finally, when it comes to successful SEO strategy implementation, you can’t overlook the importance of web team involvement. From freshening content on the home page to identifying broken links, the web team is instrumental in deploying changes from a technical standpoint.

However, for many web teams, project prioritisation can often be complex and overwhelming. With various departments expecting different deliverables, it is not an easy process to decide which projects should receive the highest priority. This can become complicated when incorporating a multi-step SEO strategy.

As you prepare your SEO marketing strategy, you may consider:

  • Doing up an action plan: Creating an action plan can keep the web team organised so that all tasks related to your SEO strategy can be completed within set timelines.
  • Categorising the deliverables: When plotting out the expected projects over the next six months, for example, you can list down any recurring tasks, as well as those that must happen within a certain time frame. Additionally, any projects that are not considered critical should be noted so they can be given attention when there is more capacity.
  • Planning very broad goals: Forecast upcoming tasks over a two or three-year time frame to guide the team’s efforts. By providing clarity, based off more than just urgent deadlines, you can play a part in ensuring that the web team can stay on track with their other tasks while fulfilling stages in your SEO strategy.

Get started with your SEO strategy

And there you have it! With each of these essential roles in the mix, a cohesive plan for executing an SEO strategy can be developed. That being said, while it is possible for a business to handle its own SEO efforts, many businesses find it more effective to work with a digital marketing agency that has the expertise and resources to implement an effective SEO strategy.

An SEO agency can bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table, providing a team of professionals who are well-versed in the latest SEO techniques and trends. This can save your business time and effort, and ensure that your digital marketing efforts are successful in driving qualified traffic to the website. To learn more, you can take a look at the different types of SEO services available.

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