Where should you use imagery and metaphors in your texts?

A strategy ensures that you are on the right track. That you are working towards relevant and realistic goals - and that all your efforts make sense in relation to your goals

When creating an SEO strategy (or evaluating your current one), there are many questions to ask, twist and turn.

A common misconception is to opt-in to all SEO measures. It is rather a non-choice, a non-strategy.

I believe an SEO strategy is about assessing what actions make sense for the specific situation - not pulling all the cool SEO tricks out of the toolbox at once.

So here are 19 questions to ask yourself, your (marketing) team, your SEO agency or maybe just your cat.

This is a test

1. What do you want to achieve? - Both business goals and marketing goals?

SEO is not a business goal or a marketing goal. That's why you don't start by scratching your head over which keywords you should be on page 1 for. That would be a backwards approach. You start by making it clear what your business and marketing goals are.

If you own an online clothing store, one of your business goals may be to sell far more dresses from your new collection than the number of dresses you sold from your last collection. To achieve this, you need to have some marketing goals.

  • More brand awareness
  • More traffic to your website, which can help you learn more about your target audiences and what makes them convert
  • Reaching the very ready-to-buy dress lovers out there who are eager to click your dresses into the basket

Once you know what your marketing goals are, you can plan your SEO strategy.

The key takeaway here is that your SEO strategy should be linked to your marketing goals - which should serve your business goals.

Here it's important that you get clear on what SEO can and cannot do.

2. Why does SEO make sense for your business?

If you have a limited marketing budget, SEO might not be the most important thing for your business right now. Maybe your website is so old and slow that it's smarter to throw money at a new website.

Maybe you have a limited time sale of last year's collection that you need to sell in a hurry - where PPC marketing like Facebook Ads or Google Shopping Ads makes more sense.

3. What resources should you spend on your SEO strategy?

Every strategy requires resources to execute. Find out if you have an existing team that can do your SEO, if you need to hire new brains, if you need to hire an SEO agency or something else entirely.

4. Who are your target audiences?

Before you get down to the nitty-gritty of SEO, you should take a deep dive into who your target audiences are. What are they interested in? And what is important to them?

5. Where in the customer journey is it important for you to reach your target groups? And what pain points do they have here?

Your audiences naturally Google different things depending on where they are in the customer journey. It's not the same thing they Google when they are just starting to notice their pain point and don't know the solution yet as when they know what they want to buy, where and why.

Part of your SEO strategy should be to map out which stages of the buying process it makes sense for you to be visible in.

It's a good idea to be visible and helpful at all stages - from start to finish. But if you don't have the resources, you need to prioritize. Read more about how to do a keyword analysis based on the customer journey here.

6. What are the search intents of your target audiences?

As part of your keyword analysis, you should brainstorm all the different intents your target audiences may have when Googling. When a page is ranked on page 1 of Google search results, 99% of the time it's because Google thinks it solves the searcher's query.

So find out what the Googlers' intentions are when they hit the keys - and surprise them with even better content than they dared hope for.

7. What is special about your business?

Find out what you can do differently or even better than your biggest competitors. Think about:

  • How can you position yourself?
  • What can you look for in searches like "your product/service/name vs. your competitor's product/service/name"
  • How can you deliver something better or completely different than your competitors?
  • What unique selling points can you hit on?

As you become more aware of how you stand out, you also become more aware of how you can help your target audiences and how they should find you in search results.

8. Who are your competitors?

To fully understand your market and your own business, you need to understand your competitors. It's the same when it comes to your SEO strategy.

Zoom in on what your competitors do well - and what they do less well. This includes everything from their content, the structure of their website, the links they have and the keywords they target. 

9. What are you ranking on right now?

Examining what you're ranking on right now will give you an insight into where there is untapped potential. Low-hanging fruit or gaps in the market.

Maybe you're on page 2 for the search term "maxi dresses" and can't be found at all for the search "summer dresses 2019".

It could also be that you've been at the top of page 1 for a long time on a keyword that you thought would get you off the ground - but hasn't given you noticeable results. This could be a sign that it's not the right keyword for your business.

Examining what you're ranking on right now will give you an insight into where there is untapped potential. Low-hanging fruit or gaps in the market.

Maybe you're on page 2 for the search term "maxi dresses" and can't be found at all for the search "summer dresses 2019".

It could also be that you've been at the top of page 1 for a long time on a keyword that you thought would get you off the ground - but hasn't given you noticeable results. This could be a sign that it's not the right keyword for your business.

10. How do your competitors rank?

By researching which keywords your biggest competitors are targeting, you can get inspiration for your own keyword analysis.

Are they ranking on keywords you should also be ranking on? And are there gaps in the market?

11. How will you get links to your site?

Link building is one of the most important ranking parameters. A good, well-thought-out link building strategy can kick the door wide open to Google. Right now, in 2019, the most important thing about your link building is that you throw relevant, quality links at your site.

We're not talking Russian porn links. So think relevance. Think PR. Outreach. Partnerships. Coverage, local newspapers and good stories.

Sit down with your team or agency and map out what to focus on and who to reach out to. Not just right now - but tomorrow, next month and throughout the year.

12. How will you get links to your site?

Remember to research what type of content is frequently linked to in your industry. And then create even better content than what's out there right now. If people love the content you create (landing pages, blog posts or videos) there's a good chance they will link to it on their own blog or website.

When people link to your content because they think it's awesome - it's called an editorial link. And that's a link that Google values very highly.

13) What type of content do you need to create? And how often?

You can't search engine optimize your website without good content like landing pages, blog posts and videos.

But good content isn't just good content - and you can't be guided by one-size-fits-all rules.

So do your own analysis of what your industry and niche expects and wants.

Do they expect checklists and bullet points? Videos or mostly text?

Every niche is different. In the fitness industry, sites that have a lot of videos rank the highest. It's a good fit for the industry.

Where high-ranking sites on divorce rules and legislation often have bullet points and lists. It's a heavy topic that needs to be made easier to digest.

In the furniture industry, people like a lot of images rather than a lot of text. And so on and so forth.

So find out - what's happening in your niche and what does your target audience want?

Next step: Make a clear plan for how often you need to create new content for your website.

14. How will you get more Google reviews?

The number of positive Google reviews for your business has an impact on your visibility (and how you are perceived by your potential customers, of course). It's always worthwhile to have a strategy in place for how you continuously harvest positive reviews.

Read also: How do you deal with bad reviews online?

15. Are you on top of the latest Google algorithms?

You need to incorporate Google's latest algorithm changes into your SEO strategy. This ensures that you are always aligned with Google's quality guidelines and deliver what Google thinks is important to Googlers.

But find a good balance between staying up-to-date and chasing the algorithm. By studying and understanding the long-term trends, you have the opportunity to get ahead of your competitors. Not by uncritically following suit every time Google rolls out a new algorithm.

16. How is your website's page architecture?

Your users need to know where to find what on your website. They should have a great experience and feel like they are being guided without having to use a single brain cell.

Just like when you go to the supermarket and the cheese is in the cheese section and the toothpaste is not.

There are also a thing or three you can fix to make it easier for Google bots to read and understand your page.

You can read much more about good website architecture on the Moz blog.

17. How do you ensure that you not only increase traffic but also conversion rates?

It's important not to be blinded by numbers like monthly searches for a keyword and top rankings if these aren't searches that bring you relevant traffic.

So think about it - what "matures" your audiences best through the customer journey? What converts them? And what retains them as loyal customers?

18. Who will be responsible for the technical part of SEO?

Think about who is going to make sure your website performs technically. Who will set up proper tracking, speed optimize it, compress images, insert microdata, ensure it's mobile-friendly and that redirects are created?

If you haven't hired someone who knows technical search engine optimization and you can't afford an SEO agency, consider outsourcing a few small tasks.

19. When should you update your strategy again?

Strategy is a process, not an event. That's why you need to continually turn the tables and evaluate whether the strategy has gaps and add new initiatives when it makes sense.

Keep a close eye on the development of your rankings and let the results guide you.

Get even smarter

Whether you're a generalist or a marketing specialist, our specialists have put together some great advice for you on our blog.