How to Make an SEO Plan and Build an SEO Strategy
According to BrightEdge, 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine. Without showing up on Google search, your business website will only receive a small fraction of the attention from your ideal customers online.
To meet your customers at every step of the buying process on search, you need to execute a high-level SEO strategy. If you are ready to build an SEO strategy for your business, follow these steps.
Lay the Foundation for an Effective SEO Strategy
Many businesses focus on SEO tactics and skip over the foundational principles when creating their SEO strategy. The best strategy is principles first and tactics second. The principles of our SEO strategy begin with understanding your business, brand, and customer.
The business research phase of your SEO strategy consists of creating a brand strategy. The brand strategy is made of six parts.
Audience description: Describe your customer as a real person. List their needs and motives as they enter the market.
Current thoughts and behaviors: Describe your ideal customer's thoughts and behaviors as they enter the market.
What's in it for me? Describe the real benefit that your customer receives by choosing your brand of service or product.
Why should I believe you? Explain to your customer why they should believe your promises to deliver a service or product that benefits them in a sentence or two.
Brand personality: How does your organization look, act and make people feel?
Desired thoughts and behavior: What do you want your customer to think about your brand? How do you desire your customer to behave when shopping for your brand of service or product?
Completing each of these stages will help you understand how your customer thinks, feels, and behaves when using Google search to research your brand of service or product.
The customer research stage creates a buying process for your customer. The buying process can be broken into five segments:
Stimulus: Your customer recognizes they have a problem that needs solving and begins to think about how they could solve the problem.
Consider: Your customer evaluates their options within the market to solve their problem.
Search: Your customer looks for more information about their options.
Choose: Your customer selects one of the options to begin pursuing and researches where they will buy from.
Buy: Your customer decides on whom to buy the product or service from and purchases it.
Experience: Your customer experiences the product or service, affecting how they think about it.
How to Use the Foundation to Create Your SEO Strategy
Now that you have laid the foundation of your SEO strategy. The next step is to combine the principles with SEO tactics to finalize the creation of your SEO strategy.
SEO Keyword Research
Using what you learned from the brand strategy, think of what your customer is searching for during the buying process on Google. Record each of the keywords that you come up with in a document. Then check their search volume using Google Keyword Planner for free.
Build Your Content and Use On-Page Search Engine Optimization
You create content for the keywords that resonate with your audience during this stage. Take a scientific approach to on-page search engine optimization using data-driven SEO.
Make Your Users Page Experience Excellent By Using Website Speed Optimization
The goal is to create an excellent user experience for your website users and move them through the buying process to purchase what you are selling.
Make sure your website loads fast without any issues by following Google's page experience guidelines.
Creating an Off-Page SEO and Link Building Strategy for Your Website
Off-page SEO is where your website interacts with other websites to earn links to your website’s content. Think of links as votes to your website from other websites that let Google know your website deserves more traffic. Remember, the quality of these votes is more important than the quantity.
Final Thoughts: When to Consider Changing Your SEO Strategy?
Be kind to yourself if this process takes you time to complete. SEO is a long-term strategy that takes at least six months on average to begin seeing results. Before changing your approach, test your SEO strategy for at least six months.
Copyright © 2023 SCORE Association, SCORE.org
Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.