SEO Strategy – What Goes In It? & The Other Guy’s Template

WTH Is Strategy Anyway? Strategy vs Planning

Churchill War Rooms - WW II

Don’t take my word for it, see what “Google thinks” – Strategy vs Planning.

I was writing this post when I was rudely interrupted by the knowledge graph, which being a bot, may or may not give you a correct answer to any question. If you follow that link the knowledge graph pulls a description that has portions of what could be considered a strategy or some of the possible tactics used with any given strategy.

SEO strategies are the techniques used in Search Engine Optimization to improve a site’s Position and Page Rank and increase its Click-Through Rate. A few SEO strategies are keyword research and content writing, optimized HTML code, and improved Geographical Targeting.

Defining Your SEO Goals – The Other Guy’s Template

Below are the bare bones of what I use to define my own SEO strategies and often to help clients shift thinking away from a, “I want to rank at position #1 for these 10 or 20 keywords I’ve got” misconception of what SEO is.

  • Summary

“We’re are going to provide time travel through the SERPs on Google…”
“We’re are going to entertain people who Google [time travel] and make bucket loads of cash in the process…”

  • Vision

Shift thinking way from “ranks, keywords, links” to a more “UX user experience, social, conversion, sales” approach.
Add your own make it your own

  • Objectives

Visitor targets, month quarter, year
Sales targets, month quarter, year

  • Content Schedule
  • Link Building and Social
  • The Other Guy’s Template

The other guy’s template may help with ideas but you’ll be better off creating your own strategy, process and approach, which is bound to be unique in each case.

Black Hat Or White Hat

The first step of any SEO strategy, whether documented or not is to define the type of approach, that is; are you or your site on it for the long run and plan and strategise for that or do you go all guns blazing your way into the top of the SERPs, you stay there for a few days or weeks and then you’ll be nowhere to be seen again.
These two approaches can more or less be directly connected with what is known in SEO jargon as “black hat” and “white hat” SEO, so that should be one of the main decision to make.

Size Up – What’s Realistic

I don’t think it is realistic for me to want to rank for “SEO” on page one top result, what’s more it isn’t relevant either!
- What. I hear you say, you are an SEO and ranking for SEO isn’t relevant, how SO?
I am an SEO with a site with a few hundred pages; I sale SEO services, I am not Wikipedia, Google or Dictionary.com.
Why is that not relevant for me? A person searching for SEO is more likely to be a student or someone wanting to find the meaning of the acronym than to be someone looking for my services within my target audience.

Search Engines Or People

Do you write content for your users or for Google and other search engines?

For People: Hello visitor I am glad you come to find information about my service or product and since you are based in London we are practically neighbours, so I know your market and the local nuances just as well as you do, I am sure that if we work together, and target the right keywords with appealing and engaging copy while at the same time including your relevant keywords and any local targeting, we will not only rank for your keywords on Google as we’ll increase the chances of conversion, meaning your visitor buying your service or product.

For Search Engines: We are the greatest “keyword services london” and yada yada, does not matter what we write here as long as “keyword services london” is here a few times, so here it is “keyword services london” for good measure, should we use “keyword services london” :) just in case we haven’t used “keyword services london” enough times and the client may have read about keyword frequency and keyword density, so here it is another one for the road, “keyword services london”.

Argh, sigh, uff … I bet I may accidentally rank well for “keyword services london” soon after posting this, hope the Gbot gets my humour and doesn’t “think” this is SPAM.

Long Tail Or Short Tail Keywords

Following on from the two sections above the next important thing to prioritise is to define your keywords, what some might call your keyword strategy. The jargon says that “one”, “or two” word keywords are short tail Keywords, while “three or more” word keywords or keyphrases are long tail.

A common mistake that novices to the field of SEO and small business hiring SEOs make, is to go for what at first sight seem the most obvious keywords such as the example given above in the size-up, what’s realistic section.

Another example a security company owner wants to rank for “bodyguard”, at first first glance that may sound reasonable, but a closer look and a Google search reveal that there are films, TV series, songs and books, all called bodyguard and probably an array of other things.

What’s more I doubt if many people looking for a bodyguard would just type that into Google, most likely at the very least they will type, “bodyguard London”, or any number of related words that help to narrow the choice. So the moral of the story, for a small to medium business targeting the one word keyword or even two is probably not realistic nor relevant.
So the short tail (one or two words) or at least the short tail alone are probably not a great idea.

Link Building Or Not

Things change, I’m not going to say that you cannot rank from link building anymore, you can, it just is not a very optimal way to try and rank, just as you can still get from A to B by walking or cycling, but since the early 19th century went from the cycle to the motorbike and the car and the plane and the space shuttle and time travel; huh?

Ha, okay, not yet but at least you’re still awake which is good!

So should you keep building your own links, yes and no, whatever you decide that’s part of your strategy.

Rankings Or Conversions

Rankings instead of conversions (a conversion is any action a user may take on your site and that you deem valuable: contact, purchase, subscription, etc.) or focusing on the wrong goals are the most common misconception of what SEO is and is not, and what I find in many enquires I get.

Above a mention that it is not realistic nor relevant for me to rank for SEO, just as “oddly you may think” it is not relevant for the baker to rank for bread or a bodyguard to rank for bodyguard. Queries for a product or service are often more specific, in particular in the case of services they will have a local component attached to it.

Documented Or WMIUAWGA*

WMIUAYGA works fine for lots of people if that’s working for you there’s probably no reason to change. Just remember WMIUAYGA people normally do what the strategists wanted them to do, whether they are aware of it or not.

So whatever your goals and path to achieve them, happy strategising!

*WMIUAWGA we make it up as we go along

BTW: Do you document? Or do you WMIUAWGA?

About Pedro Matias

A central London SEO consultant and private tutor, also specialises in WordPress web design and training. All SEO, web consulting and training approaches are centered on user experience, minimalism, speed and engineering centric design. Runs 10K for lunch most days for fun and health.
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