Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving a website’s visibility in organic search engine results. With over 3.5 billion Google searches per day, ranking higher in search results can drive massive amounts of traffic and customers to your website.
This ultimate guide will teach you how to develop an effective SEO strategy from the ground up, following the best practices from leading experts.
An SEO strategy is a detailed, long-term plan to increase your website’s visibility in search engines. The goal is to attract more organic traffic by ranking higher for your target keywords.
A successful SEO strategy requires optimising multiple areas
With a sound SEO strategy, you can gain more qualified visitors, leads, customers, and revenue driven by search engines like Google.
Thorough keyword research is the foundation of any effective SEO strategy. You need to identify the terms and phrases that your target audience is searching for.
Focus on uncovering long-tail keywords, which are more specific phrases like “best SEO tips for small business”. Long-tail keywords have lower competition so they are easier to rank for.
Other smart keyword research tactics include
Once you compile your list, add the search volume and difficulty for each keyword using a tool like Semrush. This will help you estimate traffic potential and prioritise which terms to optimise for first.
Gaining a thorough understanding of your competitor’s SEO strategies is key. You can replicate what your rivals are doing well and improve on their weak points.
Start by identifying your main SEO competitors – these are sites ranking for your target keywords. Use a tool like Semrush to find competitor domains.
Next, analyse what your competitors are doing across key areas
Make a list of strengths to model and weaknesses to capitalise on. Use their successful SEO tactics to inform your own strategy. Produce better content than competitors to outrank them.
Conducting a detailed SEO audit of your current website is vital for developing your SEO strategy. You need to identify areas working well versus areas needing improvement.
Your SEO audit should assess
On-page SEO – Use a crawler like Screaming Frog to audit your page titles, meta descriptions, headers, content, and site architecture.
Link Profile – Review your current backlinks using Ahrefs or Semrush to see which sites link to you. analyse link quality and anchor text.
Rankings – Check where you currently rank for target keywords using Semrush, Ahrefs, or Moz. Identify priority terms to improve.
Analytics – Review Google Analytics data to analyse your organic traffic sources, top pages, and conversions.
Consolidate your audit findings to shape your SEO roadmap, focusing on high-priority areas first.
With keyword-optimised on-page SEO, you can better target searchers and signal to Google what your page is about.
For each page, optimise these elements
Proper on-page SEO helps search engines understand your content focus so they can match pages to relevant search queries.
Site speed is a crucial ranking factor today. Faster loading pages lead to better user experience and higher SEO rankings.
Common techniques to improve speed include
Faster sites lead to more page views and time on the site, which boosts rankings.
With over 60% of searches happening on mobile devices, having a mobile-friendly website is vital for SEO success today. Google rewards sites optimised for mobile users.
Ensure your site is mobile-friendly by
Check your mobile optimisation using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Mobile optimisation improves both user experience and search engine rankings.
High-quality content that earns backlinks remains one of the most important ranking factors. Develop content designed to attract links from authority sites.
Aim to create “10x Content” that provides exponentially more value than competing content. Deliver truly useful, in-depth content.
Some proven link-bait content formats include
Promote your content through outreach and social sharing to earn high-quality backlinks. Monitor links using tools like Ahrefs and Semrush.
One of the best ways to improve search rankings is by acquiring backlinks from authoritative sites. This helps demonstrate credibility and relevance to search engines.
Aim to earn links from sites with high domain authority and topic relevance. Here are some top tactics
Track your backlinks and referral traffic over time using Ahrefs, Semrush, or Google Analytics as key performance indicators.
For businesses with a physical location, optimising for local search is critical. Over 50% of searches have local intent.
Start by ensuring your Google My Business listing is complete and optimised. This will display your business info prominently in local search results.
Next, incorporate local keywords and phrases in your on-page optimisation, like city names or “near me” keywords. Create content tailored to your geographic service area.
Build local citations by claiming and optimising your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) on directories like Yelp. This helps reinforce you as the authority for searches in your region.
Encourage customer reviews on platforms like Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Favourable local reviews build trust and social proof.
The final step is implementing tracking to monitor your SEO results and return on investment (ROI).
Key metrics to track monthly include
Use Google Analytics, Search Console, and keyword rank trackers like Semrush to analyse performance.
Compare your metrics month-over-month and chart progress over time. Adjust your strategy as needed based on insights from analytics platforms.
Proper tracking provides visibility into what SEO tactics are working so you can double down on those areas.
Developing an effective SEO strategy takes effort but pays major dividends through increased site visibility and organic traffic.
Follow this comprehensive 10-step approach as a blueprint to improve your website’s search engine rankings
Execute these core SEO fundamentals of our SEO strategy, and you will see significant growth in organic search traffic over time.
What SEO strategy steps do you find most effective? What will you focus on first for your website? If you want us to manage your SEO campaign then please contact Reposition