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How To Create An Effective SEO Strategy In 2023: The Ultimate Guide

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    By Dev
    September 12, 2023
    ~ 6 minutes to read

    An Effective SEO Strategy

    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.

    What is an SEO Strategy?

    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

    • On-page SEO – optimising title tags, meta descriptions, headers, content, etc.
    • Technical SEO – Site speed, mobile optimisation, proper coding, etc.
    • Content creation – Creating high-quality, keyword-optimised content.
    • Link building – Earning backlinks from authority sites.
    • Local SEO – optimising for local searches.
    • Analytics – Tracking website traffic, rankings, and backlinks.

    With a sound SEO strategy, you can gain more qualified visitors, leads, customers, and revenue driven by search engines like Google.

    Create An Effective SEO Strategy

    Step 1: Conduct Keyword Research

    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.

    Start by brainstorming a list of your brand’s core products, services, and topics. Then use keyword research tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, or Ubersuggest to find more specific keywords.

    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

    • Review search suggestions and related keywords on Google.
    • Check Google’s autocomplete feature as you type keywords.
    • analyse the keywords your competitors rank for.
    • Look for keyword gaps – terms they rank for but you don’t.
    • Search for questions people ask about your products or services.

    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.

    Step 2: Perform Competitive Analysis

    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

    • On-page SEO – Review their title tags, meta descriptions, content structure etc. See what’s working well.
    • Backlinks – Check where they’re getting links from using Ahrefs or Semrush.
    • Technical SEO – Audit their site speed, mobile optimisation, proper structure and markup.
    • Content – Evaluate their content formats, topics covered, and quality. Look for gaps.

    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.

    Step 3: Perform An SEO Audit

    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.

    Technical SEO – Check your site speed, mobile optimisation, proper HTML markup, XML sitemap, and robot.txt file. Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights and Google Mobile-Friendly Test.

    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.

    Step 4: Improve On-Page SEO

    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

    • Title Tag – Include your target keyword near the beginning of your title tag. Keep under 60 characters.
    • Meta Description – Summarise the page content and include keywords Google may bold in search snippets.
    • Headers – Format H1 and H2 headers to match keyword themes. Break content into logical sections.
    • Content – Include keywords organically 4-5 times, particularly in the opening paragraphs. Create useful, relevant content that answers search queries.
    • URL Structure – Format URLs with keywords when possible. Use hyphens to separate words.
    • Internal Links – Link to related content on your site using keywords in the anchor text.
    • Images – Use short, descriptive file names and ALT text with keywords. Compress images for faster loading.
    • Videos – optimise video file names, titles, descriptions and transcripts.

    Proper on-page SEO helps search engines understand your content focus so they can match pages to relevant search queries.

    Step 5: Improve Site Speed

    Site speed is a crucial ranking factor today. Faster loading pages lead to better user experience and higher SEO rankings.

    Use speed testing tools like Google PageSpeed Insights and Pingdom to analyse your site. Target a PageSpeed score above 70 and load time under 3 seconds.

    Common techniques to improve speed include

    • Enable browser caching
    • Minify HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files
    • Compress images
    • Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript
    • Optimise web fonts
    • Defer non-critical JS
    • Asynchronously load third-party code
    • Use a content delivery network (CDN)

    Faster sites lead to more page views and time on the site, which boosts rankings.

    Step 6: Optimise For Mobile

    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

    • Using a responsive design
    • Serving properly sized images
    • Minimising plugins that slow-loading
    • Structuring accessible HTML
    • Testing site performance on mobile

    Check your mobile optimisation using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

    Mobile optimisation improves both user experience and search engine rankings.

    Step 7: Create Link-Worthy Content

    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

    • Ultimate guides – In-depth walkthroughs of a topic from A to Z.
    • Data studies and original research – Release new findings in your industry.
    • Tools or resources – Create free tools that industry sites will want to link to.
    • Definitive lists or comparisons – Examples: “17 Business Blogging Tips” or a comparison of software products on the market. Compile comprehensive, useful resources.

    Promote your content through outreach and social sharing to earn high-quality backlinks. Monitor links using tools like Ahrefs and Semrush.

    Step 8: Build High-Quality Backlinks

    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

    Build High Quality Backlinks

    • Guest posting – Write guest articles for popular industry blogs that allow backlinks.
    • Resource pages – Reach out to sites linking to competitors and ask to be added. Create a useful resource centre.
    • Interviews – Become a contributor to high authority sites by being interviewed as an industry expert.
    • Sponsorships – Sponsor relevant industry events, sites, podcasts, and newsletters.
    • Infographics – Create valuable image assets and reach out to sites that may embed them (with your link).

    Track your backlinks and referral traffic over time using Ahrefs, Semrush, or Google Analytics as key performance indicators.

    Step 9: Local SEO

    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.

    Step 10: Track And Analyse SEO Performance

    The final step is implementing tracking to monitor your SEO results and return on investment (ROI).

    Key metrics to track monthly include

    • Organic traffic
    • Rankings for target keywords
    • Backlinks gained
    • Site traffic by source
    • Page views by page
    • Lead conversions
    • Sales revenue

    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

    1. Conduct keyword research
    2. Perform competitors analysis
    3. Audit your website’s SEO
    4. optimise on-page elements
    5. Improve site speed
    6. optimise for mobile
    7. Create linkable content
    8. Build quality backlinks
    9. Local SEO for businesses
    10. Track and analyse performance

    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