Creating an SEO strategy in 2022

by | Marketing, SEO

In our How to choose the right digital partner blog post, our managing director Andrew listed some of the important things you need to do and consider when choosing who to work with. And on top of that list sits “Know your requirements & find an expert”. More often than not, when onboarding new SEO clients, they struggle to formulate their requirements and want to do SEO because they heard they should do SEO. And I completely understand it since SEO is such an elusive discipline.

So, in this blog, I will look at the Know your requirement’s part from an SEO perspective, hopefully to help you to formulate some SEO goals, and outline a simple strategy on how to reach them.

 There is a variety of models, frameworks, and approaches on how to formulate a digital marketing strategy. I personally like to follow the Smith and Taylor’s SOSTAC model. It is simple, yet very effective approach to create business plans, marketing plans or even life plans.

What is SOSTAC?

As you can see in the video, SOSTAC stands for:

  • Situation Analysis – where are you now?
  • Objectives – where do you want to be?
  • Strategy – how do you get there?
  • Tactics – what tools do you have to implement strategy?
  • Action – what action plans are required for the strategy?
  • Control – how do you manage the strategy?

Let’s get into it and apply this to your SEO strategy!

S – Situation Analysis

The first step of the process is an in-depth analysis of your current situation. The “in-depth analysis” sounds like a major pain, but since we are looking at SEO only, it isn’t that complicated. It is however the step which takes the longest to complete.

Below are some metrics to look at to get you started:

Traffic

As you already know, traffic is the number of users coming to your website. When talking about SEO, you only need to look at the organic traffic as a source. Also, it is important to look at relevant traffic. For example, if your business only offers its services or products in the UK, traffic from outside of the UK is not as valuable.

Tool to use: Universal Google Analytics (free)

Conversion rates

As I have mentioned in our Web Dev & SEO blog, I believe SEO is a holistic discipline. In a business case, traffic without conversions is useless. So, you need to think about what you want your website to do for you and measure it.

Some conversion examples:

  • E-mail signups – if you have great e-mail campaigns going out regularly and generating new business, getting fresh contacts through your website is invaluable
  • Submitting enquiry forms – you want new enquiries generated from your website, track the form submissions
  • Sales – for e-commerce sites

These are just examples and there are a myriad of other objectives you can track.

You can monitor conversions by setting up Goals in Google Analytics, or just manually login your website submissions.

Tool to use: Universal Google Analytics (free)

Bounce rate / Engaged sessions

In simple words, bounce is the percentage of users who leave your site without clicking through to another page. It is good to monitor bounces as it can give you an idea of which landing pages are working and which need help. And again, it is good to measure the bounce rate for relevant traffic.

Engaged sessions are the new metric introduced in the Google Analytics 4, and since Universal Analytics won’t be available after July 2023, they need a mention here as well. Google now considers a session “engaged” if the user stays on the page for more than 10 seconds.

Regardless of the metric, if people are leaving your site without any action, it either means your content is not relevant to the users, attracting the wrong audience, or the pages are not very user friendly.

Tools to use: Universal Google Analytics (bounce rate) or Google Analytics 4 (engaged sessions)

Site Speed

Site speed is one of the more important ranking factors and it should be tested regularly. Slow sites have very poor conversion rates, high bounce rates, and it is generally very difficult to rank a slow page.

Tool to use: Page Speed Insights (free), SEMrush (paid)

Indexing

Making sure your website is properly indexed by Google is paramount. If it isn’t indexed, it does not appear in any Google searches no matter how good your content is. Most of the time your website will be indexed, especially if it is online for a while, but I have come across a case, where the website wasn’t indexed because of “noindex” tag. It is very easy to check this in Google Search Console, under the Coverage tab.

Tool to use: Google Search Console (free)

Current Ranking Keywords

Using the same tool as for indexing, the Google Search Console can tell you what keywords or queries your website appears for in the Google Search Results Pages (or SERPs), including the average position, number of impressions, and clicks.

Tool to use: Google Search Console (free)

Situation Analysis Example

Let’s say you are a B2B manufacturing business supplying UK customers and an average sale is worth £500.

In your Situation Analysis, you measured these metrics over the last month:

Metric Value
Relevant Traffic 1000
Bounce Rate of rel. traffic 65%
Engaged traffic 350
Website Enquiries 8
Goal Conversion Rate 2,3%

Let’s say your sales team convert on average 40% of enquiries to sales, which means your website generated 3 sales, and therefore £1500.

O – Objectives

Now that you know where you stand, it is time to set some goals. The objectives step of your SEO strategy is answering “Where do you want to be?”. What do you expect from your website? Let’s say you want to generate more enquiries through your website. It is important to make this goal measurable, so let’s say you would like to generate 25 enquiries through your website.

Website goal: Generate 25 enquiries through the website a month.

S – Strategy

Strategy answers the “How do we get there?” question and summarizes what you need to do to achieve your objectives. Since SEO is marathon and not a sprint, we will outline our strategy for next quarter.

Situation Analysis Example

We build the SEO strategy around improving metrics which have a direct impact on the ultimate goal. 

Metric

Goal at the end of next quarter

Values after 3 months

Relevant Traffic

Increase by 50%

1500

Bounce Rate of rel. traffic

Decrease by 15%

50%

Engaged Traffic

N/A

750

Goal Conversion Rate

Increase to 5%

5%

Submitted Enquiries

N/A

37

Let’s say your sales team enquiry to sales conversion rate drops to 25%, which means your website generated 9 sales, and therefore £4500.

T – Tactics

Tactics refer to the tools we use to implement the strategy, which in SEO terms means the tools our Glasgow SEO service team use to improve the Google Search rankings and bring in relevant, converting traffic. Below are some which would be relevant to the above strategy.

Keyword Research

I could write a whole blog post about keyword research (and it has been done many times, such as this Keyword Research Guide by SEMrush). It is probably the most important part of the whole SEO process, and it impacts many, if not all website metrics.

Tools to use: SEMrush (paid), Google Keyword Planner (free with Google Ads account)

On-Page SEO

On page optimization to target keywords based on keyword research. You can check your SEO on page optimisation with tools like MozBar Extension.

Tools to use: MozBar, SEO Quake

Converting Page Design

There are standards and tried & true rules to improve the chances of your site visitors completing the desired actions. It could be the page layout, easy navigation, correct and well-placed Call to Actions. For this part, you will most likely need to involve a web designer to outline a well converting page and a web developer to put his vision into practice.

Blogging

Blogging is still very useful tool. It keeps the website fresh, you can target long tail keywords to bring additional traffic in and most importantly, share useful information with your customers. There are online tools to help you with writing the content if you need it.

Tools to use: Copy AI

Backlinking

Backlinking is one of the most discussed topics in the SEO industry and mostly agreed it is a huge ranking factor. There is a great article from Respona on What is backlinking.

Technical SEO

Ensure website is indexed properly and fix any issues. You can include page speed, internal linking, or core web vitals here as well. We run a site health check every week on Sunday and fix any errors. It is good to stay on top of it.

A – Action

Action refers to roles, responsibilities, and action plan for the selected tactics. Depending on what resources you have at your disposal, some of the tactics could be implemented internally and for some you can use an external source, such as a digital marketing agency. If you do use an agency, it is important to work with them as your own marketing team, or at least that is how we operate within Blue Sword.

C – Control

You want to make sure the whole process is well managed, and you track the right KPIs and that is where Control comes in. Some of the KPIs you want to check more often, such as site health, keyword position ranking and some less frequently. However, it is important to set the frequencies and adhere to the timeline.

Tool to use: Google Data Studio (free)

Conclusion

This is a longer than usual blog post from us, but we could have gone more in-depth and it would have been a lot longer! I hope this “short” overview helped you to either build your own SEO strategy or at least to know what it entails and what questions to ask if you use an external partner.

If you are looking for a reliable digital marketing partner, why not get in touch with our team?

We have been selected among the top Glasgow Digital Marketing Agencies by DesignRush for a reason! 

Jaroslav "Jerry" Chalupnik

Jaroslav "Jerry" Chalupnik

Senior Digital Marketing Exec

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