How to Build a Successful SEO Strategy and Infrastructure
I often get asked what it takes to develop a successful SEO strategy and whether or not SEO capabilities should be built in-house. There is no right answer; much of this depends on the resources a company has available. Let’s take a look at the SEO factors needed for success:
SEO Reporting – Reporting comes in a lot of shapes and sizes with companies like Moz, Screaming Frog, Linkdex, BrightEdge, seoClarity and many more providing tools that assess both your rankings as well as those of the competition. We recommend that you evaluate tools that fit your needs based on the specific questions you are trying to answer to drive your SEO strategy.
Web Analytics – Whether you are using Google, Adobe, IBM, or other tools, it is critical that you have your web analytics package properly set up in order to measure traffic KPIs and conversions.
SEO Analysis & Insights – This is where the rubber hits the road. Without comprehensive SEO analysis, numbers 1 and 2 are a waste of money. You need to have resources dedicated to asking the right questions, reviewing the data and producing valuable insights into what SEO factors drive success.
SEO Business Case Analysis & Prioritization – Just because you have a ton of recommendations or areas of focus doesn’t mean you should invest your time into all of them. You need to have the discipline to study the impact of potential changes and then prioritize accordingly. Prioritizations can be based on quick win studies, seasonal or margin based opportunities and more. It is recommended that out of this exercise should come an optimization roadmap and content calendar. It is unlikely that your SEO reporting is going to have an automated approach to doing this, so prioritizations typically involve marrying SEO reporting data with other business data.
SEO Integration with SEM/Social – Impacts to SEO can obviously impact SEM and vice versa. In fact, we believe that incorporating SEO with SEM should be done purposefully as there are many ways to capitalize on multichannel analysis. For example, focusing SEO efforts on high CPC keywords or pumping up both SEM and SEO efforts for page domination strategies are two of many strategies that can be deployed to make SEO and SEM work together. Similarly, Social Media has become increasingly important for SEO and you need to have the resources to ensure proper integration.
Optimization – Once we have a prioritized list of opportunities to go after, we can start making changes to our Meta data, content, site architecture, etc. To do so you will need resources that can write copy and implement changes in your CMS system. You’ll also either need to keep developers on-staff or maintain a close relationship with your development team to help implement and test changes.
Content Development – We all know that content is the foundation of SEO. Content can take any form of copywriting, blog post, infographic, video, etc. Producing these resources is critical in terms of keeping your site fresh, staying in alignment with your content calendar and optimization opportunities, and of course, driving our next point home.
SEO Link Building– The goal of link building is to drive quality over quantity using the great content you have developed and integrating it with your social sharing capabilities. Resources focused on these goals should know how to analyze and optimize current links, identify and source new links, and maintain an evergreen approach to producing high-quality content.
SEO Leadership – We have now covered some of the major SEO factors that contribute to building a successful infrastructure. To ensure all aspects are working in alignment and towards achieving your revenue goals, a team lead with both SEO strategy and project management skills is an absolute necessity.
Most companies probably have some of these resources available, but may be missing the key pieces of analysis and strategy to ensure that the various disciplines, from analytics to content creation, are working together to drive business results. We also see many companies starting with #1 and then stopping, believing they have made the requisite investments. Whether you are building your team in-house, working with an agency, or some combination thereof, I highly recommend you review each of these critical SEO factors to determine your strengths and weaknesses and decide how serious you are about being competitive in the highly competitive SEO arena.
For more information, reach out to Rise.