“I want to rank on the first page of Google” is not an SEO strategy. Of course we all want to rank on the first page of Google, but what if you rank for something completely irrelevant to your business? What if you’re in a market, such as insurance, where ranking on the first page of Google is almost impossible?
Does this mean that search engine optimization doesn’t matter? In reality, SEO has to be one tool in your toolbox of marketing strategies because the first page of Google is a goal that very few people can ever achieve.
SEO is really about articulating what your business is focused on. Are you just a therapist or do you want to be known as a sports medicine therapist focusing on running injuries? Once you have articulated your niche, SEO can be employed to emphasize this on your website.
The SEO Strategy Process
SEO strategy is a methodical, long-term process that can’t be short-circuited without risking search engine penalties and long-term success.
Here are the steps I follow to create a strategy for your business.
- Who are you? As I mentioned above, before we can start the SEO process, you need to have a clear idea about the purpose of your business and your website. You’ll need a clear phrase or phrases that define what you do. While important for SEO, this is really critical to the success of your business. It is far better to have a defined small focus than a muddled vague vision that you can’t realize.
- Where are you now? Once you have articulated your focus, I’ll do an audit on your site to see where we are starting with your SEO. I typically incorporate the data from Google Analyitics, Google Search Console, and external tools to create a picture of your site’s visibility.
- What needs to be done? Once I have established your starting point, I’ll put together an SEO recommendation document that will give you a road map to either follow yourself or that I will use to improve your site. The document will include the following:
- Positive aspects of your current site
- Coding issues that can affect SEO (lack of header tags, duplicate or open tags, lack of Analytics integration, etc.)
- On-site SEO problems to fix (poor header text, missing image text, unfocused content, orphan pages.)
- Off-site SEO issues such as good and bad backlinks and competitors.
- Content suggestions for improving the “meat” of your website and establishing authority.
Once you have your strategy fleshed out, it’s time to do an SEO audit and get to work fixing your site.