How to Create a Sustainable SEO Strategy in 2023
Sep 8, 2023|Read time: 27 min.
- SEO strategy is a detailed plan to improve a website’s search engine rankings and brand visibility.
- SEO drives 20X more clicks and 150% higher ROI than paid advertising.
- Scalability is one of the biggest barriers to deploying an SEO strategy.
Hot take: You can’t create a sustainable SEO strategy by prioritizing rankings and traffic. You must put users first.
A winning SEO strategy requires an exceptional user experience, unique content that succinctly and comprehensively answers the search query, and a heck of a lot of trust.
That may be a fairly simple philosophy, but it’s incredibly hard to execute. In this article, I’ll explain exactly how to create a sustainable SEO strategy, step by step.
What is SEO strategy
SEO strategy is a detailed plan to improve a website’s search engine rankings in order to capture more organic traffic. This plan draws from several foundational pillars, including technical SEO, content strategy, on-page SEO, backlinks, user experience, and trust.
Put simply, SEO strategy is about delivering an unparalleled search experience for your audience.
One of the primary benefits of a successful SEO marketing strategy is that it presents your brand to searchers at every stage of the customer journey. As a result, your company becomes a trusted, familiar resource for consumers no matter their stage in the purchase funnel.
Your SEO strategy matters
Organic listings drive 20x more clicks than paid adsSparktoro
SEO has an 87.41% lower CAC than paid channelsTerakeet
Companies receive 5.3x ROI from Google SearchGoogle
The problem with SEO strategy checklists
In the world of search, we often conflate deliverables with strategy. But, lists of keywords, or on-page recommendations, or technical SEO audits are not examples of SEO strategies. They’re steps within an overall plan. Coincidentally, that confusion is also one reason why most search engine optimization strategies fail. In other words, they’re too fragmented and focused on separate, low-level metrics rather than the big picture.
When you develop an SEO strategy, especially for a Fortune 100 website, there are far more steps than what’s on a basic SEO checklist. The method I discuss here only scratches the surface of what you’ll need to consider.
How to create an SEO strategy (23 fundamental steps)
Rather than give you a template that might send you down the wrong path, let’s look at the key principles you’ll need to consider while creating an organic search strategy. It’s crucial to get these fundamentals right, whether you’re a beginner or an SEO expert.
Most of these fundamentals are rooted in customer experience. A strong SEO strategy aligns consumer needs, brand strategy, and business strategy. This ensures your content isn’t just visible, but also valuable.
1. Set SEO goals
Define your goals before you launch a major search engine optimization (SEO) initiative. After all, without clear goals, your SEO activities won’t have measurable ROI. It’s also important to tie SEO outcomes to top-level metrics such as revenue.
To get started, identify your target marketing results and then work backwards to define your process goals.
- Do you want to increase ecommerce sales for a particular business unit or product category?
- Are you trying to grow market share within specific audience segments?
- Do you need to strengthen and protect your brand online?
- Are you looking to support a new product launch?
- Do you want to strengthen customer connections through content?
2. Consider SEO scalability
Scalability is one of the biggest barriers large brands face when deploying an enterprise SEO program. Can your in-house team handle the work load? Will you need to expand the team significantly? Will you need to partner with an SEO company?
In-house SEO teams are incredibly smart and efficient, and they know how to advance projects internally. But they rarely have the bandwidth to tackle large scale SEO projects that require dozens of writers, analysts, developers, and project managers. And that’s what it will take when you’re competing against massive media brands for consumer attention throughout the funnel.
If you plan to execute your SEO strategy internally, focus on integration and standardization. Spearhead cross-departmental collaboration with web development, brand management, product management, and sales. Eliminate silos and institute documented processes and systems so you know what’s happening, who’s responsible, and how you’re tracking against goals.
If you plan to outsource SEO, choose a reliable partner that understands your business model, integrates with your brand, and has a track record working with companies like yours. Make sure they can easily handle the scope of your project without risking quality or security.
Make Connections that Matter
Uncover what your customers are looking for in real time and meet their needs with valuable content.
3. Execute a competitive analysis
Competitive analysis is the process of evaluating your competition for the sake of improving your own SEO strategy. Analyze your competitors’ organic search rankings, online reviews, blog strategy, and backlink profiles. Then, dig into their user experience, social media, target audience segments, USPs and differentiators.
You could take your analysis further by doing a technical SEO audit. Review their site health, technical SEO implementation, page speed and mobile friendliness.
Your competitive analysis should of course include your main competitors. However, you should also include your online competitors in the SERPs. Look for other websites that occupy Google page one for your target SEO keywords even if they aren’t direct competitors.
You need to outrank your online competitors as well as your business competitors to win consumer attention.
For example, an industry publication may be a threat for your search engine results page (SERP) rankings.
Why do we have a dual focus on competitors? You need to outrank your online competitors just as much as your business competitors to attract the most search traffic.
For example, if you’re a beauty brand, you might not think of the online publisher Byrdie as a competitor. Yet, when you look at the search landscape, Byrdie crushes the competition and siphons valuable traffic throughout the funnel. Read our Byrdie SEO case study here.
4. Do keyword research and build topic clusters
Keyword research is at the foundation of any solid SEO strategy. It may seem obvious, but it’s important to create content and web pages that your audience actually searches for. It’s common for large brands to overproduce content that doesn’t target specific keyword phrases, or targets the same term repeatedly.
Proper keyword research can help prevent this mistake and deliver greater SEO ROI.
With advanced keyword research, you’ll be able to cover topics thoroughly without cannibalizing keywords and diluting value. That means more website traffic, more engagement and increased conversion rates.
Build topic clusters into your SEO strategy
Avoid taking a narrow approach with your research. Single keywords are absolutely essential to a high-performance SEO program. However, it’s equally important to identify the overarching topics for which you’re an expert and deserve a high SERP ranking.
Topic clusters are an excellent way to leverage very broad themes through pillar pages such as this blog post.
As you may have noticed, SEO strategy is a high-level topic (or pillar page) that touches on many subtopics. These subtopics are called cluster pages in the pillar-cluster model. Pillar pages broadly cover a topic and link out to in-depth resources to learn more.
The power of topic clusters is multi-faceted. You’re able to cover the complete spectrum of a keyword group, from high volume head terms down to very specific long-tail keywords. An internal linking strategy helps you convey your depth of coverage to search engines and pass inherited link value between relevant content.
Content Strategy Playbook
The Fortune 500 CMO’s guide to content strategy.
Finding the right keywords
How do you find keywords to power your website SEO strategy? Terakeet developed our own set of tools that identify untapped market share, predict content needs and boost keyword research efficiencies.
Beyond proprietary technology, here’s a complete list of tools and processes you can use to find the most impactful search terms.
- Use comprehensive SEO tools like Ahrefs, Moz and SEMRush for mountains of keyword-related data.
- Make use of dedicated keyword research tools like KWFinder, KeywordTool.io and Soovle.
- Use a keyword difficulty tool to understand how easy or hard it will be to rank for each keyword.
- Check Google Search Console to see which keywords already drive organic traffic.
- Review Google Search Trends to spot rising trends and seasonality.
- Discover opportunities in Google’s autocomplete and people also ask (PAA).
Finally, tap into your company’s deep reservoir of customer feedback to uncover common questions and concerns. This may include information from surveys, reviews, live chat, chatbots, social media, blog comments, sales calls, customer support calls, etc.
Learn more about gathering customer feedback in our in-depth article about Voice of the Customer.
5. Align content with search intent
Search intent is one of the most critical aspects of keyword research because it underpins Google’s search objective. In other words, Google aims to provide users with the most relevant content as quickly as possible.
A keyword may have high search volume. Yet, it may be driven by user intent that’s misaligned with your content, business, products or services. In that case, ranking would be nearly impossible, and any traffic will most likely bounce without converting.
How can you decipher Google’s perception of search intent?
Search your keyword and analyze the top 10-20 results. Are they research-oriented, solution-based or brand-focused?
For example, if the results are filled with how-to articles, creating a case study service page may not help you. When a skincare-related search query yields results from Wikipedia, WebMD, Mayo Clinic, Healthline and other related sites, then the product page for your skincare cream isn’t (yet) what the user wants or needs. If the results are clearly for a different industry, then best to look for alternative opportunities altogether.
Focus on fulfilling the search intent with your destination pages, and you can’t go wrong. Keyword-to-page alignment of intent makes for a winning keyword strategy, as it delivers the best user experience.
6. Differentiate titles to boost SERP CTR
It’s important to differentiate your message in the Google SERP to boost your CTR. It’s one thing to achieve a Google page one ranking. It’s another to rank well enough for searchers to click on it.
Both are important. Poor rankings means a lack of visibility, and rankings without clicks won’t move the needle for your business. (A lack of clicks can signal to Google that your information is not relevant, as well.)
Review what appears on Google page one for your target keywords. Assess the messaging and copy in the SERP listings. Are they all essentially saying the same thing? Is it difficult for a searcher to distinguish one result from another? If there’s a lack of differentiation within the SERP, use more compelling language that still aligns with intent to stand out.
Fortune 500 Enterprise SEO Playbook
Discover how enterprise brands can create content that builds authentic audience connections.
7. Build SEO strategy into the conversion funnel
Remember to consider the entire conversion funnel while developing your SEO strategy. Even if you manage a large online retail brand, ecommerce SEO should extend beyond products and category pages. Think about how your customers’ needs evolve throughout their journey.
Think: ToFu, MoFu, BoFu
You must deliver relevant, useful information and a great experience for your audience throughout the purchase funnel (ToFu, MoFu, BoFu). Whether new customers are researching broad head terms, asking more specific questions mid-funnel, or comparing brands and products at the bottom of the funnel, your brand needs to be there. If you aren’t present, then your competitors will step in to fill the void.
This full-funnel approach to SEO strategy ensures all your marketing efforts work in unison.
Map customer pain points to keywords along the journey
How can you effectively cover such a long and deep funnel when the customer journey may take months to complete?
Discover customer pain points. Then, map keywords to each pain point within the purchase funnel. Finally, address the fears and concerns that hold people back from taking action throughout the entire customer lifecycle.
At the top of the funnel, for example, prospects may be searching for symptoms rather than solutions. So it makes sense to deploy informational blog posts that help them understand the root cause of their problem. Or, perhaps they want to educate themselves, but they don’t know where to start. In this case, grab their attention with an entertaining piece of related content that builds brand awareness.
In the middle of the funnel, the prospect is beginning to engage with various brands/vendors. At this stage, the prospect may be looking for more advanced and detailed content or for specific product information.
Towards the bottom of the funnel, the prospect may be comparing options and making a final decision. You may be able to push them over the finish line with an ROI calculator, a competitive comparison matrix or customer reviews.
Your SEO strategy should go beyond the first purchase. If you want to improve your customer acquisition cost even more, then think of all the post-purchase questions your customers may have. Create content for existing customers that boosts brand loyalty and encourages them to buy again.
8. Branded vs. non-branded SEO strategy
At the beginning of their journey, customers may not have specific companies in mind. Consequently, they tend to search generic, non-branded keywords to learn more about the topic or product area first.
When someone begins to consider specific companies, they often conduct multiple branded searches. They may search the product name, or company name, or product reviews. They might look for comparison articles between competing solutions. These types of branded searches should deliver the necessary information to answer the searcher’s query. But they also need to build trust with the individual.
Imagine one of your customers is ready to make a purchase when they encounter a slew of 2-star ratings. A mountain of negative feedback on ComplaintsBoard or TrustPilot will likely cause them to reconsider and go back to reviewing other options. You might as well send a check directly to your competitors. On top of this, negative word of mouth would likely spread (online and offline), hurting future sales.
If you want to maximize market share, your SEO strategy must consider both branded and non-branded search queries.
SEO Plan Case Studies:
- Recovered $32.7 Million in Monthly Revenue for a National Furniture Retailer
- Branded Search Transformation for a Fortune 500 CEO
9. Capitalize on your strengths
A highly effective strategy to dominate organic search results is to capitalize on your strengths. How? Double down on the categories where you already rank well.
Rather than cherry picking a few unrelated high-volume search terms, attack the vertical you’re already winning in until you dominate it. Targeting large sets of overlapping keyword groups will help you saturate the funnel while communicating your expertise to search engines.
Think about it. If you’re amazing at the game of chess, then you could probably learn and master hexagonal chess rather easily. From there you might be able to become a star at the Japanese game of shogi, as well. All of these are games of strategy.
However, if you were to try to switch from playing chess to football or basketball, it would be significantly more difficult. In fact, you could be a complete failure at the new sport, regardless of your superior skills at chess.
Aim your focus where Google already recognizes your brand as relevant and authoritative, and it will be much faster and easier to see incremental results through a halo effect. In this way, you can continue to build a targeted ecosystem to achieve dominance in that area before tackling other, more challenging areas.
Value of Organic Search White Paper
See how an investment in organic search delivers ROI that compounds over time.
10. Technical SEO strategy
Keyword strategy alone won’t help you own the SERPs. Your website must also be technically sound and optimized for search engines. This may seem obvious, but it’s often the biggest hurdle for large brands to clear.
Tools such as Deep Crawl, Screaming Frog and OnCrawl can help you uncover critical technical SEO issues.
Internal roadblocks and development bandwidth can derail essential technical updates. As a result, SEO teams may fall back on link building without laying the proper foundation.
However, this causes more issues to arise.
Technical problems may impact crawling, link equity distribution and user experience. That means the Google algorithm is less likely to rank your site well despite all those backlinks.
Search engines often get lost crawling unimportant page URLs on large, complex websites. If you analyze your log files for crawl budget efficiency, then you may notice indexable pages without search engine bot hits or non-indexable pages gobbling up bot requests.
Or, you may notice that pages with longer load times perform poorly in organic search. Maybe your URL structure and website architecture is confusing. Or, you have mixed content, where some of the linked content on a page is not HTTPS as the rest of the site. Perhaps you have a spike in 404 error pages. It may be that your XML Sitemaps have issues, with outdated or missing URLs.
Furthermore, Google measures user experience with a set of metrics called Core Web Vitals (CWV). So learn how to measure and improve your scores to benefit your users and SEO metrics.
Technical SEO is the foundation of your search engine optimization strategy. With a solid technical infrastructure, your content and backlinks will have a far greater impact on your organic search results.
11. Content SEO strategy
61% of large brands outsource content marketing workCMI
47% of buyers view up to five pieces of content before contacting salesHubSpot
82% of marketers use content marketingHubSpot
According to Google’s former Search Quality Senior Strategist, Andrey Lipattsev, high-quality content is one of the top three SEO ranking factors. But what is great content? And how can you develop a content strategy that impacts your key business initiatives?
Answer: Build your content strategy template around an SEO framework.
At Terakeet, We employ a spectrum of research, strategic development, IA and page-level outlining, and full publishing capabilities to impact pages across your website and throughout your customer funnel. We analyze the search landscape across your market to identify the optimal topics to target, as well as the underlying intent of those searches and the types of content required to rank, like product pages, blog posts, or long-form content.
An SEO-focused approach to content marketing not only provides Google with an understanding of your relevancy, it also helps you deliver a superior customer experience precisely when your audience is seeking answers related to a specific topic. As a result, you’ll earn tons of powerful backlinks and satisfy your customers at the same time.
Discover even more benefits of content marketing here.
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12. On-page SEO
Even the most amazing content in the world won’t bring in organic traffic if it’s not properly optimized for the keywords people actually search. But, on-page optimization is a massive topic that includes, titles, headings, image alt text, anchor text, search intent, schema for featured snippets, and so much more.
If you need a refresher, read our step-by-step guide to on-page SEO techniques for search professionals.
The most important on-page SEO ranking signals come from your page title tag, H1 and subheads. However, your strategy should go way beyond headings and meta tags. You must also account for search intent, related entities, depth and breadth of coverage and especially internal links. And, while the meta description isn’t a direct ranking signal, it can still benefit click-through rates from the SERP.
Make no mistake, this is a major undertaking that will require expertise, technology and processes. Our content team leverages a number of leading SEO tools to develop and refine content. But we’ve also built our own proprietary technology to fill in the gaps where these tools fall short.
To improve efficiency, map out your entire on-page optimization project. Then, develop a repeatable process to systematically attack one page at a time. If you need some help, you can download our on-page SEO and copywriting checklist.
13. Off-page link building strategy
Off-page SEO (also called off-site SEO) refers to any actions you take outside of your website to improve your SEO. That often includes link building, getting published in third-party websites, and being interviewed.
Google values what others think of your brand, so on-page optimization isn’t enough. You need to prove to search engines that others see your brand as an authority. To truly maximize your organic search results, you should be conducting strategic outreach to high-quality, credible websites and influencers.
Remember this: all links aren’t created equal.
One relevant backlink from CNN with a hefty domain authority of 95 will count much more than 100 links from Pete’s Pizza shop or Betsy’s Basket Weaving Blog.
PageRank and trust are paramount. However, make sure linking websites are also relevant for your brand. An auto insurance company with backlinks from a math tutoring website is a major red flag for link manipulation. (Note: This is an actual real-world example, and yes, the company was penalized by Google when the manipulation was uncovered.)
Finally, diversify your backlink profile. It’s not as valuable to get 100 backlinks from the same website as it is to get 100 backlinks from 100 unique, high-quality domains. Therefore, you should look to scale your link building process. Terakeet’s proprietary Chorus platform fuses content discovery tools and CRM functionality with a database of more than 9 million publishers and influencers. This enables us to execute strategic outreach at scale to extremely targeted audiences.
14. Mobile search strategy
Mobile search now accounts for 59% of all searches in Google, according to Statista, up from 45% just five years ago. And this trend is growing fast.
With the rise in popularity of smartphones and mobile search, it only makes sense that Google has been moving to a mobile-first index model. This means that it’s extra important now for you to be optimizing sufficiently for mobile, or risk damaging not only your mobile results but your desktop and tablet search engine results as well.
59% of organic searches in Google happen on mobile devicesStatista
How can you ensure that your website is optimized for mobile?
Build a responsive website that’s easily viewable on smartphones and loads quickly. If your mobile content differs from desktop, assess whether your SEO copy sufficiently covers your target keyword.
Finally, see how Google views your mobile-friendliness by using its Mobile-Friendly Test tool. Inside Google Search Console, you can also use Google’s Mobile Usability feature to uncover any potential mobile errors. If you know your way around the developer tools in web browsers, you can also check how your content renders on different mobile viewports without ever leaving the page!
15. Video SEO strategy
As the world’s second-most popular search engine, YouTube is a search and social media juggernaut. More than one billion users watch over one billion hours of video daily. With that level of impact, you need to pay attention to video SEO.
YouTube’s dominance makes it a crucial way for you to round out your search, social and content initiatives. But, the value goes far beyond improved visibility among your target audience segments in YouTube alone.
An effective video SEO strategy helps your content to gain real estate in the Google SERPs. As a result, your digital marketing strategy will derive added benefits from video production and optimization.
How do you win at video SEO?
Get started on advanced video keyword research with tools like YouTube Suggest, YT Cockpit, vidIQ, KeywordTool.io and Tubics.
Once you have defined your keywords, create awesome videos that are better than competing videos for your target topics. Then, optimize the title, description, metadata and tags. Increase your optimization by including a transcript of the video on the page and by implementing a video sitemap.
Remember to embed the video on your own site. And make sure the video is relevant to the page it’s on so that the user experience is a positive one.
16. Voice search strategy
Voice search is rapidly gaining in popularity. Comscore predicts that 50% of searches will be made through voice search by 2020. According to OC&C Strategy Consultants, voice-based shopping is expected to balloon to $40 billion by 2022. Google’s Behshad Behzadi confirmed that voice search is the fastest growing type of search.
Voice search allows people to interact with technology using verbal commands rather than typing search queries into a device. Voice-based technology is much more than just random task management. Voice search is becoming the go-to method to discover information on the internet.
Voice-based shopping is expected to balloon to $40 billion by 2022OC&C
- Optimizing for voice search is not the same as optimizing for traditional search.
- Smart devices rely on simple, clear, natural language.
- Voice search is about the one best answer, so target long-tail keywords you can truly dominate.
- Voice searches most often take the form of sentences, with the average search being between six and 10 words, according to Bing.
To excel at voice SEO, use tools to identify the most commonly asked questions online across hundreds of thousands of forums, including Amazon, Reddit, Quora, and Q&A websites.
17. Local SEO strategy
Local SEO, which involves optimizing a website to be found in local search results, is an important discipline to include in your SEO strategy if you are a retailer or service provider with physical locations. It’s also important if your market is geographically driven, whether you have a storefront or not.
Local SEO is especially important when it comes to translating interest into actual sales.
According to Google, 46% of all Google searches have local intent. And according to a Local Search Association report, search engines are the most frequently used channel to find local business information, with 87% of survey respondents having used a search engine to find a local business. By 2021, mobile devices will influence more than $1.4 trillion in local sales, according to Forrester.
To excel at local SEO, keep your Google My Business account up to date, along with the many other local listing sites online. This would include Yelp, Citysearch, and similar local directories. Maintain consistent NAP (name, address and phone number) in all local listings.
Optimize your pages and content for local content, such as state, city and even neighborhood names. You can also optimize for “near me” searches for greater local coverage.
Reviews can also play a significant role in the results of your local search efforts. According to Qualtrics, 82% of consumers read an online review prior to purchasing a product. Institute a program that solicits reviews from your happy customers.
18. International SEO strategy
In the case that your business is global, your SEO plan should include the optimization of your site for your different target regions around the world. International SEO is the process of optimizing your website so that search engines serve up the right country-version and language version of your site for searchers in different locations.
To achieve a site that’s highly optimized, use an international-friendly URL structure so that the country and language are visible. Of course each version of the site should be in the local language or languages, as well.
For further optimization, implement hreflang tags to help Google understand which language is being used on a specific page in the case that the same page content is being used in other international versions of the site. This helps ensure that Google displays the correct language version of the site in the SERPs for the various searches around the world.
19. Branding, SEO and reputation
Branding and SEO may not always be directly related, but there are many instances where strong brand reputation enhances your organic search results. A strong brand can lead to more fans. The more fans your brand has, the more that they will be talking about your brand, engaging with it, sharing related content and linking to you.
With all things being equal between you and certain competitors, the strongest brand often drives the most traffic and backlinks, which in turn can send a powerful signal to Google that the brand is authoritative.
Think of Airbnb’s rapid rise. Through adept branding, they have been fully committed to compelling photography and design. Masters at storytelling, the brand features host and guest stories whenever it has the opportunity. As a result, Airbnb attracts all kinds of attention from the media, influencers and the public.
All of this helps to strengthen the brand’s online presence and organic search results. If you search “Airbnb” in Google, there are more than 253 million results (and a whole lotta brand love). Over the past decade, the brand has generated more than 31 million backlinks (Marriott.com has approximately 10.7 million and Hilton.com has a little over 4 million in comparison), representing a formidable barrier to competitors.
20. UX and SEO
With SEO, your main goal is to rank your pages and content in the Google SERPs. And these days, that means more than keyword optimization. It means you must also provide a superior user experience.
Why? Because Google’s main goal is to deliver the most relevant, useful results for searchers.
So, make user experience a key part of your SEO strategy. Satisfy search intent, and think about how to positively engage with your audience. Use behavioral analysis software to analyze click and scroll data, and A/B test CTAs whenever possible.
When you provide an amazing digital experience, you’ll also reduce bounce rate and potentially increase conversions.
21. SEO and marketing strategy development
Many companies develop a marketing strategy first, complete with initiatives, campaigns and assets, and treat SEO as an afterthought. Then, they attempt to optimize what they already developed.
Instead, by using search data as an insight engine, SEO can act as a powerful compass upstream in the marketing strategy development process. Rather than optimize fully-baked campaigns, your audience and competitive landscape insight should drive the strategy that you deploy across all channels throughout the funnel.
22. Marketing integration
To maximize the value of your SEO efforts, look to integrate your SEO best practices with other marketing vehicles. SEO can help you to strengthen your online reputation, paid search, PR, social media, website and much more. And all of your marketing, including SEO, will benefit when you approach your marketing holistically.
For example, you can focus on organic search for keywords that are too expensive to produce a decent marketing ROI with paid search. Conversely, you can leverage paid search and advertising to gain traffic for a certain keyword while you establish an SEO beachhead.
When it comes to SEO and public relations, you can seed relevant keywords within PR placements to naturally pass SEO value. As a result, SEO fuels better online performance and ROI from PR wins.
In addition, search engine optimization analysis provides valuable insights for the PR team. It adds deeper context around the value of websites, bloggers, and influencers as part of the PR team’s relationship building initiatives.
And PR is an important part of off-page SEO. As you build relationships with reporters and publications, you open new opportunities for the acquisition of organic backlinks from high-quality websites.
Read more about the benefits of integrated marketing.
23. Track SEO metrics and KPIs
Define KPIs upfront so you only track the SEO performance metrics that impact your goals. Everything else is a vanity metric. Think of KPIs in terms of the 80/20 rule: focus on the 20% of activities that drive 80% of your results.
At a high level, you may want to track your organic search market share against online competitors like Terakeet does:
Or, at a more granular level, you could track how your top pages perform so you can implement an SEO content strategy to improve them.
Keyword ranking KPIs include:
- Page One Keyword Rankings: Tracking the number of Google page one rankings helps you to capture share of voice, push competitors lower in the search rankings, and attract traffic..
- Page Two Keyword Rankings: These search terms are prime candidates for a concerted SEO push to move them onto page one. If you’re looking for an area to prioritize, it would be here.
- Total Keyword Rankings: Similar to the above, understanding your overall rankings landscape helps you to know where to prioritize your efforts and where you’ll need a longer timeframe and plan to start seeing traffic results.
- Total Organic Market Share: Rankings are nice, but how much market share (or share of voice) do you control through your rankings? Terakeet uses multiple data points combined with internal technology to calculate existing market share vs total available organic opportunity. This metric is much more valuable than a simple tally of ranking positions.
Find out which Google ranking factors can put you on page one! If you want to win in the SERPs, ask us how we assess market share opportunity for Fortune 1000 brands.
Additional useful SEO KPIs include:
- Organic Sessions: This KPI reveals the value of all of those keyword rankings – TRAFFIC!
- Landing Page Unique Visits from Organic Traffic: It’s one thing to know how much organic traffic you’re receiving. It’s quite another to understand the specific pages that are the direct recipients of such traffic, helping you to align SEO efforts with your overall marketing priorities.
- Organic Sessions per Geographic Region: This data can help you see where you’re strong and where you’re weak geographically, helping you to direct attention to market awareness building where needed.
- Average Pages per Session: This KPI helps you to understand the quality and engagement levels of your organic visits.
- Referring Domains: Backlinks are one of the most critical ranking factors in SEO, and so it’s obviously important to track your progress in securing new, high-quality backlinks from credible websites.
Conversion and lead KPIs include:
- Conversions: A conversion can be anything from a mailing list sign-up to a video view to a request to speak with your sales team. Track the different types of conversions to have a clear picture of how SEO is moving the needle for your business.
- Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs): Similarly, track the MQLs resulting from your organic conversions. This is one of the most important KPIs for your brand to be focused on, as it’s what moves the needle for your business.
- Value of Conversions and MQLs: Conversions and MQLs each carry a value for your business. Define the monetary value of each to help you calculate the overall ROI of your SEO initiatives.
Read more about how to generate leads more consistently.
SEO trends: Looking to the future
For SEO success, you can’t just “set it and forget it.” You must continually optimize your site, publish high-value content and secure trusted backlinks. On top of this, always be ready to capitalize on new SEO trends (voice search was a non-starter years ago, for example).
With this in mind, pay attention to growing areas of importance such as mobile search, voice search, video and structured data.
For a peek into the future, be sure to attend or watch a video of the Google I/O developer conference every year. “I/O” stands for input/output, as well as the slogan “Innovation in the Open”. During the event, Google provides a glimpse into the future, revealing new products, features and technologies. This will help you to see the overarching directions in which Google is heading.
With the vast proliferation of connected devices, it will also be important to monitor searcher behavior using different types of devices in different environments and situations. For example, voice search via your car’s dashboard may evolve beyond what we typically think of when talking about Google search on a laptop or smartphone.
What won’t change are the basics – delivering a great user experience that matches search intent no matter where the person is in the funnel.