How to create an Effective SEO Strategy for 2020 (Step-by-Step)

Jonas Sickler SEO Manager
Key Points
  • SEO strategy is a detailed plan to improve a website’s search engine rankings and grow organic market share.
  • SEO drives 20X more clicks and 150% higher ROI than paid advertising.
  • One of the biggest challenges large companies face when developing an SEO strategy is scalability.
  • SEO can integrate with your public relations efforts to improve brand sentiment.

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 should draw from several foundational pillars, including technical SEO, content strategy, on-page SEO, link building and user experience.

Put simply, SEO strategy is about delivering extreme relevance and value to searchers.

But there’s another side to the SEO coin that’s often overlooked: brand protection. A holistic approach to Enterprise search engine optimization also ensures that searches related to your brand, executives or products remain positive.

One of the primary benefits of an successful SEO 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.

Want an SEO marketing strategy that dominates your product or service category? Let’s get started!

Your SEO strategy matters…

20X

Organic listings drive 20X more clicks than paid ads in the Google SERPs.

150%

Organic search drives 150% higher ROI than paid search.

5X

Companies receive 5X more value from Google Search than Google Ads.

SEO goals

It’s critical to define your goals before you launch a major 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.

Start by identifying your target marketing results, and then work backwards to define your process goals.

  • Do you want to increase the number of new customers and revenue? For which business units, products and services?
  • Are you trying to grow market share within specific audience segments? Which segments and how will you measure your reach?
  • Do you want to drive more search traffic? How much traffic? How will you value inbound traffic to one page versus others?
  • Are you looking to drive conversions through demand generation or lead generation? How will you measure conversions and micro-conversions? How many do you need to see, and by when?

SEO scalability

One of the biggest challenges large companies face when developing an SEO website strategy is scalability. Maybe your site has thousands of pages, or you don’t have the bandwidth to meet your SEO content production goals. Or, perhaps you’re struggling with building links.

A truly scalable SEO program goes much deeper than plugins and third-party software subscriptions. Terakeet has developed some of the most robust SEO technology for determining market share opportunities, streamlining keyword research, managing blogger outreach and reporting against goals.

Our technology injects unmatched efficiency into the industry’s most advanced SEO processes. Our team leverages these efficiencies to maximize impact while maintaining complete control and reducing risk.

Even the best SEO Managers on the planet need support to dominate multiple sectors within your industry.

Integration and standardization are key to scale your SEO business strategy. To that end, spearhead cross-departmental collaboration with web development, brand management, product management and sales. Eliminate silos and institute documented processes and systems and install robust, scalable software and platforms.

At a large company, keeping executives and other departments informed of progress toward stated goals is critical. Dashboards allow you to scale your SEO reporting to as many people as will need to be kept informed. It’s easy to pull data from tools such as Google Analytics, Google Search Console, SEMRush, or Ahrefs, etc.

Take Organic Market Share from your Competitors.Ask Us How

Competitive analysis

Competitive analysis is the process of evaluating your competition for the sake of improving your own SEO strategy. Analyze your competitors’ search engine 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 load speed and mobile friendliness. 

Your competitive analysis should of course include your main competitors. However, it’s critical that you also include your online competitors. Include websites that occupy Google page one for your target SEO keywords even if they aren’t direct competitors.

For example, an industry publication may present a competitive threat for your SERP rankings.

The reason why a dual focus on competitors is clear. You need to outrank your online competitors just as much as your defined competitors to attract the most traffic.

Keyword research and topics

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. Through internal linking, you convey your depth of coverage to search engines and pass inherited link value between relevant content.

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. Contact us to learn more.

Beyond proprietary technology, here’s a complete list of tools and processes you can use to find the most impactful search terms.

  • Use robust, 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.
  • Remember to explore not only head terms, but long-tail keywords as well.
  • Check Google Search Console to see which keywords already drive organic traffic, and identify opportunities for optimization.
  • Review Google page one and two to confirm search intent.
  • Review Google Search Trends to spot rising trends and seasonality.
  • Reference Google’s autocomplete and “people also ask” features to reveal related keyword ideas.
  • Try tools like Answer The Public to explore queries like “why” and “how” phrases.
  • Use BuzzSumo “Questions” to uncover related questions from millions of forum posts, Amazon, Quora and other websites.
  • And don’t forget to tap into your company’s deep reservoir of customer feedback. This may include information from surveys, reviews, live chat, chatbots, social media, blog comments, sales calls, customer support calls, etc.

Aligning 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?

seo strategy keyword search intent

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.

Differentiation in the SERPs

It’s important to differentiate your message in the SERP to boost your CTR. It’s one thing to achieve a Google page one ranking. It’s another to have a ranking that compels 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’s appearing 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.

SEO strategy throughout the purchase funnel

Remember to consider the entire purchase 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.

Deliver relevant, useful information at each stage

You must deliver relevant, useful information and a great experience for your audience throughout the funnel. Whether 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.

Map customer pain points to keywords

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.

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 are trying to educate themselves but are not exactly sure where to start. In this case, grab their attention with an entertaining piece of related content.

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.

branded SEO strategy

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.

Capitalize on where you’re strong

A highly effective strategy for generating 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.

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, causing SEO teams to fall back on link building without laying the proper foundation. As a result, technical problems cause issues with crawling, link equity distribution and user experience. That means search engine algorithms are less likely to rank your site well.

Search engines often get lost crawling unimportant URLs on large, complex websites. If you analyze your log files for crawl budget efficiency, 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 is problematic. 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.  

Technical SEO is the foundation of your search engine optimization strategy, and must be prioritized. With a solid technical infrastructure, your content and backlinks will have a far greater impact on your organic search results.

Content SEO strategy

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 around an SEO framework.

content strategy step 1
content strategy step 2
content strategy step 3
content strategy step 4

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.

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.

The most important on-page SEO ranking signals come from your page title, H1 and subheads. However, on-page optimization goes way beyond your headings and metadata. You must also account for search intent, related entities, depth and breadth of coverage and 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.

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 organic search rankings. 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.

Authority 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 acquisition 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.

Mobile search strategy

Mobile search now accounts for 64% of all searches in Google, according to Statista. And this trend is growing fast. Mobile’s percentage of the Google universe has increased by 56.1% over the past five years.

64%

64% of searches happen on mobile devices

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.

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 copy sufficiently covers your target keywords.

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!

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.

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.

$40 billion

Voice-based shopping is expected to balloon to $40 billion by 2022

  • 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 such as BuzzSumo Question Analyzer to identify the most commonly asked questions online across hundreds of thousands of forums, including Amazon, Reddit, Quora, and Q&A websites.

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.

International SEO strategy

In the case that your business is global, your SEO strategy 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.

Branding, SEO and reputation

Branding and SEO may not always be directly related, but there are many instances where strong online 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.

Recovered $32.7 Million Monthly for a National Retailer.See Case Study

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.

UX and SEO

With SEO, of course you are aiming to rank your pages and content in the Google SERPs. However, if searchers are disappointed with what they find on your site, your bounce rate will increase.

If Google determines that your listing doesn’t satisfy searchers, it may move your listing down in the SERP. Conversely, if users click on your listing and take action, Google will want to show your site to searchers more frequently.

Google’s ultimate goal is to deliver the most relevant, useful results for searchers. To that end, engagement with the destination website is a factor in Google’s assessment of what to rank and what not to rank.

So make user experience a key part of your SEO strategy. Make sure you’re fulfilling the search intent, and think about how to positively engage with the site visitor. Use behavioral analysis software to analyze click and scroll data, and A/B test CTAs whenever possible.

SEO and marketing strategy development

Many companies develop a marketing strategy first, complete with initiatives, campaigns and assets, and treat SEO as an afterthought. It’s only then that they look to optimize what has already been developed. 

Instead, by using search data as an insight engine, SEO can act as a powerful compass upstream in the marketing strategy development process. Instead of optimizing fully-baked campaigns, your audience and competitive landscape insight would drive the actual strategy that you could then deploy across all channels throughout the funnel.

This approach will allow you to align each audience segment and piece of content with the ideal marketing channel, whether paid, social or organic.

Marketing integration

To maximize the value of your SEO efforts, look to integrate your SEO 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 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.

SEO KPIs

SEO KPIs (key performance indicators)

Define KPIs upfront so you only track the 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.

For example, does your blog drive all of your conversions? Or perhaps it’s your top five product category pages? Meticulously track the metrics that indicate how your top pages are performing so you can implement strategies 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 rankings and attract traffic.
  • Page Two Keyword Rankings: These keywords 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 track existing market share vs total available organic opportunity. This metric is much more valuable than a simple tally of ranking positions.

Ask us how we assess market share opportunity for Fortune 1000 brands!

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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.

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 will not change are the basics – delivering a great user experience that matches search intent no matter where the person is in the funnel.