Developing Your 3-Month SEO Strategy
What Is SEO Strategy? Why Do You Need an SEO Strategy?
Whether you’ve got a blog or an online business, you want your website to be successful, attracting organic search traffic and performing better in the SERP than your competitors.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the perfect way to achieve those desired results you crave; however, you’ll need to ensure that you’ve got a strong strategy to achieve those results.
And if you too want to know how to create and implement an SEO strategy, then you’ll want to continue reading to find out how you could apply our three-month SEO strategy to give your rankings a well-needed boost.
What Is A Good SEO Strategy?
An SEO strategy is an in-depth plan for your website which details all of your upcoming SEO activities, such as creating content and rectifying issues with the build, and detailing when, where and how these activities are due to take place.
A good SEO strategy is one which has been thoroughly researched and developed to achieve better online visibility for your website, providing you with a better return on your investment (ROI).
Your SEO strategy should identify all areas on your site that require improvements to be made to benefit the search engine optimisation of your site; prioritising these improvements in order of impact and implementing a resolute schedule in which these improvements are to take place.
Why Is Having A Strategy Important to SEO Success?
The main benefit of an SEO strategy is that your SEO efforts are more likely to be successful if they are meticulously researched and developed before you carry out any work that needs to be underway.
That way, you are ensuring that you are providing yourself enough time to carry out the improvements that need to be made and that you are allocating your efforts to lead your website in the right direction. Ensuring that you tackle problems which are having a more significant impact on your website as a whole.
Once you have made these improvements to your site, whether that be rectifying issues with backlinks or content, you’ll then be able to use analytical tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console to track and monitor the progress that your site is making from your SEO strategy.
Within just three months, you’ll begin to see your organic search traffic and organic keywords increase, meaning that you’ll be able to reach a broader audience with your content, products and services.
All in all, developing a strategy will help you to achieve better results for both your brand and your search engine optimisation goals.
How Exactly Do I Improve My SEO in 2019?
If you understand anything about SEO, then you’re probably already aware of the fact that it requires time for you to see the results your achieving from your SEO efforts; unfortunately, no one achieves lasting results overnight.
Instead, you’ll need to be dedicated to enforcing your strategy over a substantial period of time.
There are many different factors which affect how, when and where your content will rank in the SERPs; therefore, it is difficult to pinpoint when you’ll begin to see the performance of your site pick up.
Which is why in this guide, we’ll be showing you how to plan out your 3-month strategy to get you started. At the end of this 3-month period, you’ll begin to see the impact and traction from the improvements you’ve made, helping you to build your long-term strategy by building on your success.
Step 1 – Perform an SEO Audit Why Is an SEO Audit Important?
To get on top of your SEO game in 2019 you need to build and implement a solid SEO strategy.
The first step of which, should always be to conduct a thorough website audit.
In a nutshell, an SEO audit is important for identifying the key areas of your website which need the most improvement and to boost your rankings within the SERP.
Performing a thorough audit will give you a detailed overview of your current organic visibility and performance within three major SEO categories; on-page, off-page and technical SEO.
Once complete, you’ll be able to make informed decisions on any future strategic actions you take to optimise your site and most importantly, skyrocket your ROI.
Here’s How (Step by Step)…
How to Conduct A Website Audit (Step by Step)
Many SEO audits take A LOT of time to complete. With so many potential elements to audit, a great deal of site owners can struggle with knowing exactly where to draw the line.
How do you know if your audit is thorough enough? How frequently should you perform a full audit of your website?
Our 9-step SEO audit checklist, allows you to conduct an in-depth analysis of your website QUICKLY.
We then recommended revisiting this process and completing a full audit of your website every 3 months, with smaller audits to be completed on a monthly basis:
1. Use an SEO Audit Tool to Crawl Your Website
To begin the SEO audit process, you need to first start a website crawl.
There are number of reputable SEO Audit Tools available online, which you can easily use to do this:
Silverback - FREE
Ahrefs - from £78 per month
Semrush - from £79 per month
Screaming Frog - Free, with limitations to crawl a maximum of 500 URLS
An SEO Spider will crawl your site, much the same as Google does. This will identify any issues which could be negatively affecting your websites visibility within the SERP. For example, any broken links, missing page titles or instances of duplicate content.
- How To Start Your Crawl
For this demonstration, we’ll be using the Ahrefs audit tool:
Log into your account and select ‘Site Audit’ from the right hand side of the navigation bar
Then, select ‘New Project’
Next, paste your domain address in to the ‘Scope & seeds’ section
IMPORTANT: Remember to turn on ‘Check HTTP status of external links’ within the crawl settings menu, otherwise the audit won't check the status of your external links:
The audit can take a few minutes to complete, so whilst that’s running in the background – let’s move on to the next step…
2. Ensure That Only One Version of Your Website is Browsable
There are many different ways in which a user can type your domain address into a browser:
However, only one of these addresses should ever be accessible. All other versions should be 301 redirected to the canonical version.
In a nutshell, if multiple versions of your site are accessible, crawlers won’t know which version of your site to crawl or rank within the SERP. This can severely impact your overall SEO rankings.
Editor’s Tip: Don't limit checks exclusively to your homepage. You should also check that other pages/URLs within your website automatically redirect to the canonical version. This ensures that 301 redirects are working correctly across your entire site.
Which version should you choose?
It’s now widely recommended within the SEO community that you should ONLY ever use the https:// version of your site.
The HTTPS version is encouraged by Google, as it gives the user a secure experience when browsing your site. It's also thought to provide you with a small rankings boost.
Step 3 - Ensure That Google Has Indexed Your Site
You can literally spend weeks developing and implementing the most knockout SEO campaign strategy, but if Google hasn’t indexed your website, it will make no difference.
If your website isn’t indexed, it simply cannot rank.
In short, ‘indexing’ is the process whereby Google crawls you site and determines whether to add your site, and its pages, to its search index. You can think of it as Google’s library.
If certain pages aren’t indexed on your site, they won’t be searchable, or clickable within the SERP.
So, How Do You Check the Indexability Of Your Site?
There are two ways in which you can do this, but the first is probably the easiest and most accessible to everyone.
Simply type, ‘site: search operator’ within the browser. For example, ‘site:dojono.com’…
Not only will this show you whether your website has been indexed, but it will also show you roughly how many of your pages have been indexed by Google.
Step 4 - Evaluate Your Site Speed
The user experience (UX) of your website is now widely regarded as one of the most important ranking factors within Google’s algorithm.
A fundamental component of your site’s UX is its speed. The quicker your website loads, the better the user’s experience.
So, if you want to boost your rankings, you need to make sure your website is FAST.
Dojono Bonus: Our complete guide to website speed optimisation is the ONLY guide you need in 2019. Including several BONUS techniques, not included here.
How Do You Check Your Websites Speed?
Google’s Page Speed Insights will give you a report on how fast your site currently is, and more importantly, what you can do to boost your site speed.
First, type in your URL & click ‘analyse’…
The tool will give you an overall speed rating out of 100 for both mobile and desktop…
Better still, Google’s Page Speed Insights also gives suggestions on how to further optimise your site speed and improve your UX:
All in all, don’t panic if your site isn’t currently as quick as it could be! Improving your site speed can now form part of your 3-month SEO Strategy plan.
Step 5 - Review Your On-Page Optimisation
The general anatomy of your page must be effectively optimised for SEO, if you are to achieve the high volumes of organic search traffic you desire.
Thus, step 5 of our audit process requires you to get down to page level and into the nitty gritty of your pages.
To do this, you’ll need to return to your Ahrefs audit crawl, which should now be complete:
From here, you can view any obvious on-page issues that the audit has flagged up.
We suggest selecting ‘HTML tags’ first as this will highlight any issues with your page anatomy, including multiple H1 tags, missing meta descriptions, low page word count etc:
Once you’ve explored all of the sections under reports, you can start to form a to-do list which will outline all on-page issues to fix within your 3-month strategy. Ahrefs have a useful video tutorial on how to create a to-do list using their audit tool.
Editor’s Tip: If you’ve adhered to the recommended 60 character count for your title tags, but find that Ahrefs has flagged them as being too long, it could in fact be an issue with the pixel length of your title. You can check this simply using a pixel width checker.
Aside from any errors which the audit picks up, we also suggest that you perform a manual review of the pages on your site, to truly perfect your keyword placement.
As best practice we suggest checking that the target keyword of each page is included within the:
- title tag
- meta description
- page title (H1)
- first 100 words of the page
- image alt tags
- a few sub-headings (H2, H3, H4 etc.)
- sprinkled throughout the main body of text
Step 6 - Check for Dupe Content
Duplicate content is a PROBLEM. Whether intentional or non-intentional, having duplicate content issues definitely won’t do you any favours in the search engine’s eyes.
Google will always rank sites with unique relevant and high-quality content over those that simply repost duplicates of other site’s content.
Likewise, if other websites are copying large chunks of your own content, this can seriously harm your overall rankings. Why? Quite simply, it won't be obvious to Google which version of the content is the original copy and so they may rank the wrong page.
What is duplicate content? According to Google, ‘Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.’
The good news is, you can easily scrape your site for duplicate content using Copyscape:
IMPORTANT: Not everything that Copyscape flags is a cause for concern. Take Dojono for example:
Step 2 - Competitive Analysis Why Do Competitor Research?
Competitive analysis is critical to creating an SEO strategy that will increase your organic traffic FAST.
Researching your competitors will give you a greater understanding of which SEO tactics are most effective within your given industry, including;
Which keywords are responsible for driving the most traffic?
Which backlink strategies appear to be working best?
Which site structure offers the best user experience?
You’ll also be able to identify any gaps or failings of your competitors, which you can then tactically take advantage of within your own SEO campaign.
By the end of this step, you’ll have a sharp understanding of exactly what you need to do to outperform your competitors. These findings will then shape the actions included within your 3-month SEO strategy.
Let’s get started…
Its important to note that there are MANY areas in which you can analyse your competitors; from analysing their site speed to getting into the nitty gritty of their on-page keyword placement tactics.
To keep things quick and effective, we’ve created a 3 point competitive analysis process that covers the key areas needed to develop a proficient 3-month SEO strategy.
1. Identify Your Competitors Skilfully
We advise identifying and analysing between 3 – 6 competitor sites. This will ensure that you have enough relevant data to identify exactly what you need to do to out-rank your competition, as well as what resources you need to do so.
But of course, it’s CRUCIAL that you analyse and benchmark against the right sort of competitor.
So, how exactly do you identify your competitors?
First and foremost, if you’ve been around for a while, you probably already have a good idea of exactly who the big players are within your given niche or industry. So, write down 2-3 of these as the first point of your analysis.
Second, identify which competitors are ranking for the same keywords as you.
You can do this using Ahrefs’ site explorer tool. Simply input your domain and select ‘competing domains’ from the right hand tool bar:
As you can see from the example above, this will give you a list of your top competitors, according to the keywords that your own website and your competitor’s website have in common.
Editor’s Tip: The 'competing domains' section will also highlight which keywords are unique to your competitor. This is a useful indicator of potential keyword opportunities to target within your 3 month SEO Strategy. More on this in the next section.
2. Analyse Your Competitors Organic Visibility
For this step, you’re going to establish which keywords are driving the most organic search traffic to your competitor’s site, so that you can target them too and out-rank your rivals!
If we use Moz as an example:
Paste the domain URL of one of your competitors into ‘site explorer’
Select ‘organic keywords’ from the side bar and order the results by traffic
Aside from the typical branded queries shown in the above screenshot, such as ‘Moz local’ and ‘Moz keyword explorer’, we can already start to pick out the queries that are generating the highest amounts of traffic to Moz’s website; such as, ‘301 redirect’, ‘keyword research’ and ‘what is SEO?’
Editor’s Tip: You can easily filter out branded queries from the Ahrefs organic keywords list by adding the brand name to the ‘exclude’ bar at the top of the results.
To narrow these results down even further, you can now add positions 1-10 as a filter to the report:
This will identify the most valuable keyword opportunities to target within your own 3-month SEO strategy. You can then export this list and highlight the keywords which you would like to target.
Step 3 – Creating your On-Site SEO Strategy On-Site SEO Plan
Creating a content schedule and an On-site SEO plan from scratch can seem like an extremely daunting task if this is something that you’ve never done before.
However, it’s not as complicated as it looks! And with the correct tools and templates, you’ll find that you’ll be able to formulate your content schedule and an on-site SEO strategy plan for the upcoming 3-months that your whole team will be able to follow in no time.
In this section, we’ll show you how to create and develop a keyword strategy and base your content schedule around those keywords and ideas, as well as working towards fixing any on-site technical errors which could be affecting your site’s index and crawlability.
What is On-site SEO and What Does it Involve?
Although content is considered the most important part of a successful on-site SEO strategy, there is so much more to consider with on-site SEO than simply producing content.
In fact, on-site SEO involves all the SEO efforts that take place on your website, for instance the creation of content, internal and external links, headings, metadata, images, URLs and other technical factors which can affect your chances of getting indexed by Google.
For the most part, you’ll want the majority of your pages on your site to be indexed and ranked for keywords (unless they’re blocked by robots.txt) therefore it’s crucial to ensure that your site, your pages and all of your content is easily crawlable for search engine crawlers, and this is where your on-site SEO strategy will help.
In the following section, we’ll show you exactly how to do the following:
- Identify your ‘unique opportunity’ keywords
- Produce a content schedule
- Create content briefs
- Create new pages
- Optimise existing content for keywords
- Rectify common technical errors
Dojono Bonus: If you want to ensure that you're getting all the helpful insights into how to benefit your On-page SEO strategy, then why not also check out our guide to Conquering your On-Site SEO in 2019.
Creating a Content Schedule
Step 1 - Keyword research
From your site audit and your competitor research that you have conducted, you should have a incomplete list of keywords which you wish to either create content for or optimise your existing pages for that keywords. These will be keywords that either you or your competitors are currently ranking for.
But your search for keywords isn’t over!
Instead your next step is to look for what we call ‘Unique Opportunity’ Keywords, which are keywords that neither you or your competitors are ranking for.
Once you have obtained your list of keyword ideas, your next step is to identify keywords which have both a decent search volume and aren’t majorly competitive, these keywords are called: ‘low-hanging fruit’.
However, there are many different types of keywords which are also good opportunities for you to rank.
Once you’ve exhausted your keyword research, you should be left with a substantial list of keywords. And you’re ready to move onto the next step, keyword mapping.
Dojono Bonus: For more information on how to conduct comprehensive keyword research to benefit any SEO campaign, you may want to take a look at our Guide to Keyword Research.
Step 2 - Keyword mapping
The first step of creating any great content plan is first to map out your list of keywords you obtained from your keyword research.
In this template we have provided, you want to ensure that you start by organising your keywords in order of priority in which they will take on the site, in addition to documenting their keyword difficulty, search volume and your current position for that keyword.
Once you have managed to document all of your keywords into the mapping template, your next step is to come up with an action for that keyword.
For instance, if you are already ranking for that given keyword, then your action will most likely be to optimise that page for your keyword. However, if you have chosen a keyword which is similar to an existing keyword that you’ve already created a page for, then your action will be to add it to a current page.
Alternatively, if you aren’t ranking for your chosen keyword and if it’s is unlike any of the other keywords or pages that are already existing on the site, then your action will be to create an entirely new page to target that keyword.
Once you have established what you are going to do with those keywords on your site, your next step is to decide what page the keyword your targeting will appear on.
Meaning that if your content is going on an existing page, then you will disclose upon what page it will be going. However, if you’re creating an entirely new page for the piece of content, then your next step is to generate a URL for that page.
Step 3 - Creating Content briefs
Once you have created your keyword mapping document and have organised your keywords in order of priority, your next step to create content briefs for each of the individual pages that you intend to create.
In your content brief, you should outline your plan for the content you intend to create, as well as clearly outlining the seed keyword, proposed URL, title tag, meta description, H1, word count, examples of your competitors, as well as internal and external links for each page.
In addition to this, your pages will need to be categorised into different types of content and pages that your site creates. Although this may vary from each website, as standard you can expect the following types of content will be created for your site:
Step 4 - Optimising Exisiting Content for Keywords
There is more than just one way to target new keywords with an existing piece of content, it all depends on your approach and your existing content. Here are just a few ways you can optimise your existing content for new keywords.
Keep the content the same and add a new section to the content
If you’re happy with the current content that’s on your page, then your first option is for you to simply add a new section to the existing content focusing on optimising your content for the keyword you wish to rank for.
Create a section addressing and understanding the search intent behind the keyword, for instance, if you wish to rank for a long tail keyword such as ‘what happens if you default on a payday loan’, then you’ll want to create a section which addresses and answers this question.
Re-write and develop existing content
If you feel that you need to make changes to your existing content as your research has shown that you either haven’t demonstrated the best understanding of the search intent of your seed keyword alike to your competitors who are performing well in the SERP. Or your content wasn’t getting you the results you wanted, then you may want to consider re-writing and to develop your existing content a bit better and including your keyword.
Include the keyword in Headings, Page Titles, Meta Tags, Alt Text, URLs, etc.
Another thing you can do when adding your keywords to existing content is to ensure that your keywords and variants are included in the following places:
Make sure the content flows naturally
Ultimately, you are creating content for users, not search engines; therefore, your content the way that you implement your keywords into your content should reflect that.
You should ensure that any keywords that you put in your content read naturally and don’t disrupt the flow of the content.
However, if you do feel that you are struggling to implement keywords which are great opportunities for your website and your brand but aren’t grammatically correct, then you can use punctuation to your advantage here.
Don’t keyword stuff
Keyword stuffing can have the completely opposite desired effect. Meaning that if you’re looking to improve your visibility and performance in the SERP, then you want to avoid Keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing can make Google issue you with a penalty which will negatively impact your rankings.
That’s why it’s essential for you to ensure that your content isn’t over optimised for your keyword. You can check for keyword stuffing and over optimisation by using SEOQuake to compare your keyword density to that of your competitors.
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Creating a Plan for On-Site Technical Work
Step 5 - Rectifying Technical Issues
Once you have planned out your content, your next step is to plan out future work for the technical side of your site, which could be having a significant negative impact to your search engine optimisation efforts.
From the website audit you performed on your site, you should be able to identify the areas which are needed for improvement; generally, these are things such as:
- Mobile optimisation
- Site speed
- Broken internal and external links
- Hreflang tags
- SSL Certificates
In the following section, we’ll show you what these technical issues mean for your site, why it’s important for you to rectify these issues and how you can do just that.
Ensure Your Site is Mobile Optimised
It’ll come as no shock to you, but the majority of website searches now take place on mobile devices, meaning that for your mobile users to get the most out of your website, your site should be mobile friendly.
If your site isn’t mobile friendly then potentially you’ve got quite a severe problem on your hands as users using mobile devices to view your site are likely to bounce straight back to the SERP and find a different result which provides a better mobile optimised website.
Not only will this affect the user experience (UX) of your page, but it will also increase your bounce rate, which is a ranking factor for Google.
How bounce rates work is that the lower your bounce rate shows Google that the user has satisfied their need for information on your site, proving that it provides the correct and relevant information for that keyword or search query, meaning that Google will rank these pieces of content higher than others who have higher bounce rates.
However, if your bounce rate is high, then this indicates to Google that the user isn’t finding the information or resources that they need on your site. Proving that it isn’t a relevant or helpful resource for them, being whether it doesn’t provide the user with information it needs, or it doesn’t offer a good enough user experience of the page, which means that your rankings are likely to drop.
Therefore, mobile optimisation is essential for your rankings and protecting you against a high bounce rate from mobile device users.
Instead, ensure the following of your website to ensure that your site is, in fact, mobile friendly:
You can view your website and webpages on different mobile and tablet devices in your desktop browser to check if your content performs well on mobile. All you have to do is right click on whatever site you're on and click inspect.
To the middle right of the top of your screen, you will see a drop-down menu which reads 'Responsive', click on the menu and select the device you want to view the site on. Take a look at how your content and page layout looks on mobile and consider whether or not you need to make any changes to improve mobile and tablet user's experience of your website.
Once you’ve made changes to your site, you can always use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool which will tell you whether your website is mobile friendly or not.
Improving Your Site Speed
Everything is on demand now, whether its music, TV programmes or even just audiobooks, everything needs to be on demand now and content is no different!
If you can’t keep with the speed and demand that users both want and expect when they visit then your website is bound to suffer as a result of this.
It’s been suggested that in 2019 websites and content should load in just 2 seconds, any time above that and that’s the threshold for when users start dropping like flies off your pages and back to the SERP, so how do you stop this you might ask?
Well, there are many factors which can impact your site speed negatively, and here are just a few:
- Plugins and widgets
- High-quality multimedia such as images and videos
- Website Hosts
- 301 redirects
Instead, if you wish to improve your site speed, you should consider doing the following for your site.
Limit the number of plugins and widgets
When you use a Content Management System (CMS) such as Wix or Wordpress, there are a lot of available widgets and plugins that you can use on your site which make content and products more accessible to your users.
While you may think that you’re improving the user experience of your page by adding these widgets, however, you’d be both right and wrong at the same time.
This is due to the fact that the number of widgets and plugins you put on your site will be making things more accessible for the user, but they will also be slowing down the speed of your website and the time that the content takes to load significantly.
Instead, you should try to limit the number of plugins and widgets that you use on your site, trying to strike a balance between good user experience and good site speed.
Decrease the number of high-quality multimedia
Multimedia such as images and videos which are of a higher quality than average will take a longer time to load on the page, meaning that it will have a significant impact on the speed of your site.
Instead, you should try to limit the number of high-quality multimedia or decrease the quality of the images if you don’t want to compromise on how many images you have on the site.
Use a Content Distribution Network (CDN)
CDNs, also known as Content Delivery Systems, are a group of servers which work together to deliver internet content quickly and effectively. Although CDNs are not to be confused with and should, in fact, be used in conjunction with a good website host, they are useful in significantly improving website speed and performance.
Minify large files
Instead, you can minify your files as much as possible, what this means is you can decrease the file size by removing unnecessary spaces, commas or other characters which could be affecting the size of the files.
Limit the amount of redirects
301 and 302 redirects are used to redirect users from one URL or location to another. Although these redirects can prevent users from reaching 404 error pages and can help transfer the link value of URLs to new ones, they can severely impact your site speed, and not in a good way either.
Instead, limit the number of redirects you have on your site, as this will benefit the user experience of your website as users aren't continually being redirected, which wastes valuable loading time. Try to opt for 301 and 302 redirects when absolutely necessary.
Removing Broken Internal and External Links
Broken links, whether internal or external, can produce 404 errors and cause problems for your site in several different ways.
Firstly, links are how users navigate your site and view your content. If your links are broken, then this will affect how freely and easily users can navigate your site, impacting on the user experience.
Secondly, broken links, whether internal or external don’t look good whether they’re producing a 404 error on your site or on another website. When building your website and creating content, you strive to establish a certain degree of trust with users, all of which broken links can help to destroy.
Lastly, search engine crawlers have what is called a ‘crawl budget’ which is a limit to the number of pages that a search engine will crawl your site at one time. Search engines use links as well as your sitemap to crawl the pages on your website and will follow through with any broken link to ensure that it is in fact a broken link, therefore wasting your crawl limit on broken links when it could be crawling and indexing valuable pages on your website.
In order for you to ensure that there are no broken internal or external links you will have to perform a site audit (which you should have conducted in the first step) or use a tool such as Screaming Frog, which will determine what internal and extrernal broken links are on your site and what pages they’re on.
Obtaining a SSL Certificate
SSL certificates are important as they are used to keep sensitive personal data encrypted while it is sent across the internet to its intended recipient.
These certificates are essential as not only do they establish trust and security between you and your target audience but search engines such as Google give sites with SSL certificates a ranking boost over those competitors in the SERP who don’t have one.
SSL certificates are easy to obtain, all you have to do is ensure that your website is hosted with a dedicated IP address, (meaning that you don’t share your IP address with other sites) and purchase a certificate for that site and activate it.
Creating a Sitemap
Sitemaps are an important part of your site as they help search engine to crawl and index your pages, as well as helping them to understand the relationship between those pages.
Now, everyone wants the majority of their pages indexed in search engines such as Google as this means they’ll start to rank for targeted keywords; thus site indexability and sitemaps are essential.
To rectify this problem, all you have to do is create a sitemap file for your website.
And if you aren’t technically gifted or have someone on your team who can help you to create a sitemap for you, then there are plenty of sitemap generators available on the internet that can crawl your site for you and provide you with an XML sitemap file which you will then need to upload to your site.
Once you have created your sitemap and uploaded it to your site, your next step is to ensure that it is regularly updated for best SEO practices. Meaning that every time you make a change to your site, whether that be to add a new page, remove a page or just update a piece of content, your sitemap always needs to up to date.
Using Hreflang Tags
The Hreflang tag is an attribute that tells search engines which language you are using on which page of your site and what region the content is intended for. This is intended to see that search engines provide users searching in that language and/or region with the result.
The reason why Hreflang tags are essential for the optimisation of your site is that you want to get your website and it’s content to it’s intended audience. Hreflang tags can help search engines to drive the right audience to your site, that’s why you want to ensure that you have the attribute on all of the needed pages.
All you have to do is put the following piece of HTML into each of your pages:
<link rel="alternate" href="[INSERT DOMAIN ADDRESS HERE]" hreflang="en-gb"/>
Step 4 – Creating Your Off-Site SEO Strategy Off-Site SEO Plan
Once you’ve completed your templates for your On-page SEO strategy, your next step is to work on developing your Off-site SEO strategy.
Whereas on-site SEO was concerned with elements which affected the optimisation of the site itself, such as the content, site speed and other technical aspects. Off-site SEO is concerned with the optimisation efforts you make off-site which ensure that your website and its content are promoted efficiently and reaches the audience of which it is intended for.
In this following section, you’ll find out the next steps to take to implement your off-site strategy, for better search engine optimisation for your website.
What is Off-page SEO and What Does it Involve?
Many people believe that the only thing that an excellent off-page strategy involves is links and link building, but they’d be wrong.
While links are still an essential and integral part of your off-site SEO strategy, it shouldn’t purely be just about obtaining and acquiring backlinks.
Instead, an off-site strategy should involve things such social media, outreach and content marketing, in addition to getting backlinks.
In the following sections, we’ll go through what your off-page strategy should involve and how it will benefit your overall 3-month SEO strategy.
Linking whether it be internally, externally or acquiring backlinks are all as equally important as each other.
However, it’s important to remember that not all backlinks are created equally, and some can actually be detrimental to the overall health and search engine optimisation of your site, instead of being beneficial. Which is why it’s absolutely essential for you to regularly audit and check your backlinks.
Ensure the following of every site that links to your website to make sure that you don’t have any potentially toxic or harmful links on your site, which could be having a negative impact.
- Content is related to your site
- The site isn’t and doesn’t look like a Private Blog Network (PBN)
- Ensure the website is secure
- The site doesn't have a security warning from your browser or security software when you try to visit the page
- The site isn't using techniques which are against Google's Webmaster Guidelines
- It isn't a spam website or has spam content
Dojono Bonus: For more information on how to create high-quality backlinks to your site, then take a look at our guide for acquiring quality links.
Establishing yourself as an authority off-site
Search engines reward sites that have content written by experts who hold authority on their subject.
I mean if you’re looking for advice and information on a subject, surely, you’d want it to come from someone who knows exactly what they’re talking about right? Exactly.
There are several different ways in which you can establish yourself as an authority off-site; however, it does take some leg work and dedication to pull it off successfully, but ultimately it is worth it.
Discover what your niche will be
Whatever your industry is, you’re bound to come across hundreds, if not thousands of industry experts who are also are also creating content on the exact same subject that you are. By developing your own niche, you’ll find that you’ll be able to create helpful and unique content on a specific niche within your industry that your target audience will be interested.
For instance, if you’re writing content for pet insurance, then why not develop your niche to write about pet insurance related explicitly to dogs, for example:
- ‘The most difficult breeds to get pet insurance’
- ‘The most common problems with each dog breed’
- ‘The ages at which it becomes challenging to insure your dog’
- ‘The best age to ensure your dog for insurance fees’
Once you’ve established your niche and the types of content, you can create for your niche, and you’re ready to move onto the next step.
Publish your content across the web
Not only will you want to publish content on your own site to establish yourself as an authority, but you’ll also want to ensure that you’re posting your content across the internet in places where your target audience and community will see it.
A great way to get your content published elsewhere on the web is to look for websites within your industry or related to your niche that accept guest posts and submissions from authority figures or people who are looking to gain more authority and approach them with your pitch for a piece of content you could create specifically for their site.
Your pitch for content will have to be strong and persuasive, meaning that you’ll have to come up with great content ideas that are likely to captivate and intrigue your audience.
Dojono Bonus: If you’re interested in finding out more information about Guest Posting, you can take a look at our definitive guide to identifying the best guest posting opportunities for your site.
Create great content
Now, this may sound a little bit obvious to you; however, the tendency is with guest posting or creating a large amount of content can mean that you can end up compromising on the quality of the content and it does happen to believe me!
Instead, you want to ensure that you’re continually creating great, unique and intriguing content consistently, whether that be for your own website or for other websites in which you are contributing content.
Ensure that you provide the following with each piece of content that you create:
- Unique content – meaning that it doesn’t already appear on your own website or anywhere else on the web.
- In-depth content – meaning that you don’t just glaze over the subject, that you actually go in-depth about the issue and surrounding topics, providing helpful and unique insights to whatever point you make, whether that be through your own research, case studies or expert/industry knowledge.
- Link out to valuable sources – whether you’re writing for your own site or whether you’re providing content for other sites it’s always helpful for both the user reading the content and SEO benefit to provide links to valuable external sources. However, you should check with the content guidelines of the site to see whether or not they allow links to external sources.
- Include visuals – everyone likes a page that not only provides excellent quality information, but that also looks great as well. Just one way to make your content look appealing is to produce videos, graphics and infographics, which can also help provide additional helpful information to the user.
Dojono Bonus: For further information and more in-depth reading on creating quality content for both your own site and any sites your guest posting on, you can read our post on how to create compelling blog posts that website editors will love.
Build relationships with other authorities and influencers within your industry
Networking is a beneficial tool that not enough people take advantage of.
Whether you’re going to specific events organised for your industry or whether you’re directly reaching out to people on social media or via email to network and build relationships, it’s all highly beneficial you both you and your site.
Here are just a few ways you can build relationships with other authorities and influencers:
- Share their content on social media
- Reply and comment on their posts on social media
- Comment on their blog posts and articles
- Reach out to them and feature them in a piece of content you’re creating
Although this can be a slow process to establish a relationship, ultimately it is worthwhile as collaborative content or even just a conversation on social media can attract potential traffic and interest from each other’s following and/or target audience.
It is worth mentioning that you should also approach building relationships slowly and any comments, shares and conversations should demonstrate a genuine interest as opposed to forcing and bombarding influencers with direct messages, emails and direct messages for the sake of merely getting a reply.
Just a few years ago, it was believed that social media and social signals were ranking factor for Google. In fact, even Matt Cutts who was the former Head of Webspam team at Google, also believed it was! Although we now know and have had it confirmed that search engines aren't influenced by a social media following or social signals, this bears the question: why is social media still crucial for SEO?
Putting it simply, social media does still have the potential to improve your SEO when done correctly, as it can help to do the following:
- Increase your brand's awareness - assisting users to become familiar with your brand, products and your posts. In addition to this, using social media to increase your brand's awareness can help with search queries involving your brand or your business's name.
- Increase the number of backlinks - posting your content on social media will widen the potential audience who are likely to read it. By using social media to promote your content, you're more likely to reach people who will link to your content, than if you were waiting for people to find your content organically in the SERP alone.
Content marketing involves the process of creating and distributing the online content is essentially an integral part of ensuring that your content reaches your target audience.
At the very core of a successful content marketing strategy is excellent content, in whatever form that may be. Content marketing is not seen as a way of pitching and selling the products and services to your target audience; instead, you should see it as you providing your target audience with the correct
Once you have both created and published your content, whether that be an article, video or an infographic, you’ll need to market and distribute that content, which is done through the following two ways:
Social media marketing
Social media marketing is the process which involves using various social media platforms to promote and distribute your content, which helps to both build and establish your brand’s social media presence to a wider audience.
Social media marketing is also helpful for understanding what your audience think about your brand and what they expect from your website and/or your business.
Outreach marketing differs from social media marketing in the way in which it identifies other brands and individuals who have shown or shared an interest in your what you have to offer.
Outreach marketing is about building and establishing relationships with those individuals who have shared an interest in your brand and creating lasting relationships with those individuals to build loyalty and understanding.
This enables your target audience to feel connected and associated to your brand, showing that you take an interest in what they have to say and are marketing products for them instead of just marketing products and services at them. In turn, you’ll find that these users who you have worked to build a relationship with will have respect and loyalty towards your brand and your relationship will be mutually beneficial to both parties.
Step 5 – Tracking Your Progress Monitoring Your Performance Throughout
You’ve worked hard to plan and carry out your SEO strategy, so what’s next for you?
Well, you probably want to see how and when your SEO efforts will pay off, monitoring the performance of pages of your site which have taken off and identifying areas of your website which isn’t performing well in order to fix whatever isn’t working.
If you want to know just how well your website is performing organically and how exactly your strategy is affecting your performance, then you’ll want to keep reading our final section to understand how to track your successes efficiently.
Tracking Your Performance
Step 1 – Set Up Google Analytics and Google Search Console
Both Google Analytics and Google Search Console are essential digital marketing tools; however, many online websites don’t take advantage of tools which allow you to monitor the performance of your site in many different and versatile ways.
If you wish to track the performance of your website and the impact that your SEO strategy has had on your site, then to complete this final step of this strategy it is recommended that you set up both Google Analytics and Google Search Console before moving on to the following steps.
For more information on how to set up GA and GSC, Google provides the following helpful guides for getting started:
Step 2 - Find Out How Much of Your Traffic is Organic Search Traffic
One of the most important ways to see how and whether your Search Engine Optimisation efforts are working is to take a look at how much of your traffic is organic search traffic.
If you’re able to see a steady increase of organic searches coming to your site for 28 days, 3-months or even 6-months, this shows that your SEO and your strategy is working.
Once you have started implementing your strategy and have set up Google Analytics, you can then begin to keep track of how much of your traffic to your site is coming organically.
All you have to do is go to either:
Acquisition > Overview
Where you’ll find the ‘Top Channels’ where your traffic has come from displayed as a pie chart, in addition to the number of users visiting your page and your conversions (which we’ll talk about later).
Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels
Alternatively, you can go directly to the ‘Channels’ section where GA will tell you exactly how many users have visited your site from what Channels.
Although what you want to be monitoring your ‘Organic’ traffic, it helps to understand what the other 4 Channels mean and where that traffic comes from, for instance:
- Organic - non-paid for traffic from search engines.
- Paid Search - paid for traffic (ads) from search engines.
- Direct - traffic that directly typed in your URL.
- Referral - traffic from links on other sites.
- Social - traffic from social media platforms.
In addition to finding out what channel your traffic has come from, you can also find out the following:
- Keyword the user searched - Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels > Organic Search > Keywords
- What search engines users came from - Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels > Organic Search > Source
- First page the user landed on - Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels > Organic Search > Landing Page
Once you have viewed the data that Google Analytics has comprised, your next step is to compile your data in a spreadsheet to monitor your progress. Ideally, you should be aiming to check this every week to ensure that your traffic is steadily increasing and not decreasing in any way.
Step 3 - Track Your Keywords and Keyword Positions
Once you have established where your traffic is coming from, your next step is to track your positions for the keywords and search queries you wish to rank for and the position fluctuations for the keywords you’re already ranking for.
For tracking the keywords and search queries you’ve targeted and wish to rank for you can follow these keywords in Ahrefs Rank Tracker.
All you have to do is add your website as a new project and add the keywords you wish to track; you can do this for keywords you want to rank for as well as keywords you’re already ranking for.
Once you’ve added your website, the keywords you wish to track and your competitors, Ahrefs will pull the data and will tell you what position you are in for each keyword you have added.
And don’t worry if you’re not ranking for that keyword just yet, don’t panic. Instead make sure you check back at regular weekly intervals to check your positions to track your progress, as you won’t rank for a keyword overnight.
For tracking keywords and search queries you’re already ranking for, you can use Ahrefs rank tracker, but you can also use Google Search Console.
You can track your position and the average position for each search query and keyword you rank for by going to:
Performance > Queries
You can select the query or keyword you want to track the performance of by selecting the individual query, or alternatively, you can search for your query by searching for it at the top of the page.
Although if you want to get an accurate position, you should ensure that you select the correct country in which you want to rank in.
You can also select the time you wish to track the performance of the term over, for instance, 7 days, 28 days, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, 16 months or just customise your time frame. This will allow you to pinpoint the exact time that your website started ranking for a particular query.
Step 4 - Track the Behaviour of Users on Your Site
It’s helpful to understand and track the behaviour of the users on your site to understand the patterns of how users view your website, as well as helping to identify the pages where they ‘bounce’ or ‘drop off’ of your site, which could be affecting your SEO.
Bounce rates or drop-offs on your website are ranking factors for Google. Generally, the higher the number of drop-offs indicates that the user hasn’t found what they were looking for, meaning that your ranking will drop.
Whereas a lower number of drop-offs indicates to search engines that user has found what they were looking for and their user intent has been satisfied, and their page will, therefore, receive a boost in ranking.
Analysing your Behaviour Flow on Google Analytics will help you identify which pages need improvement for users to stop dropping off after they visit that page.
To view your Behaviour Flow on GA simply go to:
Behaviour > Behaviour Flow
You’ll then be able to use the graph to visualise user’s activity on your site, identifying pages with the largest amount of drop-offs to make those necessary fixes or improvements to your content.
Editor’s Tip: The average bounce rate is around 55% anything over that you should strive to improve and anything below, give yourself a pat on the back!
Step 5 - Identify Which Pages Aren’t Performing and Getting Enough Traffic
Unfortunately, we’ve al had those pages that simply aren’t performing how they should be. Although it’s great to have a lot of content on your site, you have to identify what needs to be done to these pages, as they aren’t benefiting your site by just being there.
When looking at the pages that are performing the best and getting the most organic traffic, pay attention to those at the bottom of the analytics pages that are getting little to no traffic. You can do this by visiting Google Analytics and going to:
Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages
You’ll then want to ensure that you organise your pages by either:
- Pageviews - Are the total number of pages viewed including repeated views of single pages.
- Unique Pageviews - Are the total number of pages excluding repeated views of single pages.
Ensuring that you’re organising these views ranging from the lowest to the highest, you should be able to identify which pages are performing the worst on your site.
After identifying these pages, your next step is to make a decision on what to do with these pages. For instance, if you’ve already optimised this page numerous times and it doesn’t pick up, you can opt to remove it from the site or give it more time to rank in the SERP.
Alternatively, if a page has never performed well in search engine results, then you can update the page or try re-optimising the page for keywords.
Step 6 - How to Track Your Conversions
How ever you want your target audience to convert on your page, it is absolutely essential that you track your conversion rate, as this is one of the ultimate ways to monitor your SEO success.
A reasonable conversion rate is indicative of not only the fact that you’ve created quality content, but also that you’ve managed to pull off your SEO efforts for your audience to convert on your page. So, how do you track your conversion rate?
Tracking your conversion rates isn’t easy, but it’s made more straightforward by monitoring it on Google Analytics.
All you have to do is:
- Identify what the most important conversions are on your website, whether that be to purchase a product, fill out a contact form or simply just sign up for a newsletter, write down all of your most important conversions.
- Then go to Admin > Goals > New Goal
- You’ll then have to click Custom > Continue
- Input your goal (or goals) and name them individually.
- Then click Destination > Continue
- However, if you’re tracking a link, such as another page on your website or a video, you will have to add the link to that page, and you’re all finished.
When you’ve set everything up you can view your conversion rate by either going to Acquisition > Overview or by visiting Conversions > Goal > Overview