How to Create a Winning SEO Marketing Plan

Written on
August 7, 2020
by
Katie Read
in
SaaS Marketing
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An effective SEO marketing plan forms a cornerstone of a winning digital content strategy. Doing SEO successfully requires an understanding of what factors contribute to your search engine rankings as well as a practical method for optimizing your organic search performance. Here we’ll cover the basics of what goes into search engine optimization and provide a simple five-step approach to optimizing your SEO performance:

  1. Create a target keyword list
  2. Map priority keywords to your primary pages
  3. Post strategic blog content regularly
  4. Build links to priority keyword content
  5. Track performance and make adjustments

Read on to learn what factors influence your search engine performance and how to implement an SEO marketing plan that generates traffic.

What Is SEO? The Factors That Matter

Search engine optimization is a tactic for increasing website traffic by improving factors that affect how Google and other leading search engines rank websites and pages on target keywords. These factors divide into three major categories:

  • On-page SEO factors determined by the content you put on your site
  • Off-page SEO factors determined by how other sites link to your site
  • Technical SEO factors determined by how you structure your site

Each of these factors plays a role in your SEO performance. For best results, you must optimize all three.

On-page SEO Factors

On-page SEO factors are criteria that search engines use to assess the content on your site. Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide places a heavy emphasis on compelling, useful content that generates organic or word-of-mouth buzz with your target audience. Google assesses this by considering a number of criteria, including:

  • The expertise, authority and trustworthiness of your site
  • Keywords you use to tell visitors and search engines what your content is about
  • The context of your keywords
  • Appropriate content length as it corresponds to your described content
  • An appropriate balance of content and advertising so that ads do not overwhelm the content
  • Internal links that point towards important pages on your site
  • Links from your site to other sites

When it comes to keywords, where you place them plays a role in your on-page performance. Top spots for your keywords include:

  • Title tags
  • Meta descriptions, which don’t directly affect rankings but indirectly promote higher click-through rates
  • Headers
  • Body text, especially text near the beginning of your body
  • Anchor text
  • Image file names and alt tags
  • Video file names and alt tags

For best results, an individual page on your site should focus on one primary keyword, and other pages should not target the same keyword as a primary keyword. One reason for this is that if you have multiple pages targeting the same primary keyword, you end up competing against yourself for search engine rankings. However, it’s okay to mention additional keywords on secondary spots on your page, or to use a primary keyword from one page in secondary spots on other pages.

Off-page SEO Factors

Your off-page SEO performance revolves around backlinks to your site from other sites. Search engines place a high value on backlinks, making a link building strategy an essential part of any SEO plan. Google evaluates your backlinks in terms of:

  • How many links are pointing towards a page on your site
  • The authority of sites pointing to your site (for instance, a site from a government agency, university or major news organization has higher authority than a personal blog)
  • The keywords, text, and context used in links that point towards your site

Social media promotion can play an indirect role in off-page SEO. While Google doesn’t gives links from social media sites the same ranking authority it gives other links, such links still tend to generate more traffic to your site, which can indirectly boost your ranking.

Technical SEO Factors

The technical structure of your site can also affect your SEO. Since Google uses robots to index your website, it’s important to make sure those robots index your pages properly. Additionally, certain other technical factors can influence your SEO. A few best practices include:

  • Submit a sitemap to Google
  • Use robots.txt files to block robots from crawling non-sensitive areas of your site that you don’t want to be indexed (for sensitive information, use more secure methods)
  • Use noindex to avoid indexing duplicate content from categories and archives
  • Allow Google to crawl any JavaScript, CSS or image files
  • Use structured data markup to help search engines identify important content
  • Organize your site hierarchy through well-structured URLs
  • Use secure https prefixes when possible
  • Create a logical navigational structure centered around your homepage
  • Use breadcrumb lists to help users navigate back to previous pages
  • Provide users with a simple navigational page
  • Optimize images and videos
  • Make your site mobile-friendly

Your web developer should work with your SEO team to make sure the technical side of your SEO follows best practices.

Five Steps to Create a Winning SEO Marketing Plan

Knowing the factors that contribute to search engine performance helps you identify the goals of a successful SEO strategy. In order to achieve your SEO goals, follow these five steps to create a winning SEO marketing plan.

1. Create a Target Keyword List

In order to begin pursuing an SEO strategy, you first need to decide what keywords you’re going to target. To find the best keywords for your business, you can begin by creating a list of questions prospective customers might enter into search engines when searching for your brand, products and services or those of your competitors. You can also check what keywords your competitors are already targeting.

Once you have an initial list, you can enter it into a keyword search tool to generate a list of related words. You can then use a spreadsheet to filter out irrelevant keywords and identify relevant ones that should be featured on your website structure, in your content and on landing pages. Finally, you can prioritize keywords based on search volume and competitive difficulty.

2. Map Priority Keywords to Your Primary Pages

Some keywords from your list as well as additional keywords will be directly relevant to your website’s navigational structure and blog design. For instance, your company’s brand name and names of your products and services are vital parts of your marketing message that call for prominent placement on your homepage and in your navigational menu. Major categories of topics you intend to cover in your blog are also essential to your site navigation. The highest-volume keywords from your list also play a vital role in attracting visitors to your site.

You can make sure that these keywords receive due coverage in your SEO strategy by placing them in strategic spots on your site, such as:

  • Your home page
  • Pages linked from your home navigational menu, sidebars and footers
  • Category indexes

Additionally, as you identify which keywords from your list represent the best combination of search volume and competitive difficulty, you should begin creating a list of pages and posts to add to your site targeting these keywords.

3. Post Strategic Blog Content Regularly

Your website’s blog provides an efficient tool for posting quality content targeting traffic on your target keywords. For best results, create a consistent content publication schedule based on your ranking of keywords on your priority list. Your content creation team can then begin producing content targeting your keywords. How much content you produce and how rapidly you produce will depend on the size of your keyword list, your team and your budget.

4. Build Links to Priority Keyword Content

Once your content has been published on your site, you should begin building backlinks to your most important content. Prioritize content based on your identification of your best keywords in terms of search volume, competitiveness, and relevance to your niche.

To build links, you can use a number of major strategies, including:

  • Tactical link building, where you use techniques such as guest blogging to build backlinks from sites relevant to your target keywords
  • Authority link building, where you seek to place backlinks on sites recognized as authoritative by search engines, such as major news publications

As with blog posting, use a schedule to ensure that your link building goals get met consistently in a timely manner.

5. Track Performance and Make Adjustments

To ensure that your SEO marketing efforts are getting the results you need, it’s imperative to monitor your performance on your target keywords. You can then determine whether you need to make any adjustments to achieve your goals.

You can track your performance by using key performance indicators, such as:

  • Volume of content published
  • Backlinks pointing to your site and individual pages on your site
  • Search engine rankings on your target keywords
  • Organic traffic
  • Top viewed pieces of content
  • Bounce rate
  • Average time on page
  • Click-through rate
  • Scroll depth
  • Social likes, comments, shares and follows
  • Email subscriber registrations
  • Marketing qualified leads
  • Sales conversions

Select the KPIs most relevant to your SEO goals. A digital marketing agency with experience tracking SEO analytics can help you identify and monitor the most important KPIs for your purposes.

Create a Solid SEO Marketing Plan to Generate Steady Traffic

A well-designed SEO marketing plan can increase your traffic, promoting more conversions and higher revenue. The best way to develop an effective SEO strategy is to work with an experienced digital marketing agency. SimpleTiger helps B2B SaaS companies attract more customers by increasing their organic traffic. Schedule a discovery call with our team to discuss how we can help you achieve your SEO goals.

Simply effective marketing.