Every SEO practitioner has their own way of doing things. SEOs build up their thought process based on their past experience, mindset, and futuristic vision.
In this article, I am going to explain my SEO strategy framework, how do I look at SEO and how do I make decisions when it comes to SEO strategies and SEO Tactics.
In an effort to scale and better explain what I do and how I add value to their business, I tried to narrow down my process to a very basic level. I tried to ensure, I can explain this to each and everyone, and I can track what kind of results I drove for them.
So let’s get into it.
What do SEOs do? and What’s their job?
When a client onboard me, it is pretty clear that the job is to increase qualified organic traffic that drives conversions.
The conversions can be phone calls, form fills, sales/transactions, or any other business metrics depending on the business.
SEOs have various strategies and tactics, depending on the type of business, their competition, their budget, their resources, their positioning, and a host of other factors.
The main challenge here is, the clients are at loss to understand, how a specific SEO tactic is helping them to reach their ultimate goal. The reports are often blurry, reporting on vanity metrics and often without concrete conclusions. Also, the overall SEO strategy is also not well defined, and it causes trust issues a few weeks/months down the line.
Ultimately, SEOs are consultants (even if you are in a job, agency-side). The consultants need to collaborate and drive things forward. It’s hard to do when you are not clear about the impact you are driving.
To mitigate this scenario in my SEO practice, I strive to be clear with my metrics, and I try to make sure every stakeholder understands them.
What’s my SEO process?
Based on my limited experience, I realized that I can’t directly control/impact organic traffic.
Before an organic click comes from Search Engine, a lot of things happen in there, that we can track.
I tried to distill those things, and I use them as my base to strategize.
What are the SEO metrics that SEO practitioner has a direct impact on?
You may improve on one of these metrics, and it’s possible to see organic traffic improvements.
- Organic Click Through Rate
- How to increase organic CTR?
- Organic Keyword Position
- How to increase keyword positions?
- No of Organic Keywords
- How to increase No of Organic Keywords?
- How to improve crawl health?
- How to improve index health?
Pretty simple right?
Let me know if you find other things that we can impact, and I would love to add them here.
Any SEO Tactic we think of, feed into one of these metrics.
To figure out the most important opportunities, you need solid data analysis that we will discuss soon but for now, Let’s discuss this one by one.
1. How to increase Organic Click-Through Rate?
This one is low-hanging fruit for me to make an impact.
Essentially, you have the following to revise.
- Rich Snippets
You need to find out opportunities in these areas and those are your SEO tactics.
When you implement new Titles, Descriptions, or Rich Snippets on your client’s website, you can show them what was the improvement, and during the implementation, they know what’s getting impacted.
2. How to increase Organic Keyword Positions?
This could also be a low-hanging fruit depending on a client, but I would definitely try to tackle this as soon as possible.
You might have the following options to increase the organic keyword positions:
- Title, Meta Descriptions, H1s, and other headings
- Content Optimizations
- Tools: InLinks, SurferSEO, ClearScope, Frase.io, MarketMuse
- Internal Linking Strategy
- Off-Page Link Building
- Revising Site Structure
Again, when you implement one of these tactics, you know what to track, and how to show the improvements.
In my opinion, the conversation shouldn’t be, “Let’s improve internal linking to increase organic traffic”, but “Let’s improve internal linking to increase organic keyword positions” because we know if we increase keyword position by x positions then we are looking at x% increase in CTR.
3. How to increase No. of Organic Keywords?
This is a big one in my opinion. Because there are two ways to go about it.
- Without Increasing No. of Landing Pages.
- By Increasing No. of Landing Pages
3.1) How to increase No. of Organic Keywords without increasing No. of Landing Pages?
I think the answer is very straightforward.
- Internal Linking
- Content Optimization
- Revising Site Structure
3.2) How to increase No. of Organic Keywords by increasing No. of Landing pages?
This is the most common SEO tactic for pretty much every SEO.
The essence here is, you do keyword research and figure out the search demand for the business. Based on that, you map the keywords for intent and propose new content to tackle the search demand.
- In the case of Content SEO,
- it means net new Service Pages, Blogs, Guides, Comparisons, Alternatives, Whitepapers, E-books, or Articles.
- In the case of Technical SEO,
- it means net new Category Pages, Attributes, or other types of templated pages at scale.
- Product-led SEO is a great opportunity here.
Again, there are tonnes of articles/tutorials out there on “How to” do this hands-on and you might be able to find it out yourself.
But the point is if you introduce net new landing pages, then the better conversation is about tracking the net new No. of keywords we started ranking, instead of how much organic traffic we drove from those articles.
Because, once the organic keywords are there in SERPs, it’s a different workflow to increase its position.
That said, you should make data-driven decisions aiming for top positions when you produce these landing pages.
4. How to ensure crawling/rendering health?
If the client’s website is less than 100k pages, then I wouldn’t worry about this. For larger websites, there are a few things that need to be done correctly from a crawling perspective.
You would need access to Log Files to conclude the following.
- Are search engine bots able to crawl strategically important pages frequently?
- If not, check internal linking, sitemaps, or robots.txt for proper guidance to search bots.
- Are search engine bots wasting the budget by crawling non-important pages?
- If yes, use robots.txt, canonical, or meta robots to guide crawl bots better.
- Are search engine bots able to load the JS in parity with users on their Mobile vs Desktop?
- If no, run an analysis and fix them.
- Core Web Vitals
- This is a career on its own, but you get what I mean. 😉
5. How to ensure Index Health?
When it comes to search, overall index health matters a lot. What’s my theoretical understanding of Index Health is, Out of all the pages you are indexing, how much of them are useful to users from the search-demand standpoint.
You may define it in the following ways.
- Actively Visited Pages Ratio
- (No of Pages receiving clicks / Total No of Pages Indexed)
- Actively Impressed Pages Ratio
- (No of Pages receiving impressions / Total No of Pages Indexed)
Now there is no golden ratio, but I have seen a high correlation between lowering the Active Page ratio and improvement in organic traffic.
This topic inherently addresses the SEO tactics like content pruning, for example.
In my personal experience, pruning irrelevant content has shown positive results.
So, what’s the point?
During my engagement, when I design the SEO strategy, these 5 SEO metrics are very much useful. I also look at these metrics for competitors, using third-party tools, to understand how we are positioned against them.
When it comes to selecting who to work with?
This also serves as a great tool to filter the clients who don’t understand SEO.
For example, if a SaaS company reaches out to me with a 30-page website. 5 product/feature/about us pages, and 25 blog posts. They rank in the Top 10 with 400 keywords.
And their next positioned competitors have a content hub of 600 pages, and they rank on 24,000 organic keywords, then over the next year, the main task is going to be producing tonnes of content.
If the client doesn’t have the resources to write that content, then better don’t onboard them as a client.
When it comes to reporting?
If the client has access to a real-time Datastudio dashboard, where they can track these 5 metrics, then my work becomes so much easier. I don’t have to keep justifying how each of the implementations is driving organic traffic. Because it’s impossible to do that.
In reporting, I would also like to add some levels of granularity to the data.
- By Branded vs Non Branded keywords
- By Page Types
- Comparison Pages
- Category Pages
- By Levels of Categories
- Category + Attributes
- Product Pages
- Category Pages
- By Country or Regions
Such granularity allows the client to locate the impact I’m having with the implementations I am proposing or doing.
Additionally, having this framework in place, it’s always 15 min task to answer any questions they have.
I don’t have to wait till the 20th of the month to send the previous month’s report.
What are some other measurable ways to justify your value?
- GSC Query Clicks x KeywordEverywhere API
- Conversions from Organic based on GA DataDriven Attribution Model
- GSC Query Clicks x Google Ads CPC Data
- If the client runs paid campaign.
If you report this MoM, then the value of the work you have done is easily quantifiable, and you can be more accountable for your work.
I also think this is a great way to up my skills, and move up in my career.
Let me know what you think, and what are some of the things you could add.