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What Is A Best-In-Class SEO Strategy?

There are many SEO agencies and SEO consultants who do shady SEO, and don’t come close to measuring up to our standard of how we feel SEO should be done, the SEO process that should be followed, or what defines a best-in-class SEO campaign.

The challenge is that most businesses don’t actually know what a well-defined and good SEO process looks like, because they assume all SEO companies are the same, or they based their decision solely on price when choosing an SEO firm. For those companies, we wanted to outline what they should be getting from their SEO agency or SEO consultant, but probably aren’t – which may be why their SEO is failing, or they are wasting money.

Below are the 5 primary parts that define a best-in-class seo campaign. They include foundational and planning elements, onsite elements, distribution elements that help earn value, and what defines great service.

1. Foundational and Discovery

Define Persona Target

In order to create a successful marketing campaign, it is important to understand who you are targeting. Personas define the target demographics and psychographics of the user type that a website wants to target. This is used when determining what type of content to create, what topics to target, and where the content should be distributed.

Much like your other personas and user types, Google has things it likes and dislikes and rules that websites need to follow to provide it a great experience. So, if SEO is an important part of your marketing mix it’s important to define and include Googlebot as a persona to help drive SEO integration.

Client Alignment Training

Client alignment training includes continuous knowledge sharing and training sessions with clients about the ever-changing SEO landscape.

This is done to help align internal client teams toward the same goals, educate the client about valuable SEO strategies and any changes in the search landscape, and align belief systems.

Define Success Metrics and Baseline Measurements

Defining success metrics includes outlining the primary and secondary goals of the campaign and building a scorecard to capture and display these success metrics each month.

The insights gained from these metrics are used to help define strategies, distribution maps, and align campaign focus across channels.

Define High-Value Keywords

Defining the correct set of keyword targets is key for SEO success. This phase defines the set of high-value keywords to optimize your website for and build your content strategy from.

These keywords are based on:

SEO Value Score

Your SEO value score is an in-depth website audit that covers 90+ weighted variables built on an algorithm that correlates with SEO value. It identifies opportunities for optimizations that can contribute to site health, crawl ability, and the search engine’s understanding of how relevant your website is for your high-value keywords.

This is used to help uncover site issues that would keep the search engines from understanding the websites authority, relevancy, or crawl ability.

Competitive Audit

A competitive audit or SWOT analysis identifies your real competition for both informational and commercial search queries. It is based on a framework that helps you build smart strategies from the insights gained by analyzing real competitive sets.

This helps your SEO agency understand keyword difficulty, as well as strategies the competitive set is using to drive traffic, gain rankings, and increase conversions.

Onsite Content Audit

Analysis of current content sets utilizing GAP analysis, ROT analysis, Keyword, and Intent Analysis. This helps align user and search engine needs, with goals and KPIs of the content sets.

  • GAP Analysis – This analysis uncovers gaps in current content sets and topic targets and those which have been identified as being important. This helps inform content creation strategy, and can help inform site hierarchy based on current content sets.
  • ROT Analysis – This uncovers low-value content that is classified as either “redundant”, “outdated”, or “trivial”. This helps inform content strategy for deletion, creation, or rewriting current content sets.
  • User Intent Analysis – This helps align user needs of those coming from search results, with the content set they land on. This is used to ensure the users intent is being met with the content they land on when coming from a search result. Having a higher user intent score can increase user satisfaction and give positive signals to the search engines, that the page is ranking for the correct keywords – this helps solidify rankings.

2. Onsite SEO Elements

Content Updates For Legacy Content

This includes title tags, description tags, and header tag updates. This is used to align the tagging of the content, with user and search engine needs for page relevancy and hierarchy.

This also includes updating legacy content sets to reflect priority keyword targets. This is done to better align the search engines and the users with the value of the content set and what the page is relevant for.

3. Content Creation

Content Creation

This includes creating new content that is not currently on the website. This content can be used for onsite keyword targeting and traffic gains, conversion rate optimization and goal completion, as well as within social channels to build community and brand.

Define Content Type For New Content

This helps define the content types that will be most effective in the campaign. Each type of content has strengths aids in its effectiveness towards accomplishing a business or marketing goal.

Defining the content type tells us which type, or a combination of, the content we should be using.

Topic Definition For New Content

This helps us define the topics and keywords for the new content sets. Once the type of content is defined, and we know who we are targeting, we can define the topics for the content. These topics are defined using a similar model as the keyword definition stage, and takes into account traffic value, conversion value, persona value, and brand messaging value.

Content KPIs for New Content

Each piece of content that is defined in your content strategy should have primary and secondary goals associated with it. This helps organize content assets, create publishing schedules and maximize content value.

4. Content Distribution Strategy

Distribution Map

Not all channels are valuable for every business. A distribution map helps align content sets with where your users and personas are engaging online. This helps define the channels that each piece of content should be distributed on to drive goal completion and KPIs.

Social Channel Utilization

This involves utilizing social channels as a distribution source and engagement medium for new and existing content. Social channels can be used to help socialize and distribute content. This results in better user metrics and inbound links that contribute to authority and relevancy, as well as community building and brand positioning.

Digital PR

Digital PR is inclusive of identifying high-value content partners, putting together an outreach strategy, and executing an outreach program to build links and ranking metrics. This is done to help build relevancy and authority for keyword rankings, to drive traffic, and increase brand value and awareness.

Social Channel Optimization

This is about optimizing social channels and social content. This is done to help build a strong foundation for content on social channels, which helps them rank within the social channel. An example of this would be optimizing videos for YouTube distribution.

5. Customer Service and Engagement

This section does not need much explanation (I hope). Great customer service comes down to a few key areas, that if you’re not getting, it’s pretty easy to identify.

We get calls and emails weekly from companies who are working with other agencies or consultants and are unhappy with the service they are getting. The problem with how most agencies work, is that they prioritize how much time a client gets, the level of customer care, or the level of employee that is on the account, based on how much the client has to spend – we feel this is a ridiculous way to help clients.

We have specific areas that we focus on for customer service. These areas include the following:

  • Being responsive to your needs
  • Giving every client senior-level or above help
  • Low or no wait times
  • Talking to a real person
  • Giving all clients a direct line to the CEO to escalate concerns
  • Quick turn-around time on project requests
  • Empathetic to your needs and challenges

In Summary

If your SEO campaign did not include all of the components outlined above, or you’re not happy with the service you’re getting, you’re probably wasting money and time on an inferior SEO strategy.

Thanks for reading "What Is A Best-In-Class SEO Strategy?", by the Linchpin Team in Chicago, Raleigh, and Wake Forest.

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