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Website positioning is a complex process that should be preceded by a meticulous audit of the website and defining SEO strategy based on business goals that we want to achieve. Only when armed with this basic knowledge a specialist is able to proceed to any work that may increase the visibility of the website in search results. But what should such an SEO strategy look like and how do we know that the plan we are offered has proper structure? Let’s look at these issues a little closer and talk about the process of creating a website SEO strategy.
Changes in SEO Strategies – A Natural Order of Things
When thinking about SEO strategy, first accept the fact that it’s impossible to create a long-term action plan that will work without amendments. Google’s environment is very volatile – new search engine algorithm updates are constantly coming out, which often change the rules of the game. Additionally, what worked for 100 similar sites may not necessarily work for the 101st. Therefore, changes in the strategy are perfectly natural and even advisable if the chosen path does not bring results. Positioning is based on constant monitoring of the effects, modifying, improving, and measuring them again. A properly chosen strategy is therefore flexible and can change over time if changes in the algorithm or simply the specifics of the site require it.
Clear Priorities are Essential
Most websites at the beginning of the positioning process require many changes in various fields – some adjustments are purely technical, others require modification and expansion of the content or taking care of external linking. Such modifications cannot be introduced entirely in a week, month, or even half a year. Therefore SEO strategies should prioritize the tasks to be done, indicating those that are most urgent and those that can be introduced later.
Strategies divided into stages work best so that the client knows what to expect from the positioning agency. Not all changes are visible to the naked eye for someone who is not an expert in a given topic. On the surface it may seem that the positioner does nothing, however, he does a lot of work to improve the visibility of the site. Such changes take time, especially if the site is extensive, has many tabs, and in addition, was often modified.
Only White-hat SEO!
Properly constructed SEO strategies focus only on good SEO practices, assuming we avoid prohibited or grey area activities. Attempts to take shortcuts and cheat Google’s algorithm may end up in imposing a filter – automatically or manually by an employee – and this causes the website to stop appearing in search results. Of course, you can try to remove the filter, but even if you succeed, the site drops in the search results, and restoring its good reputation in the algorithm’s opinion is extremely difficult.
What actions should you be particularly careful about? Google does not recognize, for example, automatic mass generation of links to the site on unrelated sites, forums or blogs. Attempts to deceive search engine robots by presenting them with a different version of the page than the users or attempts to “hide” text on the page (e.g. creating white text on a white background) are also frowned upon. These types of actions are called Black Hat SEO and should be completely avoided.
SEO Strategy – the Role of Cooperation Between the Agency and the Client
All changes introduced by the positioner must be accepted by the client, and the sooner the acceptance occurs, the sooner the website starts achieving results. Additionally, there are some actions that the client has to carry out on his own according to the recommendation of the positioning company. For example, very important for the visibility of the website is the loading speed, meanwhile some clients use slow and unreliable hosting, which limits SEO possibilities. Then it’s up to the client to change the service provider because without it other activities become much less effective.
Sometimes system on which the website was set up is also a problem. If the client uses a proprietary solution or a less popular CMS, it may turn out that it lacks the functionalities necessary for improving the website’s visibility. In such cases, it’s necessary to transfer the site to another system, which the client must also do using his own resources. At this point, however, such action must be conducted in cooperation with the positioner, who prepares recommendations on how to make the change in order not to lose the power of the site.
Cooperation Must be Based on Trust
The mistake of many customers is to block some of the changes recommended by the positioner. Most often it concerns interference in the content on the page, adding new content or changes in the structural data. Lack of consent for some actions does not completely cancel the efforts to increase the visibility of the site, but it does not allow to use the full potential of the site and achieve optimal results. Therefore, when deciding on services in the field of positioning, it’s worth choosing a proven agency that you can trust. Then the client can be sure that all changes recommended by the positioner are necessary and work in favor of the site. Agreeing to only some of the actions listed in the SEO strategy generally brings neither satisfaction nor tangible benefits to either party.
However, it’s not only important that the client can trust the positioner, but also that the positioner can trust his client. This is because SEO strategies cannot be fully realized if the client makes changes to the website on their own without informing the SEO company. Such actions can destroy months of SEO work and cause an immediate drop in the visibility of the site. What kind of actions are we talking about? Most often it concerns changing the CMS without prior information, changing subpage URLs, deleting subpages or removing content on the page.
Linking Strategy – an Inseparable Element of SEO Strategy
A very important part of SEO strategy is a plan for so-called off-site SEO, i.e. acquiring external links to the website. These types of links can be acquired from a variety of sources, including online forums, product directories, backlink sites or through platforms that sell sponsored articles. Less typical methods of link acquisition are also possible, such as exchanging guest posts with bloggers or linking to your site on social media. It’s important to remember, however, that only good quality links – from thematically related websites, highly ranked by algorithms – will give your website power. Therefore the selection of link sources is one of the most important elements of SEO strategy. It’s equally important to plan the publication of links – too many links appearing at the same time may alarm the algorithm, which will suspect us of fraudulent practices.
The link profile building strategy must be closely matched to the industry and even the specifics of the positioned website. It should also be preceded by a thorough analysis of competitors’ link profile – on the basis of such information we may decide what can be done better and how to expand the link collection to gain a competitive advantage.
What Makes up SEO Strategy?
SEO strategy should consist of all actions that will be carried out in order to position a given website in Google – both those within the website itself, as well as those outside it (external linking). Its main elements are:
- a list of keywords for which the website will be positioned – it should contain all the keywords whose positions will be monitored by the positioner. Such a list is prepared by the agency in cooperation with the client, who can determine which areas of activity are most important for him and which sub-pages, product categories or products themselves are key from the business point of view.
- a website architecture optimization plan – this means building a category tree, laying out site navigation, arranging tags, etc,
- a plan of technical optimization of the website – all those actions which are to increase the speed of the website loading, improve its responsiveness, and comfort of use. Purely technical changes include such actions as code minification, graphics compression, implementation of caching by the browser, the introduction of structural data, creation of sitemap.xml, setting redirects, implementation of canonical tags, and many others,
- a strategy for extending the content on the website – at the planning stage it’s necessary to determine which tabs of the website should be enriched with new content, whether it’s worth introducing a place for additional content (e.g. blog or news), at what stages of the work individual contents will be added, etc.
- a concept of building an external links profile – this means choosing places to link to, determining how many links to obtain and when to publish them,
- planning for building a network of internal links – that is creating links on the page to other subpages of the positioned website. A well-developed internal linking strategy makes it easier for the user to navigate the site and find the information they need.