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Weekly Wisdom with Ross Tavendale: How to Build an SEO Strategy

Weekly Wisdom with Ross Tavendale: How to Build an SEO Strategy

Ross Tavendale

Modified transcript

Hello, and welcome to another Weekly Wisdom. In this video, we are going to look at how to actually build an SEO strategy. To do that, we need to look at the main pillars of SEO, which are:

  • Technical
  • On-page
  • Off-page

From here, inside of each of the pillars, we have to categorize them based on themes that apply to the research and evaluation stages that we have already done. This assumes we have done things like keyword researchgap analysis, tech audit, backlink analysis, competitor audit — the whole thing. So I am just going to make up the research data to show you how to start thinking about SEO strategy.

Adding Value

Before we actually get into building the strategy, we need to apply a cash value to each of the parts of the strategy. A lot of you are going to be like, "Well, that is kind of impossible. We don't know the real-world outcome of broad optimizations." And to be honest, I would agree with you. However, it is your job to talk to the client and agree on a ballpark calculation so you can agree on a hierarchy of value.

The easiest way to do this is just to pull Google Analytics data for each subfolder and work out average transactions or lead value per URL so you can get a rough idea of, based on the optimizations, what the cash value is going to be. So let's, without further ado, get into it.

Breaking it Down 

First and foremost, we are going to need to work out how much money the client is going to make if we make these fixes. And the way we do that is really simple. So what you can see here is that we have broken it down by topics:

image.png

If you go into GA and look at all the different subfolders, and get the URLs that sit underneath these subfolders, and then pull out the revenue information, we can start to work out a relative value for each of the URLs on the website.

So we are assuming topic one; it has got ten URLs in it, and when we pull down the revenue for all those URLs combined, it is a hundred pounds. That would mean that revenue per URL is 10 pounds. Similarly, topic two, 25 URLs and a hundred, we can just start filling these in a lot quicker:

image.pngWe are going to use this as the basis for everything we are going to do with our on-page, technical, and backlink stuff. We are going to start using this as a basic framework to apply cash value to the fixes we are going to make. So we can eventually plot them all together and see what one we should do first according to the actual business value.

Content Audit

When it comes to optimizing the content, there is a couple of things we will typically do. We will either delete the pages if you have got too many in there cannibalizing each other. We can also maybe just optimize them and make them rank a little bit better. We can merge them together if you have got multiple pages on the same topic that we can put on the same page, or we might just create brand new pages altogether.

But when it comes to making these decisions, what do you start with? Do you just go make new content? Do you just start deleting stuff? Well, if you use the framework we have just gone through, it will help you decide what you want to start with.

image.png

So we have got all our topics as we did before, one through four, and the "number of issues" is the amount of pages that we have decided in our audit that we are either going to delete merge, optimize or create. So what you can start doing is based on the old values; you can just start multiplying them. So we know that topic one had a value of 10, and it has got 10 things we want to delete. So potentially that is going to be worth a hundred pounds to the claim.

The next one has got a value of five; that means five URLs under topic two we want to delete, that is the value of four, so that is 20. And you can see that we can start putting all that stuff together and ultimately getting a big overarching value for the pages we need to delete merge, optimize or create so we can pick the one that makes the most financial sense.

image.png

Technical Audit

Let's move on to the technical auditing side of things. Now, if you have not seen our framework before, we have got a Weekly Wisdom video where I go through our entire technical auditing framework if you want to get an idea of what we are doing here.

image.png

And also, if you join the SEMrush Academy, I have done a full course, it is about five hours long about how to use the site audit tool using this exact framework. So we would take this framework and plug it back into the exact business cases we have just done before.

Here we have a very familiar table, but instead of the content, we are going to optimize or delete or merge with all of the different major technical categories:

image.png

  • Hygiene is fixing broken links and 404s.
  • Organization is page structure and things like that.
  • Page power is internal linking.
  • And then things like speed and all the other things are categorized as larger topics.

As you can see here, again, we are splitting it out by topic, which is essentially the subfolder. And based on what we have already decided from GA, the amount of money that is associated with them, we can start taking the number of technical issues under each of these and multiplying them by the value contained within each of these subfolders to again, get a cash value to fit into the main strategy.

So that would look something like this: we have got a thousand potential hygiene issues across the entire site; this may end up being £3000 of value. And, we have got the same with organization. So you can see how we can start building this up:

image.png And very quickly, when we speak to the client about what is going on and what we need to fix first, we can give them real-ish cash value incentives to make the fixes on their site.

Presenting to a Client

Lastly, what we are going to be doing here is taking all of this information together, we are going to plot it on a diagram which looks at value on the bottom and difficulty on the top:

image.png

The reason why we want to do this is that I want to show the client how hard it is going to be to implement this stuff and if they do implement it, what the reward is going to be for doing that. Now, if the value is going across the horizontal axis and difficulty is going on the vertical axis, in essence, it is actually going to be fixing the lower right bit, which is Content 2. So topic two of content has actually got the highest value and the lowest difficulty. However, what we can see is that Tech 1 and 2 also have a lot of value to them, but they are much harder to implement.

At that point, you would need to have a discussion with the client to say, "We can see that Tech 1 from the strategy is worth about £5000 if you make the fix, and Tech 2 is worth, let's say, £7000 pounds. One is easier than the other to fix."

We also need to look at their business and determine what their priorities are. So you can see that we are looking at the entire research and evaluation we have done from the audit to the keyword research; you name it. We are plotting it in a way that the client can easily understand and see a direct cause and effect value.

image.png

Like we said at the start, it is not perfect, and you will need to get the client to agree on what the value is under each of these subfolders. But now you have got a proper framework to build SEO strategy and instead of doing the usual — starting with your titles and descriptions and all that stuff — you know actually the most value for your client, in the example, is content optimization under topic number two.


That is everything for this week's Weekly Wisdom. I would really love to know how do you do your SEO strategies? Please do leave a comment down below and I will be jumping in and out of them over the next couple of days. But until next time, we will see you later.

Ross Tavendale
columnist

SEMrush columnists are authors who had proved their expertise in digital marketing and contribute regularly to our community.

Ross is the Managing Director at Type A Media, an independent search agency that work with FTSE250 companies and mid-sized brands to help them find the optimal way to talk to more people online.
When not obsessing over his clients rankings, he hosts the Canonical Chronicle, a weekly web show watched by 100k people every month.
If you want to ask him a direct question you can find him @rtavs on Twitter.

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