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SEO Strategy: How to Create an Effective Plan

Brian Dean

Written by Brian Dean

How to Create an Effective SEO Strategy

In this post, you’re going to learn exactly how to create and implement an effective SEO strategy, step by step.

In fact, this approach shared has helped me grow my website to 362,732 organic visitors every month:

Backlinko – Organic traffic – September 2021

So if you’re looking to get higher Google rankings, this guide is for you.

What Is an SEO Strategy?

An SEO strategy is a plan to create, optimize, and promote content to improve its visibility in search engine results, attracting more organic traffic to a website. It involves a variety of techniques, such as keyword research, on-page optimization, technical SEO, and link building.

In other words: an SEO strategy is the process that you follow when you want to get more organic traffic.

With that, here are the steps to create an SEO strategy in 2024:

Step #1: Create a List of Keywords

Keyword research is usually the first step of any legit SEO strategy.

And one of the best ways to find keywords that your target customers search for?

Google Suggest.

Start typing a keyword into Google’s search field, and it will populate a list of suggestions:

Google search suggestions

These usually make great keywords for SEO because they come straight from Google.

(Which means you know that people are actually searching for them.)

Plus, longer keywords (known as “long tail keywords”) tend to be less competitive than “short tail” terms.

Long tail keywords

So even though long tails have relatively low search volume levels, they’re much easier to rank for.

I recommend typing a few different keywords into Google until you have a list of about 10 keywords.

If you want to check out the search volume and competition levels for those terms, you can use a keyword tool like Semrush or Ubersuggest.

Start your keyword research

Explore the largest keyword database.

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Semrush Logo

If you want to dive deeper into keyword research, you can check out this video.

Once you have 10 keywords jotted down, you’re ready for step #2.

Step #2: Analyze Google’s First Page

OK, so you found a handful of keywords.

Now it’s time to see who already ranks for those keywords.

To do that, just type one of the keywords that you found into Google.

Google search – Paleo desserts

Scan the top 10 results:

And jot down any patterns that you notice.

For example, the SERPs for “SEO Tools” is PACKED with lists of tools:

SEO tools – List posts in SERP

So if you wanted to cover that topic on your site, you’d want to note that the first page results are made up mostly of list posts.

And you’d probably want to publish a list post on your blog.

Step #3: Identify Your Competitors

My favorite tool for SEO competitor analysis is Semrush. Their tool makes the process super easy and can save you a lot of time.

Reveal any company’s website traffic

Spy on your competitors’, prospects’, and potential partners’ website traffic.

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Semrush Logo

First, click on “Domain Overview” and type in your URL:

Then scroll down to the bottom, and you’ll find a section called “Main Organic Competitors

These competitors are websites that are ranking for similar keywords and targeting similar audiences as you are.

If you click on the “View all…” button, you’ll be able to review all your competitors as well as more insightful info.

You can look at how many common keywords you share with these domains, and the amount of traffic these sites are pulling in:

The “Common Keywords” section is useful as it shows you the total number of keywords you share with each site.

If you see sites with a high number of common keywords, then you can consider them your competitors.

At the end of this step, you should have identified at least 4-5 main organic competitors.

Step #4: Create Something Different or Better

Now it’s time to create some super high-quality content.

When it comes to SEO content, you’ve got two options:

Option #1: You can create something different.

Option #2: You can create something better.

Sometimes you want to create something bigger and better than what’s out there.

(aka The Skyscraper Technique.)

But sometimes you’re better off with content that’s completely different.

Why?

Because it helps your content stand out.

For example:

Some time ago I sat down to write a piece of content optimized around: “Mobile SEO”.

And I noticed Google’s first page was littered with list posts, like: “X Ways to Mobile Optimize Your Site.”

Existing mobile SEO content

Now:

I could have created a bigger list post like: “150 Ways to Mobile Optimize Your Site”.

But that wouldn’t make any sense.

Instead, I created something totally different.

Specifically, I published an ultimate guide to mobile optimization.

Backlinko – Mobile SEO guide

And because my content stood out, it got a ton of shares:

Mobile SEO guide – Shares

Comments:

Mobile SEO guide – Comments

And most important of all, backlinks: