Thinking about SEO Strategy

Developing an SEO strategy involves estimating the number of organic searches related to your business and then ranking for as many of those keywords as possible.

Developing an SEO strategy involves estimating the number of organic searches related to your business and then ranking for as many of those keywords as possible.

A strategy for search engine optimization is often nothing more than a fancy answer to “what should my SEO program look like over the next year?”

There doesn’t need to be a lot of magic around the answer. All that’s required in many cases is a thorough exploration of the SEO landscape and the opportunities to improve your company’s performance.

Think of your SEO strategy as a plan to grow your share of the pie — the total number of searches for all of the keywords that your site could rank for.

For ecommerce, the potential revenue that those searches represent is what matters. It’s easy enough to convert searches won to estimated revenue by multiplying search volume by a presumed percentage that will click to your site based on average ranking position, and then multiply by the average conversion rate for your site and your average order value. The equation looks like this:

Revenue = (((Total Search Volume * % Clicks) * Average Conversion Rate) * Average Order Value)

What your pie represents, then, is potential revenue.

There are two options to increase your portion: (i) grow the size of the pie overall or (ii) take a larger piece from your competitors.

Thus your SEO strategy should address the size of the pie and how you’re going to get more — whether you grow the pie or grow your piece. (And if you’re seeking approval from leadership to execute your plan, a strategy document can help make the case.)

Here are the three steps for getting more SEO pie.

Size and Ingredients

Keyword research takes care of this step handily. What better way to determine the size of the search market and the themes that people care about than to mine the information directly from Google?

You can identify the words and phrases that potential customers use to search for topics related to your products and, to judge the size of the pie, the volume of each of those themes. You’ll likely uncover new keyword themes — suggesting content opportunities — which will expand the number of searches to target and the size of the pie overall.

Who’s at the Table?

In the next step, look around and see who else wants to eat the pie: your competition. Conduct an SEO competitive analysis. SEO competitors are frequently different than obvious business competitors.

Don’t skip this step. Determine which competitors are weaker and make plans to capitalize. Identify, also, stronger competitors, those that are eating pie that could be yours. Review how they’re doing it and how you can fight back.

Look in the Mirror

The final step is self-analysis. How much of the pie are you eating already?

Dig into your Google Search Console’s Performance reports. Analyze the queries to see how many clicks you’re getting on which keywords. Compare that against your keyword research to determine the opportunities.

Maybe the pie is huge, and you’re only getting a sliver of it. In that case, you have a lot of room to grow your share. Or maybe your share of the pie is large and the overall size is small. You therefore already own the space and your best plan for growth is to uncover new keyword themes to grow the size. Most ecommerce companies in my experience are somewhere in between these extremes.

Look for the sweet spot: high-volume, low-competition keyword themes that are relevant to your business where you’re underperforming. Then target those themes.

Take a hard look at your site. Can it compete with others at the table? Is it technically sound? Does it have the right content? Do related sites in your industry link to yours? Those key aspects — content, authority, and technical — could hold you back.