How to create an effective SEO Strategy

How do I create an effective SEO strategy in 2021 and beyond?

In this post, you’ll learn how to design an effective SEO strategy step-by-step. SEO is often misunderstood and overcomplicated but it doesn’t have to be.

If you are reading this you are probably asking yourself ‘What should I focus on when creating an SEO strategy in 2021 and beyond?’

The following things will be helpful. Before we begin, The following things will be helpful. Before we begin, please ensure you understand your strategic objectives for your website. What I mean by this is ultimately your webpage is a reflection of your website and its goal is to achieve sales, leads, form sign-ups, etc please ensure you understand your strategic objectives for your website.   What I mean by this is ultimately your webpage is a reflection of your website and its goal is to achieve sales, leads, form sign-ups, etc.

Your plan should be centered around this. While it is nice to want to be able to answer everyone’s informational queries,   you must focus first on what will drive business for you and generate profit.  

Let’s now break down the areas you should focus on.

Keyword research and keyword targeting best practices

Keyword research is a very important area to invest in when it comes to digital marketing. It is also an area where there are many misconceptions and myths. Let’s look at some of the most common questions about keyword research.

How do I find keywords that have excellent search volume, but not too many competing pages?

There are a number of tools that can address this question depending on what you’re looking for. If you have a limited budget you can use Google’s Search Console & Google Analytics. If you have a larger budget, I recommend taking a look at SEMrush or Ahrefs.

However – another manual way is to think about what a consumer would search for if they were trying to find your product/service. A plumbing business might be keywords such as – ‘Plumber CITY’, ‘best plumber near me’, etc.

Keyword research tools are fantastic but sometimes they lead businesses in a direction to try and target keywords that won’t drive sales. For example, a plumbing company might be able to target ‘How to fix a leaky sink’ quite easily and rank for it. However, someone searching for that would most likely be looking for a DIY solution.

Instead, think about intent. ‘Leaky sink repair’ would be a much better keyword search term to target as it should directly lead to more sales.

Analyze Google’s First Page

Once you know your keywords it is important to search them on Google and analyze the first 3-4 search results.

Manually review each pages’ meta titles, meta description, page layout, the intent of the page (Sales, informational, etc), etc

Take notes on how your competition is doing things so you can model against them.

Why re-invent the wheel when Google has already indicated (by placing them on the top of the SERP) they are doing things correctly.

Improve and update your existing content

There is an assumption with many people that once you have published content you are done with it, but what most people don’t realize is that your content can be updated to capture more search engine traffic even if the content has been around for years.

For instance, you might want to update your site’s meta title or meta description to use recently published information about the company. This will help with SEO as Google loves fresh SEO content, and will also enhance the user experience.

If you don’t yet have a website and understand the value of SEO can bring to the table, feel free to reach out to us to discuss your project. We can ensure your website is built with SEO in mind so you don’t have to make a ton of changes afterward!

Updating old content doesn’t have to be difficult or complicating. If you have an aged article, review what keywords it is currently targeting and ranking for and make adjustments. Note all adjustments and then monitor the page for 90 days. At the end of 90 days, you can review if there has been an improvement or not.

Help Google find & understand your content

While this may seem straightforward – make sure you create a sitemap (via a plugin, like RankMath or Yoast, or manually) and submit it to Google via the Google Search Console.

Whenever you make a change to a page, submit it for indexing within GSC so Google knows a change has been made.

Ensure you have the appropriate schema installed on the page.

  • Have an FAQ section? Add FAQ Schema.
  • Have a product page? Add Product Schema.

It is simple – but many people forget it.

Content Marketing & Promotion

Content marketing is important because it creates a dialogue between your company and the consumer. It also helps to grow brand awareness and engagement. This is done by providing valuable information about your product or service that will help solve a consumer’s problems or meet their goals.

Content marketing should not be seen as a one-and-done tactic but as an ongoing process that has a profound effect on almost all parts of a company’s strategy. However, people often fail to see this and they only create content when it is convenient for them, which can create issues in the long-term since the content may go unnoticed if it’s not updated regularly.

The content you create will also be the foundation of your link-building efforts. Any link-building outreach you perform is going to fall on deaf ears if you do not have compelling content to go along with it.

Identify & understand your linking & sharing audience

It is very helpful to find influencers within your niche who may share your content.

The idea with this tool is to identify thought leaders and other key people in your industry and then learn about what they share and link to. Once you identify what type of content they typically share start thinking about where you can create something that they will find valuable and want to share with their audience.

If you can constantly be of value to smart content creators in your niche you begin to build strong relationships that will pay dividends with time when you create content.

Map your assets to specific keywords

The first step is to make a list of the keywords that you want to rank for and audit your existing content to determine if you already have content about the keyword.

If so, assign the keyword to the page, determine its ranking, and improve the content if needed.

If you do not find an existing piece of content, create content about those keywords. Each piece should focus on a single topic. Use a tool like Surfer SEO to determine the proper length and semantic keywords needed.

What content can you create and how you can promote it?

A number of different types of content assets will be shareable.

Focus on creating different content assets with real value that answer questions for your users.

Don’t be shy about letting people know your resource exists. Have a plan for marketing these assets and don’t be afraid of telling others that they’re there. Don’t be afraid to share all of your content across your social media platforms, to your clients, and newsletters.

Informational posts (lists, articles, etc) are typically the most shareable type of content so focus on those for your content marketing efforts.

What factors negatively impact your SEO strategy?

Any SEO Strategy should be mindful of what doesn’t work in SEO to ensure everything is built effectively.

Certain activities can help improve SEO, but certain activities can also help improve your results. Let’s cover off the main ones here.

Content is stuffed with keywords.

This is when you write up a piece of content with keywords placed with no reason and in an unnatural way. Search engines may reject this behavior because it doesn’t provide value to a customer.

Keyword-stuffed pages are typically poor-quality pages as they do not read right. This goes against what Google wants for end-users of your website.

Content is thin or lacks substance.

Content lacking substance can affect the effectiveness of SEO. What does this mean? Let’s use an example: Imagine you are searching for ‘How to make coffee’ – and you landed on a page that said something to the effect of:

‘Buy your coffee, put it into your coffee maker, wait until brewed, voila you now have coffee.’

Clearly, this isn’t really helpful. This wouldn’t be treated well by Google as it would be poorly received by the end-user.

Instead, you could add pictures, a walkthrough – discuss the different types of coffee makers that exist and the differences in how to make coffee, etc.

This content is not helpful for site visitors so Google and other search engines might penalize you for this. The penalty won’t be one you can see, but rather they may simply not index your content.

Ignoring Technical issues

Ignoring technical SEO issues could be the #1 reason your site isn’t getting the search visibility it requires.

  • Is your site slow?
  • Does it not load properly?
  • Can Google crawl your site? Is your robots.txt file stopping Google?
  • Do you have no-index tags accidentally added to pages?
  • Are you missing a sitemap?

The list goes on and on. Use a tool like SEMrush, Screaming Frog (my personal favorite for technical issues), or Ahrefs to help diagnose your site. I wrote an article on free technical SEO tools to help find the best tool for you.


In this article, we’ve discussed how to create the foundation for an effective SEO strategy. We covered the importance of good content creation, optimization of existing content, and the technical SEO practices for your site. If you want more information on these topics or need help implementing them, please contact our Halifax SEO company today! We offer affordable pricing packages tailored to individual needs so give us a shout – we’re here to help you succeed online!

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