This was all free information I found online in less than an hour, that gives me some great ideas for content, partnerships and potential tools to build into my site to be relevant and useful to my target audience. Of course this is just some quick loose data, so I'll emphasize again: be careful where your data comes from (try to validate when possible), and think about how to use your data wisely.
Does your page load quickly, or is it slow to appear? How does the loading time of your page compare to the loading time of another page? What is the actual speed your page loads at? Use this tool to analyze how long your page takes to load at a variety of connection speeds, to view what components of your page take the longest amount of time to load, and see a full breakdown of every component of your page. Also, use our cool "compare two pages" function to load your page side by side with another!
On the other hand, I'd like to know how many people constitutes your new experience as an indipedent consultant? Infact, as others noted in the comments here, what you suggest is perfect especially for an in-house SEO situation or in for an Web Marketing Agency with at least 5/8 people working in. Even if all you say is correct and hopefully what everybodies should do, I honestly find quite difficult to dedicate all the amount of time and dedication in order to check all the steps described in your post. Or, at least, I cannot imagine myself doing it for all the clients.

If you havent see it already, check out the links in shor's comment below - there are some great resources in there. In some cases you can also consider surveying your current audience or customers through email, on-site surveys or SurveyMonkey.  Be sure to ask for some profiling information that you can use for determining specific persona needs like age, sex, location, etc. (Probably best not to make it sound like a creepy text chat like I just did though...)  :)
This is excellent and should be intuitive for marketers (and SEO pros are marketers!) but we often take the short cut and neglect critical details. What would also reinforce the strategy is way of providing solid projections for SEO (these could be based on industry trends and statistics). Clients now ask for ways to calculate ROI and they need numbers to get budget approvals. Increase in traffic by X,  increase in qualified traffic and leads, conversions etc, some way of quatifying the expected return.
I recently come across a case study where a newly found business was able to climb up high in search results without building links. Their strategy was to create a buzz for their main business term across social media platforms and they made people talk about it as well as visit their respective pages. In 2019, Do we have to look at various means through which we can improve our rankings without building links? What are your thoughts? I am sure Rank Brain also listen to what people talk about a brand or business than just identifying it through backlinks.
Great and impressive article! Sounds good, but looks good for blogs where you are giving usefull information to readers, like strategies, advices etc. But unfortunately I can now hardly imagine how I will apply it in the gambling industry, where people are just looking for bonuses, but not for useful content. But I will try, will try to improve firstly user intent.

External Link Crawler and Title Tag Extractor Tool Smart URL List Cleaner Tool Link / Header Response Bulk Checker Page Comparison Google Keyword Suggest Tool Internal Page Crawl Last Modifed Date Title Tag and Meta Description Data for Multiple URLs (free tool) Suggestion Keyword Finder Keyword Combination Tool Page Keyword Density Analysis Keyword Cloud Tool Internal/External Link Analyzer C Class IP Checker Search Engine Spider Simulator Page Speed Meta Tag Analyzer Web Page SEO Analysis Tool
We now have a dedicated SEO strategist who, among other things, develops 90 day plans for our websites. 90 days isn't longterm planning, but at least we have a strategic objective for the quarter. He also works closely with our UX team to identify the target audience - the crew that does the persona research and focus groups prior to the wireframe stage.
I think the strategy of creating content that is better still remains the mantra going in to 2020. I really like what you said about better not meaning bigger – e.g. 150 ways to x rather than 15 ways to x. Quality content that is different (but it in a good way) is what should get the recognition and even newish sites can have early success with this method. Thanks for interesting read Brian and I’d love to see a 2020 update (I’m sure you’re working on it!)

My name is [YOUR NAME] and I’m the [YOUR POSITION] at [YOUR COMPANY]. I was doing some research on [TOPIC] and discovered your guide about [TOPIC]. I really enjoyed it. I never realized that [SOMETHING YOU LEARNED FROM THEIR CONTENT]. Super cool. Anyway, I won’t take up any more of your time. Just wanted to thank you for putting the article together and wanted to let you know that I linked to it from my article: [INSERT NAKED URL] – it’s about [TOPIC].
I think the strategy of creating content that is better still remains the mantra going in to 2020. I really like what you said about better not meaning bigger – e.g. 150 ways to x rather than 15 ways to x. Quality content that is different (but it in a good way) is what should get the recognition and even newish sites can have early success with this method. Thanks for interesting read Brian and I’d love to see a 2020 update (I’m sure you’re working on it!)

I think the strategy of creating content that is better still remains the mantra going in to 2020. I really like what you said about better not meaning bigger – e.g. 150 ways to x rather than 15 ways to x. Quality content that is different (but it in a good way) is what should get the recognition and even newish sites can have early success with this method. Thanks for interesting read Brian and I’d love to see a 2020 update (I’m sure you’re working on it!)
Think of it this way: The more specific your content, the more specific the needs of your audience are -- and the more likely you'll convert this traffic into leads. This is how Google finds value in the websites it crawls; the pages that dig into the interworkings of a general topic are seen as the best answer to a person's query, and will rank higher.
Over the next few posts, and starting with this one, I’m going to share with you a detailed 8-step process for creating your own SEO strategy (what I often refer to as an SRD (SEO Research Document)), beginning with defining target audiences and taking it all the way through some fairly comprehensive competitive research, search traffic projections, content strategies, and specific goals and prioritizations.
As I had a teacher at school who was always really picky on how to draw conclusions I must say that the conclusions you drew for your health situation might be true, but dangerous. For example: If slightly more women than men suffer from health deseases it could be wise to write the information toward women. But, if you take search behaviour into account thing could look a lot different: It might turn up that men search more than women or that (senior) men are more present on the net than women.
Typically, the number of keywords targeted depends on the size and scope of the SEO project. Once an SEO strategy plan has been mapped out, the analyst will have a better idea of the number of keywords, a plan can be developed for how those keywords fit in with optimized pages and link submissions necessary to make progress in the SERPs. Analysts start by researching keywords and coming up with a shortlist both the agency and client are happy with. This may include several research methods including keyword recommendations from the client, customers and suppliers, surveys, using keyword research tools and so forth.
2. Targeted Keyword Discovery: Ideally you’ll want to do keyword research based on what the audience wants, not solely on what content the site already has (or plans to have sans audience targeting), which may be limited. I can do keyword research on health conditions and drugs (content I have on my site) and determine what the general population is searching for and optimize my current content, or I can cast my net wide and look at what my target audience wants first, then do my keyword research. You may find there are needs that your site is not meeting. Knowing my senior audience is interested in primarily in prescription drug plans and cheap blood pressure medication, I can first make sure I’m providing that content, and then further determine the top keywords in these areas (in the next article Step 2), and use those terms in relevant and high visibility areas on my site.
SEO plans need to be somewhat flexible and require regular reviews to ensure that optimisations are proving effective and targets are being met. If you are operating in an industry that is very competitive, it’s important to consider the efforts of competing websites and what may be required to outrank them in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). An SEO specialist should monitor changes and trends in the industry to ensure your SEO strategy can continually be innovated.
This plugin will let you easily link to your old articles, pages, or other sites to improve their rankings in search engines and generate more clicks. The internal link building plugin lets you assign keywords to given destination URLs. This way, your website will link within itself like it's done in Wikipedia - every time a keyword occurs, it links to the page you specified in the plugin dashboard.
Great article, Brian. Like that you’re finally talking about Domain Authority (DA). It’s essential to make skyscraper technique work as well. Also, a great pointer on comments as I have personally seen articles perform well because of comments. Do you recommend closing the comments as well a few days after the article is published? Kinda like Copyblogger does now.
On the other hand, I'd like to know how many people constitutes your new experience as an indipedent consultant? Infact, as others noted in the comments here, what you suggest is perfect especially for an in-house SEO situation or in for an Web Marketing Agency with at least 5/8 people working in. Even if all you say is correct and hopefully what everybodies should do, I honestly find quite difficult to dedicate all the amount of time and dedication in order to check all the steps described in your post. Or, at least, I cannot imagine myself doing it for all the clients.
Dedicate some time to brainstorm all the different ways you can attract inbound links to your website. Start small –- maybe share your links with other local businesses in exchange for links to their sites. Write a few blog posts and share them on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. Consider approaching other bloggers for guest blogging opportunities through which you can link back to your website.

Why not? When you skimp on tools, you hinder your marketing from getting better. So, regardless of whether you choose these specific tools or not, make it your goal to find tools that you use regularly. Better tools are equivalent to better marketing. Whatever the tool you choose, make sure that you understand it well and that it makes a measurable improvement on your marketing efforts.
Nice work Laura! This is going to be a great series. I'm working my way through SEOmoz's Advanced SEO Training Series (videos) Vol. 1 & 2 to build upon the advice and guidance that you and your team provided to me during my time at Yahoo!. Now many others will benefit from your knowledge, experience and passion for SEO strategy and tactics. Best wishes for great success in your new role.
Really its just a matter of getting creative - grab a cup of caffeine and think for a minute about what resources you have to try to get some insight on your visitors (or target markets) and their needs before you dive in.  Think about how much time it might take you (or what the cost of the reports would be if you are going to buy some market research reports), and tack that onto your billing as an optional service.
This is excellent and should be intuitive for marketers (and SEO pros are marketers!) but we often take the short cut and neglect critical details. What would also reinforce the strategy is way of providing solid projections for SEO (these could be based on industry trends and statistics). Clients now ask for ways to calculate ROI and they need numbers to get budget approvals. Increase in traffic by X,  increase in qualified traffic and leads, conversions etc, some way of quatifying the expected return.
Social media marketing is not as difficult as it sounds, especially when you rely on tools like Hootsuite. With this particular tool, you can schedule and manage social media profiles for more than 30 platforms. Imagine doing this by hand, without a central dashboard to guide you. It would be enough to frustrate even the most experienced entrepreneur, let alone a new business owner. Let Hootsuite operate like the social media marketing manager it is.
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