Good stuff Brian! One thing I like to do for Step #9 is use Search Console as a guide to improving my content. If I write an article about “green widgets” but Search Console says it’s getting a lot of impressions and clicks for “blue-green widgets” then I’ll try to use that info to make my article more relevant and useful for those readers. That alone is a great way to continually update your content to reflect your “momentum” in Google. Thanks for the updated guide!
Want to see all of the images on a Web page along with their size, alt text, and a real-size display of the image? How about a list of all of your page links: external links, internal links, style sheets, XML, and other assets? Do you know which ones aren't working? Among our free SEO tools, this one is always popular for its multipurpose functionality!
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.
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...)  :)
The All in One SEO Pack plugin has more than one million active installs. You won’t have to look far to find competitors, but there’s a reason why so many people use this tool. Not only is it free and simple, but it’s results can’t be denied. It will definitely help your website, from an SEO perspective, which is something all new businesses are interested in.
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.
Let me tell you a story. Early in my tenure at Yahoo we tried to get into the site dev process in the early stages in order to work SEO into the Product Recommendations Documents (PRD) before wireframing began. But as a fairly new horizontal group not reporting into any of the products, this was often difficult. Nay, damn near impossible. So usually we made friends with the product teams and got in where we could.

Want to see all of the images on a Web page along with their size, alt text, and a real-size display of the image? How about a list of all of your page links: external links, internal links, style sheets, XML, and other assets? Do you know which ones aren't working? Among our free SEO tools, this one is always popular for its multipurpose functionality!


You mentioned: "many times clients have already done this work.  Ask them for copies of their market research reports when you start a project.  It will save you a ton of time and effort!"  We do this with most of our clients, like you said we have found that around 75% of the have some kind of Market research done, that saves you a lot of time and helps setting up the right SEO Strategy. 
One of the biggest challenges in lead generation campaigns is learning enough about your leads to qualify them. Convertable makes this easier, offering much more data than traditional forms allow, providing you with data on everything from the browser they used and their operating system to the traffic source and the keywords they entered, as you can see in the screenshot below:
On one specific project, one of the SEOs on my team was brought in during the wireframe stage. T­he entire product team held SEO-specific meetings every week to go over specific recommendations, taking them very seriously, and leaning on every word our team said. We were thrilled. We were hailing their efforts, promising big wins for the relaunch, and even hyping up the launch and it’s projected SEO results in the company SEO newsletter.
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.

Good stuff Brian! One thing I like to do for Step #9 is use Search Console as a guide to improving my content. If I write an article about “green widgets” but Search Console says it’s getting a lot of impressions and clicks for “blue-green widgets” then I’ll try to use that info to make my article more relevant and useful for those readers. That alone is a great way to continually update your content to reflect your “momentum” in Google. Thanks for the updated guide!


Typically, others in the industry will be maintaining ongoing SEO on their sites, so it’s usually advisable to continue with monitoring, tweaking, and expanding your SEO strategy as time goes on. The logic is that if you’re not acting on your own search visibility, but your competitors are, it’s likely that you’ll eventually lose any hard earned progress in search engine rankings.

Thanks for bringing up this point - I agree Eric - competitive positioning can help you determine value that you bring to the table that your competitors dont.  I'm all for it.  Neilsen does some reports that provide awareness, likelihood to recommend, sentiment and other insightsfor your site/brand and your competitors. You can also pull some of that type of insight out of social listening platforms like NetBase, SM2, Radian6, Dow Jones, Nielsen, and so many others.  I've even done some hacked compeitove sentiment comprisons before using Search: searching for [brand or feature] + "like", "love", hate", "wish" etc. 

Typically, others in the industry will be maintaining ongoing SEO on their sites, so it’s usually advisable to continue with monitoring, tweaking, and expanding your SEO strategy as time goes on. The logic is that if you’re not acting on your own search visibility, but your competitors are, it’s likely that you’ll eventually lose any hard earned progress in search engine rankings.
Instead, in this instance, we started at wireframe stage, plopping in keywords and meta tags. Of course, the site really needed those things, and although it launched technically “optimized”, it wasn’t enough to provide a better product than our top competitor(s). A product that people want to visit, revisit, email to friends, share on social networks, and link to more than our competitors. It wasn’t even enough to move up in the rankings.
Traditionally, defining a target audience involves determining their age, sex, geographic locations, and especially their needs (aka pain points). Check out usability.gov’s description of personas and how to do task analysis & scenarios for more details, or better yet, read Vanessa Fox’s upcoming book about personas related to search and conversion.
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.
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.

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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.
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.
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.
What it does: Not everyone can afford to hire a graphic designer. But nearly any of us can learn to do some basic design ourselves. Canva makes design easy and fast. Its tagline, “Amazingly simple graphic design software,” is spot-on. Canva’s templates are optimized for social media, and they are stunning. A few customizing clicks, and you’re set with eye-popping visual content.

Thanks for sharing such quality content online. I really loved the way you have written this blog post. SEO is the most important factor if you want to increase your online network. SEO, not just only helps in getting more organic traffic via search engines but also builds a good brand authority online. I have learned a few new tips which I think can help me out improving my blog’s SEO score. Looking forward to more quality content in the future… 🙂


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.
I second Rand's comment!  Congrats on moving from the corporate world to the independent consultant.  This is my goal for the near future.  I too have been testing the waters of independent consulting, but it doesn't quite pay the bills yet!  Sometimes I feel like I should find a mentor who has been where I am now and is where I want to go.  Perhaps i'll find a few in this community over time!
He is the co-founder of NP Digital and Subscribers. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies. Neil is a New York Times bestselling author and was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations.
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