OK, so you’re aware that SEO is a speciality channel, that it’s complex as heck and extremely broad.
How do you determine what type of SEO you need?
You’ll want to assess a number of things to make this decision.
Firstly, you’ll want to know the status of your site – your site’s SEO status.
This will require having an audit carried out.
Ideally, this audit should be across the 3 pillars of SEO – On-page, Off-page and Technical SEO.
The reason for this is simple: every website has strengths and weaknesses across the 3 pillars. Knowing where you stand for each one will give you an indication of the type of work you need, and how to prioritise them.
Now, let me state this at this point: the best SEO is where you have SEO activated for all 3 pillars.
Here’s why I say this –
There is a lot of problem solving with SEO.
Yes, we aim to make improvements. However, we also aim to cause less issues from occurring. Issues that will affect the performance of the channel.
The vast majority of issues that affect SEO performance is caused by non-SEOs.
So, if you were to have Off-page SEO covered, you’ll be mitigating the issues that affect the links to your site.
However, you wouldn’t be addressing the issues Developers may inadvertently be causing due to being unaware of SEO.
So, ideally, you want all 3 pillars running concurrently.
Having said that, the reality is, quite frankly, you may not have the budget, and/or have proven why the business should invest in SEO.
So, if you’re at this point, you’ll need to know how to go-about prioritising the SEO work that’s carried out.
And to do this, you’ll need to know where the biggest risks are, hence, the audit across all 3 pillars.
With this intel of the state of your site’s SEO, you can also take into account the status of SEO in your organisation.
You’ll want to consider the awareness of SEO across departments that have an influence of how your site is shaped.
I suggest looking into this top down, across departments, i.e. consider the Heads of Departments first, and then individuals who work operationally within the departments.
The outcome of this will have a massive impact on your SEO.
For example, if your Development team have absolutely no knowledge of tech SEO, there’ll be a lot of training and evangelism needed over a period of months.
Don’t underestimate how important this is to the success of your SEO.
It could be the difference between moving the needle of SEO performance, versus being in a constant state of SEO firefighting for a period of months until more investments in SEO is approved.
And this firefighting wouldn’t make a visible difference in performance.
What it would do is prevent further damage from being made to your SEO performance.
OK. Another factor you want to take into account is how your competitors fair against you.
And again, ideally you want to have this audited across the 3 pillars.
This will give you an indication of what your competitors are doing, if they are doing anything.
If most of your competitors are spending their time on on-page optimisation, this may be an area you’ll need to focus on as well.
Well, the reason for this ties into the next two factors – considering your industry, and considering the search landscape of your industry.
Here’s the thing about SEO.
SEO is SEO, regardless of the industry.
However, there are distinctions between industries, which impacts the SEO that is carried out in the industry.
If you were in the News Media space, for example, there is no two ways about it, you’ll need to publish articles on a regular basis.
That’s an industry where volume of information, content, matters.
This is less important in the Gambling industry.
Gambling is an area where backlinks are aggressively important.
If you were in this space, there is no two-ways about it – your off-page activity will need to be a focus.
The industry stipulates this! And this is reflected in the search landscape. The types of sites that tend to rank highly are those with an aggressive link earning strategy.
When you have these factors considered – your site, your competitors, your industry, and the search landscape, you’ll be in a position where you can determine the type of SEO you need.
Now, I mentioned earlier that ideally, you want to have SEO covered across the 3 pillars.
This isn’t to say the alternative option is to only pick one pillar.
Based on your analysis of those 4 factors mentioned, you may determine the best solution for you is to focus on only one pillar – technical, for example.
This, however, doesn’t mean you can, or should only focus on one pillar.
The pillars, in this case, is used to understand where the work is required, and perhaps more importantly, to understand the departments you’ll be working closely with.
Once you know the state of your SEO, you may decide to prioritise per project, rather than per pillar.
This is an option that could, quite rightly, be the better solution for you.
It will just require an SEO that’s well versed across the 3 pillars.
Whether you hire in-house, or hire externally (whether an agency or consultant), you’ll need to ensure the SEO is able to work on all pillars, and perhaps, simultaneously.
Let me leave you with this –
Regardless of the approach you take to working on your site’s SEO, bear this in mind –
SEO has no end point. It’s forever – as long as you have a website.
The work your site needs, and the work you do for your site will continuously evolve.
You’ll need to periodically audit the state of your SEO, and have an SEO who keeps abreast of the SEO industry so you’ll able to adapt quickly as the industry continues to evolve.