The SEO Roadmap
data-driven process that guarantees results
There are no tricks or a silver bullet for dominating the SERPs, to succeed your SEO campaign must include:
- Data-driven On-Page Optimization
- Technical SEO Audit
- Quality User Signals
- Strategic Link Building
In summary, the perfect combination that meets every criteria that matters to Google to rank your website, by uniting data-driven and technical SEO with User Experience (UX) supplemented with strategic link building.
If your campaign does not look like this, then now you know why you're not getting the results you expect, because you're not satisfying every ranking factor that matters to Google.
Sadly, if you work with most agencies, they will focus solely on satisfying the algorithm as it works today, that works… but good luck with the next algorithm update.
We know what the ranking factors are (because we've ran tests on them) and we understand Google's ultimate goal are search results that satisfies user intent. So, we simply make sure that we satisfy both, the user signals and the algorithm's ranking factors.
Here is how we handle it…
Is SEO right for your business? You'll find out during our consultation, because even though SEO has one of the highest ROI as a marketing channel, it needs to fit your business.
Maybe the search volume isn't there, the competition is too steep or it's simply far more work than you anticipated, and other channels would have a more immediate return.
We'll let you know if this is right for you or not. You are going to find out:
- How long it will take to obtain results
- How much it will cost
- What strategy will be the most effective
Furthermore, this is also an opportunity for us to get to know your business and competitors better.
2. Competitor Analysis
To understand your competitors better and get insights on how you can obtain an edge over them. A thorough competitor analysis will allow you to discover:
- Content Strategy - What type of content is working in this space for driving traffic and earning links?
- Keyword Opportunities - Which keywords your competitors are targeting, what is their value and what is the overall difficulty of these keywords?
- Link Building Strategy - What does their link profile look like? Weak, strong? How are they acquiring their backlinks? Partners, guest posts, skyscraper content, directories?
Companies usually hope for weak competitors, however, finding strong competitors can also be a great opportunity as they can create a blueprint for your SEO campaign and give you a good starting point.
The competitor analysis will allow us to come out with a strong estimate on how competitive the campaign will be and what it will take to outrank your competition.
3. Website Quality Audit
Once we have a good understanding of your competitors, it's time to move on to your website.
The complete website quality audit analyzes every single page on your website against our checklist to see where it may be lacking, to fill those voids and make quick gains.
We run your site through an entire checklist because SEO is a holistic approach. It's not a single thing that will get you to the top, it is everything – Google is a puzzle game, whoever has the most pieces, wins.
Our Website Quality Audit will help you to:
- Assess the “quality” of your site from Google’s perspective
- Easily identify and clean up low-performing pages
- Improve quality and performance of key pages on your site
Google’s algorithm assigns a “quality score” to websites to help determine their ranking. Having a “low quality” score will cause your website to rank lower over time as it loses trust signals and is crawled and indexed less. You can view a case study on our WQA here, where we help a website to recover from an algorithm penalty.
Therefore, our goal is to boost your quality score, to make it worthy of ranking in the eyes of Google.
4. Keyword Research + Keyword Gap Analysis
Keyword Research is split into two parts:
- Keyword research for existing pages
- Keywords gap analysis (for new pages)
We do this to avoid keyword cannibalization and to maximize the ranking potential of your existing content. From the Existing Keywords Research, we can identify whether we need to update the content, send more backlinks, or both.
The Full Keyword Research Process:
- Gather all the URLs of Your Website.
Before creating any new content, we ensure that your current content can rank for your target keywords as well as possible. We need all the URLs with its user metrics, backlinks, page depth and other SEO metrics.
This will help us determine how it stacks against your competition on a page level, to identify where we can improve to rank higher.
- Find the Main Keywords and Secondary Keywords
Now it's time to decide what the main keyword is for each page, it's usually a combination of the highest search volume, most valuable (cpc) and the most relevant to the page.
The secondary keywords consists of keyword variations, related search terms and lsi/contextual terms. Except for the lsi/contextual terms - these secondary keywords belong in the same keywords cluster as the main keyword, and have the potential to rank on the same page.
This means that we should prioritize them as secondary keywords and place them within the content strategically; this also means that we won't need to create separate content for these keywords later on.
- List the Pages of Your Top Competitors
We take the top 3 competitors on a 1:1 comparison e.g. if we're attempting to rank a blog post, then we compare it to a blog post. If it is a product page, then we compare it to a product page.
This is to match the search intent. If Google has determined that based on the user signals that users are looking for product pages when searching a specific query, then that's what they will display. Before even considering onpage optimisation, we must first meet this criteria.
If for example, your website and target page has better Domain Rating, URL rating, number of quality backlinks, data-driven onpage signals, no technical issues and a quality site structure, then the last main variable missing may be the "content type".
We may have to create a similar content type to what is currently in the top 10 in order to get you there.
The Full Keyword Gap Analysis Process:
- Gather Your Competitors and All of Their Keywords
We gather all of your top competitors which could be as many as 5-10 competitors.
We then take all of their ranking keywords, compare it against your ranking keywords and filter out any keywords irrelevant keywords.
- Gather More Keywords from Additional Tools
We want as comprehensive keywords list as possible to make sure we don't miss any opportunities. Your competitors are a great source but they may be missing some keywords. We use various tools to gather as many potential keywords as possible.
- Cleaning the Keyword List
There are going to be plenty of duplicates, typos, brand terms, irrelevant keywords – we go through thousands of keywords and clean the list of any unwanted keywords.
- Assign Search Intent
- Why is the user searching for this keyword?
- Are they looking to make a purchase, investigate?
- Where on the buyers journey does it belong?
By assigning intent, we can figure out how far the keyword is on the sales funnel and help us prioritize the content creation for these keywords.
- Grouping of Keywords
Keyword Research is part art and science. This is where it is part science. How do you determine which keywords can be optimised for the same page? Do you create unique content for each of them?
You should be ranking content for an umbrella of keywords, but what if you are wasting your time trying to rank keywords that are not optimum for a specific type of content or are not semantically related to each other, according to Google?
The answer is hiding in plain sight; it's in the search results! We look at the top 10 search results and identify where keywords co-occur. From there, we can create groups that, in theory, can rank on the same page together. If two keywords do not rank together, then Google may require different pages instead.
The surest way to meet the standards of Google and improve the rankings of your website.
- Prioritizing Specific Keywords
Finally, once we have a full list of keywords, cleaned, grouped and categorized by intent, we communicate it back to you. These keywords serves as the foundation for where to draw future content ideas from and so we ask for your feedback on them and how to prioritize them.
Now that your keyword plan is ready, we can finally move on to the Onsite Optimisation.
5. Onsite Optimisation
Working off the back of the Website Quality Audit and Keyword Research, we run a full "on page" assessment on your key pages. We look at why they are not ranking and include our recommendations for the pages.
This could be page depth, internal links, contextualization, keyword cannibalization, user intent, user signals, page structure or content optimization. The onsite recommendations looks to fix any issues we discovered during the audit.
This is the well-known form of on-page optimization. We understand exactly what the ranking factors are and even in order of importance.
For example, the Meta-Title, URL and H1 are the most important, in that order, and that h2-h6 headings matter, so does the keywords within the paragraphs and to an extent, even the outbound links, and html codes such as div tags matter.
Using a combination of single variable test results to find out what the best practices are, and using tools such as PageOptimizer Pro and Cora, we reverse engineer the top competitors on page data to find correlation data in the most important on page ranking factors for your keywords.
We compare the competitors overall page structure to ours – keyword density, word count, H1>H6s, where the keywords are exactly, contextual keywords density, outbound links and many other factors and try to align your content as well as we can with the top results. We also look at the page depth and the internal links linking back to the page.
In short, we ensure that your content is perfectly optimized in every sense, from structure to the smallest details, to guarantee the best results.
6. Technical SEO
We make sure that the technical aspects of your site will not be a hindrance to your rankings, but that it will boost your SEO efforts instead.
Some of the issues we check for are:
- Coverage issues
- No-index issues
- Canonicals set correctly
- URL parameters
- Crawl budget for large websites
- Redirect chains
- 404 errors
- Duplicate content
- Pagination issues
- Mobile usability
- Any issues highlighted in the search console
7. User Signals
Probably one-third of the SEO formula is User Signals. Perfect onsite SEO and external links will rank your website, but it is the user signals that will decide whether you should be average, below or above the baseline according to your SEO metrics.
We optimize User Signals for the following:
Click Through Ratio (CTR) - By optimizing your Meta-Title tags and Meta-Descriptions. Depending on size of the website, we may A/B test them too. Increasing CTR will help your rankings and also bring you a better ROI, since it is more traffic that you can convert.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) – By looking at your analytics and installing tools such as Hotjar so that we can study how your users behave and to see what changes we can make to your landing pages in order to get them to convert.
User Engagement Metrics – We look at bounce rate, average duration per session, average pages per session and return rate. We also look at this across multiple devices such as desktop, iPad and mobile to see if your rankings will be badly affected by any of them. We compare these stats to your competitors (an estimate using 3rd-party data) and try to at least match if not beat them at it.
In summary, we adapt your content to be exactly what users are looking for, which will increase your rankings and conversions exponentially.
8. External Links
Finally, probably the hardest and most laborious part of SEO. Link Building.
There is no trick to link building, just put the hours in and adapt. The most scalable link building tactics are guest posting and resource link building.
All of the link building is tailored to your website, its needs and its goals. The efficiency of our process allows us to get the most relevant and powerful placements for your website.
9. Adapt, Iterate, Improve
SEO is always evolving and is an iteration process. Once we've done the main tasks, we're always monitoring the algorithm for any changes, trying to future-proof the strategies we use and where we are not ranking yet, we are constantly trying to uncover the "why" and fulfil.
Therefore, if you want solid and measurable results that adapt to the ever-changing medium of Google, then we can help you!