How to Run a Strategic SEO Campaign
There’s a science and an art to SEO… and most of us marketers have a hard time nailing down the concepts, let alone, building and running an SEO campaign.
But what if you did know how to run an SEO campaign – from keyword research to link building?
In this content, we’re going to give you an inside look into strategizing and building your very own SEO campaign that is determined by data and delivered for results.
Buckle up and take some notes. 🙂
When beginning an SEO campaign, you’ll need to tackle major areas of the strategy, such as:
- What keywords to target
- How to optimize your site
- What type of content to create
- Where to insert keywords
- How to get the best backlinks
- How to track the results
These are just a few of the hundreds of variables that will need optimization to see a fully optimized SEO marketing campaign.
Luckily for you, even though creating SEO campaigns is a complex process, we can break it down for you into straightforward and actionable steps.
Today we’ll dive right into the process, but first, let’s establish the definition of an SEO campaign and explain what goes into a killer SEO campaign.
What is an SEO Campaign?
In essence, a successful SEO campaign is a data-based, long-term strategy that’s designed to grow your website’s organic traffic and conversions from search engines.
The purpose of SEO is to increase the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search results.
To be more specific, it’s an ongoing process of optimizing your website and executing off-page SEO strategies that will prove to Google that your site is an authority in your area.
If successful, a well-executed SEO campaign will result in increased traffic to your site from targeted customers who are actively looking for what you have to offer.
What are the components of a successful SEO Campaign?
There are three main components to running a successful SEO campaign:
- Content: The first and most important way to create a strong SEO campaign is through composing strategic and highly optimized content. Content is one of Google’s core values, they want to provide its users with the highest quality and most relevant content. That being said, the content will always have an impact on where you end up in SERPs, it is important that when you are producing content you’re keeping in mind user intent while. In order to write strategic and highly optimized content, you will need to conduct keyword research to find the most profitable terms and begin ranking for them.
- On-page SEO: This is the practice of technically optimizing your website’s pages so that you will rank higher. On-page SEO is typically the easiest thing to change and help improve your rankings since you have full control of your site.
- Off-page SEO: The last component of running a successful SEO campaign is what we call off-page SEO which involves building high authority backlinks from other relevant websites and content pieces.
We’ll break down these three components in more detail below. At Victorious, we’ve tested and proven specific methodologies for building a profitable search engine optimization campaign in virtually every industry. Let’s dive into the process of how to run a successful SEO marketing campaign.
What is the Process of SEO Campaigns?
Now that we have gone through the SEO campaign meaning and touched on the three parts, we can get into the specific steps to build your own SEO campaign.
Keywords are the building blocks of every Victorious SEO Campaign.
There are a number of free tools you should have in your back pocket when you’re beginning your keyword research. Some of these tools include:
- Google Keyword Planner– This SEO tool is great for researching keywords to add to current or new content. You’re able to sort through keywords in your niche to go after by using statistics around the volume of searches, predicted clicks, estimated conversions, CPC and even Google Ads competition.
- Keywords Everywhere – Keywords Everywhere is a downloaded extension on your Google Chrome browser that provides data around the volume, CPC and Competition of related keywords and similar terms that users also searched for. This tool sheds light on how to find additional areas of opportunity for key terms.
- SurferSEO (Extension)- This Chrome extension brings its own food to the table, comparable to Keywords Everywhere, Surfer looks at search volume for similar and related keywords. A cool thing about Surfer SEO is that the extension also shows backlink and visibility correlations, which are two graphs that show the quality of backlinks and estimated traffic for each SERP.
These resources will give you a better idea of the most relevant keywords in your niche you can rank for.
If you’re looking to dive deeper and get a better understanding around what keywords you’re ranking well on and where improvements can be made, we enjoy using Ahrefs or SEMrush (which are paid tools).
Ahrefs is a well-known SEO software tool where you are able to analyze your SEO data. We use Ahrefs daily to conduct keyword research, analyze anchor text and backlinks, track keyword rankings, even scope out competitor data and much more. You can break down what keywords are ranking on specific pages or figure out what terms your competitors are ranking for but you aren’t.
SEMrush considers itself to be an “All-in-one Marketing Tool Kit.” Similar to Ahrefs, SEMrush helps you run SEO, PPC, social media and content marketing, however, SEMrush started as a keyword research tool (versus Ahrefs, which started as a backlink analysis tool). This SEO software tool can be used to view domain analytics, keyword analytics and optimize your content and much more.
To make sure we hit our targets during an SEO marketing campaign, we want to make sure that we are paying attention to these aspects of proper keyword research:
- Intent: What the searcher is ultimately looking for
- Volume: How many times a keyword is searched for
- Competition: How hard it is to rank for the word
- Cost-Per-Click (CPC): How much are others paying to show up on Google
You shouldn’t be afraid to target competitive keywords, but it’s also good to think outside the box and look for long-tail keywords that may have less competition.
Here is a little insight into what we mean by going after less competitive keywords, a term such as “SEO consultant” has a high volume of 4,400 searches per month which makes it a keyword that many others are going after, thus making it harder to rank for. Whereas, “SEO consultant business” has a volume of 20 searches per month making it a less popular keyword to go after but reaching a more specific audience.
- Non-branded keywords to gather an audience outside of those who know your business already.
- Long Tail keywords are terms that may be less searched, but you are able to reach a specific audience that knows exactly what they are looking for and therefore making them more likely to purchase something or submit a form for more information.
In the SEO world, content is always king. It is the heart of your website and the reason why people continue visiting you. Think about it this way – without optimized content living on your pages, Google will not have any idea around what you do. Content plays a primary role in how high you are able to rank for the most competitive keywords in your niche.
As Google continues to evolve, our content needs to evolve alongside it. Google is constantly making updates and changes to their algorithm that directly affect SERP rankings.
For example, not too long ago SEO was primarily focused on finding keywords in your niche and using them as much as possible in content pieces. As AI and machine learning developed over time, it’s become impossible to use this tactic, Google released an algorithm update toward the end of 2019 called BERT.
BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representation from Transformers which allows computers to better understand human language through NLPs (natural language processors). As of right now, BERT has no direct effect on SEO rankings, however, we think it’ll change in the future.
Google’s core search engine philosophy is to present the most relevant quality content to searchers. The goal of having quality content is creating a better presence on Google so that you’re driving traffic to your site, you’re improving in the SERPs and overall your site is having more conversions. In order to get your site in front of the correct audience and stand out to Google, we want to make sure you are utilizing your keyword research to build out quality content.
You should be using both primary and secondary keywords to ensure that Google understands what your content is about, and can rank it for multiple keywords at once.
- Primary keywords are the main keywords that you’d like to rank for. These keywords are typically ones that have a high volume of searches associated with it to bring traffic to your site. This is a keyword we will want to use not only for content but also for on-page and off-page optimization (page titles, anchor text, etc.).
- Secondary keywords are terms used to support the primary keyword on that specific page. You will want to also include these keywords in your content writing so Google can pick up on the different variations of your primary keyword.
While using primary and secondary keywords in your content is important, it is only one variable you need to achieve first page results.
Although not definite, studies have shown that content length is correlated to your SERP rankings too. With this variable, we recommend that your content is similar in length to what your competitors are writing, however, your goal should be to supply the best, most useful (and optimized) version of the content for your target audience that matches their intent.
Another variable that directly affects rankings is internal linking, the significance of this element is to show Google how your website pages are all related to each other. You should always utilize internal links within your website and blogs (like the one in this paragraph). You’re going to want to work on your site as if it is its own network of pages to internal links to other pages, as opposed to different sites.Metadata optimization is behind the scenes variable that directly affects search rankings. The optimization of meta tags is important for search engines to understand more information on your webpage. Meta tags consist of both meta descriptions and meta keywords, they are placed in the HEAD section of the HTML structure of your page helps search engines determine what the page is about.
One final variable is header hierarchy, headings communicate the organization of the content on the page. They are used to provide in-page navigation, H1’s are the largest and most important headers and H6’s are the smallest and less important, these sets of HTML tags are meant to define headings on your page, not to format just any text your page. Finally, it is best practice to optimize your content for the best user (and search engine) experience:
- Use relevant visual elements to spice up the article. The point of having visuals is to break up the article and make it easy for users to read, stay engaged and visually see what you’re speaking about through the post.
What you want:What you DON’T want:
- Make sure that when you’re creating your URLs, they are short and keyword-rich. Take a look at the examples below:
- What you want:
What you DON’T want:
- Put your content in a format that is both easy to read and navigate for Google and your users. By utilizing headers, this will make it easy for search engines to understand the focus of the article. Take a look:
- What you want:What you DON’T want (x 1,000):
On-Page SEO: Website Auditing
Part of a properly done SEO campaign is making sure to conduct an SEO audit. The purpose of a technical audit is to diagnose and fix the obstacles that limit Google’s ability to understand and rank your website in search.
Your company’s website needs to be extremely easy to crawl by Google’s “spider” the point of the crawl is to:
- Be sure your website is easily indexable and readable by a search engine
- See if your site is convenient to access and browse from any device
- Make sure you are free from any errors that could raise red flags when your site is being crawled by bots
HOT TIP: Does your website have more than 10,000 indexed pages? Click here to learn about possible index bloat and website architecture problems that may prevent search engines from finding and understanding your content.
One of our favorite auditing tools is Screaming Frog. Screaming Frog will identify technical issues within your website’s code by checking response codes, inspecting H1 titles, finding pages with thin content, and much more.
Once an audit has identified your website’s technical obstacles, a developer will implement the changes – which can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks, depending on the extensiveness of the obstacles found. With over 200 potential obstacles to uncover, you want to make sure your auditing process is comprehensive.
Although on-page SEO efforts like technical audits are critical in an SEO campaign, they won’t unilaterally rank your website for your target keywords.
Off-page SEO is an SEO strategy implemented off of your website to impact your rankings in search engines. The most powerful tactic within a greater Off-Page SEO strategy is backlink building. Building backlinks is an art that if done correctly, will give your site hockey stick growth.
As we like to say, building backlinks is at the heart of SEO, and the single-most powerful ranking signal.
Now, this doesn’t mean that we just want any old backlinks being built; we want to make sure that you have high authority backlinks to show Google that you’re an authority in your niche space.
Regardless of how links are obtained, those that offer the greatest contribution to SEO efforts are generally those that pass the most equity. Having high authority links being built can be:
- How relevant the linking site’s topic is to you
- How “fresh” the link is
- How the anchor text is used on the linking site
- How trustworthy the linking site is
- How many other links are on the page linking back to yours
- How authoritative the linking domain and page is
Before you can start building new backlinks, you’ll need to identify and categorize the backlinks already pointing to your website. The best way to investigate this is through a backlink audit. Running a backlink audit will show you the number of backlinks you have, the anchor text distribution, how that number grew over time, and if they are toxic to your site or not.
Here’s how you can run a backlink audit:
- Use Google Search Console to generate a list of your backlinks, you can also use SEMrush or Ahrefs if you have an account with them
- Filter your list to remove any “branded” keywords or terms (this includes any branded words with hyphenations or spaces)
- Manually check your list of potentially harmful links to discover any that are toxic or spammy
- Should you find any spammy or toxic links, you will want to disavow them ASAP (remember to always disavow at the domain level)
- Submit your disavow file through Google Search Console so your backlink portfolio will be cleansed and Google will permanently ignore your old toxic links
Once you’re disavowed these toxic links, building new authoritative links is the next step to improve rankings. There are a number of ways to begin building backlinks, you can:
- Find broken backlinks on the internet, let the website creators know that the link is broken and ask them to link back to a specific page on your website. This will help out both you and them by strengthening both sites overall, we consider broken backlink building to be doing a solid for the internet.
- High-quality guest blogging is another great way to build authoritative backlinks. This link building strategy is considered to be highly effective in the SEO world, by guest posting, it allows you get exposure to a target audience, gain social media shares and improve your online authority and gain a high authority.
- With social media having a huge impact on how we receive news and view the internet, this is also a great way to gain high-authority links. Utilizing social media and press releases as a platform to build backlinks, you can build highly targeted links and match anchors without risk of tripping any spam filters because Google will see the social chatter as a validation of the uptick in links.
When do you see results in an SEO Campaign?
ROI from an SEO marketing campaign is typically seen around the 4-6 month mark, however, it could take longer depending on how competitive your niche is.
It’s important that you follow through with each of the steps listed above in order to see the results you’re looking for. Some additional factors that can hinder your ROI are:
- You’re building backlinks that contain no relevant content or have no authority on Google
- Something was missed in the technical audit conducted that is causing issues for Google to crawl
- The keyword strategy might not be aligned with the audience you’re looking to target
Although you see results within the first 8 months, typically you should keep up with your SEO until the end of time.How long is a typical SEO Campaign?
A typical SEO campaign should be at least 12 months. This will give you a proper timeline to run and implement a technical audit, write optimized page content and cleanse/build the beginning of a quality backlink portfolio.
SEO is something that is ever-changing as Google is constantly making updates to their algorithm. It is a good idea to keep an eye out for any updates or changes that will directly affect your Google rankings.
It’s crucial to remember that SEO is an ever-evolving process due to algorithm shifts, competition investing in SEO, and keyword search changes. We advise consistent and healthy backlink acquisition and content creation to stay authoritative per Google’s guidelines.
How do you track the success of an SEO Campaign?
When running SEO campaigns, accurately reporting results for ROI purposes and strategic shifts can be the difference between growth and failure.
Tracking SEO Metrics is important to every great SEO campaign, if you can’t track your SEO performance, you can’t improve it.
There are a number of ways to track your SEO marketing campaign results. One free option is Google Analytics. GA allows users to see organic traffic changes, conversion rates, individual page performance, and click-through-ratesWhile it provides a limited take on keyword positioning and growth, it can absolutely help a budding SEO manager keep tabs on performance.
Another way to track your SEO performance is in Google Search Console, this is a webmaster tool that provides ways to measure and track your site’s search traffic and performance. By utilizing this tool you’ll be able to easily optimize your content through search analytics by reviewing which queries are bringing users to your site. Google Search Console allows you to find out why certain keywords are underperforming and learn how to optimize click through rates.
What are some SEO Campaign examples?
Now that we’ve gone over the entire process of putting together an SEO campaign, you may be wondering – what’s next?
Your next step should be to review some examples of results that search engine optimization campaigns provide. Victorious has been able to bridge a gap to solve a number of visibility issues and ultimately bring business to companies. These visibility roadblocks can be anywhere from companies that are unable to utilize other marketing channels due to being banned, or maybe a company is just starting to build their organic footprint or one that is close to closing their doors due to a lack of business.
A couple of examples of big wins that our customers have experienced through our SEO campaign strategy are:
Oji Vape: The cannabis business has certainly bloomed over the last few years since states are legalizing marijuana. Valued at $13.21 billion in 2018, the North American cannabis industry analysis predicts that the cannabis market value is set to reach $36.7 billion by 2025.
With that being said, Cannabis SEO has also flourished due to the limited opportunity of marketing their business through paid search (i.e. Google Ads) or paid social (i.e. Facebook). These advertising platforms, disallow cannabis-related companies from pushing out ads because of federal regulations, thus hindering their ability to drive traffic through marketing channels.
Oji Vape owner Adnan came to Victorious unable to expand and grow within the Bay Area, after initially being burned by another SEO agency and being thrown into Google’s sandbox, we worked to earn Adnan’s trust and build a partnership to ultimately grow his business. We understood the significance of SEO for a cannabis company plagued by online limitations.
Though Google provided minimal search data, we married our SEO expertise with Adnan’s understanding of the cannabis industry. Which developed a fundamentally-sound keyword research strategy that ultimately sprung our partnership forward.
Once unleashed from Google’s probationary period, Oji Vape quickly saw its keyword rankings sprout, up 2,000+ net keywords from the 90 total keywords it ranked for in February:
Within an eight-month period, Oji Vape has:
- Seen over 32,000 organic users in the last four months (555% increase)
- Since organic users have increased, this translates to 745% improvement in goal completions
- More than 400% ROI from SEO
- Net Aggregate Increase of 5,770 Positions for Target Keywords
Felix Gray: They came to Victorious as a new company looking to build a new retail category, the owners, Chris and David, knew this would not be an easy task to do, however, they looked to SEO to get it done. In fact, when they came to Victorious, they were still doing door-to-door sales for their computer glasses. By bringing Victorious onboard our focus was to shift gears away from door-to-door sales and create a digital footprint, which is exactly what we were able to do.
Within a two year period, Felix Gray has:
- 111 keywords in positions 1-3, a 427% increase
- 435 keywords in a top 10 position, a 239% increase
- Organic Traffic increased 333.9%
- Organic Page Views Increase 142.85%
- Organic Revenue Increased 3,708%
- Organic Conversion Rate Increased 729.03%
If you want to see some additional SEO campaigns, you can check out some of our SEO campaign examples on our case studies page.
These case studies will give you a better idea of our approach to a search engine optimization campaign. It’s important to know that although each campaign brings on different challenges, our approach still stays the same.
Now that we’ve covered what goes into an SEO campaign, it is up to you to launch and execute! Here at Victorious, we use search to unleash every company’s true potential, and we are committed to not only achieving our clients’ SEO goals- but to teach them how they can excel at SEO on their own.