16 Steps to Create a Solid SEO Marketing Strategy for 2022
Behind every high-ranking piece of content lies a solid SEO marketing strategy.
But crafting such a strategy can feel daunting with so many factors to consider. Especially Google's frequent algorithm updates.
While building an effective SEO strategy takes work and diligence, the rewards are many. Plus, you don’t have to figure it all out on your own.
We’ve compiled a list of 16 ways to strengthen your SEO marketing strategy in 2022.
What is SEO Marketing Strategy, & Why is It Important?
An SEO (search engine optimization) marketing strategy is a plan to attract organic website traffic through high rank in web searches.
The focus is twofold:
- Create high-quality content your target audience actually wants.
- Organize and tag your content in a way that ensures they can find it when they search.
How often do you search Google and look through 2+ pages of search results?
Yeah. Neither does anyone else.
You don’t have to. Google ranks millions of search results based on:
- Query meaning
- Content relevance
- Content quality
- Page usability
- Searcher context and setting
Search engine crawlers such as Googlebot comb and index web pages for this reason.
SEO tactics ensure that Googlebot indexes your site content with your intended keywords.
They inform your web pages' level of authority, value, and relevance for those keywords.
Ultimately, you and the Google algorithm have the same goal — satisfy searcher intent.
The host of search engine marketing benefits don’t end at SEO rankings and traffic:
- Increased domain authority, reputation, and trust
- Long-term results
- High ROI
- Integration with different marketing channels
- Relevance at each stage of the sales funnel
Bear in mind, though, that both implementation and payoff of SEO strategy take time.
Planning new SEO content while continually optimizing old content is an ongoing effort.
As is monitoring changes in user behavior, SEO, industry trends, and the Google algorithm.
16 SEO Marketing Strategy Tips
So how do you put together a strong SEO marketing strategy? We have some tips for you below.
1. Create a list of topics
Consider how you want your content to cater to your target audience:
- Answer questions
- Address pain points
- Solve problems
Then build a list of topics and conduct keyword research on each one. All roads begin with Google.
Type your query into the search bar and notice the list of suggestions that generate below it. That list reflects actual keyword searches.
Google just handed you a list of relevant keywords.
Search your topic and then scan the first page of results for more keyword ideas. Take note of the “related searches” and “people also ask” sections. Look for word patterns among all the title tags.
A Google Image search for the topic will produce suggested terms across the top of the SERP.
Finally, keyword tools generate keyword ideas related to your topic. They also show the search volume and level of competition for each keyword idea listed. You can check the keywords derived from Google too.
Once you finish your research, make a list of short-tail keywords.
2. Compile a list of long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are basically extended versions of your short-tail keywords. They have lower search volumes but are easier to rank for since there's less competition.
Searchers using long-tail keywords have very specific search intent. So writing for these terms can increase traffic, engagement, and lead conversion for a very specific target market.
To find long-tail keywords for your topic, conduct the same keyword research you did in step #1.
Other marketing tools that are particularly useful for discovering long-tail keywords include:
- Answer the Public — generates different keywords and questions based on your topic
- BuzzSumo Questions — shows topic-related questions that people post on forums across the internet
Another way to derive long-tail keywords is by customer/client feedback:
- Social media and blog comments
- Customer support communications
After this research, compile a list of long-tail keywords for each short-tail keyword.
3. Create a page for each topic
Pillars are broad, high-level overviews of a multi-faceted topic.
Clusters provide in-depth coverage of subtopics introduced in the pillar. The pillar links out to the topic clusters, and the clusters link back to the pillar.
So if a pillar were the trunk of a tree, topic clusters would be the branches of that tree.
You can create a pillar page for each topic on your website or blog. These pillar pages can then catalog each topic cluster.
For example, a digital marketing site's pillar pages would include SEO, Social Media, Email, and Content Marketing. The blog posts cataloged on each of those pages are topic clusters.
A pillar post can even be part of the topic cluster. In the example, the SEO page houses an Ultimate SEO Guide post and shorter posts that cover specific SEO topics.
The pillars contain primary keywords in their headlines. The clusters receive their headlines from secondary, long-tail keywords.
Each blog post forms a separate webpage capable of achieving its own SERP rank. Even so, the Googlebot reads these internal links as signs of a topic cluster tied to the same base keyword.
High rankings of different pages from the same website help build the site’s reputation. As such, Google will rank future pages from that website higher.
4. Create better content than the competition
Conduct a competitive analysis to discover areas of opportunity for you.
Take note of where competitors are thriving as well as what’s missing or where they dropped the ball.
Imitate what they did right while also supplying what they lacked.
You then have two options for creating competitive content for your target keywords:
- Create something better
- Create something different
You can aim for a higher SERP ranking by getting more comprehensive than everyone else on the page.
Another approach is to differentiate. Offer up something different from your contenders while still addressing searcher intent. This will draw searchers to your content instead of your competitors.
5. Post on a consistent schedule
A consistent posting schedule keeps your site active and encourages engagement. It lets everyone know that you are an active voice in the industry.
Choosing a specific day or days to release new content allows for the direct and indirect buildup of expectations each week.
Promote your content across different marketing channels, like email marketing or social media. Seize the opportunity to apply SEO best practices to these different channels.
Publish content on an industry-related topic at least once a week, even if it’s not a topic cluster. Address relevant topics that your reader-base cares about. You’ll build up your reputation and domain authority over time in this way.
An SEO content strategy and calendar will go a long way in keeping you organized and consistent.
6. Write to satisfy search intent
Searcher intent is the top priority for both you and Google. This should be your focus from start to finish.
You’ll need to look beyond keywords to identify true intent. Keywords alone can encompass a broad spectrum of different motives.
For example, the SERP for "raw dog food" contains search results all across the board:
- raw dog food delivery
- raw dog food recipes
- fresh vs raw vs kibble comparison
- raw dog food for beginners
- best raw dog foods
- brand webpages
- raw dog food benefits and risks
Analyze the SERP page and each page one search result. Identify patterns among top posts, then apply those insights to your content.
Create relevant content that benefits your target audience.
While you don’t want to rely on keywords alone, they are still critical. Keywords signal to readers and Googlebot what your website and content are about.
Sprinkle primary and secondary keywords throughout your posts without disturbing their natural flow. But for on-page SEO, your title tags, meta descriptions, and structured data should contain primary keywords.
7. Include keywords in your URLs
Another on-page SEO tactic is including your target keywords in your URLs. This sends another clear signal to both searchers and Google of what your content is about.
Shorter URLs outperform longer ones, so don’t go too crazy. Your site name plus your target keyword will be enough in most cases.
8. Focus on your visuals
Visuals break up your written text so your post looks less monotonous. They also draw attention and keep site visitors on your page longer.
- Graphs and charts help conceptualize huge numbers, fractions, and percentages.
- Infographics help readers visualize concepts and processes.
- GIFs and memes inject a post with humor, personality, and relatability.
- Screenshots and slideshows display examples and instructions.
- High-quality photos and videos showcase product and service offerings.
Visuals are also perfect for social media shares and user-generated content (UGC), especially on:
Your visuals can even land you rank in a Google Image search as well as a standard Google search. Videos can score rank on YouTube or in the ‘“Suggested Clips” section of Google SERP.
To help this along, optimize alt texts and file names with keywords and descriptors. This way, Googlebot recognizes what these visuals are and why they’re in your post.
Visuals often have large file sizes that can slow down your site and affect your technical SEO. Use a tool like Compressor to compress these files before uploading.
9. Delve into link building
Moving on to off-page SEO, link building is a huge ranking factor.
Backlinks build credibility for your content and your site as a whole. They tell Google that your content is high quality and that people consider you an authority.
People typically share:
- Data posts
- Ultimate guides
- Authority pages
But the source of your backlinks matters. Inbound links from these sites should make sense to your readers and Google. Only reach out to relevant, credible, authoritative, and high-quality sites.
Link-building tactics include:
- Guest posting
- Testimonial requests
- Email lists
- Exchanging links with other brand sites
- Identifying broken links in related posts
- Social media marketing (including embedding social sharing plugins on your webpage)
- Outreach to sites that have previously shared your content or that share links from your top competitors
Link-building takes a lot of work and tact, but it pays off in dividends.
10. Optimize for user experience
A major aspect of satisfying searcher intent is ensuring a smooth user experience. A poor site experience can result in an increased bounce rate. Major culprits include
- Slow loading speed — Check PageSpeed Insights
- Poor mobile optimization — Check Mobile-friendly Test
- Difficult or awkward navigation
There are additional technical SEO factors that affect user experience. Depending on your website, business, and brand, other factors may also need attention:
- Video SEO
- Voice SEO
- Local SEO
- International SEO
Mind your target audience and searcher intent when optimizing for user experience. Utilize analytics data and A/B testing when making adjustments.
11. Try landing a Featured Snippet
Featured snippets lie at “position zero” at the top of a SERP right below the Google ads. Google singles out a post from the SERP and posits part of it as the top answer or solution to specific queries.
Featured Snippets typically contain
- bulleted or numbered lists
- infographics, graphs, or videos
- direct answers to question-based searches (i.e. long-tail keywords)
It doesn't appear on every search, and the post featured doesn't even have to technically rank on page one.
An SEO tool like Ahrefs offers more info about featured snippets and how to land one.
12. Stay on top of SEO trends and best practices
SEO trends change as frequently as user behavior and the Google algorithm (which is often). So it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse.
These SEO authority pages regularly report on new trends and best practices:
- Search Engine Journal
- Search Engine Land
- Search Engine Roundtable
Google’s resources for SEO news, algorithm changes, and search engine updates include:
- Google Search Central Blog
- The Keyword
- Google I/O
Remember to stay abreast of searcher behavior across devices too. Nowadays, that includes tablets, smart TVs, and smart speakers. Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant... the whole gang.
13. Track and measure your content
Tracking and analytics help gauge your SEO efforts. Metrics to monitor include:
- Website traffic
- Indexed pages
- Time on page
- Dwell time
- Bounce rate
- Clickthrough rate
- Lead conversions
- Keyword rankings
- Backlinks profile
- New backlinks and referrals
Tools like Google Search Console and Google Analytics help you track these metrics. SEO reports enable you to review changes with your marketing team and discuss actionable steps.
Technical SEO factors are also important to monitor. Google’s tools, and external marketing tools like Screaming Frog and Deepcrawl, can flag issues with technical SEO.
14. Update existing content
In addition to creating new high-quality content, you should also update what you’ve already published.
This SEO technique helps maintain your site’s relevance, reputation, and authority. Regular maintenance also improves your site’s rankings over time.
The following steps will keep your site fresh:
- Replace outdated visuals
- Update data points, info, and examples
- Remove broken or outdated links
- Update all internal links
- Add new info
- Fix any SEO issues
Rereleasing updated posts also saves a ton of time on content creation.
You don’t have to create nearly as much content when you have evergreen posts that you can update and reuse.
Check periodically for changes in keywords and searcher intent. These changes impact ranking and how you'll update older posts.
15. Hire an SEO expert
You can implement an SEO marketing strategy on your own. But it is a lot of work, and there are a lot of moving parts. Like we said at the outset, you don’t have to go this alone.
Tons of SEO marketing tools and resources on the web can guide you through implementing SEO.
However, if your budget allows it, consider hiring an SEO expert.
A trained professional will perform SEO services such as a full audit of your site. They'll then give you insights into what you’re doing well and what needs improvement.
An SEO specialist can also offer personal guidance with all the different forms of SEO that are relevant to your brand.
If SEO strategy is not the reason you wake up in the morning, find that person.
Bonus Tip: Implement a monthly SEO plan
A monthly SEO marketing plan will ensure you stay on track with your SEO strategy and reach your online marketing goals.
Your plan should cover:
- Progress evaluation based on analytics data
- Review of new industry trends, SEO trends, and Google algorithm updates
- Marketing goals
- Consideration of upcoming seasonal and holiday SEO opportunities
- Keyword research
- Content strategy and optimization
- Link-building strategy
- Website audit and optimization
Setting aside time at the beginning or end of every month for this will set you up for long-term SEO success.
Moving Forward with SEO Marketing
You now have the components for a solid SEO digital marketing strategy for 2022.
What comes next? Use this list to evaluate your site and content. Determine your SEO needs and where you need to make adjustments.
As #15 suggests, hire an SEO expert who can run an audit for you and give you a professional baseline.
SEO need not be daunting. Attract your target audience, befriend Google, and reap those long-term benefits!
Tiffany Lewis is a SmartBlogger-certified Content Marketer and budding freelance writer. She writes about Faith, Family, Furbabies, and Wellness. Yes, the broken alliteration in that sentence bothers her. Find her on LinkedIn.