The Importance of Strategy
There’s a scene in Alice in Wonderland where Alice is asking the Cheshire Car where she should go. The cat asks where she wants to go and she says she doesn’t care. So the cat says it doesn’t matter which way she goes in that case. The same goes for SEO. If you don’t know where you want to take your website, then it doesn’t matter what sort of SEO strategies you employ. However, aimless optimisation isn’t much better than no optimisation at all. It might be worse if you end up wasting a lot of money on unnecessary professional services. That’s why the first step on your SEO journey must be deciding where you want to go.
One of the most important things you can do at first is determining what you want to rank for. You want to find the right keywords, that you can realistically rank in while still being profitable. Usually people use tools like Google’s AdWords’ Keyword Tool, Google Insights for Search and Google Trends. There are also a wide range of programs you can pay for that will help you find the right keywords. This area of SEO is very competitive and it can be hard to find a good keyword that is worth the time and money you’ll be investing. Also remember that these keywords have to be related to the content you’re offering. You might consider creating content for the keywords you find, just remember that this content has to provide information to people.
Figure out how you would monetise the keywords you’ve chosen. Are you selling something? Is it a product or are you going to make money off of ads on your information page? You want your SEO budget to fit the profitability of the keywords you’ve chosen. If you don’t think you’ll be able to make any money then you shouldn’t work with a very big budget unless you have money to burn and just want people to see your site. Also consider how much money you actually have, since you don’t want to go bankrupt chasing potential profits that might never materialise.
You should consider hiring SEO professionals. It can be a full time job running a high quality website, and doing proper SEO also takes up plenty of time and effort. Outsourcing your SEO is an especially good idea for people who have no experience in the field. Every day you aren’t ranking as high as you can on Google means lost profits, so weigh that against the time you’ll have to take mastering the science of SEO.
Even if you’ve already been doing SEO for a while, it’s never too late to stop and ask yourself exactly where you’re heading. Sometimes it’s better to cut your losses and start again instead of staying on a bad course. Your time and money are valuable and you don’t want to waste them on a strategy that doesn’t produce results. Taking time to formulate a plan may take a while in the short term but will always pay off in the long run.