Developing an SEO Strategy

John Fairley

One of the common hurdles for implementing Search Engine Optimization for your website is determining an effective strategy and an implementation plan. Should I first address page titles, or implement a site map? Should I change page URLs to include keywords or add unique META descriptions to my pages first?

SEO Building Blocks

Building a strong foundation is critical for SEO success. Over the years, we have developed a proven strategy that builds layers of related tactics into building blocks, each block building on one another. The lower blocks form the SEO base for your website.

High level overview of the 7 SEO Building Blocks for Success:

1. Configuration

Start out right by choosing the right domain name, making needed server configurations, choosing and configuring a content management system and installing an SEO friendly analytics package.

2. Research & Targeting

First, align your business and SEO goals, then perform targeted keyword research to find the best search phrases that align to your business.

3. On Page Factors

Make it easier for the search engines to figure out what content is included on your pages and what the topics are. Optimize titles, descriptions, header tags, etc.

4. Information Architecture

Information Architecture forms the skeleton or frame of your website. The joints are the links between pages. Search Engines use these links to discover pages and determine which pages are heirarchically more important than others. Links include main navigation, category navigation, sitemap, footer, tag clouds breadcrumb trails and more.

5. Building Awareness

The rest of the world, including search engines, needs to be aware of your website and the content it contains. Techniques for building awareness include syndication, XML site maps, link building and social media optimization.

6. Accelerators

Managing the distribution of page rank juice, expanding keyword research, strategic link building and generating buzz about your website will amplify or accelerate your results.

7. Measure & Refine

Once search traffic starts flowing in, results should measured against business goals. Use analytics and advanced keyword research to find new opportunities to add new targeted content to the website.


Analyze your website’s current SEO state in each of the first six blocks: Configuration, Targeting, On-Page Factors, Information Architecture, Awareness and Acceleration. For each block, determine the current depth of coverage.

Address configuration & targeting issues first. Deepen coverage at each level before moving up. You can and should work on multiple block levels at a time.

Try to avoid top heaviness. A good rule of thumb is: To improve SEO results, for any given block, the effort required is higher if blocks below are smaller. Smaller = less coverage.

SEO Implementation Plan

  1. Set goals for SEO
  2. Analyze current SEO state (focus on foundation blocks)
  3. Prioritize (based upon current state analysis)
  4. Perform keyword research
  5. Identify target keywords (consider search volume; business goals; brand; user roles; purchase phases; etc)
  6. Implement improvements in foundation blocks
  7. Add targeted content
  8. Build awareness, accelerate & refine

For the clients that I work with every day, following this overall strategy drives an ever growing amount of targeted search traffic to their websites.


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