Top 17 questions to answer before launching your SEO campaign

24 March 2016

1. Launching a new SEO campaign can feel overwhelming. There are so many factors to take into account to ensure an all-round success that missing something out could jeopardise the entire strategy…

2. What you need is a list of questions to ask yourself, and here are our staples:

3. Who is your audience? If you want to attract a particular demographic in your site visitors, you need to establish, in advance, who this will be.

4. Where are your audience? This can be asked about both online and offline audiences. In terms of online, do they favour Facebook or Twitter? Google search or Bing? And offline, do you concentrate your business in a particular geographical area? Do your customer demographics show you that your sales are focused in a certain region?

5. What content do they consume? Are your readers more likely to frequent BuzzFeed or the Financial Times? Do they share cat pics or listicles on their lunch break? More seriously, do they consume long-form, in-depth articles or shorter content that is easier to digest? The answers to all of these questions can help you to plan not only your own content, but also your social media strategy for promoting it.

6. What are your highest margin online products? It makes sense to put more effort into optimising the products with the highest margins over those that won’t make you as much money.

7. Who are your competitors? This may be different online to your real-life competitors, but it is just as important to be familiar with your online opponents as it is your brick-and-mortar ones.

8. When are your peak seasons? If you are an e-commerce store selling gifts, this may seem like an obvious question. But perhaps, if you sell personalised greetings cards, you sell more on Valentine’s Day than in Q4. By understanding your sales and how they grow and fade during the year, you can know when and where to put extra effort into your SEO work.

9. Who is talking about your competitors? Make sure your social listening efforts don’t just soak up praise about your own brand. You can learn a lot by setting up social searches and search engine notifications to alert you when somebody talks about your competitors, too.

10. What are your business and digital KPIs? How do you know when you are succeeding? What does a great month look like for your business? Set and observe your key performance indicators so that you can measure and mark your successes and failures.

11. What do you want to be known for? If you are going to focus attention on optimising your website for particular topics, keywords and phrases, make sure you pick the correct ones to work on.

12. What is your motivation for optimising your website? The answer to this might be more sales, more subscribers, higher traffic, more backlinks, or attracting more publicity; understanding the question will help you to carry out your SEO activities in the right way.

13. What technology was used to build the site? Certain content management systems make optimising for SEO easier than others, so understanding the groundwork on which your site sits will help you to work out whether optimisation can be assisted by simple plugins (as in with Wordpress) or whether you will need customised coding to boost your efforts.

14. How willing are you to make changes to the site? If you’re 100% happy with everything you’ve done to date, you may be wary of making improvements… Think carefully about whether you are willing to make changes to improve your search engine visibility.

15. How do you plan to track the success of your SEO work? Just carrying out activities and failing to monitor or measure the results will result in a process that is too random to show any real benefits. Come up with a clear plan of measurement and reporting so that you can keep track of what works and what doesn’t.

16. Are you willing to invest budget into creating content? It’s a cliché, but content is – you guessed it – king, and failing to allocate a budget to its creation, whether in-house or externally produced, will limit an SEO strategy considerably.

17. How do you plan to fit SEO into your wider marketing strategy? Have you come up with a way of integrating your SEO work with your sales, marketing and PR departments, for instance?

18. What devices are your audience using? Most importantly, does your website display perfectly on those devices?

19. Are you experienced enough to take a mobile-first approach? Or do you need to recruit specialists or get the services of an external team with this kind of knowledge and experience?