Modern business owners everywhere know that content is king when it comes to online business promotion. That’s because the content is what allows businesses to connect to potential clients by sharing their unique story and perspective. What’s more, producing content has never been easier. With so many social media sites, we all have the opportunity to tell our stories however we want, and we all have opportunities to connect with new products and services in ways that feel more personal than ever before.
All this access may seem like a boon to personal business owners, but it comes with one catch. Your competition has access to these powerful tools too, so everyone uses them. In a digital world filled with content, the question then becomes how can I make sure the right people will hear my story? Inevitably, this is what led you to search engine optimization (SEO) in the first place. Many people believe SEO is only about finding keywords. Although keywords are the main ingredient to SEO, what you need to take your business to the next level, is a more complete strategy.
Welcome to MyCity Social, located in Tampa, Fl. Everyone has the preliminary tools to engage in digital marketing on some level, but when you’re screaming into an abyss of google results, you need more than a vaguely pieced-together plan. You need a strategy. Read on to learn how a SWOT Analysis for SEO can start to bridge that gulf and get your business attracting more clients than you ever imagined.
SWOT Analysis For SEO: Determining Strengths and Weaknesses
SEO lists are unending on- and off-site optimization tasks performed based on piles of data. Faced with unexhaustive to-do lists that don’t always agree with each other, focusing your limited attention can feel overwhelming. That’s where a SWOT Analysis comes in. SWOT is an anagram standing for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It provides a kind of external criteria that will help you identify which priorities provide your most significant competitive advantage.
Strengths Search engines determine organic search visibility by crawling and indexing the content available on the internet and then ranking it according to relevancy. A central factor in determining relevance is an authority for keywords. Your first job, then, is to identify the keywords for which you have some authority. Let’s say the top 20. Next, figure out which pieces of content are well-ranked within that keyword group. Got it? Good. Your strategy is to leverage the existing strength in three key ways:
- Link out from those pieces. Adding links reinforces content by providing a more complete answer while also bringing in expert authority to strengthen your piece further.
- Perform full-page keyword, link, and technical audits on web pages that rank between 5 and 20, looking for any improvements that can be made.
- Determine if the landing page makes sense for the keyword attached to it. You want to make sure searchers aren’t spending time clicking around and that the page provides the optimal answer.
You’ll also want to pay attention to what kinds of content speak to your audience. For example, do they like listicles or long-form data-driven case studies? Similarly, if you have a well-ranked YouTube video, consider creating more in the future.
Weaknesses Understanding weaknesses offers one of the more powerful ways to improve SEO performance. While it is tempting to breeze past weaknesses, remember that your SWOT is only as valuable as its data. Be realistic, understanding that weakness is inherent in all organizations. With that in mind, here are some common weaknesses in a few areas that can get you started:
- Keywords: In the SEO world, weaknesses usually come from holding onto keyword groups that seem essential but that don’t easily lend themselves to relatable content. If the keyword group requires too much time and effort, they may be more trouble than they are worth. Consider letting them go. On the other hand, the more natural keywords may be out of reach because a bigger competitor with more reach and resources already has ownership making it impossible for you to compete. In those cases, consider employing long-tail keywords, which can be more effective at generating traffic and conversions.
- Technical Glitches: Luckily, these kinds of errors can be easy to detect and correct. Start by running a website audit to check for any issues in tags, links, code, keywords, and other factors. There are various tools available to help with this. We like Google Lighthouse and Search Console.
- Backlinks: As noted above, organically listed websites are listed according to rank. Backlinks are links from other websites that connect their website to your website. High-quality backlinks that are relevant and organically obtained (rather than paid for) enhance a website’s authority, improving its rank. You can use third-party tools to find out where your backlinks are maintained. You can use these same tools to gather information on your competitors by finding their backlink sources. In some cases, it may be possible for you to obtain links from those sources as well. Keep in mind that this may not always be appropriate.
Capitalizing On Opportunities And Minimizing Threats
Now that you know where you are, it is time to get a handle on where you might want to go. The next phase involves looking at both opportunities and threats. Both require you to have an eye on the future, looking for potential market developments and technological advances. You probably have a broader strategy for spotting and exploiting opportunities and threats as they may arrive in your business as a whole. Here are two tips for your SEO strategy.
Capitalizing on opportunities requires a solid understanding of your market and the keyword research tools available. If you know your market, you know your competition. Using this information, you can employ research tools like ahrefs and SEMrush to discover keyword and content gaps by providing your website domain and those of your competitors. Software like this evaluates the links, provides lists of keywords, and shows insight into potential missed opportunities offering you an edge over the competition.
Another way to capitalize on an opportunity is through backlinks. You can seek out high-quality backlinks by looking at search engine results for your keywords and running a Google Search Console Links report on your website and your competitors. These are ways that you can find opportunities to piggyback on non-competitive but related content by contributing to articles, association listings, blog posts, and even adding comments.
- Minimizing Threats
After all this work leveraging your existing authority, the last thing you want to do is damage it by making careless mistakes. One of the most apparent and most avoidable is publishing duplicated content without the proper permissions. This is easily avoided by including canonical tags that reference source content when appropriate.
Another way to damage your authority is by being careless with backlinks. This is why you want to be sure that you are managing your backlinks with third-party software. Managing backlinks can feel time-consuming and maybe even pointless, but they are worth it. If your backlinks come from low-quality non-reputable sites, or worse still, from paid link schemes, you risk being tagged with a manual penalty. Manual penalties cost you organic visibility and traffic, and they are very hard to recover from. You should do everything you can to avoid them at all costs.
Strategically Moving Forward With A Focused Action Plan
At the end of this process, you will probably have generated quite the list of potential actions. Your general plan of attack will likely be building on your strengths, minimizing areas of weakness, keeping an eye out for opportunities, and avoiding threats wherever possible.
This can leave you feeling as overwhelmed as you were when you started. Before futilely throwing your hands in the air, take another look at the list. Are any connections jumping out at you? For example, could capitalizing on your strengths open up areas of opportunities? Are your weaknesses steering you into a threatening position that can be avoided as you minimize them?
In general, the number one focus of your SEO action plan moving forward should consistently be publishing fresh, relevant content. As for your number two focus, you’ll want to monitor search engine results for new entrants continuously. Remember that search engines reward fresh, new content that is relevant. Maintaining your visibility among known competitors isn’t enough. You’ve got to keep an eye out for new competitors to keep strong organic visibility.
Finally, you’ll want to revisit your SWOT on a quarterly or at least a semi-annual basis. Doing this, along with monitoring organic metrics, will help you stay on top of your competition, reaching your target customer base and creating more leads than you ever thought possible.
When you perform a SWOT Analysis for SEO, one thing becomes clear: creating a digital marketing strategy that connects to clients and customers in a meaningful way is a full-time job. It’s easy to take instant exposure for granted, but the negative ramifications of a marketing misstep can cost you big. At MyCity Social in Tampa, you get expert service from a one-on-one relationship. With the help of our professionals, you’ll be able to tell your story in a way that gets results! Contact us and see what a difference a strategy can make!