Setting Your SEO Strategy for 2023 with Maria White, Dre de Vera, and Crystal Carter.

It’s time to plan out your SEO strategy and activities for the coming year! But what should you include and what should you prioritise in 2023?

David Bain hosted this webinar and was joined by Maria White from Kurt Geiger, Crystal Carter from Wix, and Dre de Vera from Twingate and The SEO Video Show to discuss SEO Strategy in 2023.

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Transcript

David Bain 

How to set your SEO strategy for 2023 with Crystal Carter, Maria White, and Dre de Vera. Hey it’s David and welcome to the Majestic SEO Podcast, episode 36. Diving into the specifics of how to set your SEO strategy for 2023 with three great panelists. Now, as Dixon mentioned in the previous episodes, he’s moving on from helping Majestic as a host this show, but will still help in other ways. I’ll be hosting the show now, and for the coming year we’re gonna be focusing on what you need to do to drive SEO success in 2023. And to do that Majestic are offering you two different podcasts that you can subscribe to. So firstly, SEO in 2023. That’s a podcast series that works with the book SEO in 2023. Find out more about that, funnily enough over at SEOin2023.com. And this show as well, the Majestic SEO podcast aka Old Guard versus New Blood, which will continue to offer a monthly discussion panel and offer as well, different tips on a weekly basis. So SEO tips that support the SEO in 2023 series as well. You’ll see as we go along. Now as I mentioned in this episode, Episode 36 of Majestic SEO podcast we’re gonna be looking at how to set your SEO strategy for 2023 with three wonderful panelists. So without any further ado, let’s get them on here at panelists. Number one, what’s your name? And where do you come from?

Crystal Carter 

My name is Crystal Carter. I am the head of SEO communications at Wix I am based in the UK but I am a California girl at heart, and I’m really pleased to be here talking about SEO strategy. In my previous role, I was a digital strategist, and I think strategically all the time about lots of different SEO tactics, and it’s one of my favorite things to do. So yeah, I’m really pleased to talk about this today.

David Bain 

Superb sounds like a great relevant panelist to have on this particular discussion. Thanks for joining us, Crystal. And next up who is panelists number two, and where do you come from?

Dre de Vera 

Hey, Happy New Year, Happy 2023. My name is Paul Andre de Vera, aka Dre, and I am the host and producer of the SEO Video Show and enterprise SEO consultant that worked at companies that have worked a SAP, SuccessFactors, Anaplan. So I’m here to help you get you started in 2023.

David Bain 

What we’re going to be doing is instead of just talking about SEO tactics, I think many SEOs can default into talking about tactics, and that’s not a great thing when you’re considering strategy. So let’s be specific about what we’re talking about today, we’re focusing on three key areas. So number one, what do SEOs need to know about the business that they’re working in, in general, before starting to build an SEO strategy? Number two, what conversations do SEOs need to have with marketing leaders before starting to build an SEO strategy? And then number three, moving on to then, after all that laying out an SEO strategy, and how to incorporate that SEO strategy together for 2023? So let’s go back to panelist number one, Crystal. So Crystal, what do SEOs need to know about the business that they’re working in, in general, before thinking about building an SEO strategy.

Crystal Carter 

So generally, with SEO, you’re either working on your own project, or you’re working on behalf of clients, or you’re working on behalf of a project, say, for instance, where you’re working in-house, and you’re either working on one part of the website, or you’re working on the whole website, and you maybe have a strategic goal that you’re thinking about. And when you’re doing that, it’s really important that you understand what metrics the business will use, in order to understand whether or not it’s been effective. So just saying traffic for the sake of traffic doesn’t always do the job. And SEOs can pat themselves on the back of ad impressions, or traffic or views and those sorts of things. But at the end of the day, if that doesn’t translate into a metric that is valuable to the business, then into the business operations, and that’s gonna make it very difficult for the wider team to justify your SEO activities, it’s also going to make it it’s also going to make it more difficult for them to continue to pay for your activities in whichever way that might be. So it’s very important to understand what that might be. Now that could be sales, it could be leads, it could be signups for a certain thing, but something that can contribute to their funnel, and eventually leads to money, normally is the thing. So it’s important to understand what metrics they have, and whether or not they’re valuable. And also, also whether or not they’re measuring the right things. I’ve had it before where I’ve had clients where they were like, Oh, we want to get this metric. I was like, but what does that actually contribute to the bottom line? And they were like, No, and I’m like, Well, if it doesn’t, I have this metric that seems like it does. So we can keep an eye on that. But this one seems to be actually more valuable to us overall. It can be trickier with bigger projects, because sometimes there’s a longer lead time. But I think understanding what matters to the business is absolutely crucial.

David Bain 

So metrics, absolutely key, but I love your use of the word projects as well, especially working in a large organization, I think it’s easy for SEOs to maybe identify what they think are opportunities, but they’re not necessarily opportunities that are the most important to the business at that moment in time, we’re over the coming year. So identify the project that is key, and will obviously bring you more love from other departments within the business as well. Maria,

Maria White 

Thank you for having me. My name is Maria White, and I am head of SEO at Kurt Geiger, which is a luxury retailer for brands and British brands with luxury concessions around the world. I am responsible for everything organic. For SEO, I work very closely with the marketing department, the PR department and the engineering department, which is key for the SEO strategy for the strategy to be successful. So yeah, that’s pretty much me quick in a nutshell.

David Bain 

Wonderful Indeed, yes. Okay, so Crystal’s just answered the question from her perspective, in terms of what’s more important in terms of the conversation that SEO needs to be having with the business in general, before even thinking about SEO strategy? So I’ll get your thoughts on that. Just a second, Maria. But let’s go to Dre. And so today, what are your thoughts on that particular question?

Dre de Vera 

I’m gonna take this kind of different angle, because let’s, let’s say you’re starting with a new client, you’re starting a new job with a new company, right? So the first thing you really want to do is understand the product, you want to understand the features. So you actually know what you’re going to be optimizing for. I mean, you need to understand the audience, you need to make sure and see if it’s a two way marketplace, are you going to optimize for event marketers, and event attendees? So you’re looking at like two different content, these things are actually after my four. So are taking a step back and really analyzing the business itself with the product, the features, and you know, the audience is something where you should really get started on before you get your SEO strategy going.

David Bain 

Superb, superb. It’s funny, my immediate reaction is start to thinking about SEO tactics. I’m sure many SEOs are similar, because I immediately think, Okay, well, if we’re thinking about the audience, how do we actually match keyword phrases to audiences? And I have questions like that, but I don’t want to quite go down that routes. Yet, it was interesting that you also mentioned the word products. And that seems to be absolutely key. Maria, what are your thoughts in terms of the conversations that SEOs need to be having with leaders in the business before proceeding with that SEO strategy?

Maria White 

First of all, one of the key aspects is to understand the niche as much as you can, if you understand the niche, then you it would be everything would be much easier. So my advice would be before you started an SEO strategy, or if you could just got a new client is to if you can, and if you have the time, is logged yourself for about a week or ask, get some time to understand fully the niche that will give you the that will give you understanding to other key areas such as competitors, target audience, and you will understand much easier the wider objectives of the organization. Because if you’re working in-house, especially for large brands, sometimes SEO is just one component of the main objectives. Especially when you have like, in our case, we have stores, we have the to b2b, we have several channels, pillars within the whole strategy. So SEO, although it is one part, it is not obviously, the minor or the least important. But I would say understanding the niche, as much as you can, too, if you can, as an expert level will give you the ability to understand objectives and hold conversations with other teams, such as in my case, PR, marketing, and engineering, and be able to get your strategy, the message or what you want to convey or you want to implement across every department. Some departments are more challenging than others.

David Bain 

So what we’re hearing so far is understand the product, understand the niche, understand the metrics. Let’s go round everyone just once more on this particular section of the conversation. And actually, I want to ask you if someone has started a new role within an organization or maybe going to start a brand new in an organization as a head of SEO, fairly big company, what Job Titles should you be seeking out to have a conversation with into understanding more about the product more About the niche more about where the business is going. Crystal, what are your thoughts on that?

Crystal Carter 

Wow, that’s an interesting one. So I’m thinking very tactically here, but I think it’s important to think about who will be signing off the strategy? Because the strategies need to be signed off, who’s going to be involved with the strategy? Certainly, whenever you’re thinking about, and which team is actually going to have to be implementing it. So Maria talked about working across lots of different teams, when you’re working in a big organization, and that happens with smaller organizations as well. And it might be that it’s one person, but that were you like, oh, we need to do this. And we need to do that. And we need to, and it’s like, that’s that Susan, Susan does all of those things. And she doesn’t have time to do that, and answer the phones and make the coffee or whatever it might be. So I think it’s important to understand who will be the team that will be implementing whatever it is you might be strategizing about, and your strategy will change depending on what your resources are. So if you have your own devs, in-house, for instance, then you can say, okay, we can lean into that part of the strategy. If you don’t have your own devs in house, and let’s say it costs you money to like to get dev things implemented and there’s a certain budget on that, and other people are also in that queue, which is a thing that happens, then it might be it might be the case that, you know, maybe we’ll put 10% of the strategy towards those sorts of implementations and things like that. So I would look at whoever might be directly involved with the strategy and find out what resources they have both with both monetarily, with regards to time with regards to knowledge, because it might be that you have lots of people who are like, exact level, and they’ve got lots of time, and they’ve got lots of enthusiasm, but maybe they’re not super skilled yet. And you might need to be you might be like, Okay, well, we can do a lot of tasks in like in bulk. But that, you know, strategically we can maybe do a few here, here and like more like maybe we can have more things that are have like a single strategic objective implemented and unmask, because we have that manpower. But if you have fewer people in a different way than you might want to implement that differently, but certainly the understanding how many people and how much time you have, and how much resource you have, and whether or not you’ve got certain tools is really, really important.

David Bain 

I’m gonna ask a follow up question to Dre actually. So if you’ve got someone in charge of the strategy, someone who owns the strategy within a large brand, but they traditionally haven’t had that much involvement in SEO, and perhaps when you approach them, they say, Look, I’m just happy for SEO to do their own thing. You know, I’m too busy focusing on this and this and that, you know, you just do what you what you want, what do you say to them, to actually get a better relationship with them and get SEO further up the table? In terms of the conversation?

Dre de Vera 

Yeah, it’s definitely all about attribution and making sure analyzing and seeing how you can possibly save the company as to how much SEO can bring to the company. One thing where like, a lot of my counterpart, let’s say someone in paid search, would also get tons of budget gets all the attention and stuff like that. So like, I’m gonna say, you know, what, we can save more money, or save some money for getting ranking organic, or for these things. So being able to show these metrics of what you can save, and how much you can spend is very, very important. That’s one thing you should be able to do. But also education, education, very, very important. This is something where the big organizations, like you mentioned, like, oh, just do your own thing. Let them know how important it is let them know how much impact it will make for the company. I mean, for like large companies, like if you don’t have the right attribution in place, I mean, if you do, you can show like, how much like SEO can bring to the company, like let’s say, for a company like Workday, back in 2021, organic search was attributed for over 500 million revenue, we could only do that when we had the right marketing, marketing, ops teams putting in place like SAS, like for Adobe analytics, or you’re visible and stuff like that, being able to put the right analytics in a text deck for your company to show leadership and just to show your work is very, very important.

David Bain 

Maria, either in your current company, or perhaps a previous company, what job titles outside of marketing do you typically seek out to try and get on board with your SEO strategy?

Maria White 

Well, first of all, like Crystal said, first we need to find out we need to start from the center, find out who you’re going to report to, like the head of marketing, and then from there, the CMO and all of these decision makers who have who are involved in the wider strategy, and then identify the objectives. That isn’t a big, big organization in a smaller one in my previous job was in a smaller agency as well with small businesses. So in there, it was basically the Head of Development, the CEO, SEO and other teams. So the people that will be having conversations in that instance, will be the head of development because of working building relationship with him. And essentially, with CEO as well, because he was in charge of the spend budgets and everything. So it’s building a relationship with this key decision makers in the organization, whether it’s small, or large. And so in order to be able to explain, when you have to make changes on a website, or the strategy that involve a lot of budget, money, or time, and perhaps if we comment says he was full of jargon, with a big, big numbers, and we need to do this change, and he’s going to cost X amount, because as I said, and full of jargon, they’re gonna just gonna go in like, like, absolutely no, let’s prioritize whatever else is give money to pay to marketing and pay teams and keep going that way. So I, for me, I would say, marketing CMO, development or Chief Architect, whatever the name of the obviously, the team of developers, engineers, in your agency or in your business, build relationships with them. Because I love that, yes, build. And by this, I don’t mean, for example, popping with developers now and then give them a box of doughnuts. That’s No, no, it’s just coming. Hey, how you doing? Like, every team is different. For example, developers, whether it’s a small agency, big one, in whatever part in the world, developers tend to be more introspective, more maligned to themselves, whereas marketing and PR, they’re so extroverted and extrovert and all of that, so it’s, um, it’s just building relationships with these people, because essentially, you’re coming here with a with a strategy with an analysis. And whatever priorities they take on, they’re going to have an impact on revenue, they’re going to have an impact on spend for marketing as well. If we manage, for example, to implement, B, big changes, that essentially are going to increase organic traffic revenue directly, could have an impact in direct etc. That means that, for example, for marketing could mean in future months or weeks, this munition in spent perhaps for them, because other free channels psychic enough, etc. So it is, I think, everything is all about building relationships with the right people in every department, not the right people, decision makers with everyone. Because you can have a great relationship with the head of marketing. But the person that you’re dealing with every day, you might be having a clash. So it is just building relationships with everyone.

David Bain 

I love your mention of head of development as that roll is absolutely key as to whether or not you can implement what you want to implement. At the end of the day, if you come up with your strategy, if you come up with your list of things that you want to do, what’s the point and coming up with that if you haven’t actually determined if it’s feasible to implement what you want to do fairly quickly. So you won’t have a general conversation with a head of development to begin with about how quickly you can implement what you may want to do, you can talk about the kinds of things that you may want to do, you’re not asking them to commit to certain things. But if you get an idea of timelines, and how busy their team is likely to be and how much resource they’re likely to be able to provide you with, then you’ll be able to actually use that to shape your strategy.

Maria White 

Yeah it’s just making a correlation between implementation, the benefits you could have, and revenue, and all of that. And that’s one part that’s engineering, for example, marketing, having a close relationship with them, because they have tons of keywords that we’re with, that you can use in SEO and equally for them. So yeah, he’s in PR obviously, because the work they do if you have a PR department, the work they do, obviously, is going to have a significant impact in organic as well.

David Bain 

Let’s move on to the role that SEO has with specific marketing departments, and what roles are probably key moving forward and 2020 fee in terms of how that SEO strategy relates to other marketing channels. So Crystal, what areas other areas of marketing are absolutely key to SEO in 2023?

Crystal Carter 

I’ve been speaking about this quite a lot since brighton SEO in October, but in my opinion, and I’m gonna quote myself again, in my opinion, like if you’re an SEO, you’re like Simba on the mountain, Everything the light touches is SEO, I think Google is making sure that the SERP is incredibly full, full and rich of multimedia experiences. So while I don’t necessarily think that you should be, you know, co-opting what your what your social media team are doing, for instance, the activity that happens on social media will impact your SEO activity. So it’s important to be aware and to work strategically with that team, to distribute your content to, to push forward with different keywords to get different links more visible. So I talk a lot about how if you share something off your share link on Twitter, and you’re posting regularly on Twitter, then if somebody clicks the link from the Google SERP, which will show your Twitter profile, it will show your Twitter posts, they click that link, and that counts as organic. And this is something that it’s interesting. And it’s useful, particularly when Google needs so many more cues to understand whether or not they should or should not index a piece of content. So this is something that can help with a lot. Also Google recently, there was a there was an interesting post on the Search Engine Journal that was talking about how Google understands whether or not content is made by AI. And we’ve all seen chat GPT all over everyone’s internet feeds. And, and in that document that they were talking about media, multimedia, and including video, as being one of the cues that they that they use to understand whether or not a content was created by an actual human being human, we all know that you can also do AI with video, but they mentioned specifically video, and things as a cue because you have to verify a YouTube account, and bla bla, bla, bla, and all that sort of stuff. So I think that these things are important. And also we all know that EAT is important. So that all contributes. So if you have for instance content that’s written by people who have verified social media profiles, for instance, then that will that will impact how Google understands your content and how Google recognize your content overall. So I think that the all the channels are important and where which, which ones you prioritize, will have to do with what resources you have, and where your expertise lies. So for instance, like you might, you might look around and say, Oh, TikTok is where it should go. But you might not necessarily have the best resources for TikTok just yet. If that’s the case, then maybe that’s a lower priority, or maybe that’s a more long term priority for you, then not then maybe so LinkedIn, which you might already have set up. So I think that, in my experience, and in my, in my understanding of the way things are going with SEO in the future, and for 2023, because I think certainly within the last month, ChatGPT has like rocked the world. So who knows where we’ll be in a year from now. But I think that those things were will be something that we should be thinking strategically about and planning accordingly.

David Bain 

So Dre, Crystal was initial card was social media. Second card was multimedia, specifically video, so what cards could you use to raise those two marketing channels?

Dre de Vera 

Well, the conversations you should have with marketing, there’s definitely like OKRs, there’s something called OKRs bigger companies call objectives, key results. And this is where you can get SEO more visible with other teams as being sharing key results with other teams that getting co shared results. And this is something that you can work with the product marketing team with the content marketing team, the dev team, understanding processes within these teams, is also very important, let’s say like understanding the sprint schedule of dev teams, and understanding how you have to present your user story for these dev teams, it’s very, very important that conversation should learn and get started before you get your strategy going. I mean, even on top of that, like you have the multimedia teams, you have the video teams, but then again, you can show them again, I’m all about data and being able to show how much impact you know, like their work does because being able to show them give them feedback on how like they share something that how much should we use or what how the videos ranking me and all of that, that that loop of feedback of what your other teams are doing will just empower you to become better SEO and you know, someone that didn’t want to talk to you.

Crystal Carter 

I was just gonna say I was like, amen. Like I just like it’s like the loop of that and like yeah, the ranking of the content that they’re doing on the thing and how it affects all of that is like super valuable anyway.

David Bain  

Maria, what are some marketing IT departments, specific channels within marketing Do you seek out initially?

Maria White 

Well, the channels I work with on a daily basis, our paid media, we are together, especially because we launched a global website a year ago. And as part of that we work on paid campaigns around the world. Obviously, it seems I’m Mexican, and I know the Mexican market, I know that the niche, like I know the palm of my hands. We’ve been running a few experiments with translation localization. Not only that we believe that when we launch content abroad, is important translation and localization. We ran some incredibly successful tests where apart from localization, we also match the content to linguistic phenomena. One that’s very common in Mexico is Spanglish, where in the north it affects the way people search and how some brands present the categories and products, such as Zara, for example, mixes Spanish and English for the website, how appears in the north of Mexico, versus how it appears in the south. So we adapt the way people search, which can be Spanish and English in one sentence in the north of Mexico, to the content, perhaps, of some of the ads, and the engagement we’ve had has been significantly higher. Like we’re talking significantly higher in terms of engagement, converting and leads and essentially revenue from paid direct and organic, then he would just go the route translation localization, we’ve been matching translation, we’ve done translation, localization, and adapting to linguistic phenomena and adapting to intent and the way people search depending as well, where the site is going to be shown as well. If it’s in Mexico, is that if we can combine Spanish and English if he is perhaps in Panama, or more down to South America is different, versus Spain? Spain is a particular one where no English no anglicisms whatsoever in the content in even though that is fashion and you have the Anglicism or Anglicism here and there it’s just funny. So I work very closely with paid media I work with content I work with PR I work with engineering, but in marketing spend media is email, is affiliates, is a social media as well, because as well for depending on our target audience when we launch globally some people perhaps engage just dependent their social media. main channels might default and how for example in South America then what did you see in the UK for example, in Mexico, we would have thought about TikTok is where people go to find to be influenced and is we should invest all in TikTok is still quite in its infancy TikTok in Mexico, for to make purchasing decisions to get influences more, perhaps for some niches like fashion, perhaps for florists perhaps for gifts, still, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok is growing. But whereas in the UK and some parts of yours could be TikTok. So yeah, it’s interesting to work with all of these departments and matching, working matching intent with the content that they’re looking to use and doing experiments because also we have the freedom to set experiments know many people are fortunate to have the freedom to run and do whatever.

Crystal Carter 

I think also the point you were making about the Northern Mexico and the English because I think you probably would have crossed over to some audiences that are also in the US as well in the south of the US, so I think it’s really interesting that that ties in with your earlier point about trust because you said I’m from Mexico, I know it and so you would have said ‘I know this’ and they would have trusted you with this money about this thing that you know.

Maria White 

Not only I’m very fortunate to be where I am because it’s the first job where since the interview I knew the niche for like that likely because I consume fashion since I was a child, I know trends, I know, all sorts of scandals within the fashion industry, something I know it needs to come I know it as well. So on top of that is knowing your own people as well, like in Mexico, how they behave wherever they go in Mexico, wherever they are in the south of the US, or in Europe, different behaviors. So, along with that, SEO, you attach SEO to it. Because knowing that the niche is while it takes you to think, Oh, I know who the competitors are, I know, I know where you going. And I know what it’s going to work in terms of products in, in, for example, in Scandinavia, which collection is going to be more successful in Scandinavia than he’s going to be in Mexico. If you know your niche, you’re going to know what your target audience wants. If you’re launching globally, for example, if you are to launch two collections, the neutral and the, let’s say the rainbow collection, the rainbow collection is going to be far more successful in London, obviously. And you’re in, for example, in Africa, and in South America, because in Africa and South America is all about color vibrancy textures, whereas perhaps in Scandinavia is more about neutral colors, monochromatic stuff. So perhaps the neutral timeless collection is going to be more successful over there than it is in South America.

David Bain 

Let’s take everything that you’ve shared so far, you’ve offered some great, very specific tips there, you know, Crystal, love you talking about actually, you can use video to demonstrate the fact that you’re not AI, you’re not a bot, you’re a real person. You know, Maria, you’re sharing some wonderful tips. And the fact that you can learn from PPC, you can be very niche with your understanding of your audience based upon what you can learn from PPC there as well. Dre you’re sharing some great things about audiences as well. So what can we do with everything that we’ve learned? What can we do with the conversations that we’ve had with everyone internally, with the channels that we want to interact with in 2023? And how does all that actually come together? And actually fit together with what you want to do in terms of SEO to create an SEO strategy? So Crystal, what does an SEO strategy look like in 2023?

Crystal Carter 

So it’s interesting, because at the beginning of the session, you said, Oh, if you think a lot about tactics, and we think we need to think more about strategy, in my opinion, I think that the tactics are always there. But I think it’s like how you use them. So I think that it’s a question of, if you think about it, and somebody’s playing a beautiful, a beautiful, I don’t know, a beautiful piece on a piano, right? They’re all hitting notes, they’re all playing, you know, things that are within the same scale or whatever. But like, you know, somebody puts together a sonata, they’ve moved with intent. So basically, you’re taking your tactics, and you’re putting them all together, so that you move everything in one direction. And sometimes when you do the strategy for it, when you present your strategy, it seems very grand and very big or whatever. But then when you get into the day to day, you’re like, Okay, so what we need to do actually, is fix all of those images. And we need to fix all of these meta descriptions, fix all of the schema, we need to fix all of this janky code, like we need to fix all of that sort of stuff. And the day to day stuff, maybe isn’t all that that’s super exciting. But if, as from what from your strategic eye view, you can see that all of these things are all pieces of the puzzle fit into your overall strategy. I sometimes like to think of it like a soap opera. So in a soap opera, there’s always a longtail story, like ‘who was the man in the in the tower at the end of the road’ or something. And that they’ll give you a little piece of the puzzle of that all the way along the along the along the season or whatever. But each week, or each month, something happens along the way. So there’s a little be a little story that happens along the way, and they all contribute and they’ll build up to the to the whole thing overall. So I think it’s important to think that they don’t get overwhelmed if they can think that you have to do everything all at once. All of these little pieces all are part of your strategy. So I think that once you get your strategy, break it up into something manageable, because there’s no it’s no good, just having like, sort of, you know, some big some big grand plans if you don’t have any, any sort of ways of implementing them. And I think that that before you before you lay out your strategy, prioritize whenever I’ve written strategies for other clients and things. You know, people always roll their eyes about the traffic light system, but it’s really useful. So I’ll say like so it’s just really useful and be like you can you can say, you know, time and I’ll say this takes this much time. And this this I think might be this much effort or this is this important. So you can say this is going to take like 10 minutes. It’s not that important, but it’ll just take you 10 minutes and it’ll be like and it’ll help since like people Like, yeah, I’ll do that, that will take me 10 minutes, whatever. And if it’s something that’s going to take you three months, if it’s gonna take you six months, then you can start laying the groundwork for that so that you can move it forward. And you can say this is going to take six months, and it’s not going to have that big of an impact, then that can be like if, you know if somebody gets to that kind of job, and part of the part of the strategy. So I think that I think that that it’s important to, to parse it up based on your priorities, and these are your resources and to move forward in that way, and to use the tactics strategically,

David Bain 

Dre, how long should an SEO strategy be for what kind of timescale are we talking about here?

Dre de Vera 

I go from yearly and quarterly, this is how I break it up. All the things we do here, I usually make up on understanding, assessing, and then optimizing. So you kind of got those three pillars, when you kind of break out your strategy. So like we’ve talked about earlier, understanding, understanding the audience, understanding the product, and making sure you put this in the nice presentation. And presented, that’s one key word that Crystal has meant is like presentation, if you just show your manager, make it may not go anywhere. But so make take the initiative to present your strategy to all the stakeholders, like when you have your understanding, that’s when you can get some feedback on whether you’re understanding the product correctly, if you’re understanding the audience correctly. And then assessing, assessing what’s already out there, talk to your content marketing teams, understanding what content is already out there, seeing what their, again, their OKRs are, what people’s budgets are, and making sure you have that and you know, being able to understand that you go or you guys are going after the same KPIs. And then of course, optimizing, you know, going out and just optimize, taking action you’re executing on what you have going on. So understanding, assessing, optimizing kind of breakup, and those three, do it quarterly present quarterly, because that yearly again, but you have to present don’t just show your manager share it out to the team, but use your initiative to book those meetings with other leaders to present your strategy throughout the company.

David Bain 

Maria, in your opinion, what does an SEO strategy look like and how do you measure success?

Maria White 

Well, an SEO strategy is a combination of an assessment of what happened the previous year, or, for example, if you’re new in a company in an agency, and you ask for a strategy, first of all, have a look at an existing SEO data or what has been done, then assess. And then from there, you make a strategy that is form of for example. And just thinking like, bullet pointing in, and that’s how he’s my brain. So you start with an introduction and your assessment of traffic assessment of all of the different elements. And then you move on to a document where you say, okay, based on what work or what is what is going on, then we’re going to move on to this plan. This, which is actually the strategy which is divided by, I’ve got here a little it differs from this is just a sample I created that segment is what I use I work. Obviously, it’s a big organization, but you could do something like the strategy that completes composed by your objective, right? What is it that you’re looking to increase? And in every component of SEO, technical content links, what is that you’re looking to increase? What is it that you are looking to increase in terms of SEO to the wider objectives, right? increase revenue from organic entry, increase traffic, attract different people, or increase traffic in a specific song, whatever, whatever your objective is. And then from the objective and you move to the divide the objectives into as many bullet points as you can, then from there, you move to the strategy, exactly what is the strategy plan of action, to get to that to achieve that objective, strategy plan of action. And then from the plan of action with this strategy, you move to the deliverable or tactic, tactic and strategy, not the same thing. The tactic is part of the strategy, right? It’s like a deliverable. For example, this is my plan of action, and within that plan of action, perhaps link building or within link building this tactic is what I’m going to use to this deliverable is what I’m going to use in my strategy, that is going to contribute to my objective, and then part of the plant so I can put on Twitter, all of these little thoughts and also checking your strategy, not right, not getting carried away and planning 5-10 years, like some people do ahead, things change. I mean, not many people knew a year ago about ChatGPT, which is a game changer, is not replacing us as SEOs, TikTok is not replacing Google. No, things change. So keep your strategy right for a year or two years’ tops, and then revisit that strategy every six months or every three months, because things might change, right? The Google algorithm might change and might have a change that it means that maybe your work as a SEO might change, not your rankings, you work as a SEO, then GPT appears then maybe, whatever. Right? So it’s have your strategy for a year, two years and revise it with your team or your wider team every three to six months.

David Bain 

Okay, you kind of preempted what’s going to be my last quick question there, Maria. And that is stick or twist. Because you kind of said that an overarching strategy should be a year or perhaps two years long in terms of what you want to achieve long term. But you also said, review what you’re doing every three to six months or so. So my question was going to be if a new technology comes along, like ChatGPT, or something else, should you perhaps suddenly change and decide to do something entirely differently? Or should you definitely stick for at least three months or six months and see through what you’re doing? So Crystal first? Are you a stick or twist person?

Crystal Carter 

I don’t think anyone said it yet, so I’m going to drop the ‘it depends’ bomb because I’ve definitely had it before where sometimes you have to twist, like they make you, so I’ve had it before where Google changes a SERP, and then you have to twist, because the people are like “our traffics gone”. The traffic’s changed, what is going on? We have to do something. So you have to change your tack, or your competitors does something is something you didn’t expect? Or maybe like Maria mentioned, theres fashion drama. So maybe there’s some drama that’s happened somewhere? Or maybe there’s some good drama that’s happened somewhere, you know, you got some fantastic coverage somewhere, and suddenly, you’re viral. And you’re like, Okay, well, we should do something about this now. And so you can’t just go, Well, I’ve got my deliverables. And I’ve got my strategy. And I should take off that no, no. You know, the internet is a living, breathing thing. So you know, you have to you have to respond. Sometimes you have to respond. At the same time, you should not panic. So when the helpful content update came along, lots of people were like, oh, I should delete all of my terrible, it’s like, do you need was it that that before? I’m not sure, maybe, um, and people think that you know that they should that they should start panicking straightaway after an algorithm changes. But sometimes algorithms change back. So if you panic straightaway, then you don’t you’re not working with all of the data that you could be you could be using to make those accurate decisions. Dre’s talked loads about data today, and that is absolutely your friend. So I think I think it depends, again, on what your overall strategic objectives are. I think keep your overall objectives in mind, your North Star is ‘we want to be the leader in this market’, for instance, so you want to think what will help us do that more if we need to twist this way. And I’ve also had with clients where they were just very dynamic, and I sit down, I’m like, Okay, I’m gonna plan our strategy for the next three months. And they were like, Yeah, we changed everything last week. I’m like, okay, and then then he’s like, Okay, I’ll replan again. And then they change unlinked. Certainly during COVID, if you had any businesses that were like, open, close, open, close, open, close, you have to change your strategy all the time. For this particular one, I was just like, I’m not my strategy is like, we have a general North Star, and I have a list of things that I think will get us there eventually. And we will we will work towards that. But also, I’m going to understand that this is a dynamic thing. You know, I don’t think I don’t recommend that for everyone. But for this particular one, it was better than spending like, hours and hours planning again and again and again and again and again, and not being able to implement things.

David Bain 

Dre, do you stick or twist? Or should you stick with a strategy for a minimum three months.

Dre de Vera 

I’m a sticker coming from an enterprise SEO. I mean, this is something where it’s like it’s things get done really, really slow. And when you plan your plan, maybe six months in advance, maybe like for the next year, I mean, your mid-year so this is something where you stick with it if you guys if you’re if your company is a huge name, big brand, and you don’t have to worry about like any algorithm updates. It’s like you’re following best practices sticking to the original plan to the overall company goals is something that I’ve always been accustomed to.

David Bain 

Maria, are you a sticker?

Maria White 

Again, it depends, because I’m in a niche thats ever changing. And as dramatic as beautiful as fashion is, we need to change the pendant things may change from collection to collection from season to season. We are very careful with our brand I love, I love my brand, the brand got word for, but imagine how he went for someone like Valencia. You know, we all know about Antigua that started with being different, and I was kind of loving it. And then suddenly they decide it’s a good idea to have this campaign that destroy them. So how do you recover from that? How from the campaign for those who don’t know, Balenciaga, who decided in the latest campaign in November to lunch bag handbag, which was a teddy bear, covered in bondage, and they thought it was a good idea to have children in beds without object like bondage object in the hands. So plus some pedophilia documents out there, it was just it was it was just like, terrible. How do those fashion brand recover from that? Their sales when plummeted in three weeks like 60%? This is data I read somewhere on Twitter from an unknown source. And so if there isn’t, I would say in terms of the strategy, if there isn’t anything an external factor that you have no control of such as COVID scandals or a viral campaign or stuff like that good or bad, any change that could be good or could be bad. Stick every three months kind of checking in case you might need to make a change in six months. Or you might need to adapt something else a tactic that perhaps I’m thinking small businesses, okay, you’re working with certain local influencers? Okay, that is working for you. Maybe we might need to add a little bit more on the second half of the year of the strategy. More of that we might need maybe this type of content in the newsletter worked better for these other florists? Let’s say I just worked with florists in the past. Okay, well, maybe this is working for you. Let’s maybe increase more of that and remove less of that. Perhaps something that is not working. Maybe someone got really excited and invested a lot in TikTok, it didn’t work. Well, let’s go back to Instagram. So is revising is checking your revenue, your etc, and see what is working within three months. And then if we so that can give us a picture of what to change by the second half of the year in your strategy.

Crystal Carter 

And I think you can definitely build in those tests as well. You can say we’re going to test this for this long and see like, see if this works. And if it does, we will keep going. And if it does not, then we won’t.

Maria White 

Exactly. Another thing that’s super important as well is if you have the chance to test and make changes, then don’t make a change just because test all the time test test test. One thing I’m testing at the moment without another group of friends, this outside work, we have a website, and it was a niche, a niche website just for fun. And I noticed something I put is slightly premature, but I’m just gonna say it anyway. So the content that has been written by hand by regular normal human writers by hunting, all of that will notice that it’s indexed. Normally within one week, one day, two, three days a week tops, the pieces of content that we injected, written with ChatGPT and not been indexed. That has been like a week or so we started this project in November as a test and we are like, Mm Hmm. Interesting. So maybe Google is already like, we’re continuing to do this because we have three writers that are writing content, like they normally do. And then we inject as well. We get three pieces of content written by a content writer, then we also get three people three pieces of content written with ChatGPT, or they’re written by humans or index as per normal, like normal, like it always does the content, but the other ones started to be in index. Now. They’re taking they started taking a week. And now it’s been three weeks. So one piece of content that we publish just before Christmas was like no before Christmas, like the one before Christmas. It just hasn’t been indexed. This is New Year. And so we’re thinking maybe we’ll get this already been able to I don’t know. We don’t know. We don’t know. That’s the thing.

David Bain 

We should have made this a two-hour long episode. It could have lasted that long, if not more. ChatGPT is certainly we something we’re going to dive into more in the future as well. I want to ask you follow up questions or discuss things like how do you actually detect if your outsourced content writer is using ChatGPT or not? If that’s the case, but let’s leave that thought out there. And I just wanted to say you’ve been listening to Episode 36 of the Majestic SEO podcast, starring Crystal Carter, Dre de Vera, and Maria White. Crystal, where can the listeners find out more about you?

Crystal Carter 

I’m on Twitter for the moment – @CrystalontheWeb. I’m on LinkedIn, and I also have a mastodon account, which I need to have another go at because there’s a really good community there. So yeah, you can find me at CrystalontheWeb on Mastodon as well.

David Bain 

Wonderful stuff. And also Dre. Where can people find you?

Dre de Vera 

You can find me on LinkedIn at Paul Andre. You can find me on Twitter @Paul Andre and of course every Friday at 4pm Pacific Standard Time on YouTube SEO Video Show.

David Bain 

Maria, thanks so much for joining us as well. Where can people find you?

Maria White 

On Twitter mainly – @Maria_Amelie. I protected my tweets because superstition I have the first week I just like don’t interact socially is the superstition first week of the year. But then I will unlock my tweets eventually. Once week, one week a year only while it should be more. Perhaps I should be locked for six months. But one week a year. Just gently.

David Bain 

Thank you so much for joining us live. If you watch live if you want to join us live next time sign up at majestic.com/webinars. You can see what’s coming and hopefully you can interact a little bit more in future episodes. Thanks for joining. Thank you so much for having us.

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Comments

  • Malcolm X Jr

    As we approach 2023, it’s important for businesses to have a solid SEO strategy in place to ensure that their website is visible to search engines and ranks highly in search results. There are many factors that contribute to a successful SEO strategy, including keyword research, on-page optimization, and building high-quality backlinks.

    One tool that can be helpful in implementing and evaluating an SEO strategy is the site audit tool by rush analytics. This tool allows users to scan their website for various SEO issues, such as broken links, duplicate content, and missing alt tags, and provides recommendations for how to fix these issues. By regularly running a site audit and addressing any issues identified, businesses can improve their website’s SEO performance and increase their visibility in search results.

    Ed: sorry, you can have a mention, but not a link as we partner with other Site Audit tools.

    December 27, 2022 at 8:33 am

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