INTELLIGENT SEO STRATEGY
The deﬁnitive guide to the philosophy of value based
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Follow @LukeSzLatest update 12.03.2015 - v2
• SEO is still a relevant and valid trafﬁc channel. But, only when
approached in the right way.
• The fundamental optimisation protocol hasn’t changed for more than 10
• I have observed a degradation of the fundamental SEO skills, such as
keyword analysis and understanding of searcher intent & behaviour.
• The approach is Inspired by Benjamin Graham’s philosophy of “value
Shield yourself from substantial error, avoid distractions and develop long-term
INTELLIGENT SEO STRATEGY
1. Keyword research
2. Keyword research - Visualisation
3. Keyword research - Fine tuning
4. Keyword mapping
5. Content gap analysis
6. Optimisation of existing content
7. Technical audit
8. Measurement and Rankings
9. Recommended Tools
1. KEYWORD RESEARCH
• The aim of the keyword research is to gain a solid understand of how
people search for your products, services, brand etc.
• The most fundamental step of SEO and it’s often ignored.
• Create a keyword research brief with all the information you know about
your services, products, positioning, target market, audience and competitors.
• Study your website and your competitor websites - ﬁrst make a list of
all pages on paper, then in a spreadsheet start collecting keyword ideas,
brainstorm ideas - there is no right or wrong at this stage.
• Sources of information: own website, Google WebmasterTools, Google
Analytics, Google AdWords, imagination and common sense.
• Create a mind map to visualise your research, it helps to clearly see the
content groups (AKA content hubs) that are important.
• Take potential trafﬁc estimates from AdWords - your research will be more
powerful if you can quantify the impact.
• Start with your dream target search phrase and put it in the middle.
• The branches of your mind map should be connected and organised into
logical groups. Use common sense and avoid overthinking.
3. KEYWORD RESEARCH
• Take another look at your keyword research and run some
searches on Google (or Google AdPreview to learn about visibility
in your target locations). Add missing keywords.
• Study your competitors and see if you have most of the
keyword stems covered.
• Think about the user intent for each search phrase (e.g. buy/lead/
research), feel free to add the intent information to your data.
• Cross reference your research with the keyword research brief.
4. KEYWORD MAPPING
• The aim is to select and decide on the primary & secondary target search phrases for
• Only one primary keyword per page and between up to two secondary keywords. If you have
more you risk loosing focus and your pages will have less chances to rank for the target
• Use a spreadsheet, this will form your on-site optimisation plan. Start with the most
important existing content.
• Keyword mapping will keep you laser focused on your SEO goals. It is a great tool to
collaborate with your content editors.
• Keywords should be challenging and the primary keyword for the home page represents your
number one dream search phrase - the one you put in the middle of your mind map.
ADVANCED STEP - take AdWords data to calculate trafﬁc ﬁgures for each
URL i.e. start with a certain CTR for Page1.
5. CONTENT GAP ANALYSIS
• You understand that one page (i.e. URL / web address) can normally
rank well for only a couple of generic search phrases. Therefore you
probably end up with more target keywords than pages on your
• It’s time to identify new content that should be created to target
search phrases that don’t match your existing content.
• Use the same Keyword Mapping template and this will be your
Content Development Plan or as some people call it Content
6. OPTIMISATION OF EXISTING
• At this stage it’s important that you understand the importance of basic on-site
optimisation (i.e.Title, Meta description, Headings, Content, Internal linking). If you do
then you can proceed to content optimisation. It’s the time to improve / reposition
you website content based on the keyword mapping table you prepared earlier.
• Start with your most important content. Go through each page and write page
titles, meta description, headings and optimise the on-page text. I’m assuming you
know the SEO rules for each of these elements.
• Don’t worry if not all of the pages are perfectly optimised from day one,
concentrate on the home page and your most important pages.
• The combination of primary keyword and secondary keywords help you when deciding on
the link (i.e. anchor) text for internal and external linking.
• Ruthless consistency - is more important than depth of the optimisation,
therefore implement the keyword mapping consistently across the entire site.
• Make sure your website is in Google’s index (type in site:www.example.com to see
the list of pages indexed). If your website isn’t indexed or the number of indexed pages is
signiﬁcantly lower than the number of actual pages on your site that would indicate
indexation issues. For new sites make sure it complies with the best practice from Google
(see link below).
• For smaller sites you can avoid investing too much time in the technical part of
SEO. Fixing technical issues won’t get you anywhere if your content isn’t optimised.
• If you have a complex website (e.g. large content site with multiple sub-domains,
languages) I strongly recommend conducting a technical audit.
• For more information Read Webmaster Guidelines
8. MEASUREMENT AND
• Once you have optimised your content it’s time to measure progress in Google
Webmaster Tools. You should see some movement in your average rankings a few
days after you made content changes.
• Primary and secondary keywords should start appearing/improving in the
reports.At ﬁrst your pages will see impressions, and then you will start receiving
• If your website rankings are still low - try adding more content in the areas that are
underperforming. Don’t forget to update your keyword strategy when creating new
• Focus on the areas that are important to your business by increasing the depth of
the optimisation, adding new content to the most important content hubs.
• Google Webmaster Tools - https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/
• Keyword Tool - http://keywordtool.io/
• Mergewords - http://mergewords.com/
• AdWords - I’ve always recommended running a trial AdWords campaign
to learn about searcher behaviour, discover new keywords using Search
Query Report and test keywords before you include them in your organic
WHAT ABOUT LINK
• If you have an established website you should see some
improvement in your rankings without any additional link
building activity. I recommend link building in three cases:
1) Brand new websites
2)You did everything described earlier and the rankings are still
3)You are impatient and you want to see the results quicker
• Think about link building only if you are conﬁdent that you
won’t achieve your goals by the means of on-page optimisation.
• In this high-level presentation I didn’t cover areas such
as internal & external linking, template optimisation
and many more other important parts of SEO.
• I hope you found my approach useful and I’m
interested in your feedback - Please connect
with me on LinkedIn or Twitter.