How to Plan & Run an SEO Campaign (Step-by-Step Guide)

The first rule of planning SEO campaigns is simple. Don’t start if you lack information and data to back up your decisions. You can come up with countless SEO campaign ideas. But without research, you can’t tell which opportunities are worth pursuing and prioritizing.

The research we’re going to dive into will help us estimate the effort needed to run any SEO campaign and its potential impact. This concept can be illustrated by the Impact Effort Matrix:

Now, because an SEO campaign is defined as a set of tasks, we’ll assume that all the ideas will fall into the two quadrants on the right side.

We need two essential sets of SEO data that will help us come up with the SEO campaign ideas and add them into the matrix. Welcome to keyword and backlink research. If you’ve already done this, feel free to skip to the second step.

Keyword research

Keyword research is the process of understanding the language your target customers use when searching for your products, services, and content. It then involves analyzing, comparing, and prioritizing the best keyword opportunities for your website.

Now, I’m not going to dive into the process of keyword research, as we have a whole guide about that. But do note planning and running a campaign is more advanced than just picking a few keywords and writing content about them.

Here are a few use cases that are worth pursuing as an SEO campaign based on keyword data:

  • Targeting highly competitive keywords
  • Selecting topics that can attract many backlinks (link bait content)
  • Creating a content hub like this
  • Developing boilerplate content that can be scaled up into hundreds of similar pages targeting different keywords (example from Wise SEO case study)

Most of these require an outreach campaign on top of the Austria phone number content creation to maximize the potential. That’s where the other set of data comes into play.

Backlink research  Best database provider | classy database

Backlink research is the process of understanding what makes websites link to one another in your niche and gathering link opportunities for your own pages. Basically, it’s about getting all the necessary information to grow a strong backlink profile for your website that should lead to better rankings.

A lot of backlink research stems from a sort of SEO competitive analysis. It can be in the form of analyzing intersecting links where you check which websites link to your competitors but not to you. This Link Intersect report can be accessed in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer:

Then we can analyze the type of content that gets the most links (link bait) in your niche in the Best by links report in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer:

Or do the most straightforward analysis, which is going through the Backlinks and Referring domains reports—all in Site Explorer:

Getting all this research and processes right allows you to launch outreach campaigns that should get high-quality backlinks to your most important pieces of content. Technically, any outreach campaign can be considered an SEO campaign on its own. (Ideally, it’s best to launch it right after the “content creation” step.)

Got an SEO campaign idea that’s worth pursuing? Great! You should set up an objective for that. In other words, what should be the quantifiable outcome of that campaign? What are you aiming to achieve?

Everyone’s SEO objectives are different. But generally, the four most common ones revolve around:

  • Increasing conversions and sales from organic traffic.
  • Increasing search visibility (share of voice) for a set of keywords.
  • Ranking higher for a highly competitive keyword (to outrank a competitor, drive a lot of traffic, etc.).
  • Getting high-quality backlinks.

If you’re not sure which objective to choose, these four are always a good starting point.

For example, one of our latest SEO campaigns revolved around creating a “stats” page and then building links to it (to test how successful we’d be so that we could create a case study about it).

The main SEO objective was to rank in the top three for “seo statistics” within three months. Another objective that would help to get us there was to build at least 20 high-quality backlinks to the page from an outreach campaign.

We SEOs can’t really guarantee any results, but these objectives should still adhere to the popular SMART objectives guidelines. You need to find a good balance between the specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely parameters of the objectives.

The time period is arguably the most difficult parameter to estimate. For better ranking objectives, I suggest going for at least three months, preferably even six months and more if your website isn’t generally highly competitive on the SERPs.

Based on our research, only 5.7% of newly published pages get to the top 10 search results within a year. And if they do, it mostly takes between two to six months:

Domain Ranking (DR) shows the strength of a website’s backlink profile compared to the others in our database on a 100-point scale. It’s a solid proxy for assessing how competitive a website can be on the SERPs.

By the way, if your time frame is long enough (six months+), your keyword ranking and backlink objectives may eventually go hand in hand. The better the content’s backlinks, the higher the chances that content will rank well. And the higher a page ranks, the more people will see it and link to it naturally.

Once you know what you’re aiming for with the campaign, it’s time to start planning.

Recommended reading: How to Set the Right SEO Goals With 3 Examples

Let’s now dissect the one big SEO campaign into a structured set of tasks. To help us get there, we’ll use the “SEO goals” pyramid concept:

What we’ve set up in the previous step is the outcome goal and maybe even some performance goals that are evident right away, such as the need to build backlinks. We’re going to uncover the rest of the steps and goals now.

Let’s continue with the example of the SEO campaign for our “stats” page. The outcome goal was to rank in the top three search results for “seo statistics” within three months.

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