Diary of a CMO - SEO Part 2

Creating and beginning the implementation of our SEO strategy. Exploring SEMrush, automation, the costs, choosing initial keywords & more.

I have created a subsection to my Diary of a CMO Posts which focuses exclusively on SEO. I won’t repeat why here in great detail but the main reason is that SEO is powerful, usually expensive and the results can be elusive. Read the full details in the previous post. In these posts, I document the true cost of SEO and show you my strategy and thinking around this process.

Let’s dive into the updates for this week and what I have learnt.

19,772 errors on my website!

I nearly fell off my chair when I saw this. Luckily it was a simple fix and not expensive either. Eric fixed this in a few hours. It was simply redundant pages from as far back as 2015 that had not been copied over to our new website. They were still indexed but the links were dead. This content was so out of date we hadn’t imported it when the new site went live. Eric just had to fix the 404 redirects so that any visitors coming from those links landed on the blog and could source new and more relevant content.

Automation

As discussed in the previous post to remain in a CMO role I need to focus on strategy. The goal is always to deliver a solution and not allow myself to become the technician. The first element of automation has been set up. As I also own this business I like to record videos and put my face on the content. That won’t last forever but I record a 10-minute video that gets uploaded to a specific folder. At this point, our video editor is notified and so is our writer. They both take the content and action their roles in the production. The video editor creates the video along with the cover and then it is uploaded to YouTube. Our writer creates the article using the video as inspiration and guidance and then gets this posted to our blog. My one action sets of a flurry of activity.

Ahrefs vs SEMrush

This was a tough decision. Both come with great recommendations and most of the top articles I suspect are on their affiliate schemes so it was hard to know which to pick. In the end, I chose SEMrush after purchasing a book by Tim Cameron-Kitchen entitled How To Get To The Top of Google. With this book, you get a free trial of SEMrush for a month. I had actually tried Ahrefs on their 7-day free trial but kept getting crawl issues. With SEMrush I had no such issues and it was a doddle to get setup.

Site Score 94% - Yippee!

The changes made by Eric went a long way to improving our site score. Fixing the 404 issues has made the world of difference. That being said we noticed 800 issues with unminified JavaScript and CSS files. According to SEMrush these are causing issues with our page loading speed which from my research is important for Google rankings. Our developer Eric looked into this for us and found it was caused by a conflict with Elementor which we use on the website. We use this to create blog posts and edit our site content. It’s drag and drop so it’s easy for us non-techies to use. We also discovered an issue with slow load speed on the homepage and Eric is investigating that at the moment.

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The Keyword Battle Ground

I got some worried looks from a few SEO agencies when I mentioned the keywords that we wanted to target. I do still have those lofty keyword goals but to test our strategy and process we are going to aim for some low hanging fruit first. I want to first determine if our strategy works. If it works then we can use this same method to go after more competitive terms.

Choosing Initial Keywords

I wanted to share the exact keywords here for full transparency on this post BUT we do have quite a few competitors. The whole point of this exercise is to find gaps and search terms we can exploit. I have therefore made the decision to keep the keywords we chose to ourselves BUT I will show you the process we took so that you can implement this should you wish.

Google Search Console

The first step was the Google Search Console. I went to Performance > Queries to see what people have been searching for. It shows where I am getting some impressions already for certain search terms. This gave me a couple of ideas where we are ranking for terms but we could be ranking higher. We have a head start on these terms but they need optimisation and more content. Potentially their own dedicated pages.

SEMrush Competitor Analysis

The next step is to take a look at some of our main competitors and see which keywords are driving a lot of traffic for them. The goal here is not to find the obvious keywords, we know the big ones but to find somewhere we can wage war and potentially win.

We used the Organic Research tool on SEMrush to find these keywords and then filtered the results by Keyword Difficulty = Possible. The reason I skipped Very Easy and Easy is the traffic was so low for many of the keywords the impact would have been so small it wasn’t worth the time.

Next, I examined the volume of traffic for that keyword. That means how many searches there are for a particular keyword such as writer’s block for example. I then examined the % of traffic our competitor gets from that keyword. The reason I look at this metric is to determine if it’s worth pursuing. It may be a keyword that they rank for accidentally and that the audience we are targeting just isn’t that interested in.

Finally, I’m looking at the position of these keywords to see where my competitor is ranking. They are a big competitor so if they are struggling to rank for any of these then it would be a waste of time for me at the moment.

SEMrush Link Building Tool

I have hired a VA who found me some great Podcasts to appear on. I have also tasked her with locating guest post opportunities. On top of this, I am exploring the SEMrush link building tool to see what this yields. You pop in your target keywords, your top competitors and it spits back a list of suggestions. It has come back with some great suggestions so again I have asked my VA to start working on some submissions for backlinks and guest posts using this list.

Money

This week I have spent £50.00 on another tweak to the website. I purchased the book which was £10.00 so a small spend this week. However, having recruited a writer, someone to help with outreach and potentially looking at someone else to also assist with content, the spending next week will take a sharp increase. On top of this, the money spent on the video editor will begin to become due to a rise in spending is coming. Buckle up!

The running total currently is £220.00