If your business is already implementing SEO, that’s great.
But if you want to experience the full benefits of optimization, you need a customized SEO strategy for your business.
This guide shows you why a custom SEO strategy is essential for your business. It also gives you some actionable insights you can use to create your own strategy.
What Is a Customized SEO Strategy?
A customized SEO strategy is a tailored SEO approach specific to your business’s unique needs and objectives.
Through analysis of your goals, a custom SEO strategy maps out how your website can help you achieve them.
Why is this important?
Because no two businesses are exactly alike.
For example, a service-based business has different goals than an ecommerce business (lead generation vs. driving sales).
An SEO strategy that’s customized to your business can help you:
- Increase your credibility
- Establish authority in your niche
- Drive relevant traffic to your site
- Improve your search engine rankings
How to Create a Custom SEO Strategy
So, how do you create a customized SEO strategy for your business?
There are a lot of steps involved, but we’ll break it down so you know exactly what to do.
Define Your Business Goals
SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals are measurable objectives that are highly relevant to your business.
You can use this framework to set SEO goals for your business, too.
You need to ensure that your business’s goals are realistic and achievable. And that you have the resources to achieve them.
You should also align your custom SEO efforts with your broader business objectives. This could include expanding into new markets and increasing brand awareness.
You could set a goal of generating 2,000 leads for your site in the next 18 months. Your custom SEO strategy may involve implementing more long-tail keywords into your website content.
Long-tail keywords are highly targeted and tend to drive more conversions.
As another example:
Maybe you set a goal of increasing the average session duration on your blog by 40% within a year. As part of your custom SEO strategy, you could focus on improving your content to increase engagement.
Further reading: SEO Leads: How to Get More SEO Clients
Evaluate Your Competition
Using a platform like Semrush is an excellent way to keep tabs on your competitors’ custom SEO strategies.
With Semrush’s tools, you can analyze your competitors’ keywords, backlinks, and social media strategy.
Let’s say you run a yoga blog. Your content will be competing with other yoga blogs in the space.
Using the Organic Research tool in Semrush, you can view your rivals’ best keywords, ranking changes, and estimated monthly traffic.
Simply paste the domain you want to examine in the URL bar and click “Search:”
The Overview tab will show you that URL’s estimated monthly traffic, top keywords, keyword intent, SERP features, main competitors, and more.
Browse the top keywords to find which content angles your competitors are using and note the ones that overlap with your own personal business goals.
You also can identify gaps in your competitors’ strategies using a content gap analysis, then use your findings to make your own site more successful.
For example, you can find topics you’ve missed that your competitors have covered in detail using the Semrush Keyword Gap tool.
Within the Keyword Gap tool, you can enter up to five URLs (one being your own) to compare the shared keywords the sites rank for on the SERPs (search engine results pages). Click “Compare.”
From here, you can view the “All keyword details for: [site]” section and select the “Missing” tab.
This will show you what keywords your competitors are ranking for that you are not.
If you see keywords that align with your specific goals, you can create content about these topics yourself.
This can increase organic traffic to your site.
Note that your research shouldn’t just include content pages, however.
You should be analyzing your competitors’ money pages, too. How well are their landing pages optimized? How functional are they?
This can offer you valuable insight into how to optimize your own money pages.
Analyze Your Target Audience
It’s vital to know who your ideal customer is.
Creating a buyer persona based on factors like age, gender, location, interests, and behaviors helps you customize your SEO campaign.
It allows you to work out your ideal customer’s pain points and how your business can solve them with products and services that resonate with your audience.
By understanding your customers, you can choose the right keywords to draw them in and identify which stage of the sales funnel they’re at.
To create a buyer persona, you can glean info from the following internal data sources:
- Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
- Social media analytics
- Customer relationship management (CRM) systems
- Past campaign performance metrics
Let’s look at a simple example of a buyer persona: the Freelancer.
The Freelancer is a 28-year-old male who lives in California. He’s a freelance video editor who’s interested in tech. One of his pain points is finding a secure way to showcase his work to potential clients.
Even such a basic profile gives you valuable information about the content, products, and services your target audience will be interested in.
For instance, the Freelancer is highly likely to be interested in the excellent security features of your product or services.
So, the content in your customized SEO strategy should speak to these needs, interests, and preferences.
Targeting the right audience will then lead to improved conversion rates.
Assess the State of Your Website
SEO audits are important as they allow you to identify the current state of your website.
This includes analyzing your SEO performance and identifying areas that need to be customized to align with your objectives.
Conducting an SEO audit with a tool like Semrush’s Site Audit provides a picture of your site’s overall health.
To get started, enter your domain into the search bar and hit “Start Audit.”
Based on the number of crawled pages, this process may take a while.
Once the audit has finished running, you’ll start at the main “Overview” dashboard.
This dashboard covers various aspects of SEO health, giving you a comprehensive overview of your site’s baseline.
You can click on any of the widgets to view more details of the audit.
Your site’s on-page SEO is crucial to your customized SEO strategy. It ensures optimization for both users and search engines.
To perfect your on-page SEO, you’ll need to do the following:
Conduct Keyword Research
Keyword research forms an essential part of your customized SEO strategy.
Through this research, you’ll identify the words and phrases your target audience uses to search for services, products, and information relevant to your business.
Let’s look at an example.
Say you run an ecommerce store that sells handmade jewelry.
Instead of focusing on broad terms like “jewelry” or “handmade accessories,” a custom SEO strategy emphasizes more specific long-tail keywords.
These keywords closely match the search intent of users and are farther down the sales funnel, closer to conversion intent.
So, you might instead target terms like “handcrafted silver necklaces” or “artisan gemstone earrings.”
This custom SEO strategy allows your business to align your content, product descriptions, and on-page optimization with the specific needs of your potential customers.
You can use tools like Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool to conduct this research.
To use the Keyword Magic Tool, you first need to type in your seed keyword. Then, click “Search.”
The tool will show you a list of all the related terms.
You can select the different keyword groups at the left side of the page. For example, “silver.”
From here, choose keywords to target from your selected group as part of your custom SEO campaign.
Further reading: How to Choose Keywords for SEO (A 5-Step Guide)
Write High-Quality Content
A custom SEO strategy requires high-quality content tailored to your target audience’s specific needs, interests, and pain points.
A track record of producing high-quality content helps boost your rankings.
Semrush’s Content Marketing Platform was designed to help you research, plan, and write optimized content that will perform well with audiences and on the SERPs.
The suite offers the following tools: Topic Research, SEO Content Templates, and SEO Writing Assistant.
To use the Topic Research tool, enter a topic you’re looking to generate content ideas about, and then click “Get content ideas:”
You can browse the Cards, Explorer, Overview, and Mind Map tabs to find relevant headline, subtopic, and question ideas related to your original query.
To turn your refined topic idea into a content brief, select SEO Content Template from the lefthand navigation bar under “Content Marketing.”
Type in your topic and click “Create content template.”
From there, you will see your top 10 rivals and key content recommendations based on those rivals.
Finally, the SEO Writing Assistant (SWA) is a smart writing and editing tool that will help optimize your content for engagement and SEO.
To get started, select SEO Writing Assistant from the lefthand navigation bar. Then, click “Analyze my text.”
In the editor window, begin writing your content.
SWA will analyze the SEO potential and originality of your content in real-time.
You can use AI to compose or rewrite content using the Rephraser, Compose with AI, and Ask AI features.
SWA will also gauge and score your content based on readability, SEO, and tone of voice, and originality, which allows you to make improvements where necessary.
Prioritize Your Website’s User Experience (UX)
A positive UX is important for all types of SEO, and custom SEO is no different.
This is because UX improves engagement and satisfaction while also potentially improving your rankings.
A generic SEO strategy may prioritize general usability principles without considering the specific preferences and expectations of the target audience.
Custom SEO takes an audience-centric approach to UX.
The focus is on understanding the target audience’s specific needs, preferences, and behaviors. You must tailor your website’s design, navigation, and content to meet these specific requirements, resulting in a more personalized and relevant user experience.
For example, an ecommerce site’s custom strategy could involve including easy-to-use filters and sorting options.
See Wayfair for example:
This allows users to quickly narrow their search based on criteria—like price range and size—and find the products that suit their needs.
Further reading: 10 UX Design Examples to Get Inspired in 2023
While custom on-page SEO strategies are everything that happens on your website, off-page SEO involves efforts outside of your website.
This plays into building the authority and credibility of your site without actually doing anything to the site itself.
However, much like on-page SEO, it’s an important part of improving your site’s rankings and increasing its visibility.
On-page and off-page SEO work hand-in-hand to create the perfect recipe for success. To improve your off-page SEO, try the following:
Build High-Quality Backlinks
A custom SEO strategy takes a more targeted, personalized, and relationship-focused approach to building backlinks.
It prioritizes high-quality backlinks from authoritative sources within your target industry.
It also focuses on leveraging content as a catalyst for earning natural backlinks and building relationships to secure ongoing link opportunities.
Some ways to earn high-quality backlinks include:
- Creating useful, high-quality content
- Guest posting on other blogs
- Responding to HARO queries
- Creating linkable assets (studies, infographics, etc.)
Further reading: How to Get Backlinks: 10 Strategies That Work
The Semrush Backlink Analytics tool lets you review the number and quality of backlinks for your or a competitor’s URL.
Open the Backlinks Analytics tool, enter the URL, and click “Analyze.”
Then, click the “Backlinks” tab to view a full list of source pages, anchor text, and an authority score (AS) for each source.
While good backlinks can boost your website’s SEO, poor-quality or toxic backlinks can damage it.
If you’re concerned about toxic backlinks, you can use the Semrush Backlink Audit tool.
Open the tool, enter your URL, and click “Start Backlink Audit.” The audit may take a few minutes to run.
From the audit dashboard, you can review the toxicity score of your URL.
Move any toxic backlinks to a Remove or Disavow list.
Then, you can send removal requests directly to domain owners right from the Remove tab with ready-made or customizable email templates.
To disavow backlinks, the tool will prepare a single file with all the backlinks you want to remove. You can upload this file to the Google Disavow Tool.
Further reading: Backlink Analysis: How to Spot Quality and Toxic Backlinks
Utilize Online Directory Listings
Custom SEO campaigns focus on identifying and utilizing niche-specific online directories. These cater specifically to your target audience or your industry.
Having listings in online directories is an important strategy in influencing your rankings for local SEO (more on that below).
These listings contain your business’s name, address, phone number, and web address.
They help both users and Google establish the legitimacy of your website and can lead to increased trust and traffic.
Most online directories are free to use, and they help build authority while improving your local search rankings.
You can use Semrush’s Listing Management tool to check your directory listings and make sure they’re properly optimized with up-to-date information.
Within the tool, you can enter your business name, phone number, website, or run an advanced search.
The tool allows you to add and update your business’s NAP (name, address, phone) information to various online directories. You can also see which directories have incomplete information:
The tool also lets you manage your business’s reputation by monitoring your ratings and reviews.
Technical SEO forms another part of your comprehensive customized SEO strategy. Focusing on technical SEO will increase your site’s UX.
You can nail your technical SEO strategy by doing the following:
Improve Site Load Speed
When your website is as fast as possible, users are less likely to bounce quickly back to the SERPs and more likely to convert. Ideally, your page load speed should be 2.5 seconds or less.
In a custom SEO strategy, there may be a greater emphasis on optimizing the load speed of specific key pages or features (widgets, contact forms, etc.) crucial to achieving business objectives.
This could involve identifying high-priority landing pages, checkout processes, or interactive elements that require faster load times to maximize user engagement or conversions.
Research conducted by Google shows that bounce rates (the number of users who leave your site without interacting with it) go up by 90% when page load time increases from one second to five.
The same research demonstrates that bounce rates go up by 32% if page load time increases from one second to three.
Ensure Your Website Is Mobile Friendly
In the first quarter of 2023, 58.33% of global website traffic came from mobile devices.
If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re going to miss out on a lot of traffic.
A customized SEO strategy allows you to prioritize the mobile-friendly elements most relevant to your business goals.
For instance, if you have an ecommerce store, you’ll want to ensure that you streamline your checkout processes for mobile devices.
If you have a physical store, you’ll want to focus on website features like click-to-call buttons.
A mobile-friendly site enhances both user engagement and UX. Plus, conversions and sales can increase and your rankings should improve.
Add Schema Markup
Schema markup is a type of microdata that provides context for search engines. It’s often also referred to as structured data.
You can customize your schema markup based on the needs of your customers.
For example, if you run a food and recipes site, you can use it to display star ratings for your recipes:
Schema markup turns the elements on your website into a language understood by all major search engines.
Then, search engines can provide users with richer, more informative search results.
If you’re a local business, or part of your activity is location-based, then your custom SEO strategy needs a strong focus on local SEO.
Local SEO differs from traditional SEO because it aims to improve your site’s visibility for local searches.
For example, let’s say you have a brick-and-mortar shoe store.
When someone types in a search like “shoe shop near me,” you want your business details to appear in Google’s Map Pack as in the image below.
This can dramatically improve the visibility of your business for local searches, increasing traffic and ultimately leading to more conversions.
For brick-and-mortar stores, a local SEO strategy leads to more foot traffic.
Optimize for Local Keywords
As part of your customized local SEO strategy, you should create content based on keywords related to the geographic location you’re targeting.
These could be phrases like “SEO services New York” or “best sushi in San Diego.”
By basing content on these keywords, you can show up for search queries related to products and services within a specific area.
This ensures that your custom strategy aligns with your business objectives.
Set up Google Business Profile
A customized local SEO strategy means creating a Google Business Profile that includes your business’s name, address, and contact details.
To make the most of your listing, you should also respond to customer reviews and keep your opening hours updated.
For example, Sam LaGrassa’s Google Business Profile includes its service options, address, opening hours, a link to its menu, and a phone number.
Your custom SEO strategy could include incorporating local keywords into your Google Business Profile business description. This will improve your visibility in local search results.
As a hypothetical:
If you have a dental business in Austin, you could include keywords like “affordable dental services in Austin” in your profile.
This increases the likelihood of you appearing in local search results when users in your area search for dental services.
The Benefits of a Custom SEO Strategy
Now that we’ve talked about the components of a customized SEO plan, let’s look at why you need one.
Stand Out from the Competition
By implementing a customized SEO strategy, your business can take advantage of your competitors’ shortcomings and go above and beyond what they’re offering.
Customized SEO goes further than simply optimizing your website for generic keywords related to your industry.
It involves identifying specific niches within your target market and creating tailored content that directly addresses those audiences’ unique needs and preferences.
This approach allows you to capture highly targeted traffic and position yourself as an expert, giving you a competitive edge in the market.
Improve Search Engine Rankings
Customized SEO tailors your strategy by identifying relevant keywords, creating valuable content, and acquiring high-quality backlinks specific to your business’s goals.
This approach ensures your website ranks higher in SERPs, delivering targeted traffic and increased visibility to your target audience.
Improve Your Authority and Credibility
A custom SEO strategy helps you determine exactly what steps to take to improve your site’s authority and credibility.
Customized SEO analyzes your industry, competitors, and target audience to identify the specific steps required.
These steps aim to enhance your site’s reputation, build trust, and establish your brand as an authoritative source in your niche.
It ensures that your efforts focus on the most impactful actions for boosting your site’s credibility.
In SEO, authority refers to a website’s perceived expertise, trustworthiness, and credibility in the eyes of users and search engines.
It’s based on factors such as the age and history of the domain, the quality and relevance of its content, and the level of engagement and interaction from its audience.
Credibility refers to how safe and trustworthy a site’s reputation is.
When you create content full of expert knowledge relevant to your niche, you establish your site as a trusted and authoritative source. One of the best ways of achieving this is by adhering to Google’s Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) guidelines.
Writing well-researched content with links to other credible sources helps to build your website’s authority by showing you’re sourcing information from trusted sources.
Target Your Ideal Audience and Drive Relevant Website Traffic
You want website traffic to be relevant to your business, right?
Using a customized SEO strategy that’s tied to your business goals is the best way to achieve this.
It helps you target the right keywords and create content your target audience is looking for.
As a result, visitors to your site are more likely to stick around, interact with your content, and (hopefully) make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter, etc.
Track and Measure Your Results
Using a custom strategy makes it easier to track the KPIs (key performance indicators) that are important to your business.
If your main goal is to increase engagement with a specific audience, you can track metrics such as engagement rate and organic traffic volume for that audience.
You can then evaluate the success of your SEO efforts and identify which areas need improvement.
There are hundreds of KPIs that you could choose to monitor, so pay attention to those that are most relevant to your business goals and objectives.
As another example:
If you run a SaaS company, your custom SEO strategy can help you focus on metrics like free trial signups generated from organic search.
You can then optimize keywords and landing pages to increase conversion rates.
Or, if you have an ecommerce store, you can pay close attention to abandoned cart rates. This allows you to focus on improving site usability and optimizing the checkout process.
Further reading: SEO Results: How to Track & Measure SEO Performance
Maintain Brand Exposure
Custom SEO strategies help users trust your brand and identify with it—as long as your content is valuable and credible.
Maintaining brand exposure helps your business to stay top of mind for your customers. It makes them more likely to return to your site as a trusted source within your niche and to promote it to others.
If you’re a travel blogger, a custom strategy aligns with your goals by attracting a global audience interested in travel.
It does this by targeting specific keywords related to travel destinations, tips, and experiences.
You can then create valuable content that establishes and maintains a strong brand identity.
This enhances your credibility among your target audience, leading to repeat visitors and more shareability. Which gives your brand continuous exposure.
Attract Customers at Different Stages of the Sales Funnel
To ensure your conversion rates are as high as possible, you need to understand the different stages of the marketing funnel and how to use custom SEO to attract customers at each level.
- Awareness stage (top of the funnel, or ToFu): At this stage, users are looking for information to help them overcome problems they’re facing. Keyword analysis is very effective—you’ll often find queries revolving around questions like “how to,” “what is,” and more.
By focusing on keywords like these, your custom SEO efforts become more precise, making the right customers aware of your business.
- Research stage (middle of the funnel, or MoFu): At this stage, users are interested in your product or service but will still research other options and compare different solutions. Your custom SEO strategy can provide users with in-depth comparison articles between different products.
For a tech company, this could be an article comparing Dell and HP laptops. This helps guide users in their decision-making process and increases the likelihood of your site attracting qualified leads.
- Conversion (bottom of the funnel, or BoFu): As the user reaches the bottom of the funnel, your custom SEO strategy gives them the final push into converting. This involves convincing them to convert with optimized landing pages highlighting your business’s USPs (unique selling points).
These (often transactional) pages should reassure customers that they’re choosing the best option and reduce the barriers to purchase.
Further reading: ToFu, MoFu, BoFu: A Practical Guide to the Conversion Funnel
Reduce Marketing Costs
Investing in custom SEO services can lead to sustainable long-term success by increasing traffic and improving organic sales without spending money on advertising campaigns.
Customized SEO also reduces marketing costs, as retaining existing customers is more cost-effective than acquiring new ones.
Increase Your Conversion Rates
A custom SEO strategy helps you attract users specifically interested in your products or services through personalized and targeted content.
This can lead to significant increases in your conversion rates.
Technical SEO tactics (such as improving website speed and ensuring mobile-friendliness) increase traffic and can boost conversions by facilitating a more effortless flow along the sales funnel.
Plus, on-page custom SEO practices optimize your landing pages for your specific business and your target audience.
This alignment significantly increases the likelihood of conversions—users are more likely to convert when they land on precisely what they’re seeking.
Develop a Custom SEO Strategy for Higher Rankings
Every business needs a customized SEO strategy. Now, it’s time to start building your own.
You can sign up with Semrush to start analyzing the competition, creating a winning strategy, and climbing the SERPs.
How Do Online Reviews and Reputation Management Impact Customized SEO?
Online reviews benefit your customized SEO strategy by providing valuable user-generated content.
You can use the information you gather from reviews to gain a deeper understanding of your target audience’s preferences and pain points.
Then, you can further customize your strategy to provide value to your potential customers.
Can Customized SEO Help Local Service-Based Businesses Improve Their Online Visibility?
Yes, it certainly can.
Your customized SEO strategy can involve creating location-specific content tailored to the needs and preferences of your audience.
For example, if you run a plumbing business in Seattle, you could create an article called “Common Plumbing Issues in Seattle.”
This content aligns with your specific goal of attracting relevant traffic to your site and improving your rankings in local search engine results.
What Are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid When Implementing a Custom SEO Strategy?
This varies depending on the type of business you run and what your goals are.
For instance, failing to optimize product descriptions for your target audience is a common error in custom SEO strategies for ecommerce businesses.
If you run a digital marketing company, a common mistake to avoid is targeting too broad of an audience. Instead, you should target a specific niche based on your goals and optimize your site accordingly.