A SWOT analysis covers four key attributes: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It is a usual method across the business industry that exists to streamline your marketing strategies — identify opportunities with the most potential to deliver high returns or the most dangerous threats to avoid.
What’s great about this approach is that you can apply it to virtually anything, even beyond the business setting. This includes SEO marketing and all of its aspects. SEO SWOT Analysis gives you insight into where you stand regarding optimizing your site for search. It allows you to identify your core strengths, address weaknesses, maximize opportunities, and overcome threats. It also earns you a clear advantage to keep you abreast of ever-changing algorithms, thus maximizing your already limited SEO resources.
Let’s discuss SEO SWOT analysis in more detail.
What is SEO SWOT Analysis & How Does It Work?
A standard SWOT analysis consists of four quadrants, two rows, and two columns. Strengths and weaknesses usually stem from internal resources like business operations, expertise, and reputation. Meanwhile, opportunities and threats may arise from external factors like a new market or increased competition.
Similarly, strengths and opportunities can help achieve your objectives, whereas weaknesses and threats are potentially harmful.
Ideally, your SEO SWOT analysis should help fine-tune your SEO strategy. You can undertake an accurate assessment to identify your areas of priority — whether that be keyword research, technical SEO, content, off-page SEO, etc. It can also help outline the steps and create a solid action plan to achieve your SEO objectives and overcome challenges.
How to Conduct an SEO SWOT Analysis
When conducting an SEO SWOT analysis, there are a few questions for each quadrant you can ask yourself. These questions can serve as your starting point, giving you a clear direction on where you should focus your SEO efforts first.
Strengths are internal factors that an organization does particularly well — or in the case of SEO, what your site is already doing well. By simply assessing your Google Analytics and your performance in SERPs, you can determine your SEO strengths. Below are a few guide questions to ask yourself.
• What keywords do you rank in the top 20 for?
• What percentage of keywords are in the top 20?
• Which pieces of content are in the top 20 search results for your primary keyword groups?
How to Leverage Your SEO Strengths
1. Look for opportunities to link out from or to your high-ranking content. Internal linking connects your content, thus helping Google to better find, index, and understand your web pages. When used strategically, it can send page authority to your other pages, which then increases your SEO rankings for each linked page.
2. Identify where you can make any improvements to help web pages that rank in the top 20 move higher in SERPs. These may involve updating title tags, headings, and metadata, updating broken links, or redirecting them to more up-to-date and relevant sources.
3. Find out whether your landing pages rank for the keywords you want to be found for. Instead of focusing on ranking your homepage for several of your keywords, optimize pages that provide the exact answer to the user queries. This way, you save visitors from having to spend time navigating your site and risk them abandoning it without taking your desired action.
4. Pay attention to your top-performing types of content and recreate them. If you have long-form blog posts that rank well on SERPs, by all means, publish more of the same.
Your weakness in SEO can be anything that is not performing well, thus preventing you from achieving your objectives. By identifying it earlier on, you can work to address it and save you a great deal of time, effort, and resources. Below are some of the things you should consider when identifying your SEO weaknesses.
• In what areas of SEO are your competitors better than you?
• What content or keywords are performing poorly in terms of traffic and rankings?
• Are there any technical issues that may be affecting your performance?
• Are you lacking any resources to boost your SEO — expertise, budget, or tools?
How to Address Weaknesses
1. When some of your keywords are way out of reach and just not worth the time and effort to optimize for, you may want to reconsider your strategy and look at the more specific long-tail keyword alternatives. Supplement your organic efforts with paid search strategies to generate traffic and boost conversions while you establish your organic search authority.
2. A technical weakness is an area where you tend to have more control. With tools like Google Search Console, you can perform an SEO audit to identify issues such as errors found in the title and heading tags, links, keyword usage, and other SEO and mobile-friendly factors.
In SEO, you can draw opportunities from your strengths — even your weaknesses, if you know where to look. Therefore, the questions you can ask to assess yourself are built upon the first two elements of your SWOT analysis.
• What weaknesses can you solve immediately?
• Which keywords can you further rank for?
• What areas can you do better in your content strategy?
• How can you do better than your competition?
How to Maximize Opportunities
1. Keyword research tools like Ahrefs allow you to discover keyword opportunities you can use in your content strategy. It provides insight into high-value keywords based on estimated monthly search volumes, density, traffic, and/or competition. In other words, it looks into which keywords your competitors are ranking for.
2. Refreshing your top-performing content offers an opportunity to stay relevant and build authority with just a little effort. It may involve updating texts and images, building links, or any other steps to make your content more informational and up-to-date.
Threats can be anything from duplicate content to irrelevant, low-quality inbound links, and an increasing gap in rankings between your competitors. Because they can harm your authority and overall SEO performance, you should prioritize addressing them to avoid their damaging consequences. The easiest way you can answer these questions is to periodically check your site performance.
How to Overcome Threats
1. Whether intentional or not, you can’t fully avoid having some duplicate content within your site. But, you can avoid getting penalized for that by redirecting duplicate content to the canonical URL or the source.
2. While relevant, high-quality links to your site can boost your authority, irrelevant, low-quality inbound links from non-reputable sites can do lasting harm that can also get you a penalty. Use disavow tools to disqualify any inbound link and send signals to Google that it has nothing to do with you.
3. The competition in the digital marketing field is fierce. Besides your known competitors, you should also pay attention to new, aggressive competitors who can challenge your authority and position over time. As Google rewards fresh and relevant content, the best way to stay relevant and ahead of your competitors is by continuing to publish and update your content.
With the results of your SWOT analysis, you should be able to map out the scope of your SEO activities to protect and improve your organic authority and rankings. But, remember, it will take weeks or even months to realize everything in your SWOT. You may also have to conduct this analysis on at least a quarterly or bi-annual basis to realign and boost your SEO goals.
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