Perform a SWOT Analysis for SEO
Here’s how to use the popular SWOT analysis in your SEO strategy to make sense of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in search.
A standard SWOT analysis can be used for any type of assessment, but today we’ll focus on how to use a SWOT analysis for SEO.
A SWOT Analysis covers four key areas: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This is a true back-to-basics approach you can use to understand where you currently are in regard to optimizing your website and improving your SEO.
Marketers considering an SEO initiative have a seemingly neverending list of on-site and off-site optimization tactics and tasks to perform based on an overwhelming amount of data.
With limited resources, it’s important to focus your attention on those items which will provide the biggest return on your investment of time and resources.
One way to establish such a focus is to first conduct a SWOT analysis of your web presence to identify areas of priority from keyword, content, technical, linking, and competitive perspectives.
A comprehensive SWOT for SEO provides a roadmap against which tasks can systematically be tackled.
While keyword research should never stop, we could devote an entire SWOT analysis just to keywords. For the purposes of a broader SEO view, we’ll assume the analysis here is based on a well-defined set of target keywords established for a specific point in time.
Determining Your SEO Strengths
One of the primary factors search engines use in determining your organic search visibility is your relative strength and authority for a topical group of keywords.
Identifying those keywords for which you already have some level of authority in the eyes of the search engines—your momentum, in other words—is an excellent place to focus your attention. Authority is generally difficult to come by and takes time to establish, so why not build on what you already have?
When creating your SEO SWOT analysis, there’s several questions for each quadrant you’ll want to consider. These questions become your starting point for your SWOT, and after completing, you should have a clear direction on where you need to focus first:
Strengths – internal factor
Consider what you are already doing well
- What keywords do I rank in the top 20 for?
- What percentage of branded vs. non-branded keywords are in the top 20?
- What is my site’s mobile load time? (potential to be a weakness)
- What are my top 10 revenue-driving or lead-driving landing pages?
- What are my top 10 traffic-driving landing pages?
- What “secret sauce” or offering do I have for my customers?
- What has worked well for my SEO in the past?
Weaknesses – internal factor
Consider where you may be missing the mark or falling short
- What areas of my site need improvement? (mobile, technical, content)
- What are my competitors doing that I am not?
- What keywords are ranking on page 3 or farther back? (little to no visibility)
- What percentage of those keywords are branded?
- What landing pages are driving little to no traffic?
- What landing pages are driving little to no revenue or leads?
- Is our team set up for SEO success? (team skill set, resources)
- What is my SEO & marketing budget?
Opportunities – external factor
Consider your strengths and weaknesses, where can you continue building and where could you improve?
- What does my audience need? What are their potential pain points when seeking a solution online?
- What do I want my audience to do once they reach my website?
- How does my website user journey flow?
- How clear is the path for new customers coming to my site to find what they need?
- What new products or services could we explore offering?
- Which content do I have existing that could be better optimized for my audience?
- Which strengths can we continue to capitalize on in the market?
- Which weaknesses should we dedicate more resources towards?
Threats – external factor
Consider again your weaknesses, and stack those against the competition
- What are my business competitors doing well?
- What are my search competitors doing well?
- What gaps exist between my site and the top business or search competitor sites?
- How rapidly is the gap growing between my site and the top business or search competitor sites?
- How often are new competitors entering the market?
- What factors in my industry are changing or expected to change?
- What search engine factors are changing or expected to change?