SEO framework – Setting objectives

Setting the framework and understanding your objectives

By Rhian Harris

As the old saying goes, fail to plan and plan to fail.

The same goes for SEO planning. The strength of your search engine optimisation campaign relies on a well thought through strategy focussing on both on- and off-page SEO.

So what are the steps to laying your SEO framework:

1. Identify your priority keywords

Keywords or key phrases are how a users search for information using search engines, such as Google or Bing, and should be at the heart of your SEO strategy. Optimising your website around the most relevant keywords your customers search to find you will determine how much traffic is driven through natural search.

The first step in your SEO plan is therefore in identifying what these priority keywords are.

Action – Pick around 10 top keywords most relevant to your content, product or service.

Use Google’s Keyword Tool to understand competition for those keywords, but also identify variations of the key phrases that are most relevant.

Be as specific as possible with long tail keywords e.g. rather than ‘pizza’ go for ‘pizza restaurant south london’, and focus on those with lower competition.

Google keyword tool

Enter the theme of your business e.g. pizza restaurant south london

The tool will display search volume and competition for each keyword so that you can spot the obvious opportunities, but also where optimisation will be more difficult.

Go for quality rather than quantity keeping your list to 10-15 keywords, but continuously review this set as your business grows and changes.

Remember – optimising around less keywords well is better than optimising around too many badly.

2. Check your current performance

It’ll be difficult to justify the efforts you’ll be putting into your SEO strategy if you fail to take a snapshot of where you started.

Action – Use a combination of free tools to work out your starting point and keep a tracker in a spreadsheet.

Here are some of the best ones I have come across:

And of course, don’t forget to install Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools onto your site for richer insight about your website.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, search for free SEO tools.


My recommendation is to spend invest a bit of time into this step in the SEO plan to make sure you have a well-structured framework. The more time you spend at this point, the better the rewards and also the more time you’ll save later down the line!

Next up… On-page search engine optimisation.

Jump to:

What is SEO and why do you need to do it?
Setting the framework and understanding your objectives
The basics of onsite search engine optimisation
The basics of offsite inbound marketing
Good practices in link building
Not forgetting the role of social media in SEO