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A Guide to Conducting a SWOT Analysis for SEO

Sara Taher
2 min read
Example of an SEO SWOT Analysis for a website
Example of an SEO SWOT Analysis for a website

I think I first came across the term "SWOT Analysis" during my startup days. It was commonly discussed in meetings with other founders and as part of accelerator programs.

A SWOT (Acronym for strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) Analysis is a 2X2 grid with one dimension representing the internal versus external factors, and the other strengths versus weaknesses.

I recently found this tool useful when I was interviewing for a role last year and was asked to create a quick SEO strategy and present it as an interview assignment. I thought, ok how should I go about this, and then an SEO SWOT analysis seemed like the perfect tool for the task!

What is a SWOT Analysis for SEO?

An SEO SWOT analysis is an organizational chart that lists Strengths (Internal, Positive Aspects), Weaknesses (Internal, Negative Aspects), Opportunities (External, Positive Aspects), and Threats/Challenges (External, Negative Aspects).

Here's an example of the SWOT analysis I created for the job interview:

Example of an SEO SWOT Analysis for a website
Example of an SEO SWOT Analysis for a website

How to Conduct an SEO SWOT Analysis?

There are many ways you can tackle this. Here's how I recommend approaching it:

1# Start with External Factors First

This may come as counter-intuitive or how we're usually used to looking at websites in SEO. Businesses don't operate in a vacuum. Starting with external factors vs. jumping into website audits right away is a good way to understand the market, the landscape, and other factors that impact both you and your competition.

Some of the things to look at when analyzing external factors:

  • Type of competition (big websites, niche websites, etc...) in SERPs for main keywords.
  • Type of content (video, FAQs, images, etc...) in SERPs for main keywords.
  • SERPs for Branded keywords
  • Knowledge panel
  • Business and SERPs competitors' website size (number of pages), backlinks profile, etc... compared to your website.
  • Data in Google Trends for branded keywords and top target keywords.
  • Search volumes (some industries have low search volumes naturally)

2# Internal Factors

Next is looking internally at the business as a whole and the website. Some of the things to look at when analyzing internal factors:

  • The backend/CMS and tech used.
  • Internal resources (or lack of): who will do the technical fixes, and who will write the content.
  • Data from PPC ads
  • Total number of keywords, current rankings, and competitiveness of the keywords the website is currently ranking for.
  • Number of branded keywords.
  • CTR and CR (since those 2 can be controlled/influenced internally)

When to Use an SEO SWOT Analysis?

There are tons of tools and frameworks out there, so it is key to know when to use what. Same for a SWOT analysis. I think there are some situations where it makes perfect sense, like:

  • Pitching to new potential SEO clients. Creating a pitch for SEO clients whether you work agency side or as a freelancer is time-consuming. SWOT Analysis can save you time, yet give you enough insights to pitch your services.
  • Quick SEO audits. If you ever need to have a quick look at a website, a SWOT analysis is also perfect. It is well-rounded yet fast and simple.
  • Job interviews :) If you're ever asked to do a quick strategy, start with a SWOT analysis.

Do you have other ideas on using SWOT? feel free to message me on LinkedIn! Hope you found this useful. Thanks for reading.


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