Create a SEO Plan Before you Buy

Search Engine Optimization – Part 2 to creating a Website Strategic Plan

We believe that every business should have a Search Engine strategy. At a minimum, your customers or potential customers should be able to type the name of your company into a search engine (like Google) and find you on the first page.  Best practices for Search Optimization are tasks that should be included in everyone’s routine website maintenance and upgrades.  Before you sign-up for another service/vendor/SEO fix, create a plan for using your time and resources to improve your search traffic.

Getting the SEO Plan Started

Google Search Console 

Best way to figure out what is going on with search engine optimization on your business website,  is to let Google tell you.  If you have not setup an account on Google Search Console or are not sure if an account is setup, start here. This is a free tool and this will be your number one resource for technical checks on your website.  In addition,  Google has been rolling out a bunch of new features on the platform within the last few weeks, improving the level of information.  When Google has an issue with your website, Search Console will tell you. To implement,  you just need to signup for an account and verify the connection to your website. There are many options you are given to verify your site and if your webmaster already did this, you won’t need to, you should start to get data right away.

Run a Basic Scan for SEO Issues

Sometimes the best way to get a project started is to have a to-do list. If you are new to SEO or don’t feel confident in deciding what needs to be done, there are some really good tools that can create a list for you. Try www.raventools.comwww.woorank.com, or https://website.grader.com/. Don’t forget to look at the reports in Webmaster Tools, especially look at Search Appearance HTML Suggestions.
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Prioritize SEO Resources

What is the priority in 2020?  Not every business has unlimited resources to put towards their website and Search Optimization.  If you had to choose one thing, where would you focus your resources?   This year we are seeing a very clear division between two potential paths for SEO improvement.  On one side, we have Technical SEO, make physical changes to your website and website environment.  Google has been assigning a lot of technical upgrades for websites already this year.   Most website teams will stay plenty busy just keeping up with the technical list.

The other path would be to focus on content improvement.  Focusing on content is a more conservative investment.  Search has always been about quality content, always will be and time and money spent on that will always pay off.   New content could bring new traffic,  maybe entire new audiences.  Refreshing old content could  revive an existing website investment to bring new attention to an existing business/product.  However,  focusing on content can also require a heavy resource investment on internal staff.  If you can’t spare the resources, but still want SEO improvement,  focus on the technical upgrades instead.

Examples of Technical SEO

  • Implement an SSL certificate or HTTPs
  • Page Speed Optimization
  • Schema/Structured Data/Rich Text coding

Examples of Content-Driven SEO 

  • Update Keyword Research
  • Audit of Existing Content for On-Page Optimization
  • Blogging Strategy

Are You Sure SEO is What You Need?

I am not sure why this year is any different, but already I have been contacted by several companies, not doing so well and looking to SEO as solution to save them.  I think SEO works best when your business has progressed to where you are clear about who your customers are and what you are selling.  You can take that specific knowledge and use it to craft a website to further your growth. Before you invest, are you sure this is what you need?  Be aware of the following realities:

Does SEO make sense for your business? –  I have spoken with clients where their CEO was obsessed with being #1 on Google. They were putting a lot of time and resources towards this goal. The product they sold could only be used by about 3500 businesses in the whole world and implementation of their product was a major deal, a long sales process.  I question putting the majority of marketing spending towards SEO in a scenario like this.   If you already know who the 3500 people are that you can sell to, wouldn’t you spend your resources going directly to them?  Instead of hoping they notice you in a search query?

SEO is not free. –  The purpose of SEO is to work towards higher rankings in the organic listings of search engines.  Yes, its true that organic listings are earned, not paid.  The work that goes into improving organic listings is not free. SEO is labor intensive, someone will need to do the research, the content and the updates, whether its an internal employee or a consultant.

SEO is not quick. – Regardless of what you have been told,  SEO is a long-term marketing strategy.  Industries that are highly competitive offline will be just as competitive online and working up the rankings against big competitors takes time. There are no magic tricks that will instantly make your website a success. If your business is in trouble, this is not something you want to start as a last resort to keep the doors open. If you need quick traffic, your best bet is paid traffic.

SEO cannot save a product/business. – The websites I have seen experience the most success are those that are successful offline and take that successful formula online.  Well-run businesses have a strong marketing plan, they know what they need from their website and they put resources towards tactics they know are right for their business.

Need a Better Plan for Your Website?

Download our free 2020 Website Strategic Plan. You will have your website efforts organized in five easy steps.