There has been a lot published on whether your company should have an SEO strategy. There is also a lot of information about what should be in your SEO strategy. Where a lot of website owners get hung up is how to put in place or follow through on the SEO strategy. A common complaint we get from new customers is that they thought they hired someone to “SEO” their site. But they are not sure if it ever got done. If you are not sure someone is working on SEO and you are not sure what is being done, then chances are you are not implementing an SEO Strategy.
Our goal is to give you a basic framework. You can manage search optimization and keep track of the results you were looking for.
Process Not a Project
Before beginning an SEO strategy prepare for a time commitment. There will be projects to start out with that will have a beginning and an end. Tasks that you need to complete once and then not deal with again. The majority of your strategy will require on-going work on a monthly or even weekly basis. To get the most out of your SEO efforts, prioritize this in your schedule. If you are hiring a contractor to do the work, prioritize regular check in meetings to track progress.
When do you need to see results?
Search Engine Optimization is a lead generation tactic. The process involves improving traffic to your website by improving performance in organic or non-paid searches. The purpose is to get new visitors to your website to generate new business. How soon do you need the website to generate more business? Building organic search traffic is a long term strategy. Some industries are more competitive online than others. A more competitive industry may need to plan for a longer time frame to see results.
What if your business can’t wait? If you need business sooner, you may want to consider more strategies to drive traffic to your website. Other tactics that will have an impact sooner. For example, if you need traffic on the site in the next couple of weeks, also plan a Paid Search strategy. Using Google Ads would get quality traffic to your site tomorrow if needed. To start a a paid search strategy, we would recommend getting expert help. As your SEO process starts to shows results you could reduce spending on paid search. But if its working, now you have two successful strategies to get visitors to your website.
Projects to Get Things Started
Never had an SEO strategy before? Or its been awhile since you really concentrated on SEO? There will be a few research projects to do to kick things off. Examples of projects could include:
- SEO Audit – A review of your website to identify SEO issues that need attention.
- Technical SEO Audit – This is a deeper audit. More technical. This review will identify problems in the setup or code of your website. Technical issues that prevent search engines from visiting your site.
- Competitive Analysis – Review of business competitors to compare SEO strategies. This project will help find keyword phrases to work on or what SEO tactics to include in your strategy. For example, do I need to blog? If so, how often. One way to decide is by looking at your competitors’ websites and what they are doing.
- Keyword Research – This is where you will pick your keyword phrases. You will decide what phrases need to appear in your website content. The list of phrases will come from many sources. The result of this project will be to pick a list of priority phrases to target in your content.
- Setup Website for Tracking – You will want to track the success of your SEO strategy. Setup how to track success before starting. Make sure Google Analytics is setup on your website. Then make sure Goals are setup in Google Analytics too. Schedule reports you will need to pay attention to each month. Have them emailed to you each month.
Get through this phase quickly. Especially fixing technical issues. A lot of the items that came up during the audit may be issues that are long overdue to fix. We need a good framework to post all the good content you are about to work on. Adjust your budget to account for more time up front. More time will get through these research steps as soon as possible.
Need a Schedule
Once research is over and you know your keyword list, you need a schedule. Search optimization is an on-going process. This is something you will need to work on at least monthly. Here is a list of items that you need to include in your schedule.
- Technical SEO – What is it? Check things like broken links, redirects and crawl error messages. This area of your plan will need a web developer’s help. Check on this monthly.
- Search Console – Google Search Console provides a lot of information on the health of your website. Check the reports monthly. You can set this up to receive alerts in your email as Google finds errors. These alerts will also tell you when the problem is fixed. No more guessing if someone is working on your SEO.
- Security – If you are working on SEO, don’t skimp on security. Keep your website software up-to-date. Google does alert users in search results if they suspect your site is a security risk. Nothing like a big red security warning on your search listings to bring down search traffic.
- Speed – Site speed is a search ranking factor. Check this once a month. Look for any major changes in your speed score. Speed issues are usually a technical issue. If you notice a problem, have your developer look into a cause right away.
- Review Existing Content – Your goal is high quality, not high quantity. There is no advantage to keeping old content that is under-performing on your website. Create a schedule to review a few pages each month. We would recommend conducting a content review every year. Plan on reviewing a few pages each month to help look at all pages within 12 months.
- Content Creation – Search Engines and website visitors need new reasons to visit your website. Continuing to build the content on your website gives everyone a reason to come back. You could blog, post videos, add product documentation. Aim for anything that would be helpful to someone visiting your website. Look at your business calendar, block out time to create content for new products or services. Then go back to your keyword research. Work on filling in the blanks. Plan on adding new content a least once per month.
- Off-site SEO or Promotion – It can take weeks for Google to recognize changes to your website. In the meantime, you can work to get more attention to your new content. Consider things like: building links, posting on Google My Business, email marketing or sharing content on social media accounts. Again, creating a schedule will help. We recommend weekly activity to help website performance.
- Review Analytics – Review website analytics on a monthly basis. More often is not necessary. You are looking for trends, comparing month to month is good. Focus on the traffic coming from Organic Search. Track if traffic is increasing. The whole point of an SEO Strategy is more organic search traffic. Also look at the performance of that traffic once it gets to your site. Are they staying on your site? How many and what pages are they looking at? Do you see a high bounce rate or exit rate for organic search traffic? Scheduling a regular review of website analytics tracks the success of your strategy and helps plan what tactics need to happen next.
What is success?
I know there are still people out there with the main goal of being number one in the search results. Maybe that person is your boss. Improving search position is a good sign that your strategy is working. But its not the end goal.
Number one sign of a successful SEO strategy is traffic from Organic Search resulting in conversions on your website. Can your search traffic generate leads? The whole point of this is more business off your website. I have plenty of examples where websites are generating lots of leads. But they are not always number 1 for their keyword phrases.
The only way your SEO Strategy pays for itself is by creating new business.
Create a schedule. Plan for resources to follow through on the schedule. If you have a completed SEO plan, sit with your expert and turn it into a schedule. Everyone will be happier if everyone knows when tasks are going to happen. You may not be able to predict when you will see results, but you will feel better if you know when work is getting done.