Do You Have a Long Term SEO Plan?
A successful SEO strategy should follow a plan. Of course, every web site is unique so you can’t copy your SEO strategy from a standard template and assume that this will work. At the same time, SEO continues to be the number one lead generation channel and you can’t leave it to chance. You should plan your SEO strategy out over a year, even if it evolves over time, and base it on your business’s needs and market. Define clear goals, determine your measurement metrics, and then move forward, one step at a time.
Developing an SEO Strategy
Start by understanding how your web site reflects the elements of your business. As a company, what are your goals and what is your value-add? Why you? And how will you measure success? Then consider who the market is for each element. Who is searching, and how will they behave when they arrive on your site? Ensure you have a solid grasp of the visitor personas, and how they are each most likely to navigate through, and engage with your site. Understand also, how the different components of your marketing strategy will work together.
Your site should reveal an easy path to conversion for anyone, no matter how they arrived or where they landed in your site. No matter what their goals may be, wherever they are in the buying funnel, make the next steps obvious and uncomplicated.
Assuming you have established these fundamentals, it’s time to craft your plan.
The Key Elements of an SEO Plan
SEO work is often separated into on-page SEO vs off-page. On-page SEO involves your site code, meta tags, and visible content. The goal is to make it easy for search engines and visitors to understand and navigate your site. Off-page SEO is the business of link-building. Today, a different breakdown can be more useful. These are the broad areas that need attention as part of an ongoing SEO campaign:
- Technical Optimization
- Content Creation, Curation, and Optimization
- Conversion Optimization
And, these are the key steps you should consider in constructing your general SEO process.
- Establish goals and success metrics
- Keyword discovery
- Technical Audit
- Conversion Audit
- Competitive analysis
- Optimize primary pages based on site sections and navigation
- Target trending and competitive keywords
- Local and link earning strategy
- Coordination with any PPC and remarketing efforts
- Regular reports on metrics and KPIS
SEO by Quarters
This chart is an example of how you can lay these activities out over a 1-year campaign. Notice that some actions should repeat in later quarters. For example, it’s a good idea to follow up your initial keyword discovery with a full refresh a few months later. Keywords and goals evolve. You can’t just set it and forget it. Be sure you are still on goal and on track. And a technical audit will provide important and actionable insights every time! Do it at least once a quarter. Google Webmaster Tools gives continuous feedback. This is a valuable “conversation” to engage in. Do not ignore this free advice from Google.
It’s also going to be helpful to consider and note specific metrics for each activity, right in your chart. Then it will be easy to measure your success from month to month and quarter to quarter.
Final Notes – How’s Your SEO Plan Looking?
SEO is not mystical. There is really only one goal – make your site the best in your market. But the actual day to day work of SEO requires planning and often-times, expert execution. It may not be for the faint of heart. Do you have someone in-house? Do you outsource to the experts? What’s your SEO plan look like? How far out do you go? Share your tips and questions in the comments below.
Recommended Related Reading
- Video: Creating a SEO strategy (with Webmaster Tools!), By Maile Ohye, Developer Programs Tech Lead at Google
- Content Planning 101: Making the Grade, by Rose Lanaro, OpenMoves
- SEO Fundamentals – Simplified, by Brian Cooper, OpenMoves