More than 4 billion people have access to the internet. Most of the consumers are now online and they all use search engines to find information. Google alone receives an average of 5.5 billion searches every day. And one of the most effective ways to be included in those searches is to implement a data-driven, goal-oriented SEO marketing plan.
How Do You Develop an SEO Strategy?
Most entrepreneurs may start off with any strategy by asking, “What’s my budget?” and resolving concerns whether the business can afford it. Even without the benefit of a professional SEO marketing services, you’ll still need to spend some money on carrying out tactics. So it makes sense to immediately think about money first.
The problem with that approach is it limits your strategy, which means losing out on potentially lucrative opportunities because you don’t want to spend too much. The other problem with that line of thinking is that your competitor is spending, which means they’re making the most of opportunities from this digital marketing technique.
Instead of just asking about your budget, think about where your business stands in terms of competitiveness, online visibility, content assets and all other relevant factors. Then, ask how your SEO plan can fit into the overall marketing plan you’re already implementing.
Like every business process, this one should always begin with your goals and end with ways to track your progress.
Here’s a basic SEO marketing plan template:
1. Determine the Goals of the Campaign
Below are some examples of SEO goals, objectives, and the respective SEO metrics to track.
Goal: Increase quality leads
• Activate 5 online directories and listings
• Boost keyword ranking
• Optimize content
Metrics: Click-Through Rate (CTR), Bounce Rate, Average Time on Page, Qualified Leads
Goal: Boost online sales
• Increase traffic by x%
• Optimize Content
• Optimize Calls-To-Action
Metrics: Click-Through Rate (CTR), Average Time on Page, Conversion Rate (Organic), Bounce Rate
Goal: Increase brand awareness
• Promote key products
• Increase backlinks by x%
• Increase sign-ups by x%
Metrics: Keyword Ranking, Average Time On Page, Impressions, Domain Authority, Click-Through Rate
SEO Tips: Set SMART Goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound.
Your goals should be clear to everyone in the team, realistic, trackable, and relevant to the growth of your company. And it should have a deadline. If you’re planning to hit a specific number of traffic, you must map out a clear way of how you’re going to increase the number of traffic, and you should have a timeframe of when you should accomplish it by.
Specific goals will allow you to pinpoint the factors you need to include and focus on in your SEO plan to make it stronger.
2. Do an SEO Audit
An SEO audit is the process of evaluating a website’s health and how it performs on the search engine search results pages (SERPS). The goal is to see if your website is functioning as it should, and then provide solutions to further optimize the pages.
An SEO web audit is an important step for you to know what activities are needed to accomplish your goals, as well as what areas of your website are doing poorly.
Learning how to do an SEO audit is a valuable skill as it allows you to fix any element quickly and determine new opportunities for your business to capitalize on.
An SEO audit will contribute the following to your SEO plan:
• Action points to implement for you SEO strategy
• Data you can use to compare website past and present SEO performance
• Insights into the effectiveness of your SEO efforts
• Competitor analysis
• Making informed decisions based on facts and data
Before you go do your keyword research, conducting an SEO audit first. Screaming Frog, SEOptimer, DeepCrawl, SEOReseller’s SEO Audit Tool and Semrush are just some of the tools that will ease this process.
3. Analyze the Results
Once you’ve audited your website, it’s time to analyze results and develop premises that will lead to the actionable items that will be included in your SEO marketing plan. This will set off the road map that will lead you to your SEO goals.
Here, you’ll define the elements and tasks that need to be done as well as identify priorities for your SEO campaign. This will include fixing broken links and 404 pages, consolidating duplicate content, and other tasks.
4. Recommendation Based on Findings
List the solutions that will keep the website optimized and ranking. You’ll determine the changes you want to see on your site and then decide the steps you need to take to make them happen.
SEO is an ongoing process, so you need to frequently check, update and modify this stage.
SEO Tip: Fix poor user experiences on your website and make sure that page load times don’t exceed more than 3 seconds. User experience is a major ranking factor; if your site isn’t loading fast enough and well enough on every device — from a desktop to a mobile phone, users will leave and search engines will respond by not ranking your site.
5. Keyword Research
Keywords are the foundation of an efficient SEO strategy. The right keywords will propel your website in the right direction. Here, you’re going to pinpoint the keywords your target market is using to look for solutions that match with what your company offers.
In-depth keyword research will take most of your time. You will need to list target keywords, keywords that competitors are using, then sort out your priorities depending on the volume and your competitive advantage.
Target short-tail keywords and long tail queries.
Short-tails tend to have a larger search volume than long-tail ones. For example, if you’re a pet shop owner targeting the keyword “pet food” with 16k search volume and keyword difficulty of 80, you’ll have a hard time ranking for that term.
If you choose more specific searches like “pet food express hours” with 1,300 search volume and a keyword difficulty of 1, ranking may be easier.
List the target keywords you plan on putting into your service pages, pillar pages, or target with your link building initiatives. The keywords you choose can come from consumers, surveys, competitors or keyword research tools.
6. Plan Your Content
Now it’s time to plan your digital content.
When doing any form of publishing, the purpose and objective of every piece of content is critical. This is because you have multiple types of content to use: a blog post, service page, landing page, product page, e-book, or a case study, infographic, video and many others.
Choose a format that matches your users’ needs and where they are at in the buyer’s journey stage.
Here’s are some examples:
Awareness – Keywords that fall into this buyer’s journey are informational keywords. This means that readers are looking for information about their problems and potential solutions.
For example, if you’re selling “slimming tea,” your potential customer could be looking for slimming tips and would probably enter the keywords “how to get slimmer” or “how to lose weight.” You can then craft a blog post around these keywords.
Consideration – Consumers who are in the consideration stage are doing more research. They already have ideas on how to solve their problems, but they’re investigating more and looking for more information to help them make the best decision. Keywords that belong to the consideration stage could be “benefits of slimming tea” or “slimming tea vs slimming coffee.” The consideration stage doesn’t mean your user’s one hop away from buying. So try not to be aggressive with your sales pitch.
Decision – The user is now ready to buy. Keywords like “slimming tea prices” will correspond to this stage or user’s intent.
Mapping our your keywords will help you develop a persona-driven SEO strategy that will efficiently improve your online performance.
Your content plan needs to cover the following as well:
• Content calendar with identified schedules and producers
• On-page activities, from identifying which pages need to be optimized and which ones need to be updated
• Off-page activities, from doing blogger outreach to influencers to promoting your content on other channels
7. Tracking & Reporting
SEO is a long-term strategy. It’s ongoing process that will involve a lot of testing and tweaking. It’s crucial track its progress so that you know what’s working and what isn’t in your SEO marketing plan.
Track your progress on the business and SEO level. The first one will tell you if you’re investments are paying off — that a blog post outreach has led to a 25 percent increase in sales. The second one will tell you if focusing on, to use our earlier example, “pet food express hours” has boosted your ranking from 30 to 10 in two weeks.
Fortunately, this part of the SEO plan can be automated. Use SEO tracking and monitoring tools, like Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Google Data Studio, Ahrefs Site Explorer, and SEMRush.
The steps above will help you map your SEO activities. To help you implement the advice above, we have created this SEO marketing plan template that can help you kickstart your planning sessions.
Why SEO is Important for Your Business
SEO is a key part of your business success. It allows you to be seen online, paving the way for potential customers to visit your website. It keeps you engaged with your current customers, making sure they continue to patronize your products or services. And it gets you ahead of the pack, improving your company’s competitive edge in the market.
Creating an SEO marketing plan is the easiest way to manage and keep tabs of your SEO efforts. But it involves a lot of work, time and sorting through data to help you make decisions. Unless you have an in-house team to implement the best SEO practices, you may find yourself planning as well as creating.
But you don’t have to do everything.
SEO Marketing With Help
You can do SEO on your own, but maybe in the short term. After a while, you may forget to update a service page on your website or miss an opportunity to build links through a blogger outreach tactic. You will get busy running the day-to-day of your business and the plan you created may not be carried out as you intended.
Creativo Media’s content marketers, editors and SEO strategists can help you carry out your SEO plan. Email us today and we’ll help drive your business closer to its goals.