SEO Process from Start to Finish – SEO Process Blueprint

SEO process can be different from company to company, but in basics it is one and the same thing. If you are an SEO or if you are planning a serious SEO campaign from start to finish then you do need to have a set SEO process that you will follow. Now we had our own SEO process, we improved it after partnering with Dejan SEO, so now we have a serious looking SEO process that works amazing. But remember, this is just the basic template for your SEO campaign, you can tweak it to your liking, but the effect and success depends only on your efforts and commitment.

SEO Process Blueprint for SEO Campaigns

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Website Analysis

The first step in our SEO process is website analysis. In order to engage the right market in the most effective way you need to understand your client, the requirements and the users, without these things you can never fully promote your clients and expect to see great results. The process can be a little tricky, but it is the first and most important step you need to tackle before you start thinking of strategies, content improvements and viral ideas.

1. Data Gathering

1.1.   Existing Traffic Analysis, type of traffic, quantity, conversions

1.2.   Current rankings for targeted terms

1.3.   Best performing landing pages

2. Competitor Research

2.1.   Targeted Keywords

2.2.   Best performing pages

2.3.   Competitor backlink discovery

When doing traffic analysis, make sure you double check your findings. There isn’t a single tool that will give you perfect data, not even Google Webmaster tools and Google Analytics. Use other tools and manual methods to double check your findings.

Keyword Research

Next step is to perform keyword research. We need this part in order to optimize our content in the future and to build links for highly targeted keywords that will bring traffic and conversions. There are many ways to go about keyword research, starting from simple brainstorming and drilling deeper into the matter as well as using SEO tools to help you discover potential keyword winners.

1. Brainstorming Keyword Ideas

1.1.   Top level keywords, MDK keywords

1.2.   Social mentions

1.3.   Trends

2. Existing Ranking Keywords

2.1.   Use Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools

2.2.   Other ranking tools

2.3.   Manual checking

3. Keyword suggestion tools

3.1.   Google Adwords Keyword tool

3.2.   Wordtracker

3.3.   SEOmoz Keyword Difficulty tool

After your basic keyword research you should have more than 100 potential keywords. Organize them by traffic levels and competition, chances of achieving result in certain amount of time and forward them to your client for approval. In the end you should have a smaller number of primary keywords to target, and a long list of long tail and low traffic keywords.

But before you move any further you need to make sure that you actually have the right keywords. If these are already ranking keywords from which you client is getting traffic you can compare the data using Google tools. But even then you can’t be 100% sure, and if you want to target new keywords you need to test them out. You can do so by running a short PPC campaign for a few weeks and see if the keywords were the right choice and more importantly, ae the landing pages you target the right ones.

OnSite Optimization

During or after the keyword research process you need to tackle the onpage stuff. We need to make sure that our clients website is fat loading, doesn’t have duplicate content issues, sitemaps, internal linking and plenty of other stuff. We need to make sure that the website is fully optimized for search engines and has great usability features for users; after all, we are also responsible for improving conversions.

1. Website Architecture

1.1.   Navigation

1.2.   URL structure

1.3.   Internal linking

2. Content

2.1.   Duplicate content issues

2.2.   Phrase targeting

2.3.   Quality

3. HTML & Technical Issues

3.1.   Titles, Tags, ALT’s

3.2.   Crawlability and Accessibility

3.3.   Site speed

3.4.   Sitemaps

Ensuring that your clients have a fast website with no duplicate content issues, clean and easy to use navigation will bring the website closer to readiness when it comes to link building and promotion. After the technical stuff has been dealt with you need to optimize the content before you start with link building.

Content Optimization

There is not much to say about content optimization this far in the game. You have your keyword research; you know your landing pages, now it’s time to make them better optimized and more attractive so they will increase the conversion rates. Make sure you note every single change you make to the content in order to track the results and changes afterwards.

  1. Optimize title tags, content titles, and your targeted keywords for the landing pages
  2. Create converting meta description with a call to action
  3. Create an obvious call to action on the landing pages
  4. Improve internal linking with in-content links
  5. Add easy share and link to us options

Link Building

This is a part we already covered in great detail on our blog, but we will sum up the link building process here. You have your keywords and landing pages and you already did the competitor backlink research, so now you have to start with link building.

1. Link Consolidation

1.1.   No anchor/Wrong Anchor

1.2.   WWW or non WWW links

1.3.   Images without ALT tags

1.4.   Dead links pointing to old pages

2. Competitor Assets

2.1.   Competitor backlink acquisition

2.2.   Competitor 404 pages

3. Partner/Easy Links

3.1.   Partners/Suppliers, Hosting and web design companies

3.2.   Memberships, associations, government bodies

3.3.   Events, Donations

3.4.   Friends, family

3.5.   Clients

3.6.   Media

3.7.   Testimonials/Reviews

4. Freestyle Link Building

4.1.   Search Queries, advanced search queries

4.2.   Link trails/directories

4.3.   Guest posting

5. Natural Link Building

5.1.   Linkbaits

5.2.   Viral ideas

5.3.   Promotions, Contests

Analysis and Evaluation

After all said and done the camping is not over by a long shot. You need to analyze your efforts and evaluate your success and impact of your efforts so far in order to improve and achieve the desired goals.

1. Analysis

1.1.   What has been done so far

1.2.   Activities

1.3.   Changes made

1.4.   Links acquired

1.5.   Ranking changes

1.6.   Traffic and conversion changes

1.7.   Best performing keywords and landing pages

2. Evaluation

2.1.   Are we targeting the best keywords

2.2.   Are we targeting the right landing pages

2.3.   How can we improve user experience and provide better content

2.4.   Which keywords should we focus in the future and which should we let go of

2.5.   What changes made the biggest impact on rankings, traffic, conversions

3. Competitors

3.1.   What is competition up to

3.2.   Their linking efforts

3.3.   Their rankings

4. Reporting

4.1.   Creating a summary of activities accomplished and results

4.2.   Going over the reports with your clients

4.3.   Creating a plan for future implementation

This is almost everything that you SEO process should consist of. One other thing you need to take care of during the entire SEO campaign is social media and reputation management. We didn’t include it in the SEO process list because this can be done, and in most cases, it is done by the PR consultants of the company, but at the same time it is your job as well. Online reputation management can be inserted into campaign as soon as you complete all of the analysis and onsite actions. Note that in most cases reputation management is implemented directly into the link building process.

1. Online Reputation Management

1.1.   Brand monitoring

1.1.1.      Set tracking

1.1.2.      Feeds, Google Alerts, Trackur, Technorati

1.2.   Engagement

1.2.1.      Social media, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Review Sites, Media Sites

1.2.2.      Content creation, Q/A sites, business listings, videos, promotions, charity, interviews,

1.3.   Dealing with feedback

1.3.1.      Active removal

1.3.2.      Respond

1.3.3.      SERP covering

This is your SEO process; this is what you need to do in order to run a successful SEO campaign. It sounds like a lot, but this is the best way to ensure every aspect is taken care of. Of course, different companies have different methods and different processes of managing their SEO campaigns. This is what we offer and so far we had great success using this SEO process blueprint.

About The Author

is the founder and CEO of Practical SEO and also a passionate blogger. All of his free time he dedicates to his Practical SEO blog and giving free advice as well as participating in the blogging community.

Connect with me on Facebook | Twitter | Google + | LinkedIn

20 Response to SEO Process from Start to Finish – SEO Process Blueprint

  1. Aswani on June 13, 2011

    Hello, thank you so much for sharing such detailed analysis of the whole of the SEO process. I have found it really useful and informative. Keep up the excellent work…!

  2. Zarko on June 13, 2011

    Thanks Aswani, glad you liked it and found it useful :)

  3. smo package on June 14, 2011

    Perfect.. its too good article… SEO is totally depends on process if your analysis and research process are perfect then you will get it maximum beneficial

  4. Antonia@Conversational hypnosis on June 15, 2011

    I have to admit it, Zarko, i’m new to your blog and for the last few days as i read more and more of your articles i realize how little i know about all this. You make me wanna hire you to do my job.

  5. Lynda on June 15, 2011

    This is a great post. Keyword research is something I am doing my best to grasp but seem to be having some difficulties. I’ve read lots of posts on keyword tool and what not and am slowly getting better. SEO is important for success. Thank you for sharing :)

  6. Zarko on June 15, 2011

    @Antonia and Lynda,

    thank you both for reading and for claiming it useful :) There is more to learn from this blog, but for anything that isn’t there you can ask a question in the comment or directly by mail, I will either answer with a post or directly, depends on the level of privacy needed.

  7. Adrian@Sheds on June 16, 2011

    These things really are the key to actively optimize SEO. Bloggers should really put this into mind. As bloggers, we need to do thorough research so that we could maximize the outcome for SEO. And this post will serve as our guide. Until now, I still keep learning the process of keyword searching.

  8. autoxten on June 16, 2011

    Zarko, as always…you created another great content post. I was glad to see you talk about website speed as an on page factor for SEO. Most people never realize that. From what I’ve researched…a site that loads under 4 seconds is good… 1 Second is awesome! A great wordpress plugin for your readers would be “W3 Total Cache”. Every blog should have this! Thanks again Zarko.

  9. Alison Barrows@Whole Body Cleanse on June 17, 2011

    Nice structured approach, that offers a great overview. I love the “Practical SEO Process” summary image. I use Analytics, but not Webmasters Tools. Do they give you all the keywords you rank for? This is an info I’m very interested in but don’t know where to find it…Thanks, Alison

  10. Zarko on June 17, 2011

    Hi Alison,

    yes, they basically list all of the keywords that bring you traffic through search results, so these are all the keywords you rank for, they don’t show the exact rank, but the average rank, which gives you a basic idea of how stabilized your pages are. you can discover some new keywords to optimize for in webmaster tools, not to mention the technical part of your website will be easier to maintain properly.

    you should definitely use webmaster tools, anyone with a website should.

  11. lawmacs on June 17, 2011

    Hey Zarko that is Search engine Optimization Simplified Could not be done any more concise Thanks for the heads up very professionally done !.

  12. Jesica Wills on June 17, 2011

    Amazing Zarko. Thanks for the complete process of SEO. It is really helpful for me. Many of your points you have written, I don’t know. This post is really the post which I was finding for many times. Thanks for the time you have provided to create this post.

  13. Zarko on June 17, 2011

    @lawmacs and @Jesica

    thanks guys, glad you found it useful, make sure you implement these :)

  14. Mark@TheBitBot Organic SEO & SEM Blog on June 18, 2011

    You nailed it with competition research. I have found that competition research is the single most important aspect of your prep work.

    Every minute spent finding the low hanging fruit is worth ten on the backend.

    Great outline, Zarko.


  15. Anna on June 30, 2011

    Thanks for the nice detailed description of the whole process. It only proves that you work seriously and such a deep approach will guarantee good results.

  16. Martin@CDL Practice Test on July 6, 2011

    Great template. There’s no point in taking it further, because i consider every freelancer or company will build its own structure that suits their needs. I see SEO as something you can reach by following more than one road. Depending on how well you walk, you might just get there before the others.

  17. Dental Tourism on November 14, 2011

    Great content for newbies like me who are groping in the dark. Thanks mate.

  18. Ivan on December 20, 2011

    One of the best articles on your blog. I’ve just printed it and posted on my wall :)

  19. John Lucifer on January 5, 2012

    I think you gave a simple definition about the process of Seo for all the readers who will read all this. Now days Seo has a very important concept for the visibility of a particular website which anyone is doing. Thanks for gave me effective information.

  20. Marc on January 29, 2012

    Great article, very useful.

    Under ‘Website Analysis > Competitor Research’ how do you advise to check:

    2.2. Best performing pages (of competitors?)

    What would you monitor and what tools would you use?

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