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.
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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.
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
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
3.3. 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.
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
1.2. URL structure
1.3. Internal linking
2.1. Duplicate content issues
2.2. Phrase targeting
3. HTML & Technical Issues
3.1. Titles, Tags, ALT’s
3.2. Crawlability and Accessibility
3.3. Site speed
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.
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.
- Optimize title tags, content titles, and your targeted keywords for the landing pages
- Create converting meta description with a call to action
- Create an obvious call to action on the landing pages
- Improve internal linking with in-content links
- Add easy share and link to us options
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
4. Freestyle Link Building
4.1. Search Queries, advanced search queries
4.2. Link trails/directories
4.3. Guest posting
5. Natural Link Building
5.2. 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.
1.1. What has been done so far
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
2.1. 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
3.1. What is competition up to
3.2. Their linking efforts
3.3. Their rankings
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
1.2.1. 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
1.3.3. 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.