SEO or search engine optimization is a vital component in increasing and sustaining your brand via the internet. It comes as an afterthought to most companies because most people aren’t clear on the long term benefits of SEO. SEO can be defined as a combination of all of the work needed to produce a large volume of web referrals from search engines, social media, web directories and all other websites with the goal of making your website gain popularity.
SEO involves both internal and external website analysis. This analysis includes link building, proper website structure and development, competitor analysis, keyword research, content development and several other tasks. Contrary to popular belief SEO is so much more than stuffing a few keywords on your website.
Now that we’ve touched on what SEO means, let’s talk about the process. What does it take to build a great SEO plan for your business website? I often break the entire process into 5 phases.
The first step in the SEO process is research. Before doing anything, you need to know what you’re up against. This can be the most time consuming part of the entire process. Most of the research will be focused specifically on your business. The more clarity you get on your business and industry, the better results you’ll experience. The research done will include:
- Understanding your company strengths (What do you have that the competition doesn’t?)
- Who are you targeting? Where are they located?
- Assessing your current website (if applicable)
- Creating a competitor analysis
- Sorting through the appropriate keywords
- What type of budget will you be working with?
- What timeline are you working with?
Once your research is complete, you’ll want to create a document detailing your findings.
Once your research has been completed, you’ll want to work on your SEO plan or strategy. Some of the strategies you may want to incorporate in your plan include:
- Content – Your content strategy will include content creation, editing /modification, dissemination, categorizing and archiving
- Link building
- Social media
- Search engine marketing
Once you’ve ironed out all the kinks, it’s time to start implementing your strategy.
Monitoring and Assessing Your Work
This part of the process is pretty straight forward. You’re going to monitor the work being done. You will need to keep an eye on several things including:
- Your website traffic
- Search engine rankings
- Conversion rates
- Referral sites
Now that the core work is done, you’ll need to monitor your efforts. This is the time to find and repair any problems you may encounter during your SEO implementation.
It is undisputable that there is value in SEO. Researchers have determined that organic search results are more highly trusted than anything you could pay for like Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
SEO is different for each site and it’s important to not overdose. I’m sure you’ve read or will read tons of articles on effective SEO; the take away is that it’s okay not to incorporate every rule known to man; too much of anything is harmful. Find out what works for your business and work on strengthening those core pieces.
If you’ve read this article and you feel like pulling your hair out, you may want to save yourself a ton of stress by delegating it to a team that has done it before. If you’re determined to figure this thing out on your own, there are workshops designed to give you clarity.