As online visibility becomes critically important.
Think of your digital marketing efforts as you would your investment portfolio.
Diversification of all digital marketing activities bears fruit during peak economic times, and in down economies (much like the one we’re living through now as of this writing)
As I’ve often asked so many clients, fellow SEO practitioners, and vendor partners, why would you develop a business strategy, or a marketing plan, or product launch strategy and not one for your SEO program?
Start Your 6 Month SEO Strategy With This in Mind
The reason you need a 6 month SEO strategy is because things, like life, happen.
You start out the year with the best of intentions, thinking you’ll hit those goals by December easily.
Then things like a global pandemic occur, and businesses all over the world shudder and you’re left to pivot and come up with the next thing to do and mostly you’re in reactive mode, rather than a forward thinking proactive and measured way of operating.
What is an SEO Strategy?
Your SEO strategy is aligned with your business goals and objectives. For example, say you sell video surveillance cameras for B2B, but you need to identify a specific industry and location. The CEO and your board of directors has set a goal of increasing sales by 25% YoY.
Assuming there’s some sort of plan across all business units with that same shared goal. How will each contribute to that 25%?
What you can do is develop your SEO strategy around optimizing those areas within the site that will most likely have a positive impact on the increase in your sales tied to that product.
If you’re targeting a particular area in the world, you’d then need to develop a specific strategy with that geolocation in mind.
Things like targeting the country in the language those visitors require.
Developing intent based content for that part of the buying cycle that visitor is in at the moment.
With SEO it can become incredibly difficult to throw out a blanket statement like “We’ll increase our organic sales by 10% this year”
Unless you have the historical data to back that up, and even then, it’s incredibly difficult to commit to such a goal because you have so many variables like the Google algorithm, searcher behavior, the amount and type of content you have to reach that specific audience, etc.
As an SEO I NEVER guarantee or commit to any annual increase for those reasons.
Despite many who have strongly encouraged me to do so, I refuse. It’s unethical and not anything you can 100% rely on.
Not because it can’t or won’t happen, but because all I can guarantee are providing the best, smartest SEO recommendations and activities for that client site. Only then, will they see an increase in traffic, resulting in sales, etc.
I’ve seen 82% increase, I’ve also seen 620% increase in traffic back in the day...
Here’s what an SEO Strategy is NOT
“SEO strategy is the process of organizing a website's content by topic, which helps search engines like Google understand a user's intent when searching.”
I literally found this definition in a traditionally reputable search related site. This is defining what SEO is. It is a process of optimizing a site. A strategy is a plan, not an activity.
Your business strategy is not what your business is, it’s how you’ll achieve your goals. Why is this so confusing to so many?
How Do I Create an SEO Plan?
Start anytime during the year. I like to start this in December, but honestly even if it’s May, it’s not too late to develop your SEO plan.
We like to start every SEO plan with a real clear picture of what’s happening within the business. You have to actually get real with those at the highest level within your business. Your CEO, CMO, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing, all need to be on the same SEO page.
I’ve found it easiest if you start with an SEO Maturity Assessment. An SEO maturity assessment, helps the business understand what their search maturity is right now.
An organizational maturity assessment is meant to geared around search engine optimization as a marketing program. It helps the business understand what they know or don't know about their level of search knowledge within their organization and helps them get buy in and learn where they need to improve their SEO program, or formally establish an SEO program.
Need an SEO Maturity Assessment for your business? Download one for your business in the form below.
This allows you to easily get inside and really understand how you all think about SEO, do you know what it is, and how behind the curve your organization really is?
Do you have a reporting model established and is it monitoring your SEO program’s success?
Do you have the right resources in place?
Here’s what an SEO Plan is NOT
Asking one of your non marketing employees or yourself if you're the CEO to just purchase some keyword ranking tool and start looking at what keywords your business ranks for.
If this is what your business has been doing.
STOP. RIGHT. NOW
I will personally get on a call with you and review this in greater detail.
If you already know that isn’t at all what an actual SEO plan is, then continue on. We have to really think through the current state of the website.
Has it ever had SEO applied at all?
Was there ever any technical audit conducted?
At any point in time were any SEO best practices applied to the site?
If not, that’s really the first place to start. Your strategy then becomes
“Establish an SEO friendly site, that is mobile optimized; while applying all best practices and establish searchability within the search engines.”
This could take the first half of the six months right here. Depending on the amount and type of resources you have dedicated to your SEO efforts.
On the other hand, if you have had some level of SEO applied, or basic best practices have been applied then, you’ll need to have a more specific strategy aligned with other digital marketing activities and the business goals and objectives.
If that’s the case, then your strategy might look something like this…
- Need to increase search visibility (impression share) to our core product pages and increase visitation by 3-5% Year over Year and conversion rates
- Increase visitation and engagement to new visitors across the top of the funnel pages, or those that reach the very beginning of the buyer journey
In the first example, I included a range of increased visitation. I don’t ever advocate for telling a client, employer or anyone you're conducting SEO for, to guarantee any particular single number increase.
The reason for that is because there are too many variables, many of which are out of the control of the SEO professional or team involved.
Instead it’s far more accurate to provide an estimate or range based on past historical data i.e. your analytics and previous site trends, seasonality, etc
If you’ve never established any analytics and are starting from scratch, the best approach is to not to declare any range or estimate because you have nothing to base that off of.
That’s where the second bullet strategy comes in handy. You define what you need to accomplish, but you don’t specify any number because you have no way of determining how realistic that goal is.
There are so many digital marketers that fall into the trap of needing to come up with a number because their boss, client, CEO whomever decided that needed to be spelled out.
What I have done in those situations is help educate them as to what you can guarantee and what you can not, making sure to include all the applicable variables at play. Making sure to always start with the elusive Google Algorithm, searcher behavior/intent, content that currently exists on the site, etc.
How Will SEO Techniques Increase Web Traffic, Conversions and Sales?
The strategy is defined. Next it’s important to make sure everyone in your organization is clear on the SEO strategy. Everyone from the CEO down to the lowest level marketer and developer.
The activities that support that strategy are the SEO tasks, things like broken link correction, title tag optimization, including Schema tags, and improving page speed.
Your strategy might include increasing traffic to the industries pages, maybe you have a category of “Industries” your software or service is perfect for. In that case your #1 SEO tasks should be to run both a technical and content audit on those pages, and those pages that are linked to those pages.
You should also have a way to measure conversions or sales originating from Google, Bing search. You have a way to measure all your paid search, or at least you really should so that you have a defined way to measure the ROI of your campaigns.
You must also be able to track conversions and measure your ROI for your SEO program.
If we increase traffic to those industry pages by 15%, and 8% convert to a sales call resulting in 4% sales your SEO ROI can be determined.
Your activities all support the SEO strategy you established.
DO NOT Ever submit an SEO strategy to your CEO, client or boss that reads like a list of SEO tactics. It’s an automatic SEO fail. It’s also the reason you hear many say SEO doesn’t work.
It doesn’t work because it’s not done correctly, and you MUST start with strategy, NOT tactics.
(hopefully you get my drift here..)
How Long Does it Take to Implement SEO?
This depends on things like, do you have a team in place within your company? Do you have dedicated development resources to make sure that a “swim lane” is defined, and that you have established a few days or a week each month to get any SEO recommendations implemented?
If you have no team, no agency, and no one effectively leading SEO the answer to how long this will take could be years.
Someone must own this space.
It must be led or managed by someone who either has managed SEO programs or works with an agency or consulting firm that will manage and lead this.
Implementation on a regular and consistent basis is how your SEO program will become successful and progress over time.
Need a few resources?