Starting a SEO Plan is not a difficult exercise. However, for many people, getting started with a SEO plan sounds daunting and rather confusing. I’m here to tell you it needn’t be. With some basic processes in place you’re site will start to climb the search ranks organically and won’t cost you a penny (cent).
If you know your website – its structure and content – then creating a SEO plan is more about order and process and then staying on top of it to monitor its success. Whilst I’m not going to delve into specific SEO techniques (url submission, white-hat tricks, content optimisation, link building etc) I’m am going to concentrate on the sites information structure and how that relates to optimisation. My SEO plan can be used across different types websites so there are no limits to it.
Before you embark on this process you need to firmly establish goals – absolute goals. For example, By 30th May 2009 the keyword ‘seo’ will rank within the top 50 on Google.co.uk. If you look at this goal statement nothing is unclear – date, keyword, position and search engine. Make it clear and unambiguious. Also, to help identify keywords / key phrases I’d suggest use your team – you/marketing, sales, management… people who really know this market and do not use terms/phrases that use the same name as your url/domain/title. For example, Apple would not use the keyword ‘Mac’ as a measure – it’s obvious that the term ‘Mac’ would naturally rank highly anyway.
The basic SEO plan in 7 easy steps:
Look at your existing analytical data (website report) and see what visitors are searching. This is a great starting point and can tell you a lot about your visitors behaviour and needs. Remember to eliminate the url/domain/title from this list. These people already know the product/title exists so no need to optimise it.
Make sure you have an objective and achievable targets set in place (see ‘Mac’ example above). Then do some benchmarking so you have a starting point.
Use your team – you/marketing, sales, management… people who really know this market – to identify not only keywords, but key phrases too for every part of your website (for multi-channel websites).
When you have a pool of data (feedback) sort it and remove generic terms that you know no one would search for e.g. water. DON’T bother with data that includes your url/domain/title – that should be picked up naturally with little effort.
You can’t target every single keyword/phrase at once. Look at starting off with the top ten or top three (multi-channel) and ensure your team knows what’s been targeted.
Make sure all your research, your plans and keyword/phrase identification is clearly documented and shared. Circulate this list of agreed keywords/phrases to your team so they all know what’s been targetted.
To ensure you stay on track and can see progress you need to set up some sort of monitoring and record/log it. There are many ways you can do this. A fantastic free tool called Rank Checker, SEOBook.com is a Firefox add-on which allows you to check and export your SEO ranking.
In summary, the SEO plan sets out to provide you with a guide of what to do – a logical step-by-step guide. The SEO plan only gets you started, it does not cover implementing your plan.
Ensure that you re-evaluate and adjust your activity if it’s not working and do more of the same if you find your activitie increase your SEO rankings.