The most important part of SEO? Organisation? No, surely not. Organisation? Boring!
Show me links from .org sites; give me citations from Yell.com; show me some 301 redirects from expired domains; expired, well linked domains relaunched as microsites with some new content on them and some outbound links – do anything, but just keep those ‘strategies’ coming fast and furious and whatever you do, keep it edgy and interesting. I want to hear what you have planned and go ‘ooooohhhh’.
SEO is boring
Unfortunately, the truth for most sites is a little different and SEO, whether large scale for e-commerce or brand sites with a million pages or for SEO for small local businesses can be a pretty boring endeavour. Well, I don’t think it’s boring personally, I kind of get a kick from seeing the results, but you have to have a very procedural mind and an almost fastidious attention to detail. Oh, and you have to like spreadsheets, and lists, and more spreadsheets and lists of spreadsheets with lists of tasks on them.
Still with me?
Plan for success
We have a small business SEO service that we call Found. Now, Found is a program of sorts but every site is different so the first thing we do is an SEO audit where we take a look at the various aspects involved in ranking a given site for the targeted terms.
Firstly, we want to look at the marketplace and understand how people search:
- What are the popular and successful keywords that we should be targeting?
- Who are the big players in the local and localised organic search results?
Then, where this is a local business we want to know three main things:
- Where is the site currently in relation to the competition?
- Which areas need the most attention to generate results?
- How much work is likely to be needed to achieve this?
Then, the final stage is to more closely review the site and the competition so we can get a handle on what tasks are going to need the most work and offer the quickest and best results.
- Off-site SEO factors
- Technical SEO and how well the site is hung together
- On site SEO and page level optimisation
- Ranking of targeted terms in organic results
- Ranking of targeted terms in local results
- Optimisation of the Google+ Local Listing
- Local directory listings (citations)
Failing to plan is planning to fail!
Your website is a truly unique little snowflake and your web marketing plan should take all of those unique characteristics into consideration and your plan should be built around what you need to do. Unfortunately, most SEO is not like this. It is more a case of we need more citations, we need more links, we need more keywords on the homepage (blah, blah, blah as my 7-year-old son would say).
You probably do need more links and if you are a small business you probably also need more citations and better on page optimisation. But which elements are your competitors doing better? Which areas are they sucking at? Where can we generate some quick wins? If we are sorely lacking in citations but have a bunch of links what should we concentrate our time on?
This is where the planning comes into it and this is where we see the importance of organisation.
Don’t agonise, organise!
So, you now have the following:
- Keyword positions in local and organic
- Strong & weak areas for you and your competition
- An awareness of how much time you have to spend each month
With this information, you can prioritise and focus on any easy wins and the areas with the greatest possible returns and decide what work to do in months 1, 2 and 3. You can plan what you hope to achieve and create a simple spreadsheet detailing the tasks for each month along with a monthly assessment of your key performance indicators (likely rankings, traffic and hopefully enquiries or sales).
As you do a task tick it off the list. These tasks could be fairly broad or if needs below level. Some examples of how I would list these activities are as follows:
On Page Optimisation
- Optimise Page A
- Optimise Page B
- Optimise Page C
- Bing Local
- Google+ Local
On Page Optimisation
- Optimise Page D
- Optimise Page E
- Optimise Page F
- Local Data Search
- Thomson Local
- Business Magnet
- Write to client A requesting a review on G+
- Write to client B requesting a review on G+
- Write to client C requesting a review on G+
- Write to client D requesting a review in Yelp
- Guest Blog Post on SEOMoz
- Guest Blog Post on Business Forum
The important point is that this gives you a structured plan so you are always moving forwards and that the points are customised to your weak areas and opportunities so you are not building your three-hundredth citation when you have no reviews or local inbound links and your competitors have plenty. It is important to get the balance right, see what the big people are doing and focus on quality.
With this kind of organisation you can jump in, spend 10 minutes on your SEO here and there and make sure you are taking things forward in a structured way as suits you rather than deciding to spend another hour on your SEO and reading another five blog posts, getting confused and starting something else you will never finish.
Analyse and reassess
At the end of each month, it is always worth reviewing your progress and seeing how your key performance indicators have changed. Have you moved forward in local? Have you moved up in organic? Have enquiries from the website gone up? Have sales? Has traffic increased? Has social media followers increased? Whatever is important to you, track it and look for an upwards trend or review your activities and competition if things level off.
Getting Found can be easy
Of course, if you are too busy, or this all just sounds to god damn boring then you could always take a look at our small, local business SEO package and we will research, plan and execute the whole thing for you – and sadly, probably enjoy it in the process!
Questions, comments & sharing the love?
Please share this post if with the buttons below you found it useful (or are just kind) and if you have any questions or want help planning an SEO strategy for your business then give me a shout on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ and I will get back to you ASAP.