As we start to look ahead to 2020 budgets and planning, it’s important to have an SEO strategy in place for the year. But what the heck does that look like?
We’ve put together a simple six month template to help you stay organized as you begin to identify your timeline and plan of attack.
Access our sample 6 Month SEO Strategy Template here.*
Although we’d love for this to be the golden template for all of your SEO planning needs, optimization planning is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. You know your industry and audience better than anyone. Use this as a starting point to help get organized as you decide on the right approach to optimize all of that beautiful content.
A few pointers on the “task” buckets highlighted in the template...
Keyword research is an important foundation for your on-page SEO strategy. Spend the necessary time researching industry trends and looking at what consumers are searching for, as well as determining what keywords your competitors are ranking for. Look for opportunities to target keywords that your competitors may have missed.
Pro-tip: Don’t overdo it with keyword inclusion after you begin using the keywords generated from your research. Google doesn’t consider exact keyword matches like it used to and too many instances (more than three or four times throughout the page) can be considered ‘keyword stuffing’ to search engines. Big red flag! This can definitely have negative implications on your website if you’re penalized, which will subsequently drop your rank.
Long story short, keywords are very important but don’t overdo it with exact phrase matches in your content.
We’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… your website is nothing without high quality content. It’s the content of a page that makes it worthy of reading, which is why it’s extremely important to search engines.
One way to make sure that you’re staying relevant and are connecting with your consumers is to set up a blog (if you haven’t already done so) and set a goal of blogging weekly based on your keyword research. Blogging every week?! We’re right there with you… it can be a serious pain in the buns, BUT it can be an incredible way to rank for keywords and show SERPs that you’re an authority on your topic.
Always remember that your primary purpose is to blog for your audience, not the search engines. If you can’t blog every week, that’s totally fine. Don’t compromise quality for quantity. Write about topics that your audience and/or future prospects are actually interested in. Slowly but surely your audience will start to notice and you’ll get those clicks that you’re dreaming of.
Although keyword research and content creation are part of on-page optimization, we separated those out to keep the spreadsheet nice and neat. This next section will help you dedicate a bucket of time to other elements that contribute to on-page SEO such as title tags, meta descriptions, H1 and H2 tags, etc.
They might seem like easy tasks to overlook but trust us, don’t do it. Spend the time optimizing each element properly. It’ll pay off in the long run.
Don’t have a clue how to write effective meta descriptions? Don’t worry, we’ve got you!
Link building (also called “backlinks”) is the process of obtaining links from other sites to your own. And why is link building so important? They’re one of the main - although not the only - criteria Google uses to determine the quality and trustworthiness of a page. Your goal is to obtain links from reputable and relevant websites to boost your own site’s authority in search engines.
There are many techniques for building links and most of them take time and lots of TLC. This is notoriously one of the hardest jobs of SEOs, so it may take time to develop a creative strategy that works for you. Don’t get discouraged.
As you might be painfully aware, or will soon come to realize, SEO can take a ton of time and effort. You’re in it for the long game here. But what good is spending all of this time and effort if you can’t see (or show off!) the progress that you’ve made? You'll lose your mind.
To get started, create a monthly dashboard using Excel, Google Sheets, or a web analytics tool so you can monitor how much traffic comes to your website from organic search. Because what’s the metric that you really care about? Organic traffic.
It’s important to track both your overall organic traffic number and also how your pages are ranking under each long-tail keyword that your pages are targeting. SEMrush is a great tool for this purpose if you have the budget.
Other metrics to keep an eye on: indexed pages, inbound links, keywords, and your actual ranking on search engine results page. These can all help showcase your success as well as identify areas of opportunity.
And there you have it! Hopefully this SEO strategy template gives you a good starting place for creating your own SEO strategy.
But no matter what, keep at it. SEO can sometimes be a little more art than science, and a little more methodology than tactic. These strategies should be embedded into everything that you do so that you will see sustained growth over time.
Happy planning! * To edit this google sheet, simple click File > Make a copy. You'll be able to rename it and save it to your Goggle Drive. Huzzah!