How to Create a Search Engine Optimization Plan

by Jason Anson

I don’t think there is a more confusing topic than Search Engine Optimization for even the most experienced. One thing is for sure that society today often uses the term “Google it” when researching something. Since the beginning of the Information Age, Search Engine Optimization has changed rapidly and I’m not sure anyone knows what the best plan is. However, one thing is for sure, you’re going to need a plan.

In the old days before the Internet, people relied on the telephone book to find peoples phone numbers and businesses as well. Today, no one really uses a telephone book anymore or have landlines locking them to their residence. Everything is about being listed on Google and while there are other search engines out there, I don’t think anyone can afford to ignore this giant in the business.

Step 1 - Site Audits

Hubspot.com is a popular Marketing, sales and service software and on a recent blog of theirs titled "How to Create an SEO Strategy for 2019". They write under their “Technical SEO” approach that “Google cares as much about the code of a website as it does its content, making this speciality quite important to a website's search engine ranking.”.

Technical Search Engine Optimization

If Technical SEO is “website's architecture, examining the backend of that website to see how each webpage is "technically" set up.”[1]. Then we should start with making sure your website is can pass a) Google Structured Data Testing Tool, and b) Google Mobile-Friendly Test.

Using my domain name DigitalMediaSpecialist.ca as the test URL,


Google Structured Data Testing Tool


Google Mobile-Friendly Test

what you are looking for when you are running a Google Structured Data Test is that you have a) no errors, b) no warnings and c) no items issues. If you do, you will need to address each item before retesting.


Google Structured Data Testing Tool

When it comes to the Google Mobile-Friendly Test is that your website “Page is mobile friendly” and that “this page is easy to use on a mobile device”. Now you may still pass the test while having page loading issues. You will want to resolve the Page loading issues to Google to have zero issues with your website.


Google Mobile-Friendly Test

Step 2 - Rank Tracking

The next step once your website passes both the above test is to move with getting it listed on Google Search by submitting a sitemaps crawl using the Google Search Console. Not only does it submit your website to Google for review. It allows you to monitor your search engine listings a) performance, b) coverage and c) enhancement. Under performance you’ll be able to watch your total clicks, impressions, average click-through rate (CTR), and your average position. While under coverage you’ll be able to any website page errors that might be affecting your search engine listing. Enhancements monitor the mobile pages of your websites to make sure you have no known issues.

Step 3 - Backlink Analysis

Off-Page Search Engine Optimization

Using the Google Search Console you can also check your External Links which include a) Top Linked Pages, b) Top Linking Sites, c) Top Liking Text. This will allow you to monitor your Off-Page SEO strategy. Hubspot writes that “this SEO focuses on the links that are [directed] to the website from elsewhere on the internet.” By knowing which “backlinks” are pointing to your website you are able to optimize your content accordingly to improve your search engine ranking. “your website help you build trust in the eyes of a search engine. This causes your website to rank higher as a result.”

On-Page Search Engine Optimization

The Google Search Console has your On-Site SEO Strategy covered as well. You can monitor your Internal Links as well on your website such as Top Linked Pages to see which are driving more search engine traffic . Which covers your On-Site SEO Strategy.

These first three steps cover your a) On-page SEO, b) Off-Page SEO and c) Technical SEO setup parts of your Search Engine Optimization Plan. Now your journey begins and the next steps involve your a) Paid Search Engine Marketing Plan and your b) Organic Search Engine Marketing Plan.

Step 4 - Keyword Research

Paid Search Engine Marketing Plan

This comes down to Keywords that you want associated with your website. When a person wants to search a keyword, you want your website to be optimized to deliver your listing as a result. Paid Searches allow you to link a person's keyword search with your website for a set price. To optimize your keyword list, you will use Google Ads Keyword Planner to a) Discover new keywords and b) get search volume and forecasts on which keywords will be effective. You can also attend Google Academy for Ads and obtain a) Google Fundamentals and b) a Google Advanced certificates to make sure you are getting the most out of your Paid Search Engine Marketing Plan. Once you have completed your Paid Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Plan, you will want to expand this into a more comprehensive Digital Advertising Plan which include Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising, Email Newsletters and Social Media Marketing Campaigns.

Organic Search Engine Marketing Plan

Organic Search Results work the same way as Paid in terms of Keywords, however they are free. That is why an Organic Search Engine Marketing Plan is so important because not only can paid methods be expensive, there's also a required balance to make sure you overal Search Engine Optimization Plan is optimized to take advantage of the way Google algorithms work for ranking. This is where understanding Analytics and Reporting come into play. You attend the Google Analytics Academy and earn certificates in  a) Google Analytics for Beginners, b)  Advanced Google Analytics and c) Google Analytics for Power Users to assist you in creating and managing an Organic Search Engine Marketing Plan.


Conclusion

Now that you have a better understanding of how to put the key pieces of your Search Engine Optimization Plan together, this is where you can start to implement your marketing strategies and monitor the effectiveness of your ideas. In the meantime, I recommend making a similar checklist to monitor your Search Engine Optimization Plan at a minimum of monthly. Although a weekly summary would be more effective in terms of monitoring your keywords. Each week;


  1. Site Audit - Do a 1) Google Structured Data Testing Tool and a 2) Google Mobile-Friendly Test to make sure your website is still passing both tests. Things change in the Internet world daily and so can the validation of your website.
  2. Rank Tracking - In your Google Search Console under Performance you can track your 3) Average Rank Position. By entering this data into a Google Spreadsheet you can monitor your week-to-week or month-to-month Average Rank Position..
  3. Backlink Analysis - Google Search Console provides you with the number of 4) external links and  5) internal links which can be measured for growth.
  4. Keyword Research -  In Addition to adding the above Analytics for growth, you can add data showing the 6) top 5 websites that link to you and 7) 5 top keywords that were used in the search link.


These seven weekly Search Engine Optimization Plan checklist items will allow you to plan, monitor and measure your success moving forward and make any necessary adjustments along the way.


References

[1] - How to Create an SEO Strategy for 2019 [Template Included] - https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/seo-strategy

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