What Goes Into An SEO Campaign?
It’s crazy to think that you can have a full-blown conversation these days with just letters. Have we come that lazy that we can’t type out “by the way” and instead just type BTW? The answer, sadly, is yes. When texting or emailing, acronyms have become the norm. Some that you might be familiar with are ROFL, LOL, ICYMI, LMK, NVM, IDK, HBU, TBH, SMH, B4N, and FTW. Another one that we use quite often with digital, is SEO.
SEO is an acronym and stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the practice of improving and promoting a website in order to increase the number of visitors that a site receives from various search engines, primarily Google. Unlike some other digital products that drive website traffic, or result in high conversion rates, SEO is a slow and steady process. It takes time for optimizations to kick in because there are over 200 different factors that are constantly changing that Google looks at when determining where a website should rank.
When we are looking at how to increase the ranking of a website, we are making changes on the actual website (on-page factors), and also off the website (off-page factors).
Because SEO is a process where you aren’t going to see drastic changes overnight, here is an outline on what our team is doing over the course of a six-month campaign, along with when it is taking place.
When doing the SEO Audit, we are looking at a comprehensive review of the entire website from an SEO perspective; so we’re looking at the site from a 10,000 view and focusing on the following elements:
- Historical website traffic
- Where traffic comes from
- Average Organic traffic
- Landing Page traffic
- Website demographics
- Where visitors live
- Business Knowledge graph
- Top keywords/opportunities
- Keyword rankings by geo
- On-site website issues
- Website speed of loading
- Mobile issues
- Website content & layout eval
- Action plan of what to do
Once the campaign begins, the client will receive detailed monthly reports explaining what changes were made over the course of the month, and how they compared to the previous month.
One of the most detailed ranking reports in the industry is the Ranking Analysis. Our ranking report analyzes where the site ranks across your region and provides information of the site rank in Google by keywords and zip codes in an easy to read and understand chart. This analysis is done in the first two weeks of the campaign, and then again after the third and sixth month.
Every other week throughout the campaign we will be performing an Analytics Analysis and a Google Search Console Analysis. The Analytics Analysis is a review of the sites analytics data and some of the metrics that we are looking at for here include traffic history, a review of traffic sources, the geography of the traffic, and site usage. For the Google Search Console Analysis, it’s a review of the data found in the Google Search Console which yields an understanding of the sites overall health and how Google views that particular site. The Google Search Console data also provides a look at what keywords are driving users to the site, and what rank the site is for those keywords.
When the campaign starts after the initial audit, we are consistently optimizing keywords. “Keywords” is a popular term when referenced in the digital realm, but we’re not talking about keyword advertising here. The keywords we’re referring to with SEO are words that are placed on the website that are utilized to help connect search engines to that website. It sounds pretty easy and self-explanatory, but believe it or not, there is an art and a strategy to this so you don’t want to just put a bunch of keywords on a site. We’re also going to be looking at the quality and freshness of the content on the site. This is an important piece of the puzzle because you want to make sure the website is active and that it’s up to date; Google wants to see that people are visiting the site and that it’s being updated regularly. Some ideas on how to do that could be posting weekly blogs, or updating photos, or even updating menu items. We won’t create the actual content, but we will make suggestions based on what is going to get higher search traffic for certain keywords, and then optimize those keywords for when that content has been published.
Internal Linking Optimization is done every two weeks and what we are doing here is adjusting the internal links to maximize their value. Internal links are links between your own pages, and links from the main navigation. This helps Google to understand what’s important on the site, and also refers to the amount of traffic on the website and the amount of quality links coming into that website. Content Analysis is another key component or SEO because we analyze the content on a web page to understand if it is sufficient to rank in Google. We also look at what other pages or articles a site might need to drive more traffic.
Technical Optimization, which is done in the third and fourth week of the campaign and then again once a month, refers to the review and optimization of on-site technical factors that can help improve the rank. This includes things like site speed, crawlability, use of microdata, and more. If you want a quick peek behind the curtain, a fun tool to use to see how a website speed ranks is to use https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/feature/testmysite/ Using this website will give you a baseline for how your site speed ranks and whether Google thinks it’s too slow or not. Pages that are loading too slow are going to have a lower ranking, and pages that load faster will rank higher in the organic listings because search engines want browsers to be able to find exactly what they’re looking for, as fast as possible. Google recommends as a best practice that a site loads in under three seconds. More than half of visits are abandoned if a mobile website takes more than three seconds to load.
One of the most valuable tools that comes with an SEO campaign is access to the Reputation Management platform. This is a dashboard the business can access and it’s going to act as a listening tool. Through this dashboard, the business can see and monitor what is being said about them online, what listings on the internet have the correct and incorrect information listed, questions and answers that consumers have for that business, mentions of their business on the web, and they can also monitor their competition. The dashboard is always available to access and is constantly being updated.
Review Widgets and Business Listings are also two tools that are accessible during the campaign. For the review widgets, we will use the Reputation Management platform to solicit reviews via email from previous customers. We will send out personalized emails to specific email addresses and ask them if they had a positive experience. If they did, we will ask them to share that onto other review websites which will help their SEO ranking. We can also install a review widget right on the website that will prompting people to leave a review to be displayed right on the business’ website, also aiding in the SEO process.
The last piece of the puzzle to wrap up what we are going to focus on with an SEO campaign is to optimize the Google Business Profile. With the business listings, we are monitoring and updating the websites Name, Address, and Phone number (also known as “NAP”- another acronym for you) as they appear on 3rd party business listings sites like Yelp, Bing, Google and more. The accuracy and completeness of these listings will also impact the ranking of the site.
Being as high up as possible on the Google Search Engine Results Page (or the SERP) is important because 76% of Google searchers clicked on one of the first three organic results, and less 1% of Google Searchers clicked on something from Page 2 of the search results. Those three little letters, SEO, can have a significant impact on the success of a business, so it is very important to make sure it is being maintained properly.
One last acronym for you to decipher is pictured below, and I don’t know if I should be proud of myself or embarrassed that I was able to immediately figure it out.