Wondering how to come up with a successful SEO strategy for your online business? I’d love to help. I’ve been doing SEO consulting for a myriad of clients since 2010.
- Check your Google Webmaster Tools profile (or set one up)
- Check your Google Analytics profile (or set one up)
- Check meta title tags and H1 tags for clarity, keyword optimization, and length
- Check robots.txt and xml sitemap implementation (or set them up)
- Check content quality and length
- Give guidance on best practices for creating new content that will be search-engine friendly.
- Local SEO – create and/or improve your local listings on sites like Yelp
- Reputation Management & Branding strategy and recommendations
- International SEO strategy and recommendations
- Technical audit including page speed analysis and recommendations
- Panda and Penguin algorithm diagnosis and recommendations
- Link outreach (always ethical and relational, never “cheap directory submissions” black hat nonsense)
- Personal consulting and guidance
My SEO Process:
I like to keep things simple. So I charge a flat hourly rate and bill monthly. I will provide a monthly breakdown of hours worked and tasks completed with every monthly invoice. Typically I require at least 3 months to perform the items listed below – more if you want more done. I can only dedicate about 5 hours per week to a client; my schedule is very limited.
What follows is a summary of my usual process, but it may vary for each client, depending on their needs.
Part 1: Getting Started
When I start out with a client, I’ll take a quick look at their website and rankings, and schedule a time to talk with the client. We’ll do a 30 minute introductory call, so that we can get aligned on the scope of the project, goals, and come up with some ideas. I’ll follow up with an email detailing our strategic timeline, and estimated hours to achieve goals. It will also be important for me to know what SEO work, if any, has been done on the site in the past.
Time estimate: 1 hour
Deliverable: Strategy Document
Part 2: Keyword Research
Keyword research is the foundation of a good SEO campaign. I’ll start with taking a cursory look at the site, do some light competitive research, look for additional keyword ideas using keyword tools, and will crawl the site to see what keywords are already being used on page. If possible, it would be great to get access to Google Analytics (or your other analytics program), and Google Webmaster Tools. If those are not set up yet, I can do those for you. It also will be helpful to brainstorm keyword ideas with the client, and/or receive keyword lists if you have them.
I’ll put together a keyword research document and will ask the client to review it. If necessary, we’ll make changes until the list is optimal. Then, we’ll use that list for on-page optimization.
Time estimate: 3 hours
Deliverable: Keyword Research Document
Wondering what kind of tools I use? One of them is SEMRush, which I highly recommend.
Part 3: Technical SEO Site Audit
At this point, I’ll take a careful look at the overall site performance. This includes meta data analysis, canonicalization, crawl issues, server responses, redirects, navigation, page speed, broken links, internal linking structure, duplicate content, and more.
Here is the typical array of factors for my SEO audits:
- Crawl Issues
- Server Response
- Broken Internal Links
- On-Page SEO Review
- Title Tags
- Meta Descriptions
- Page Headers (H1 Tags)
- Image Alt Attributes
- Meta Keywords Tag
- XML Sitemap & Robots.txt Review
- Unique Content
- Content Quality and Quantity
- User Generated Content
- Blog & Blog Strategy
- Keyword Focus
- Page Load & Site Speed Review
- Structured Data Review
Time estimate: 5-7 hours
Deliverable: Site Audit Audit Document
Part 4: On-Page Keyword Optimization
Using the keyword optimization document, I’ll provide meta title, meta description, and H1 keyword recommendations for up to 100 pages or page templates. I’ll also designate primary & secondary keyword phrases to include in the body content.
I’ll also make recommendations on consolidating duplicate pages or pruning unnecessary content, implementing redirects, and improving interlinking.
Time estimate: 4 hours
Deliverable: On-Page SEO Recommendations Spreadsheet
Part 5 (Optional): Local Search Set-up
If you’re a business with a brick-and-mortar store, you should be taking full advantage of local SEO to improve your organic traffic. I’ll register your business in the major local business directories like Yelp, and make sure you have accurate, consistent citations. I’ll ensure your Google My Business pages are fully optimized. Even if you don’t have a walk-in location, it’s still a good idea to set this up, since you can get several trusted sites to link to you easily this way. Plus, it makes it easy for customers to review your site.
Time estimate: 2 hours
Deliverable: Summary of sites added
Part 6: Link Profile Review & Link Outreach Strategy
I’ll take inventory of existing backlinks and will evaluate the quality of these backlinks. I’ll review with the client the types of links they have and will alert them if there are any problems with low quality backlinks, over-optimized anchor text, etc. We’ll brainstorm ideas on how to achieve new, trustworthy links, such as sponsorships, reaching out to friends, family, and business partners, being active on social media, creating contests, setting up a blog and RSS feed, and traditional link outreach.
Time estimate: 3 hours
Deliverable: Link Profile Review & Summary of Link Outreach Strategy Documents
I can provide monthly reports that track your main goals. Goals I recommend paying attention to include:
1) Organic Revenue (if you have revenue tracking set up in Google Analytics, this is easy)
2) Organic Goal Completions
3) Organic Traffic – overall
4) Organic Traffic – to key pages
5) Top Organic Landing Pages
6) Keyword Rankings (I put this one last in the list for a reason. Keyword rankings fluctuate so much and keyword-level data is so obfuscated that this is not a great metric anymore)
Time estimate: 1 hour
Deliverable: Monthly Report
A note about measuring success: search engine optimization doesn’t happen overnight. It can be very profitable but involves a lot of work on your part. Link building, on-page optimization, content improvements — all of these things take time to implement and even more time to yield improvements. Remember, Google is indexing a very large amount of data out there on the interwebs, and so it takes them a long time to get with the program and realize your site is actually really awesome and deserves to be ranked higher. So it can take months to begin to see progress – depending on the size and complexity of your site, the industry you’re in, and several other factors.
My philosophy on SEO:
A solid SEO strategy can make your small business succeed in the competitive online marketplace. Even when you’re faced with stiff competition from the likes of established companies, you can still carve out a niche and find ways to connect with your target audience when they are searching for you online.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process (I like to think of it as an art and a science) of connecting your amazing product or service with your target audience when they are looking for it online. It’s all about making yourself visible in Google, where your customers are most likely spending a lot of time actively searching for answers to their questions. If your site is one of the first results that shows up when a user searches for your product or service, the likelihood that they’ll click on your site is very high. That means that you’ll get more traffic to your site, and you’ll most likely get more customers.
Contact me for more info on how I can help you create a successful SEO strategy for your business.
Contact me at kaitlin(at)kateideas.com or fill out the contact form here.
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