For search engine optimization, there are many out there who think that if you simply plan and structure an effective website with cool designs, ease of use and nice graphics, you’ll have it made. #FAIL.
I am not saying that they’re officially claiming that that is SEO, I often feel like they think it is. “Put the pretty website on a good hosting source, and you’re off and running”. Sure, a friendly, easy to use website is a great first step, but will not make you win in the search engines. It’s like building a house — you need a good foundation (design, development, hosting) and then continue to grow the site with keywords, content and value-based offers and information that’s helpful.
There is much more to it. And, a technical (IT) person and a website designer/developer as a team is NOT a great option, either.
It starts with the (business) basics. You need to have a more formal process in place, and marketing needs to own the project(s).
Outside of technical details, from servers, networks and code – what is the business process of SEO to consider?
The process is important to determine how you will make money with SEO. The bottom line is what counts. Your network engineer or web designer will not know this (typically). Yes, your content must fit the buyer in their buying cycle, yes the site must be easy to use, yes the site must be social media enabled, etc. Those are “given”, if you will.
Here is a profitable path to SEO success:
1. Validate and understand the marketplace
If you are just starting out, is the marketplace going to be easy to get, or too competitive? Using your search keywords, what does it look like? A simple test is to find out if there are many paid ads showing up for the keyword phrase when typing those into Google.
2. Resources and capabilities
What time and resources do you have available in general? Do you have people to help you – from the technical to the written word? Find resources on elance.com or odesk.com if you need to.
3. Create your goals and objectives
Make sure you are clear on this. What is it that your website and individual pages should accomplish? Pretty obvious if you have an e-commerce site, perhaps – but even then – you need to have metrics in place. What is not measured, is not tracked. Make sure your keyword research is solid and mapped to each page with a conversion strategy in place.
Make sure you always have (business) plan options ready & available. If plan “A” doesn’t work, or is taking too long, not yielding the right results, is there a plan “B”? And, what will be the trigger event(s) to change plans?
5. Progress tracking
As your project develops – make sure to track your progress. Rankings are not as important as your ROI (return on investment). Are you able to monetize and keep it from going negative? And, make sure you measure this over time – 3,6,12 months compared to previous periods. A 30 day span may be too short, and forces you to be too reactive. Large and small budgets must be tracked!
While a plan “B” might be a different strategy, monitoring and tuning/adjusting your campaigns over time will be important. Traffic is part of it, but are you tracking to goals? You may decide (you should) to add a PPC component to your SEO efforts as well. You can reveal important metrics and user data faster, and change your SEO to fit.
In summary, do you understand the competitive nature of your market, and are you staying flexible to changes from search engines, markets and competitors? Create a system to make it happen, and your SEO efforts will pay off. SEO enjoys the highest return on clicks, if done right! Rock on.