This is a question we get asked fairly regularly. Prospects and clients want to know what basic SEO (search engine optimization) they should be doing or should have done to their website. There is a basic set of on-site SEO tasks that should be done. Some of it is something most of our clients can do and some of it are things that we should typically do.
1. Get an SEO Audit Done
The first thing to do is take a look at where things are at. This will include looking at the website’s home page, site structure and load time. Usually, there are 4-6 hours of work that can be done (optimization).
Maybe a site map is missing or the website loads too slowly. Maybe the structure is terrible, preventing Google from making sense of it. This could be the result of the website not being set up correctly initially or maybe it was set up right and, over time, the website has depreciated due to content being added the wrong way or neglect.
2. Fix the Website
After the audit, we come up with a list of what should be fixed. We agree with our client to do that work and it is completed.
This is where basic SEO is done. This includes things like:
- Optimizing website speed
- Optimizing images (file size and alt tags)
- Fixing crawl errors and other errors at Google Search Console
- Fixing canonicalization errors
- Set low quality pages/content to “noindex”
- Strategically set some pages to “nofollow”
- Fix the website structure and URLs
- Remove remnants from old websites / junk files
- Upgrade the website software, if needed
- Setting up page schema / markup
- Checking site maps
- and so on…
We then wait to see where the website ends up – ranking-wise.
3. Develop a Plan
Maybe the website has popped up in rankings at this point. Usually, there is an improvement. To further improve the website’s ranking, a plan must be developed.
The SEO plan includes:
- Keyword research
- Optimizing pages (titles, meta descriptions and content)
- Adding content
- Fixing the site’s link profile
- Off-site SEO work
- and so on…
4. Implement the Plan
Putting the plan in motion can take 6-12 months or even longer. This depends on how the competition looks and how strong they are. We’ll keep track of rankings on a group of keywords weekly.
Every month, certain tasks will be done and there will be a group of tasks that will vary. This work can’t be done too quickly because you need to see what works the best. For example, if you do 20 changes and rankings jump up, you might not be able to pinpoint which of those 20 changes worked. Instead, only do a few at a time and then wait to see how they work. Once a few, key strategies can be identified, they can be leveraged to increase rankings.
That’s a basic rundown on a Search Engine Optimization plan. It does take time, as I explained. If you need more website traffic in the meantime, then we set up our clients with a Pay Per Click (Google AdWords, Bing and Yahoo) while the organic SEO work is being completed.