Building a Monthly SEO Action Plan! – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by Aaron Wheeler

 Feeling lost or listless, like your head is in the sand? It’s clear what you need: a monthly action plan! What with all the resources available to SEOs these days, it can be hard to stay on track and maintain a campaign without getting bogged down in minutia and losing track of the big picture. Well, for this week’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand is here to help! Just as Superman needs to vacuum the Fortress once a month, SEOs need to make sure they check up on their campaigns regularly by reviewing their diagnostics and metrics and researching their keywords and link profiles. It’s like being Superman, but more fun! Unless you like vacuuming.

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Video Transcription

This week we’re going to be talking about building a monthly SEO action
plan. You can see we’ve got lots of action graphics up here. It even says
“more action” on both sides. So, you know it’s going to be very
actionable.

Basically, Danny Dover, who does SEO for us here at SEOmoz, and I were kind
of talking about how a lot of folks in the sphere, eventually you get to
this point where you’ve kind of fixed a lot of the problems that exist on
the site, taken care of some of those missed opportunities, and you’re more
in the groove with SEO. Now, you’re thinking, how do I build, how do I
expand, how do I go beyond? What’s my kind of monthly to-do list as an
SEO? This action plan is here to help.

Step one, we’re starting with some diagnostic stuff. At the beginning of
every month, or depending on your lifecycle of doing this type of work it
could be every week, you want to be running some diagnostics. I mean
diagnostics like error checking and looking for problems and opportunities
in your site. Things like, oh, we have these pages that 404. We blocked
these pages with robots.txt. These are 302 redirects instead of 301s. All
these types of things that you want to keep your eye on so that in case
someone in engineering or development rolls out some new pages or there are
some new things happening inside your website that you don’t know about or
something broke, you can identify those quickly and get them fixed up
before they cause you massive trouble in the SERPs.

Step two, once you’ve gone beyond that, taken care of those, you want to
collect some key metrics and measurement. This is probably a once a week
kind of thing on a light level and maybe each month you might go a little
bit deeper with some of these metrics. So, things like at a top level
measuring visits from each search engine, the number of pages that are
receiving traffic, the keywords that are sending those traffic, how many of
those there are. Comparing that to the last few months and seeing how your
progress is doing. How is that matching up against your goals? If SEO is
a big part of what you are doing, are you hitting those numbers that you
want to be hitting? Maybe watching some rankings as well. You could be
doing things like competitive intelligence. I’m not just watching my site.
I’m also watching these two other competitors through a rank tracking
system, through software.

You could do this for links, for all sorts of competitive data as well.
Just be kind of keeping tabs on, “Wow. Hey, my competitors are really
accelerating their link growth. Where did those links come from? Oh,
they’ve engaged in this type of a link building activity.” Maybe they’ve
been blogging a lot more. Maybe they’ve been producing some viral content.
Maybe they’ve been engaging in PR. They’ve been speaking at events.
Whatever it is that they are generating, you want to be seeing how they’re
doing it and what they’re doing so you can keep tabs on it and know, maybe
I need to bring that back to my organization.

So, these metrics or measurements should be going into sort of a
standardized format that you’re producing reports either internally for
yourself, for your boss, for your clients all the time.

Then you can move on to step three, which is kind of trying to recognize
some of these keyword and content opportunities. I might be looking here,
let’s imagine that maybe my site is Australian focused for example. Maybe
I’m looking for keywords like wallaby catcher. I’m not ranked for that.
There’s some search volume around that. Vegemite sculptures, that’s
moderately interesting. I guess I’m glad I don’t have to see one of those.
It seems like it would have to be cold out before that would hold
together. And those kiwi rascals over in New Zealand. There are lots of
people searching for that. So, I definitely want to target that one.
That’s going to be an important keyword. So, you can go through that kind
of keyword list. There might be new keywords that you’d like to rank for
that have emerged as being popular. Your business could be entering into
new areas where you say, “Boy, we weren’t in the wallaby catcher business
last month, but this month we’re starting to go in there, so let’s do some
keyword research around that, see if there’s content we can build.” Once
you have these keyword targets, you’re going to need to set some content
goals for yourself. Like, “Hey we’re going to need to produce content
around this.” Landing pages, blog posts, downloads of white papers,
articles. Whatever the content is that matches up against that content,
you’re going to need to get that on the website.

Then step four, you’re kind of going to be worrying about social/public
relations, link building, all that outreach and engagement kind of stuff
that’s hopefully going to bring value, both branding value and awareness
value as well as direct links back to your site. You might be looking on
places like Twitter or in the blogosphere or in the press and media world
or inside your own industry, internally. You might be looking at trade
organizations or business listing directories, those kinds of things.
Saying, who do I need to engage at those places? How do I connect with
them? Where should I engage? So, you know, this kind of a question can be
things like, boy, you know, there is this new forum that’s getting a lot of
popularity, or there’s this new blog that’s really taking off, or there’s a
new Q&A site that’s kind of going wild in my sphere and I want to make sure
that I’m sort of in at the ground floor participating in those places.
When Twitter came out, you want to be there. Now something like a Quora is
out, maybe you want to be there. Maybe even something like Namesake,
right, which is kind of getting some traction in the Web 2.0 Silicon Valley
space. You want to be on that. Or Foursquare, Gowalla, these kinds of
things. Particularly if you are location based.

Then you need to be asking questions as well, like, “What can I do to stand
out and get noticed?” There’s a lot of people who are going to be
participating in all of these places — bloggers, PR people, people who own
websites who want to get links from. They’re all going to be getting
pitches from people like you, and you need to find a way to get noticed, to
be unique from that crowd. That means identifying things. I think the
easiest way to do that, unless you’re an extremely creative person, is to
see what works for other people in other places. If I wanted to get a blog
post to go popular on Hacker News or on Reddit or get a lot of StumbleUpon
traffic, I would look at what are those sites covering? What are people
voting on at those sites? What does TechCrunch cover? What does
ReadWriteWeb cover? What does my local newspaper cover? Find what those
things are. See those stories. After a couple weeks or few months of
reading that, you’ll have a great sixth sense about what content that is.

Then, finally, are there existing initiatives that need some SEO help?
This can happen quite a bit actually, where there are people in your
organization who are doing things around PR and engagement, who are doing
technical things around the website, who are producing new kinds of
content, but they’re not necessarily thinking like you are. They’re not
thinking about, “Oh, right. The links and the anchor text, that’s
important.” And, “Oh, right, the keywords, I need to worry about what the
page content is, do some keyword research, and make sure the focus is
right.” Or, “Oh, wait, I should be making sure that these pages aren’t
redirecting improperly or carrying the wrong kinds of display codes or
using JavaScript to link to everything instead of straight HTML.” It’s
your responsibility to keep up with all those existing initiatives inside
the organization. That’s why an SEO needs to be well plugged in to
everything that’s happening at the company.

All right. Hope you’ve enjoyed this SEO action plan and that you’ll join
us again for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by SpeechPad.com


Follow SEOmoz on Twitter! You know what? I’d love it if you’d follow me too: Aaron Wheeler.

If you have any tips or tricks that you’ve learned along the way, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Post your comment and be heard!

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November 19, 2010  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing

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