So you’re looking to redesign your website for your business, or you’re looking to finally start an SEO campaign for your newly completed website, but where do you start? What steps should you, the SEO company or consultant you hire, be taking to ensure your website has a healthy increase in search engine visibility?
Let’s go through the first 7 steps that any SEO campaign should have. This article will help you if you’re hiring a company like JCSURGE and simply want peace of mind knowing what you’re getting into before spending thousands of dollars. This process is exactly what we follow to ensure our clients receive the best results.
Please note that these steps are not always in chronological order. Some campaigns require certain steps to be rearranged.
You can also do this yourself if you have the time and determination to learn beyond the surface level of SEO.
1. Find Profitable Keywords and Phrases
The first thing we typically recommend, and what we almost always do is perform advanced keyword research. This means finding search terms that real people are looking for with a mix of high and low volume and difficulty phrases. What exactly does this mean? Volume simply refers to how many times a search term is being looked up, and difficulty simply refers to roughly how ‘difficult’ a phrase is to rank for.
The questions that we ask when speaking with business owners will be something like:
- What exact problems are customers looking to solve?
- What would you search for if you were your customer?
- How urgent is the problem the customers are having?
Asking yourself and your team these questions will help you if you’re doing SEO yourself or hiring an SEO agency so you can give them the most accurate and relevant information regarding the types of keywords that should be targeted for your campaign.
Use of Keyword Tools
While doing the initial keyword research, we want to make sure that the phrases we wish to target have at least some relevancy and popularity. Otherwise, we’ll be ranking for phrases that nobody is even searching… which would kind of defeat the purpose of doing SEO in the first place.
We’ll typically look for one main or parent keyphrase. Let’s suppose you’re a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta.
We would enter phrases like “personal injury lawyer Atlanta” “personal injury attorney Atlanta” “personal injury lawyers in Atlanta” and so on, until we hit about 5 or so variations.
Then based on the volume and keyword difficulty (KD) we would determine which phrases people are searching for the most and how difficult that phrase is to rank for.
Quick side note: At JCSURGE, we factor in how difficult phrases are by looking at a variety of sources to help give a reasonable quote. A basic version of this keyword research process is typically performed before the campaign even begins. Learn more about “Local SEO Pricing” or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a quote.
Here’s a quick list of tools we use to find the best keywords for our clients:
- LSI Graph
- Google Keyword Planner
- Google Trends
- Answer the Public
- Also Asked
- Existing data from Search Console (if available)
Once we’ve selected a handful of highly searched keywords, we’ll come up with keywords that are not heavily searched but have high potential. Going back to the personal injury lawyer example, suppose 100 people search for “personal injury lawyer Atlanta” but only 30 people search for “auto accident lawyer Atlanta” you may think that going after the latter is not worth the effort… WRONG!
Going after low-hanging fruit is an optimal SEO strategy for two key reasons: 1) They are usually easier to rank for and allow us to grab some quick wins, and 2) they typically have higher conversions. Meaning people who search for auto injury lawyers have a specific need, more so than those looking for any personal injury lawyer.
2. Competitor Research and Analysis
The second step is to perform competitor research and to find out what they are doing in order to rank higher on Google. Whether you hire us at JCSURGE or another SEO company, you should always mention any competitors in your local area or in your market space if you’re doing a national SEO campaign.
We’ll answer questions like
- What are the top-ranking pages of my competitors?
- What websites are giving my competitors backlinks?
- How many citations and backlinks do my competitors have?
- What keywords are my competitors ranking for?
- How many words are on the top-ranking pages of my competitor?
What is a “Competitor”
A competitor in our use of the word is simply a website or business that ranks for similar keywords that you are looking to target.
Your online search engine competitors may not be the exact same as the ones who advertise on billboards in your area, although for a lot of industries, it’s not uncommon that the companies spending thousands of dollars on in-person ads are the ones spending thousands of dollars on SEO as well.
When doing competitor research, we’ll take a look at not only who ranks for your target keywords but also what other keywords those businesses are ranking for. For instance, a personal injury lawyer may be trying to rank for “auto accident lawyer near me” and find that the guys who are ranking #1 are also ranking for “motorcycle accident attorney” which will give us a good indication of what additional keywords Google is giving them ‘points’ for.
3. Gather Necessary Information
The third step in our process is to gather all necessary account information.
We’ll ask for permission to access the following (when applicable):
- Social media accountants (Instagram, Twitter, etc.)
- Google My Business (for local SEO)
- Website CMS logins (WordPress, SquareSpace, etc.)
- Website hosting access
- Domain access
- Access to current data if using analytics tools like Google Search Console, Google Analytics
When we store your login details, we’ll add a layer of encryption to ensure some level of security. We kindly ask that you do your part to protect your information by changing passwords before sending them to us to make sure they are not exact duplicates of other important logins. Other SEO agencies will likely have their own measures of security to protect your sensitive information.
4. Technical SEO and Error Fixing
The fourth step to a great search engine optimization campaign is to perform a technical SEO audit and fix any immediate issues.
What this means is we’ll use several tools to crawl your current site and identify potential issues such as missing SSL certificates, broken links, missing files like robots.txt, and other things which need immediate care.
What Categories Should an SEO Team Be Looking At?
For the most part, we look at three major technical categories:
- Crawlability, can Google and other search engine crawlers easily crawl your site?
- Indexation, do Google and other bots have a clear set of instructions as to which pages carry the most weight?
- Accessibility, does your site accommodate those with slow internet, visual impairments, and other hindrances?
Once we’ve identified any technical issues, our team of specialists will perform the necessary fixes to get your website’s SEO health’ up to par with the industry standards. This process will typically take 1-2 weeks. 99% of the time no additional budget is needed, and everything is done in-house and out of our fixed budget.
5. Edit / Revamp Pages
Once we’ve solved any urgent errors and issues on your website, we’ll edit and revamp the site’s pages. This process includes adding infographics to summarize important content, creating whiteboard animations, adding call-to-action buttons, and making sure your website is mobile-friendly.
Remember, SEO is not just about inserting technical fixes and keywords here and there. It’s a process of ensuring Google AND human beings can easily digest a company’s information. Having an out of date design or having big blurbs of text will make this process much harder.
Looking for a FREE Website Revamp?
If you think it’s time to get your site upgraded, consider taking us up on our complimentary website redesign service!
When a new business signs up with our local SEO campaign, we’ll give you the option of having our team design a brand new site for you completely FREE of additional charge. This applies to all ‘basic’ websites using a popular CMS like WordPress and or SquareSpace that have less than 20 pages.
Contact email@example.com or call (917) 747-4234
6. On-Page Optimization
This is most likely what you think of when you hear ‘SEO’ it’s the core of what company’s like us provide business owners with. However, it’s one of the most misunderstood aspects of online marketing. This is what makes most SEO projects difficult, even to well-versed SEO experts.
To make things simple, on-page optimization simply refers to providing Google and other search bots with easy-to-read ‘code’ or ‘text’ centered around target keywords.
What Exactly Does JCSURGE Do with On-Page SEO?
Some of these factors include:
- Heading tags (h1, h2, h3, … h6)
- Title tags
- Meta description tags
- Internal & external links
- Google Map embeds
- Sitemap setup
- Schema markup
- Alt-text and image load time
- Site speed
- Bold, italics, and underline usage
If this sounds like gibberish, feel free to contact us, and one of our experienced consultants will walk you through exactly what you need to know to feel confident in your understanding of SEO and to make sure you’re making the right decision for your business.
7. Buy Content and Links
The seventh, and final step to an explosive SEO project is to purchase, or write, content and buy, or manually build, links that point to your company’s page(s).
The type of content being bought or written will almost always reflect some sort of keyword, or set of keywords. However, they may not appear obvious at first. Going back to the PI lawyer example, suppose we were trying to rank for “auto accident attorney near me” in order to do this Google needs to know that the PI lawyer is relevant and authoritative in this industry.
How does Google determine relevancy and authoritativeness? In a nutshell, it’s based on how much content you have and the quality of content, as well as what other sites are mentioning your site.
So we may upload 2 articles to the site, sometimes both in one week or over two weeks as the timeline depends on various factors. Article #1 may be “what to do if you’re in an auto accident” and article #2 might be something like “what are the most common auto accidents in (your location)?” Once uploaded, a good SEO company will link these pages to the primary page trying to rank for “auto accident attorney near me” These articles will show Google your site is relevant.
Once this is finished, links should be built or purchased that point to your website, and supporting articles. This will show Google your website is authoritative.
See how we solve both those problems?
Contact JCSURGE for Online Marketing and SEO
If you’re looking for a reliable and well-versed local SEO company, consider reaching out to us at JCSURGE. We work with a wide variety of local business industries like personal injury lawyers, HVAC contractors, landscapers, accountants and more to help solve common digital marketing problems.