The main goal of a search engine optimization (SEO) plan is to help your website rank better in search engine results pages. This means that the more visitors you get, the higher your site will be ranked for relevant keywords.
To do this, you’ll need to focus on three main things: optimizing the content on your website, making sure it has a high-quality score, and gaining links from other websites.
You can also use various tools like Google Analytics to measure how well your SEO campaign is performing against competitors. The difference between search engine optimization and search engine marketing comes down to two main differences: they are different activities with different goals and they have different audiences (the people who visit websites looking for information versus advertisers).
The best way to come up with a successful SEO plan is to have a clear focus on what you want to accomplish. So, if your main goal is to increase revenue through organic search traffic, then it would be an ideal goal for your SEO plan.
How to Set Up an SEO Plan
There are a few steps to establish and maintain a successful SEO plan for your company. These steps are listed below.
- Define your website’s goals.
- Determine how to measure success.
- Identify and prioritize keywords for SEO.
- Create a content strategy, asking, “What is the purpose of each piece of content on your site and who will it be most useful for (keyword research)?”
- Write blog posts that are optimized with keywords and share them on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., as well as through email marketing campaigns.
- Update your site with fresh new content regularly so that Google and other search engines can keep indexing it in their search engine results pages.
What to Include in a Successful SEO Plan
SEO is the process of optimizing your website to be ranked higher on search engine listings for keywords that are relevant to your content. An SEO plan should include researching and implementing on-page SEO techniques, off-page SEO techniques, and link-building. The goals of an effective SEO plan are typically increased traffic, increased conversion rates, increased customer loyalty, maximized ROI for marketing expenditures, and more. I’ll talk about how to meet those goals in a bit.
First, I would like to discuss a couple of things that should be included in an SEO plan.
On-page SEO basically means optimizing your website so that it is easily understood by both humans and search engine crawlers. Things you might need to optimize on-page are meta tags, page titles, headers (H1, H2, H3, etc.), URLs, and plain-text content of the web page itself.
Off-page SEO means optimizing your website’s reputation. Note that some off-page SEO techniques are not allowed by search engines – you should look into the terms of service for the major search engines to see what they allow.
Things you might need to optimize off-page are:
- Backlinks – links that go from other websites to your website.
- Trust/Authority/Popularity signals – social proof on your website that builds a sense of credibility and authority about your brand.
- Social media signals – things like likes, shares, tweets, etc., that show people think positively about you.
How to Determine Your SEO Competitors
Next I would like to talk about determining who the SEO competitors for your website are and how to beat them. Many times businesses do not realize their competitors are spending money on SEO until it’s too late. The first step is to conduct keyword research using third-party tools like Google Keyword Planner and Wordstream or SEO Book’s Marketing Tools.
You want to be looking for keywords that: 1) your customers may type in when searching online, 2) have a decent number of searches per month, 3) your business does not rank for.
The next step is to find out how you stack up against your competitors ranking for those keywords. A tool like SpyFu will provide an overview of which websites are using paid search ads (PPC – Pay Per Click) and AdSense (display ads) to rank on the first page for specific keywords. It also shows you how much money your competitors are spending on ads, and gives you a chance to see the actual ads and search results pages (SERPs).
From there, you can get an idea of what strategies your competitors are using to outrank you, and use that information to build or improve upon your own SEO plan.
Hopefully, you can see how great of an idea it would be to make optimizing your website for search engines one of your ideal goals. I’ll talk about some ways you can measure whether or not your SEO plan is working in my next article.
SEO vs. Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing (SEM) is the act of marketing on search engines. It can include paid placements, sponsored ads, and getting links on high-quality websites.
SEO, meanwhile, is the act of optimizing your website for search engines to rank it higher in results pages.
You can do this by modifying your HTML so that it has keywords relevant to what you offer on your site and also by adding meta descriptions and tags to tell Google more about your content so they know what’s important on your page.
SEM, when done successfully, results in higher rankings for your website on search engines. SEO can result in higher rankings as well, but it doesn’t involve paying for advertisements or sponsored links. If you are not able to get many high-quality websites to link back to you or if people don’t click on your page when they see it listed as an ad, your site will not benefit from search engine marketing.
Although there is some overlap between SEO and SEM, the best would be to have a plan that simply focuses on one of them. While it can be helpful to have both in place for maximum results, focusing on just one will result in more success.
When starting a new plan, it’s helpful to know if you want to focus on SEM or SEO. Decide what your business does best and go from there. If you have a paid marketing budget to buy ads from Google, take advantage of SEM by putting that budget into a plan that focuses on getting your site ranked higher. If you would rather work with other people to get links from high-quality websites, SEO may be a better option for you.
Once you know what form of marketing will work best for your business, create your plan. Determine how many resources you have and decide where to put them. If you have a large marketing budget, put it toward SEM and hire an agency or consultant to work with you on this plan. If you only have the resources for SEO, work closely with one person who can help you maximize your results in that area.
When starting out, it’s better to focus on just one area instead of trying to do both at the same time. SEO and SEM work differently, so starting with one will allow you to see if it’s working for you. Then, once your plan is in place and you’re getting results, it may be helpful to start putting more of your resources toward search engine marketing by hiring an agency or consultant who can help you.
Once you have an SEO plan in place, it’s important to know which specific areas to focus on. This is where your competitors come into play. You will need to learn what they are doing so you can do it better or come up with new strategies. Look at the keywords that are bringing targeted traffic to their sites and figure out how to get links from high-quality source to drive more of that traffic toward your page.
Once you have their strategies in place, you can determine which areas are most important for your SEO plan. This may be different if you’re focusing on SEM because search engines will bring more attention to the ads they display on their sites first, rather than what people are searching for. However, SEO also pays attention to links and ads.
If you would like to focus on keywords relevant to your business, look at how your competitors are getting links from other sites. If they’re giving out free merchandise in exchange for links, offer something of equal or greater value that will bring more relevant traffic to you.
You can also choose not to look at your competition. Instead, put together an SEO plan that’s all your own and focus on these three areas: keywords, links, and ads. You can do this by writing compelling content that will attract high-quality websites to link back to you without having to pay for ads or sponsored links.
If you don’t want to bother with SEM or looking at your competitors, focus on keywords, links, and ads. These are the three main things that search engines look for, so putting all of your efforts into these areas will provide you with more traffic from search engines.
In conclusion, SEO is best done by focusing on one area instead of trying to do everything at once. Start off by determining whether you want to use SEM or SEO, then create a plan that’s unique to your business and focus on specific areas. Either determine which areas will bring more traffic from search engines or choose a different strategy entirely by working with high-quality websites to get links and writing compelling content that will attract targeted traffic on its own.
Once you have your plan ready, start looking at who your SEO competitors are and how they’re getting the results you want for yourself. Once you know their strategies, put together a plan to beat them by doing things better or more creatively than they are. Finally, keep an eye on what search engines prioritize so that you can tailor your plan to suit their needs.
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