What Should I Expect, and When?
If you’re new to the world of SEO, beginning a campaign can feel daunting.
What will happen? What do I have to do? Will this hurt?
It’s important that you know going into the campaign exactly what to expect, when things happen and how long it’ll take to see results. That way, you’re able to judge the effectiveness of a campaign more… effectively!
In this blog we’re going to look at the shape and results of a typical SEO campaign.
A Typical Campaign Timeline
While every SEO campaign is different and the activities we carry out depend on what is already in place on the website and with the site’s visibility, this timeline shows what happens during a typical SEO campaign of 30-40 hours per month.
In this illustration we’re assuming that the website has not been well optimised and lacks any visibility online.
SEO Step 1: Preparation
The first (and to some extent, most important) part of any SEO campaign is the preparation. Any SEO company worth their ninja salt will have already taken a look at your website and competitors, and will have a good understanding of the work required to compete in your market before they begin.
Nevertheless, it’s good practice to start any campaign with a period of more in-depth analysis. Like checking the postcode before you type it into the sat nav, quality preparation greatly increases the likelihood that you end up somewhere that you’re happy with.
Keyword research is something that we will always spend time doing early on. Even if you have extensive data from previous campaigns, it’s important that we check the viability of any keywords that we’ll be targeting to make sure they’re likely to be the most profitable ones. You don’t want to end up 6 months down the line ranking top for a keyword that gets large search volume but no conversions.
As soon as you sign up for a Ninja SEO service we’ll send you our New Client Questionnaire. This questionnaire is designed to get you thinking about the sort of keywords that your audience might use. If you have previous data, you’re invited to share that. If you’re new to SEO, then you’re asked to talk about your bestselling products and services, and we use your answers to draw out keyword suggestions. We’ll then take that information, combine it with our own research and analysis of your competitors’ sites, feed it through a selection of discovery and analysis tools, and present you with a suggested list of short, medium and long term keywords.
We’ll almost always perform a website usability check in the first month of an SEO campaign as well. Things like site speed, broken links, user flow, logical product and checkout pages all have an effect on the results of a campaign, not only in conversion rates, but also in potentially influencing ranking. There’s little point optimising a website’s content if it takes 10 seconds to load and loses 70% of visitors on the first page; Google simply won’t rank it.
The last element of preparation is (even) less glamorous, but equally as important. To track and report the success of your campaign, we use a range of different tools. From everyday tools like Google Analytics to more advanced premium SEO rank and link trackers, data is an important piece of the SEO puzzle and getting your site set up and integrated with these tools is an important part of the preparation work.
SEO Step 2: Onsite Optimisation
Now that we have the sat nav programmed and we know where we’re going, it’s time to fuel the car, strap everyone in and attach the rocket boosters: onsite optimisation. Making sure your website is optimised (‘Google friendly’) is essential: without proper optimisation, it’s difficult for Google to know which keywords you should be ranking for. Our onsite optimisation process usually involves the following elements:
- Creating optimised titles and Meta descriptions for each page so that Google knows what to rank it for, and visitors are compelled to click
- Checking and optimising page content to include keywords in a natural way that increases the perceived value of that page
- Optimising images
- Compressing site files to increase site speed and reduce bounce rate
- Creating or checking the sitemap
- Submitting the site to Google Search Console/Webmaster Tools and making sure it’s being indexed (read) by Google correctly
- Testing contact forms
- Checking for 404s and broken links
- Any other improvements to boost site speed and optimise content
You will receive an onsite optimisation report once this work is carried out. Some clients prefer to action our recommendations instead, so in these cases we’ll send over a detailed prescription of things to change and tweak.
SEO Step 3: Offsite Promotion (Phase 1)
The first phase of promoting your site across the Internet involves getting you visibility in directories, across social media and on video sites (remember YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine).
Our strategy here is to get you exposure in the sort of places that people are likely to be hunting for a business like yours, whether it’s searching Yell, Yelp and Freeindex, or checking for businesses in their area on social media.
This first phase of the promotion results quickly in new links to the site and increased authority. We usually spend approximately 50 hours on this work before bringing in the second phase of Offsite Promotion…
SEO Step 4: Offsite Promotion (Phase 2)
The second phase of Offsite Promotion is SEO/PR, cunningly named for its mixture of SEO and online PR. During this stage of the campaign you’ll have your own PR Ninja or Ninjas, and their job is to identify publicity opportunities around your business. They’ll use these angles to get coverage in blogs, magazine and newspaper sites that are most likely to be read by your audience.
SEO/PR has two main goals: firstly the publicity itself can be a source of traffic. The perceived authority of appearing in publications read by your potential customers makes you stand out, and in cases where the visibility is in mainstream publications such as the Guardian, The Mirror and live on BBC television (all avenues we have got our clients visibility), the perception can be significant.
The second goal is to show Google that your business, and your website, are high enough visibility across the Internet that any search results page without your business listed is incomplete. By getting you links from high authority and relevant publications we increase the authority of your site and the bigger the publications, the bigger the difference is made to your rankings.
SEO Step 5: Ongoing
The majority of a campaign’s ongoing work is usually SEO/PR, as the work here is never ‘done’ – there are always more opportunities for publicity, and to get a site’s ranking to be dominant (this is the goal) it’s important that the business is featured in a large number of publications, with new articles going live each and every month.
Other work that we carry out during this ongoing phase can include:
- Writing blog posts for the the site (more and up-to-date content not only ranks better but shows visitors the business is alive and thriving)
- Running further competitor analysis to identify where they are being featured and seeking to target these publicity sources
- Additional keyword research and onsite optimisation as we learn about which keywords are working best and turning into business for you
- Additional video marketing
- Social Media work
- Running contests, promotions and live events to boost engagement and drive traffic to the site.
SEO is never ‘finished’ and there are always opportunities to improve the site’s visibility, user experience and position in your marketplace. You will receive monthly reports which show what and why we’re doing what we’re doing, the results it’s bringing you (both in rankings and in traffic/conversions) and our plans for the future.
Always Look for Openness!
Whether you’re new to SEO or you’ve been working with SEO companies previously, it’s really important that you understand what is being done throughout the campaign. Low quality SEO outfits will take shortcuts or – worse – do nothing at all, so if in doubt don’t be afraid to ask for an explanation if you hear something that you don’t understand.
If you’d like to see the difference that the level of SEO above can make to your business, claim your free SEO and website review now and we’ll show you some killer ways to boost your ranking and drive business through your site, free of charge.
If we feel strongly that we’ll be able to help and that you’d earn a significant return on investment with our services, we’ll explain the next steps.