For most small business owners, having a sound digital marketing strategy is essential to the success of the business. One big component of that strategy is implementing a well thought out SEO plan. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a long-term digital marketing strategy that utilizes organic rankings in search engines to drive traffic to the website through on-page and off-page optimizations. SEO is not a quick, short-term tactic that gets results within a few days. In fact, it could and will take months to see results from these efforts. SEO is a long-term investment that could have lasting organic rankings and provide great returns for your website and your business.
The biggest questions we get asked is – what can we expect from SEO efforts and how long does it take to start working? To help answer these questions, we have outlined a timeline with various efforts that will be needed to ensure a successful SEO campaign.
Prepare for SEO Efforts
Preparation is key for any successful SEO campaign. Prior to performing SEO implementation and updates, it’s important to perform research on the market landscape and conduct a technical SEO audit of your website.
An important step in building a successful SEO campaign is conducting research on keywords and your competitor landscape in order to allow you to understand what elements of your campaign you will need to focus on. Some research tactics include:
- Research Competitors
- Similar websites to look for structure and keywords
Another step in preparing for a thought out SEO campaign is to conduct a technical SEO audit of your website. Having a general understanding of what deficiencies need to be corrected will give you a head start. Some items to look for in a technical audit can include:
- Slow page speed
- Not mobile friendly
- Broken Links / improper redirect of pages
- Duplicated content
By conducting sound keyword and competitor research along with a thorough technical audit of your existing website will provide that solid foundation to prepare implementing a successful SEO strategy.
SEO Set-up and Implementation (Month 1-2)
Now that you have identified the keywords and SEO deficiencies in your technical audit, the set-up period will begin. On-page optimization efforts will be a main focus in the first month. Within these on-page optimizations, executing keywords through meta tags and on-page content will be a vital part of the initial process. This will allow the search engines to better understand your business and what targeted keywords you’re trying to go after.
Adding interlinks to your website will be important so that search crawlers can index your website more effectively. The interlink method is where you attach links to various relevant pages within your website. Implementing internal links allows for easy user navigation and search engines can move through the different pages to index your site.
Here is an example of interlinking at Lau Marketing; We used an interlink from our blog post to our contact page.
Once you have most of your on-page elements implemented, it’s time to create content and have a maintenance plan in place.
Content Creation and Maintenance (Months 2-5)
In months 2-5, SEO efforts should emphasize on creating quality content, encouraging backlinks, and updating on-page elements. These steps are crucial in the SEO efforts during this time to exhibit expertise, authority, and trustworthiness as a website. Search engines will take this time to evaluate your overall value to the user. By providing more relevant and authoritative content, this will indicate to search engines that you are valuable to your audience.
Here are some of the necessary steps that occur during the months 2-5 of SEO efforts.
The phrase, “Content is King” refers to the relationship between SEO and content. High quality content that includes keywords and provides answers to industry-related questions is a key component for SEO success. One of the search engine ranking algorithm factors is generating quality content. There are many types of content that can be generated but a few of the more popular examples include blog posts, infographics, ebooks, videos, and more. Publishing high quality content also encourages backlinks to the website which is another important component of search algorithms.
Another important element of search algorithms, backlinks help establish credibility on websites. Link building is when other sites link your website through their content for users to reference and for search engines to index. Think of backlinks as a digital referral. The more backlinks a website has, the more reliability the search engines believe the site has. You can encourage backlinks from other websites by sharing content that is accurate, informational, and problem-solving.
Another necessary piece of long-term SEO strategy is ensuring that meta tags should be updated on a regular basis. Meta tags are the written tags of information that tell search engines what your content is about. There are 3 primary pieces of meta data that should be included in this process:
- Page Title- This page title or meta title is the name of the individual webpage.
- Meta Description- This description area provides a short description of the web page content.
- Headers- The headers identify different sections of content within a page. These are typically H1, H2, and H3 tags found within the content.
Meta data helps to describe and organize content which is essential for both search engine crawlability and user readability.
Updates and Modifications (Months 6+)
Now that we’ve hit the 6 month mark of your SEO campaign, there should be some analytics that can help identify success or areas of opportunities to continue improving the website. At this point, your keywords should be showing up in the SERPs and your organic traffic should start improving. Remember that SEO success in the SERPs is dependent on regular maintenance and updates on the website for optimizations. Continuous maintenance and updates for SEO operations may include:
- Content generation – consistent blogs, page content, videos, etc
- On-page updates with keywords
- Correct on-page errors
- Start analyzing competitors for content and keyword gaps
We’re Nine Plus Months In, Now What?
By the 9 month mark, the main focuses of the SEO campaign should be on authoritativeness, content, and backlinks. SEO is an ongoing process so monitoring and modifying should be routine. Google and other search engines constantly update their algorithm so understanding what needs to be done on the website to comply with these updates will help continue the success of the performance on your website in search results. Out-dated content or lack of updates on your website will indicate to search engines that you’re not consistently trying to provide your audience value which will drop your rankings.
Time to Get Started
When it comes to SEO efforts you will realistically reap the long term benefits around 6-12 months time. Your SEO investment can keep growing over time, this growth is just contingent on the continuous efforts to maintain your SEO placements on the SERPs. Having a sound strategy from the beginning and ensuring that consistent monitoring and updates will provide the long term success your website and business will need to sustain longevity.
If you are interested in getting started in your long-term SEO success today, please contact us.