Our January 2005 newsletter dealt with stage 1 of the 10 stage process to successful search engine optimisation (SEO). This article will review stages 2 and 3.

To summarise, the best practice approach to Search Engine Optimisation is as follows:

Site Performance Audit
Objectives Setting
Project Plan
Keyword Analysis & Selection
Content Development
Site Structure Optimisation
Link Building
Search Engine Submission
Reporting & Analysis
Maintenance & Improvement

Step 2 – Objectives Setting

Once you have identified how your site is performing with SEO in Stage 1 – Site Performance Audit, you have a benchmark of where you are now.

As with any successful marketing campaign, you must set clear goals for your SEO campaign. You need to define ‘SMART’ objectives which are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Without ‘SMART’ objectives you will have no focus and will lack feedback measurables to measure against as your progress. Typical ‘SMART’ objectives can be:-

  • Increase unique visitors to 5,000 per month by July 2005
  • Achieve Top 10 positions for 15 selected search phrases by April 2005

Objectives don’t have to be related to traffic or positions, as these are not what generate real value to your business. Try setting objectives related to conversions, for example,

  • Increase number of newsletter subscribes to 5000 by July 2005
  • Increase number of information requests to 50 per month by March 2005
  • Increase sales revenue on Loan Applications by 30% by April 2005

If you are using an agency, work with them to determine what Return On Investment (ROI) you need to justify your payment to them. For example, if your costs of hiring an SEO agency are 12k, what specific returns on this investment do you need to justify outsourcing?

ROI depends on several factors including; your products or services value, your industry sector; size of market and size of geographical target market. For example, a software company selling globally would naturally have much greater potential ROI than an office cleaning business that only operates within a small local area.

Some SEO agencies, like ClickThrough, will help you research your target market potential and build an ROI plan to determine whether investment in SEO is feasible. In some cases, we will recommend that SEO is not suitable for your business.

This might seem controversial to some sales-driven SEO agencies, however, our business and reputation is about building long term mutually beneficial relationships, and we prefer to avoid working with clients where forecasted ROI is not clear.

Sample ROI calculator used by ClickThrough to determine feasibility of investment in SEO by clients.

Step 3 – Project Plan & Timescales

This might seem dull, but it is crucial. Without it, you will have no structure to what you are doing and when you are going to do it by. Even the most disciplined person would find this useful, as it breaks down all the stages into manageable chunks and allocates a timescale for each. The SEO process is complex and you need a plan to guide your efforts.

Our March newsletter will review one of the most important stages, Step 4 – Search Phrase Analysis. Don’t skip this article if you think it is good enough to get your keywords from your Google Adwords account or Overture’s Suggestion Tool.

This SEO MasterClass series is based on our 18 page ebook titled ‘How to Implement Successful SEO’. This paper is available to download from www.clickthrough-marketing.com.

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About the author:

Phil Robinson is an online marketing consultant with over 17 years experience in marketing planning, internet strategy and online acquisition. In 2004, Phil founded ClickThrough, an ethical search marketing agency. He gives best practice training for businesses, runs seminars and writes books on digital marketing.