The SEO Process

The SEO Process

Below is a step by step breakdown of the SEO process we use for your site. as mentioned previously this is broken down into two sections: On-Page and Off-Page. while the On-Page portion is a one-off exercise, the Off-Page stuff needs to be continually worked on, such as outreach, link building, social signals and user experience metrics. This on-going work is what the monthly cost is associated with, and is vital to our overall success. Please be sure to ask lots of questions, SEO is complicated business and we want to make sure you know what your getting into and what kind of value you are getting for your investment.

SEO SERVICES

Google has one goal, and one goal only. To provide the most relevant, on-topic and valuable search results to its users.

Having a great product, or even a great website with lots of relevant and useful content is fantastic but if your target audience isn’t aware of it, or able to easily find what they are looking for it can be likened to having a fully functional space shuttle but no rocket fuel for it to take off.

SEO, Paid Search, Social Media Campaigns and advertising provide that rocket fuel.

While SEO has a longer implementation life cycle, due to the nature of search engines ranking sites in a very fancy and complicated popularity contest, it has one of the highest return on investments in the marketing world, not just online marketing, but marketing as a whole.

With other paid-for methods you do not get to keep the value of the work that is put in, you pay for clicks and visitors on a one-off basis, in that case a click is a click, is a click, it does not provide brand recognition value or on-going traffic without further payment. SEO on the other hand provides on-going traffic and visibility value for all the keywords we can get top rankings for.

It is also widely known that SEO services across the internet can have a significant “snake oil” factor to them. If an agency or service ever guarantees you top positions in X amount of time, or any kind of promise about on-going and static traffic volumes you know to tuck tail and run. Google is constantly changing landscape and there are always competitors out there fighting for those top positions as well. We provide structure and strategies to maximize the positional power your site can have on the major search engines and aim to make you an authority on the subject matter your product and service is built around.

That all being said there are some very fundamental ideas concepts and processes that have become evergreen. The process below details how we go about building that foundation to allow your exact target audience to find, learn about, and eventually convert or buy your products and services.

The Process

PERSONA IDENTIFICATION

When launching any kind of marketing campaign, advertising, or even a new product or service its very important that we know exactly who the audience is.

Lets be honest, even if you are just trying to get visitors to your site to sign up for an event, or a news letter or just to provide them with some solid information surrounding your brand or idea, YOU ARE SELLING SOMETHING!

Depending on your business you may have multiple personas, or just a single one. Either way we must be sure to consider a few hings when speaking to your audience. These include

1) Overall value in terms of budget, possible return business and reach
2) Demographics (Age, Gender, Family, Status, Location, Income etc.)
3) Medium of Communication: Phone, Website, Email, Mobile, Social Media

During this initial phase of our keyword, and competitive research we will help your business figure out the following:

1) Who are your potential audience members?
2) What do they do?
3) What about your business should they care about?
4) What is their location, and how do they find you?
5) How do you turn them into a customer, client or fan of your offering?

OFF PAGE (One-Time & New Content Items)

 Sitemap & Information Architecture

If you have an existing site and lots of content the sitemap is just a breakdown of how the site is laid out logically in terms of categories, and content parent and child relationships. Information Architecture refers to how logically this information is laid out. Is it easily understood and retained by your audience? Are some of your pages buried very deep in the site navigation. Can page items and content pieces be laid out in a more logical and user friendly way? All of this information will be gathered and used during various points of our campaign. This outline and the navigation that arises from it is nearly the most important part of the whole process, we will be refining it and adding pertinent data to each of the possible pages including: URL Structure, Titles, Descriptions and Headings which are some of the most important markers in the search engines eyes in terms of on-page SEO optimization.

 Technical Site Audit & User Experience

We take a look at how the pages on the site are currently constructed, are there any quick wins we can have, are there any significant issues that are hindering crawl ability and therefore rankings and traffic. This audit consists of a 100+ item different check list and possible changes. If your site utilizes a CMS such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal there are several plugins that make this quite a bit easier. However if it’s not or just a flat file HTML site we can certainly work with that as well. This technical audit and its deliverable documents will explain this process and its results in much clearer detail.

Competitive Analysis

a. Identify our potential SEO competitors
This initial phase is especially helpful in this case as we are starting with an SEO process for a new site in development and you don’t have a lot of content currently targeting specific target verticals, and we need to start from scratch to identify all of the potentially relevant competitors. It’s important to note that these are not necessarily limited to companies or websites that offer the same type of content, services, or products that you do, but can be any website that competes with you in the search results for your possible target keywords.

b. Validate our SEO competitors
Once we have the potential competitors that we have gathered from different relevant sources it’s time to validate them, by analyzing and filtering which of those are really already ranking, and to which degree, for the same keywords that we would possibly be targeting.
Additionally, at this stage we’ll also expand our list of potential target keywords by performing keyword research. This uses several sources beyond the ones that we had already identified coming from our competitors and our current organic search data—sources for which our competitors or ourselves are still not ranking, that might represent new opportunities.

c. Compare with our SEO competitors
Now that we have our SEO competitors and potential target keywords, we can gather, list, and compare our site outline and planned pieces of content to our competitors, using all of the relevant data to select and prioritize those keywords. This will likely include keyword relevance, current rankings, search volume, ranked pages, as well as domains’ link popularity, content optimization, and page results characteristics, among others.

d. Pre-select our target keywords
It’s finally time to analyze the previously gathered data for our own sitemap and possible information architecture and our competitors, using the specified criteria to select the best keyword to target for our own situation in the short-, mid-, and long-term during the SEO process: Those with the highest relevance, search volume, and profitability. The best starting point is in rankings where they are competitive from a popularity and content standpoint.

Keyword Research

a. Keyword list generation
Using the data from the previous step we compile a very large list of keywords, suggestions are scraped from Google, Youtube, Amazon, Ebay, Yahoo News and several other sources. We then check a ridiculous number of metrics for the keywords including monthly search traffic, geographic qualification and a number of other factors that look at whether the keyword is semantically relevant and are targeted toward navigational, informational, or buy based keywords. After that the following steps are taken:

b. Keyword value judgement
We look at several factors to determine the viability of a keyword as a target we would like to rank for. Some of these factors include: Monthly Search Traffic, Competition on the front page of Google for the keyword, How many advertisers are there on Adwords, Can we compete, and how long do we think it will take to get on the front page.

c. Fat head, chunky middle, long tail analysis
Different keywords and searches have different purposes, we need to identify which those are and what category they fall into: (Buy, Informational, and Navigation Search Queries)

d. External and implicit resources
We then verify our findings using third party tools such as: (Wordstream, Google Adwords, MSDN adcenter, Google Analytics, Google Webmaster tools)

e. Keyword difficulty metrics
There are way too many metrics to list here, check out a link to a completed Keyword Research Document here: SEO Keyword Research

f. Final selection for mapping
Once we have determined the list of viable targets (generally 50 – 100 depending on the size and scope of the campaign and package you choose to go with) we will use it for the next step which is mapping each of the keywords, or keyword sets (Keywords that are semantically relevant to each other)

Keyword Mapping

Including all of the above information, Site Map, Competitive Analysis, and Keyword Research we then map target terms (on average 1-3 keywords per page) to each of the possible items in the sitemap (A list of all the URLs on your site), or future content calendar. Ideally each URL will have a concise set of target terms that the content can be tailored to. This allows us to target a primary and secondary set of keywords for each existing item and then also see if there are any gaps in the content coverage. This mapping and the keyword research exercise is great for finding content ideas that should be on your site but are not. This will also flow into the Content based site audit where we focus on the actual written content as opposed to the Technical audit which just focuses on the technological changes that need to be made.

Road-map & Implementation Document

Now with our Keyword Map in hand, and using all of the information we have acquired during this lengthy research process we then build out an entire map of what the structure of the site will look like including the creation of all of the required SEO items: URL Slugs, Meta Data, Titles, Descriptions and Heading Suggestions for each page (current, or planned content pieces). This document will be the basis of all content creation and addition to the site as a whole and covers all of the on-page factors that we can control that Google uses to rank sites for our. This document will be the most important thing to have on-hand while looking at the SEO of the site as a whole and any directions you might end up taking down the road. If done correctly this only ever needs to be done once.

 Content Site Audit

Using our Road-map and Implementation document we sweep through your site and make all the necessary changes to meta data, and include our target keywords in the following places: Titles, Descriptions, headings, Img ALT texts, Internal links and variety of other places. This audit focuses on content only and nothing specifically technical.

 Schema & Micro Format Implementations

These new technologies greatly increase the visibility and click-through rate of visitors from the search engine results pages. There are currently only a few content types that can implement these micro-formats such as: Events, Reviews, People, Organization, Place, Company , Product, Offer, Action and several more. Adding this rich data to the HTML markup of your site can have a positive impact on ranking signals. We will determine if there are any places on your site that this can be implemented.

OFF PAGE (On-Going Monthly)

 Link Building & Co-Mentions

Still to this day acquiring or building high quality, relevant and on topic links to your site is the largest influencer of overall authority your website has in the search engines. This is where our quality and difference between other agencies really shines.

 Target High Quality Directory Submissions

We hand select target directories in your niche that have quality authority and metrics supporting them. Directory submission used to apss a lot more value in the past but due to web spammers the impact they have has been severely decreased. How ever some of the major directories like the Open Directory Project (DMOZ), and Yahoo’s web directory ($300, per year) pass enough juice to make them worthwhile if the budget permits it. We also find several paid directories related to your site content and provide you the option to have us set them up for you.

 Social Shares & Signals

These days social media engagement has become much more important in the search engines ranking algorithms. We provide real, legitimate social signals in the form of shares, likes, comments, tweets, retweets, pins, bookmarks and many others just to name a few!

 Citation Fixes & Additions

NAP stands for: Name, Address, Phone Number. It is very important that all references to your business and website contain exactly the same information. Google uses this information in whats called NER or named entity recognition. Google also uses this information to help rank sites on its local map listings. We ensure it is congruent across all platforms. Once we have the NAP information verified and congruent we can then start finding new places to mention your business information such as directory assistance sites like 411.ca, the yellow pages, and many many more! In much the way links are the authority builders for Organic Search results, citations are the links for Local map listings.

 Social Media Profile optimization

Using social media profiles and platforms such as Facebook Pages or Groups, LinkedIn Company Page, Or a G+ Local Page you can build and target to your own audience. With this package we will create or optimize your existing pages to have the most SEO benefit and to help syndicate any future content your produce out to your audience.

Customer Review Strategy

If you are a local brick and mortar business having positive reviews on Google, and other relevant 3rd party sites is very important. We will help design and build out a strategy to increase the number of positive reviews, and mitigate or remove any existing negative reviews moving forward.

 Other Traffic Channels (Facebook Ads, Adwords, MSDN etc.)

If you have a larger budget for SEO and online marketing we can take a look at other channels that can bring you high value, qualified and target traffic. Adwords, MSDN, Facebook, Twitter and variety of other advertising platforms may just be the right fit for you, be sure to discuss these options with us if you are interested in going down this path!

 

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