SEO is not rocket science.
But do you have time to do it yourself?
Improving the SEO of your website often comes down to two simple things.
- Do you have the time (and skillset) to do this yourself?
- Have you the budget to invest in all the tools that you need to effectively measure your success?
Most of our clients simply don’t have the time to implement SEO across their entire website.
As most small businesses simply don’t have the ability to employ a full-time SEO manager, outsourcing SEO to an agency is the best approach.
Our SEO process.
SEO takes time and should be measured to report on effectiveness.
Our process is probably very similar to lots of other SEO agencies; we all use the same tools, read the same best-practice and report in similar ways.
What is different about Searchworthy is that we focus on a smaller number of keywords to work on.
This means that we treat each keyword or phrase as a mini-campaign in its own right – we don’t just raise the rankings of your keywords as a whole, we work to get the keywords that will win you new business ranking higher in the SERPs (search engine results pages).
By far the most important aspect of any SEO campaign.
Research is the first stage of any SEO campaign and we take time here to fully understand several different aspects of your business, your website and your objectives.
- Simply put, what is it you want to achieve from an investment in SEO (it’s not always more sales)
- What is your niche, and how competitive is it?
- How and when have you invested in SEO in the past – what worked and what didn’t
- How well-built is your website
- How does your website score in various tests (Google’s Page Speed Insights, GT Metrix, SEM Rush Audits etc)
- What does your site already rank for (using Search Console, SE Ranking, SEM Rush and other tools)
- What keywords do you want your site to rank for?
- 301 redirects check
- What is your domain authority?
- What are your current backlinks?
- Toxic backlinks check
- Competitor research (keywords, social media etc)
All of the above information is then collated into spreadsheets to start making sense of it all and to identify initial opportunities for SEO.
This stage of the project sets everything else up.
It’s impossible to bypass this stage, so if you’ve never done any of the above with your current SEO agency, best ask them why.
Getting your site ready for your SEO campaign.
Before you embark on any SEO campaigns, your website needs to be in tip-top condition.
During this stage of the process, we’ll do the following:
- Analyse any site errors or issues highlighted from the various reports in stage one
- Identify what needs to be fixed, and provide reasons why
- Provide costs (if any) for fixing your site
- Re-run the various website tests post-fix to demonstrate the effectiveness of the work we’ve done
As most site owners add and edit the content on their sites on a regular basis, we recommend a regular check of your sites health and technical optimisation.
We will aim for the following (where possible):
- Desktop and mobile scores upwards of 90 in Google Page Speed Insights
- A site audit score of 95% or above in SEM Rush
As these two tests are very thorough and cover nearly every aspect of your site’s technical optimisation, achieving these scores will mean that your site is ready for SEO investment.
3. Choosing Keywords
How this stage progresses depends very much on whether you have an existing site or just launching a new one.
From the research in stage one of the process, we’ll work through your keywords to suggest the best opportunities for improvement.
There will be three main types of Keyword (or phrases) that we are looking at:
- Ones where you rank positions 11 to 20
- Keywords where you have positions 30 and above
- Missing keywords; where you want to rank for something but are currently outside the top 200 results
Positions 11-20 are generally considered ‘low hanging fruit’, meaning that they should be easier to optimise for than missing keywords.
We don’t target everything though, we only look at the keywords that we’ve identified to be converting keywords – searches where the user has the intent to use your services or your products.
Where do the keywords come from?
We use SEM Rush and Google Console to identify the keywords your site ranks for.
From SEM Rush, these will be from their database of over 60 million UK keywords.
Google’s search console reports on a slightly different set, actual terms used that result in your site ranking.
Why do we only start with a small number of keywords?
When reporting on the effectiveness of SEO, it’s far too easy for some SEO agencies to give you a broad report on the 1000s of keywords your site potentially ranks for.
In these types of reports, they will be able to make the data work for them.
- We’ve increased the average position of your keywords by 5 places
- 200 keywords have seen a position change of at least 10 places
- We’ve attained 50 new keyword rankings in the last three months
This type of data and reporting is true and can be considered as an improvement on where you were previously, so the agency is justifying it’s charges.
If none of this actually results in you winning new business and enquiries, then what is the point?
SEO takes time.
It’s true that SEO does take time both to implement and to see results, but positively affecting the positions of your keywords that rank outside the top 30 will take months.
That’s months (potentially 12-18) of you paying a monthly fee before you see any returns.
Focusing on a smaller number of easier-win keywords from the get-go means we reduce the time required to achieve returns.
Treating each keyword as a mini-campaign in its own right also means you get transparent data and reporting that can’t be misinterpreted as success.
4. Getting started
On-page SEO is the main place to start for all campaigns.
We’ve already done the technical SEO on your site, so now it comes down to working through the on-page elements.
On-page SEO will be a mixture of:
- Optimising current content
- Producing new content
- Internal linking
- Site URL structure
Optimising current content
Where you’ve got content that’s ranking, but not as high as you want, we can work through the content to further optimise it.
This will include looking at the content structure, keyword densities, associated terms that should be in the text and a range of other metrics to ensure your content is written and structured for SEO (and your visitors).
We use tools like Mangools and LSI Graph to check for the types of terms and phrases that top-ranking content uses and we’ll make sure your content does the same.
This helps Google to better understand your content and where it should be ranking (hopefully in the top ten)
We also use the Yoast SEO plugin to check the content is easy to read and structured correctly.
Producing new content
We often find that sites rank well for certain keywords, but the ranking page is not really the best – for example, your homepage could rank for one term, but you may have tonnes more stuff to say that you can’t work into the homepage, so we’ll suggest new pages (or posts) to better serve the search term.
If you also have keywords that you don’t rank for at all, it’s a good time to start considering getting some content posted to start the ranking process.
Done well, this can have a dramatic effect on the rankings of your pages.
So much so, that we wrote our own plugin called Internal Link Finder to help us find and link all the relevant anchor texts to the right pages on your site.
Google (et al) will consider a page that has lots of internal links as an important one (outside of your main header and footer navigation) so internal links influence Google and therefore are a crucial part of on-page SEO.
If your site URLs are a mess, Google will struggle to understand how your content is organised.
We’ll work on the structure of your site URLs (often called Permalinks) to ensure they make sense to both human and bot visitors to your site.
Where long-tail URLs better explain the structure of your site, we’ll use them.
Forcing all content to have short-tail URLs can remove the structure that helps search engines make sense of your site.
Short tail example: https://www.your-domain.com/this-is-the-service-title
Longer tail example: https://www.your-domain.com/services/this-is-the-page-title
Long-tail example: https://www.your-domain.com/services/service-name/this-is-the-service-title
If your domain name also contains a strong keyword, this can make even more sense, but the debate about the effectiveness of keywords in domains is still raging on…
The older your site, the more 301 redirects it potentially has.
This is mainly due to deleting old content, changing URLs and other things.
Whilst not the end of the world, too many redirects can again suggest poor site structure, so we’ll see if they need to be there, or can be recycled into new content.
5. Off-page SEO
Using external websites, links and other third-party stuff to positively influence your rankings.
If your domain authority is quite low, off-page SEO can help to improve it and will have a beneficial knock-on effect on your rankings.
Third-party sites that link to you are used by Google (et al) to gauge how ‘popular’ your site is.
If you have links back to your site from high-authority sites, the search engines can see this as a vote of confidence in your site.
Backlinks have to be approached with extreme care.
Too many, too fast and the search engines will notice it – backlinks done wrong can actually harm your results. The backlink process should be done slowly and organically.
Other types of off-page SEO
Whilst backlinks are generally considered to be one of the number one ranking factors for your website, there are a range of other off-page activities that can be used:
- Brand Mentions
- Influencer Outreach
- Guest Author
- Broken Link Building
- Social Networking
- Social Bookmarking
- Content Marketing
- Questions & Answers
- Paid advertising
Each of the above can have differing levels of success based on the level of investment.
Also, it’s important to consider that some of these additional options can take a long time to complete.
We’ll advise on the best methods for your website, these will depend on your niche and your product or service.
We don’t download complex Google Analytics reports that leave you wondering what you are meant to be looking at.
When you are investing in the optimisation of your site for certain keywords, you want to see clearly how those keywords are performing.
We use a range of reports that track your keyword performance on a weekly basis.
You will be able to log in at any time and review these reports, and we’ll also send you a weekly copy via email.
We report per keyword and per URL, so you will be able to see where your keyword ranks and what content it ranks for.
You’ll also be able to see up to six months of historical data, so everything is very clear.
Other reports will include the monthly site Audit to report on your site’s health and we obviously keep an eye on things like Google’s Search Console to monitor your site.
Want more data?
If you like reading reports, we can send you more if required, these can include:
- A monthly domain report (domain authority, ranking keywords, competitors etc)
- Monthly list of every keyword you rank for and where (CSV)
- Google Analytics reports (based on customised data that is important to you)
- Brand mentions reporting – who is chatting about your brand name on social media
- Backlink reporting – keeping an eye on new positive and potentially toxic backlinks
7. Success tracking
Identifying just where new business comes from can be tricky, so how do you know you are actually winning new business from SEO?
Here’s what is easy to tell you:
- How many click-throughs to your site from specific keywords
- How many impressions you’ve had in the search results for those keywords
- Where do you rank for what
- What’s improving, what’s not
If you want to 100% identify when a lead comes from a keyword search, things can be a little more tricky.
Each page on your site that ranks for an important keyword should be considered a landing page.
As Google no longer tells us the specific keyword the visitor used on your site, we have to use other methods.
Landing pages should:
- Have a clear call to action that encourages the visitor to convert on the landing page. Ideally, this should be a form as form views vs submissions can be tracked
- Be tracked in a CRM – we recommend HubSpot, the basic version is free and also gives you loads of other useful information
The above two are the absolute basics – some landing pages (from paid search) don’t have navigation to stop visitors from moving off the page.
Search Console can also be used to track some of this data.
Deciding what is right for you.
For some clients, the increase in new business is simply measured by an increase in enquiries from the website.
Other clients (where investment is more significant) can budget for more complex methods of tracking – but note that this does increase costs.
If you find yourself in a position where traffic to your site has significantly increased, but leads have not followed suit, there may be other reasons for this that then need to be investigated.
8. What next?
You are going to need to invest at least three months into any campaign as a starting point.
SEO is not some silver bullet that will quadruple your website leads overnight.
It’s generally considered that you need at least three months to get any form of return on SEO, so we offer a three month fixed cost end-to-end campaign for clients looking to get started with improving their SEO.
Once done, you can go on a rolling month-to-month SEO contract for your SEO, with no lengthy commitments or overly complex contracts.
We’ll review your SEO monthly, report back and discuss options for the next month, so everything is clear and understood.
To get started, it’s best to speak to Charlotte or Dave on 01295 266644 for an initial chat over your requirements.
Alternatively, complete the form below and we’ll get in touch to set up a call or Zoom.