Planning An SEO Campaign: 5 Simple Steps
So you have launched or are about to launch your brand new website. It has been professionally designed and functions superbly well, and now all you need to do is sit back and wait for the business to come rolling in… Right? Wrong! Ok, so maybe most of us aren’t quite so naive nowadays and understand that a business website needs a marketing campaign which positions key marketing messages in front of a targeted audience. The most popular, and often rewarding way to do this is through the medium of Search Engine Optimisation. The careful planning of such a campaign is paramount to its success so we’ve come up with 5 simple steps to ensure you are well prepared for the adventure ahead.
Think carefully about what you want to achieve from your SEO Campaign and come up with a source objective. The most common goal for a website owner embarking on an SEO campaign is keywords. “I want to rank for Jewellery Shop” or “I want to rank for Electrical Services Berkshire”. This is not a source objective. This is an objective that YOU believe is going to lead to your goal. Your objective needs to be more direct. Increase website sales or increase website enquiries are good examples.
If there are products or services that earn your business more money, are notoriously less competitive or have a higher profit value make a note of these because they are worth singling out and prioritising over others.
Who is your customer? What is their demographic? Write down as much as you know about your audience. Gender, Age, Location, Buying Habits, Consumer or Business are all key ingredients in the targeting of your marketing message.
If you have ever performed any marketing activity before (Pay Per Click / Email Marketing / Social Media Marketing) take note of any analytical statistics you may have because this data could give you a valuable head start. If you haven’t run any campaigns before try and visualise your typical customer from those that you meet on a regular basis.
Your campaign reach is quite simply how far you want your marketing messages to go. You may service a local area such as a town and if so your campaign would be considered as local. Further afield and your campaign would either focus nationwide or international. Your reach is going to be dictated by how far afield you want to service, however, your market competitiveness may dictate where you should focus. Key information such as this can be apparent before you launch your campaign, however, the rest of this information will reveal itself over time.
Allow for campaign reach to be flexible. Start with a small number of target areas and allow your campaign model to improve itself until you have the perfect blueprint. Then look to target further target locations.
Your online marketplace is different to your offline marketplace. Competitors with small shops or premises may be big online players and vice versa. Understanding how competitive your online environment is can be tricky without the help of SEO experts. There are some great free SEO tools that can help give you an insight such as the MOZ toolbar. This fantastic tool will show you an insight into domain authority, page authority and link profiles which are key metrics in understanding how well your competitors websites are optimised.
Think of a service or product you may want to market, add a target location and type this string into Google. Remember to use google.co.uk if your target audience is local or national. Make a note of the top 5 results. These will be your strongest online competitors for that particular term. If the Moz toolbar is outside of your capabilities don’t worry – a knowledgeable SEO agency will perform this type of research before any campaign.
Any serious SEO campaign will require a serious investment to match. To decide on an investment that you can afford to make over the next 6-12 months, you need to think about the potential return. Although your return cannot be exactly predicted you can to some degree estimate a likely and unlikely return. Let’s say your objectives require an initial investment of £1000 per month. If the cost of your product is £3000 then you know that even a small return within the first 6 months would cover the outgoing cost. The cost of any SEO campaign is reflected purely on the hours required to meet your objectives / goals / targets. Once these have been met, an SEO campaign should alway be re-evaluated to look at the potential for increasing ROI. You must allow your agency to be flexible with the tasks they decide to spend their time on. Google’s landscape alters its terrain on a regular basis and the world of digital marketing is quickly evolving all the while.
Spend what is required (within reason) not what you think is a good deal. This may be easier said than done, but imagine spending £300 for 6 months and not getting anywhere near your targets, only to find out that a competitor has wisely invested the £500 per month that is required to reach the same targets and they have achieved this within 3 months. In so many words the cheapest option will most likely be the least rewarding.
If you have years of experience in SEO, follow multiple industry leaders, consistently update your knowledge base by undertaking training sessions and attending seminars, have multiple resources, tools, brains, hands and a thirst and passion for optimisation then you will be set up perfectly to implement and manage your SEO campaign. If not then you need to consider employing an agency to meet your objectives. Having planned and documented information from the above steps, this will give you a good understanding of what is required. Of course, you can take a back seat from the outset and just decide on your budget and there is no problem with this, however, some companies prefer to understand their marketplace and their potential position within it.
The objective is the only mandatory step that you must give thought to before approaching any agency. Reach, competitiveness and audience are factors that will contribute towards the investment that is required, but these can all be tailored to meet a budget if this is a priority.
This year, Verve celebrates 10 years experience as a graphic design and marketing agency, assisting with web development, digital marketing and managing SEO campaigns for a broad range of companies. If you would like to discuss how Verve can increase your website’s sales or enquiries get in touch today for a free consultation.