The road map of a successful SEO campaign usually follows something like this:
- Keyword Research
- Competitive Analysis
- Site Optimization
- Link Building
- Boost In Rankings & Increase In Traffic
After completing these steps and seeing results, what now?
One thing that professional SEOs struggle with on a regular basis is how to maintain steady growth once an SEO campaign is fully underway. If you truly desire to be the best SEO you can be, stopping at that point will just not do. Nor will your clients be too happy if that is what you are doing.
The good news is, there are some things you can do on a regular basis to ensure that your site, or your clients' websites, continue to achieve steady growth month in and month out. I will go through these steps below.
Step 1 - Knowing Where You Want To Go With Your SEO Campaign Is Key
To be successful in any online marketing campaign, you need to understand where you have come from and where you are going -- or where you want to be going in the future.
Keeping detailed records of specific keywords you are link building for, competitors you have analyzed and your findings, and the site optimizations you have implemented are crucial to your success.
One of your best friends during an SEO campaign will be your keyword research and keyword mapping documents. For those of you not familiar with keyword mapping, keyword mapping is the process of selecting the appropriate keywords to target in an SEO campaign and assigning them to a specific landing page on a website. This report will not only show you exactly what keywords you have optimized your website for, but will show you which keywords don't work so well with any of the pages on your site.
Using this report to recognize a need for new content generation is a great way to begin your quest for continual growth. Once you recognize that there is a need for new content on a website, you will need to determine if content can just be rewritten to include the keywords that are left out, or if you need to build additional pages to include the keywords. Knowing and understanding your content generation strategy is the first step in finding new keyword opportunities.
Step 2 - Use Analytic Data To Find New Keyword Opportunities
I know many SEOs who don't spend as much time in analytics as they should. Analytics is a gold mine for finding new keyword opportunities and for many other important things, too. Analytic data, whether provided by Google Analytics or another provider, provides you with key insight on how your website visitors are using your website.
The majority of analytic software will show you exactly how a visitor reached your website, what pages they visited on your site, and which keywords they typed into the search engines to locate your website. Analytics will also show you exactly which keywords, pages, and sources resulted in a conversion on your site. This is very important and will make or break your SEO campaign.
To identify new keywords with your analytic data, you will need two to three months of data to analyze. When comparing this data, you will quickly be able to see any new keywords that are starting to drive traffic to your website. Once you have compiled a list of new keyword opportunities, your first step will be to review your SEO campaign and see which of the new keywords are not currently being targeted in your campaign.
Once you find new keywords that have not been worked on, you will want to run a ranking report to see where you rank, and what specific pages are ranking, for those keywords. Now that you know what pages rank for the new keywords, it is time to decide whether those are the best pages to rank (and optimize those pages for the new keywords), or if you need to create new content for the new keywords.
It doesn't really matter which you decide is best for your site, but once you decide, it is vital to add those keywords and new pages to your keyword mapping for future reference.
Step 3 - Monitor Page Trends
Monitoring traffic trends, whether it be at the domain level or the page level, can be a huge indicator that something is either going very well or extremely wrong. To accurately monitor page trends, you will need a few months of data. I like to start with two and look at more if necessary. When looking at the data, side by side, you will clearly be able to see an increase or decrease in interest for each page you analyze. If there is a decrease in traffic, you most likely have a problem on your hand that needs to be further investigated.
To begin your investigation, you will need to compare the keywords driving traffic to the keyword mapping report and ask yourself these questions:
- Is this the page I optimized for those keywords? (Found in your keyword mapping report)
- Did Google or the other search engines decide that another page on my website was more relevant that the one I selected? This is referred to as keyword cannibalization and you can quickly see which page Google feels is most relevant by performing this search query in Google site:domain name "keyword"
Based on the answers to your questions, you should have a pretty good idea of what you need to do next, whether it be adding new pages or modifying current pages on your site to take into account those keywords.
Step 4 - Monitor Keyword Trends
Monitoring keywords that driving traffic to your website is a great way to see an increase or decrease for a particular keyword you are targeting, and it will help you discover the reasons causing the change in search volume.
If there is a decrease in search traffic from a particular keyword, you should investigate why that is. Could it be that you have experienced a decrease in rankings? If so, what is your game plan going forward? Could the decrease be seasonal or industry related reason? If so, it just might be out of your hands.
If the decrease in traffic is from the search engines, what can you do to boost your rankings? You can link build some more ... but who wants to do that? Wink ... Wink ...
My favorite strategy is locating related pages on my websites and setting up some highly targeted anchor text links pointing to the page that needs some love. This generally does the trick. I also like to add a new blog post about the topic and link back to page that needs some help. You might also do a quick review to make sure that the page was not optimized improperly. Over or under optimization can result in the decrease of rankings.
site:yourdomain.com -link:URL "keyword"
If done right, this search query will search your entire domain for the keyword specified. It will then deliver the pages that contain that keyword without a link back to the landing page associated with the keyword you searched. All you have to do is go to those pages, find the keyword, and add the link. It is too simple not to do.
Step 5 - Find Converting Keywords
Once you have defined a conversion on your website, you can easily track which keywords are driving conversions, thus increasing your ROI. One huge advantage of knowing which keywords are bringing the most conversions, you can go back and check their positions in the search engines. If they need some additional work, you know where to focus your efforts to continue to boost your ROI.
Taking ample time to review each of these steps and execute them will help you achieve your goal of continual growth in your SEO and other online marketing campaigns.