23rd October, 2012

search engine optimsation company to-do's

We are assuming that you have instructed, or are about to instruct, a Search Engine Optimisation company to look after your website?

You need to know what they should be doing for you. You don’t need to know the detail, unless you’re a control freak, you just need assurance that they have a process to make sure all of the bases are covered. Of course, once you know what they should be doing and how long things take you can get a much better idea of what your SEO should cost!

This article gives you a checklist to help you decide whether your search engine optimisation company has got everything in hand and is thus likely to achieve good results for you.

The SEO Time Estimate symbol gives you an idea of how long these tasks take. Obviously things will vary depending on the complexity of the project, the size of the website and the competitiveness of the keywords.

Time estimates SEO Estimate are also included. These estimates assume you have a website with about 50 pages, that there are about 15 keywords that you would like site to rank well for and the keywords are fairly standard two and three word keywords.

SEO Tasks for Project Setup

Check The Overall Health Of The Website

  • does the site use search engine friendly URLs?
  • is the canonicolisation correct?
  • are all of the page titles, H1 tags and meta descriptions correct?
  • does the site have a specific 404 error page?

This list continues and has about 50 items on it. Click on the SEO report for an example of what you should expect.

– Between 2hrs and 10hrs
– 4hrs

SEO Analysis of Your Competitors

  • how good is their on page SEO?
  • What keywords have they targeted?
  • what is the quality of their website structure?
  • how good/original is the content?
– 30 min per competitor
– 2hrs

At the start of the first month’s SEO

Choosing the right keywords

  • The emphasis here is on making sure that they are the ‘right’ keywords! So often we see clients who have chosen keywords with the highest number of Google searches each month rather than keywords that are the most accurate that will lead to great conversion. Choosing the right keywords has 2 main benefits: the more specific keywords are, the easier it is to get SEO results for and to have the best conversion!
– 1 to 6 hrs
– 1hr

Using and setting up landing pages

  • Consider this… John has a website with 30 pages. The homepage has his company name, some nice big images and 5 headings with introductory text describing each area of his business. Ten of the inner pages have great explanations of what his company does and why it would be of benefit to potential clients.
  • Where would you expect the back links to John’s website to point? Would it be the homepage with big images and very little text or would it be the inner pages that have lots of text describing what John’s company does? The answer is probably both. However, the important point is a website should not have back links only pointing to the homepage… It looks unnatural.
– 1 to 6 hrs
– 1hr

Content Analysis

  • When someone does a Google search… Google wants to return the most credible / authoritative website. Bearing this in mind when looking at your content, you need to make sure that it is good quality and original… especially on the keyword landing pages!
  • A common problem on e-commerce websites is when retailers list products – they tend to use the suppliers’ descriptions. This means if 10 retailers sell a supplier’s product, every description is the same. The best results are obtained for those retailers who have good quality original descriptions on each of their products.
– 1 to 2 hrs
– 1 hr

Ongoing Monthly SEO Process

Review meeting with the client

  • This can be done over the internet as an online meeting. Both parties share a screen and review the SEO work that was done during the last month.
– 30 mins to 2hrs
– 1hr

Refining Keywords

  • As SEO work is done on some keywords it is very often the case that the website will rank higher for other, usually similar, keywords. These can often present new opportunities with great return on investment.
– 30 mins to 2hrs
– 30mins

Refining Landing Pages

  • Landing pages’ keywords can change.  Spending 10 min checking that they are still correct for the targeted keywords is important.
– 30 mins to 1hrs
– 30mins

User Experience/Conversion/Bounce Rate

  • Our keyword is X pointing to our landing page Y… Once we start to get visitors to page Y after searching for the keyword X in Google – we find we have a bounce rate (which is where people land on your page and leave without clicking anything) of 60%! This means 6/10 people are not impressed with what they’ve seen? This needs to be addressed for lots of reasons.  For example, this could be user experience, maybe it’s the quality of the website, maybe the page has no ‘call to action’?
– 30 mins to 1hrs
– 30mins

Building a Varied and Strong Back Link Profile

  • This is where the majority of time is spent. This is also, very often, the biggest failing of search engine optimisation companies. The reason so many SEO companies fail in this department is because nearly all the other tasks are technical and need skilled SEO consultants to perform them. The link building task is based on knowledge, but in practice is a very labour and time intensive task that skilled SEO consultants can find a little mundane and even boring.
  • In our opinion, for every two or three SEO consultants in a search engine optimisation company you need one member of support staff to help with the link building.
– 12 to 48hrs
– 15hrs

Ongoing Content Creation Analysis

  • It is often said that content is king! There is no doubt that this is true and adding good quality original content is always a good thing. However, there is some content that stands the test of time and does not need to change or be updated. For instance let’s imagine that you sell doors. It would be much better to write one high quality article that included images and video. As opposed to writing 10 short articles that are quite similar.
  • It is always recommended that the business or website owner writes the original high-quality content. It just makes so much sense that the expert who understands their business the best, writes the content for their website.
– 30mins to 1hr
– 30mins

Monitor Website Health

  • There are so many things to keep on top of especially in a growing website. How fast is the website loading?  Are all the page titles unique? Have the meta descriptions been input? are the H1 tags correct? Are there any broken links in the website, etc etc.
– 30mins to 1hr
– 30mins

Search Engine Optimisation Company Tasks and Costs

So… we have broken everything down into tasks. Given you an idea of why the tasks are necessary and how long they should take. Obviously it depends on the website and competitiveness of the keywords, so scale up and down accordingly.

It is worth noting that the total cost in this example is £578 per month on a 12 month project. Also, it would involve two skill levels i.e. a person that is a competent SEO professional and someone who understands how to do the link building. An analogy can be made to making a vehicle roadworthy… It is very rare that the engine mechanic would repair an external dent.

SEO tasks for Project setup 4
SEO analysis of your competitors 2
At the start of the first month’s SEO
Choosing the right keywords 1
Using and setting up landing pages 1
Content analysis 1
Total Project setup time 9
Ongoing Monthly SEO process
Review meeting with the client 1
Refining keywords 0.5
Refining landing pages 0.5
Conversion & bounce rate 0.5
Building Links 15
Ongoing content creation analysis 0.5
monitor website health 0.5
Total monthly SEO time 18.5
Total SEO time spent on a 12 month project for an average website 231
Assuming an hourly rate of £30 per hour £6,930
Monthly cost of SEO £578

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