SEO for a year, is it worth your time learning or even doing SEO over an entire year? Good quality SEO is a time consuming process, however when done right can result in your website being number one. SEO is a long term job that should be part of your marketing ad growth strategy. Why be number one? because 50% of all clicks from search engines go to the number one spot.
January – Planning and targetting
A good SEO plan is critical to building a successful website. Shotgun approaches to this sort of marketing will be a waste of time. First you need to pick your two word and three word phrase that you are going to target. Good SEO means being consistent, so make them similar. You might want to choose something like “Bondi Pilates” and “Bondi Pilates Classes”. Picking the right keywords is actually harder than it looks. Use the Google Keyword tool to find a list of words related to your business. Then you need to select the words that are being used by people who are willing to buy. Keywords like “reviews” and “pricing” can be targeted elsewhere on your website. You need to focus on things like “buy your product in your area“.
February – Basic Content Building
First you need to build the right content on your home page, and your products pages. It isn’t hard to build the right content, but there are some rules you need to follow. You can use SEO MOZ’s term target to make sure you are using all of the features of your website properly. Basically you need to make sure you have unique and original title tags, H1 tags, images and your internal links are consistent.
The other thing about building the right content is that it is not just about SEO but about conversions. Don’t just have long pages of text with no call to action. Place a contact form in the top right of your page and drive people to use it. You should also make sure you have Google Analytics installed on your website, so you know what people are doing when they get to your site.
March – Advanced Content Building
If you are not using WordPress or some other blogging platform, you should. The next step in content building is creating information people will want to read that is interesting, particular to your industry, and increases your reputation. This is usually a blog, but could be as a newsletter attached to your site. Write about anything controversial, or that interests you. Seth Godin has a good post on what works for blogs and traffic. Show off your knowledge, show off your incite. Blog as often as you possibly can.
You can get bonus points on blogging if you have a small blog on your own website, and a larger, more frequent blog on something like WordPress.com or Typepad.com. With two blogs you want the small one on your own site to reinforce content about your brand, and the second one to be about your industry that also has links back to your website. Both blogs should also have links to social media to encourage people to share your content.
The last thing you need to do for March is create three good pieces of content for your blog that are provocative. They will link mainly back to your website and will be only about things you sell.
April – Basic link building
You are one quarter of the way through your SEO for a Year, now is the time to launch your site. When launching your site you need to create some basic links back to your main site. You will already have created some basic links with your blog, but you also need to find where the cheap, free, easy to find links are. Use our directory search engines (basic and advanced), to find directories that will give you some traffic. You should also see if there are any professional directories for your industry you could be a part of.
May – Building a network
Start looking around for the leaders in your industry, and in similar industries, and start commenting on their blogs. Do not try to spam with keywords, just be yourself and up front about your thoughts. Create profiles in different forums and start writing your opinions there. There are plenty of good forums to do this in, your just need to search. Use your forum signatures to point to your blog and you main website using the keywords you have selected.
From now on through the rest of the year, you should comment on blogs and in forums as much as you can. It will build your profile and links back to your site.
June- Link Exchange
Link exchange is controversial in some SEO circles. Generally you should be encouraging people to link to you without any incentives. A lot of people in SEO think link exchanges are zero sum, because if two people link to each other, they cancel out each other. However even a basic two way exchange can give both parties a good result. SEO Moz has a good article on good link exchange practice.
What you can do is use your blog to link to one site, if they link to your main site (3 way exchange). You can also use something link linkmarket.net to carry out two way exchanges with other people in your industry and your blog.
Halfway through your SEO for a Year, and July is a good time of the year to take stock and take analysis of what you are doing and what your competitors are doing. Look through your Analytics and see where people are leaving your site, where they are coming from and make changes to your site that will keep encouraging engagement.
Use a fresh browser, maybe install Opera, and search for your keyterms. See where you are, who is top, and what they are doing to be at the top. Look at their description and their titles.
You should also use opensiteexplorer.org to find out where your competitors are getting their links from. You can also use Yahoo for this purpose, although that lists all the dead links as well as the active ones.
August- Use social media
Social media is more than just Facebook, it is social news as well with things like Digg and Reddit. You should have a profile on at least Digg and Reddit to start promoting your website. You should use Facebook and Twitter to build your network further, and encourage people to share your blog posts. Inside Facebook is a great resource for finding out what works in using Facebook, but you don’t have to be that flash. All you have to remember with Facebook is it is about community and sharing. As long as you have things on there that people are willing to share, talk about and engage with, you will be fine.
One small thing to remember is that Facebook itself is not a huge help with SEO. It is the sharing and the traffic you are after.
September- Content syndication
Use our article directory search engine to find the top couple of article websites where you can start to syndicate out your content. Also look for ways to guest blog on other people’s websites, if there is no obvious way, just ask. Write small articles and send them off to magazines.
If you are desperate you can syndicate your content out using RSS to blog aggregators like Technorati.
Traditional publicity should not be overlooked as a good part of your SEO arsenal. In September you should write press releases and try to get yourself in the local and national press. If you really don’t have anything newsworthy to say, then sponsor a local soccer team, host a fund raiser that you sponsor and get your face in the paper that way. The more people write about your company, and then link back to your site, the better.
Sometimes even just donating a small amount of money can help a local group. We have sponsored table tennis tournaments for $75 and managed to get people talking.
November- End of year sales
Start planning your end of year sales, and what you are going to do to promote your business in the next three months. December is traditionally a flat month as people are winding up, so make the most of your chances now. As far as SEO goes, hosting a sale for the last two months, or giving something away now is a good idea. If you can get people in your industry to write about your end of year program now, you will be one step ahead of the pack.
December – End of year analysis
At the end of your SEO for a year, the best thing you can do is take stock and see what has worked and what hasn’t. You need to, first, look through your analytics to see where you were getting traffic from, and where your customers came from. You should also use the Open Site Explorer to see where your strongest links sources come from, and if you can generate more of the same.
Anyway, that is it for your SEO for a year…. 2011 is over already! I am sure you get the idea for each of the months, and if you are feeling energetic, you could probably compress this into a couple of months. The reason we spread it out like this is because some links and content takes time to rise up through Google, and just rushing things can result in the fabled Sandbox, which can be counter productive.