An SEO Campaign is a strategy for improving search engine rankings for target keywords to meet business goals of increasing customer conversions, driving qualified website traffic and/or improving brand credibility. In an organic SEO campaign, stakeholders establish a long-term content strategy and procedures for following search engine best practices. Search engine optimization results and goals are then measured and modified after several months. An SEO Campaign is not website optimization. Website optimization is a separate requirement of user experience design that affects website marketing. Before embarking on an SEO Campaign, a good website has followed user interface principles and throughout the online marketing life cycle, adheres to those principles.
SEO success is reaching new customers consistently. Organic search engine optimization will not garner instant results – it is a long-term strategy that should meet long-term goals. Your small business marketing plan should have SEO baked in from the beginning. If you’re looking for instant results, you may opt to implement a pay-per-click marketing campaign, but that traffic only lasts as long as you invest in that short-term campaign. An organic SEO campaign will continue to provide ROI long after it has begun and will continue to provide a lifetime of results when included in your marketing plan.
To start, your goals should not be ‘results’ as much as they should be to establish process. Consistently providing quality content will pay off, and you need to allow for the ever-changing nature of industry. You may have new competitors appear, or new technology trends that may put your small business in a different market position.
Jayson DeMers offers tips on setting realistic SEO campaign expectations, where he establishes a good timeline of campaign checkpoints.
1-month Milestone: Ground zero
Ensure your website statistic application is set up properly and get a snapshot of your baseline metrics. Your future campaign checkpoints will measure against your established key performance indicators at this point.
Your content strategy depends upon your marketing goals. You may have a mix of marketing channels and messages focusing on different target audiences. Here, you’ll begin to implement procedures for developing content and implementing lead generation tactics, so you’ll want to test your conversion analytics software. This is easy to test your code by using the Google Tag Assistant browser add-on for Chrome.
It is also important to include lead nurturing in your content strategy. At each checkpoint, review your sales procedure and retention strategy. This allows a proactive response to market fluctuations, adjusting your campaign along the way.
3-month Milestone: Pulse Check
Review your website metrics for your key performance indicators such as traffic growth on each channel and drill-down into your site content and behavior flow. Review your topics and modify accordingly. Are some topics more successful on certain channels? Change your focus to hone in on that channel and improve your conversions there.
Check your website social and comment metrics – are there any insights to learn about your audience response? Are you providing good customer support and is there positive sentiment around your branded content? You may need to modify procedure or strategy to respond accordingly to new insights.
6-month Milestone: Analysis
At this point, you should have a good idea about the success of your efforts thus far. If you don’t see a traffic increase, or inconsistent results, it may be a result of inefficient tactics, failure to follow standards or even another search engine algorithm update. Review your user experience principles and make sure your website is optimized and adhering to search engine best practices.
Check again for reach, engagement and sentiment metrics. Are you meeting your geographic and mobile targets? Review organic and social results and modify your topic and channels accordingly. The general goal here is increase leads from marketing initiatives.
1-year Milestone: Audience Engagement
After the first year of your SEO campaign, you can increase audience engagement – ask your users for opinion on content. Now you can set future goals and compare KPIs month-to-month. This may vary seasonally, based on your industry, so we often compare year-over-year metrics. For example, did we reach more new users this month than we did at the same time last year? Has user engagement improved? How many more leads or conversions did we achieve this month compared to last month (or compared to the same period last year)?
If there are inconsistent metrics or unsatisfactory results for any period of the content lifecycle, you should run through your SEO Campaign checklist:
- User Experience Metrics
- High bounce rate? Check website speed
- Low session duration? Check above-the-fold content design
- Still no luck? Try usability testing
- Algorithm Updates
- Check common sources of information, but use caution, some are mere speculation
- Sometimes, search engine changes may be specific to local results, paid results, mobile or social attributes. These can also influence your metrics.
- Theme and topic response
- Seasonal fluctuations
- Platform review (publishing tools/social/metric/calendar effectiveness)
- Content curation scorecard (based on Roger Parker’s)
- Relevance: Does your content solve a problem?
- Uniqueness: Has this been done before?
- Structure: Is your content written for the web?
- Visuals: embedded content increases engagement and builds incoming links
- Frequency: Are you publishing on a consistent basis?
- Conversions: Are you tracking properly?
Outcomes cannot be reliably predicted – each business and industry is different and the landscape is constantly evolving. An organic SEO campaign relies on your long-term investment in a content strategy. When algorithms change, and you see a dip in performance, it is most important to stay the course, and continually evaluate your content and website best practices.
Several similar topics you’ll want to cover to help establish your SEO campaign include content strategy, 10X content, semantic SEO, link building (rather, link earning) and landing page optimization.
Master Web Creations offers content development and always implements Google Analytics goals with monthly monitoring for all our clients, regardless of the services they use. We offer WordPress website design, hosting, social media management, local SEO and more for small businesses. Located in West Bend, WI, we serve Washington County and the Greater Milwaukee area as well as small businesses throughout the Midwest. Contact us to find out more about our marketing and consulting services, and add your comments below to let us know how our SEO Expectations article helped you!