We are often approached by clients who have only a vague idea of what SEO is and how it is done. Somewhere they've heard of optimization, and that it produces terrific results. But they haven't the faintest idea what exactly needs to be done and how long the work will take, or when they will start to see results. The first surprise they encounter is how much work goes into creating an SEO marketing plan. Once they learn how long it will take, some less patient individuals decide that they can manage without optimization.
Indeed, truth be told, SEO really is playing a long game. It would be odd to expect your tomatoes to ripen a week after planting: we all know that they take several months to grow, and we do not try to harvest them prematurely. In SEO the winners are those who methodically and patiently work on improving their websites. Let's examine what goes into the mysterious SEO process at the first and most important stage of all: the planning stage.
The SEO plan, stage 1. Research, analysis, and strategy
To be sure that the work under consideration is not based on assumptions, first and foremost special attention is given to marketing research. This constitutes a general analysis of competitors and their queries, an analysis of the queries submitted by the client, and a search for possible synonyms. This results in the development of a semantic core, making it possible to restructure the website. Next, search results for selected queries are studied, and simultaneously a technical audit is conducted.
Based on the results obtained, an analysis of them, and the conclusions drawn, an SEO marketing strategy can then be developed. Compiling an SEO plan for a website may take six months or a year, depending on the amount of work required. If the proposed strategy meets with the client's approval and they are serious about pursuing it, the website optimization plans may be synchronized with the work of PR services, copywriters, and other subdivisions of the client's company. Effective communication among all the professionals involved is the key to efficient time usage.
On average, this stage alone takes 1 to 2 months.
The SEO plan, stage 2. The work of optimization and promotion begins
Following considered analysis and planning, the time arrives for the actual work.
What does the SEO action plan entail at this stage?
Firstly, a plan is made for optimizing the website content. This means:
- creating terms of reference for the content of current and new pages;
- creating terms of reference for technical pages with mask content generation;
- auditing new advertising data and adjusting the SEO campaign strategy.
Secondly, external factors are dealt with:
- compiling a link profile;
- putting together a content plan and terms of reference for article promotion;
- auditing the social component and additional traffic.
Ultimately, the client will receive documents with terms of reference for various optimization operations and a tactical SEO strategy plan covering the next 6-12 months.
After this, everything depends on methodically implementing all the recommendations, analyzing intermediate results, and, if necessary, making adjustments. Time required: 2 months and up.
What determines the timeline of an SEO marketing plan?
The timeline specified above is an average "ballpark estimate." The timeline for SEO promotion for a website depends on the types of work you require, the level of competition, the size of your website and its semantic core, the number of search systems for promotion (Google, Bing, Yandex, etc.), the original state of your website content, the promotional geography, and much more.
All the work performed is recorded in a report, and the client can easily see how much time was spent on any given type of work.
The SEO plan: the 7 most common questions clients ask
We've compiled a list of questions our clients frequently ask about website optimization.
1. What is the SEO strategy plan for 1, 3, and 6 months? Are there any patterns in the target indicators for the selected period?
The initial optimization plan is described above. Once all the necessary optimization work is done, we usually coordinate a promotion plan. Target indicators can only be discussed on an individual basis, and as a rule only after the second month of promotional work, when it becomes clear how the team is working and how quickly and to what extent the recommendations are being implemented. The 6-month SEO plan for a website is compiled only after completion of the analysis stage and coordination of a possible promotion strategy. The larger the project, the more complex the planning.
2. Can the client independently implement the recommendations that you issue following the initial planning phase?
Naturally, the client can perform these operations if they have all the necessary workers on their staff. But we recommend that you leave these operations to specialists in the field, because all the findings have to be analyzed on the fly. This is done in order to assess the effectiveness of various operations in action and to make timely adjustments to the strategy as necessary.
3. What kind of specialists and how many of them usually work on a project? Are you able to provide a programmer or copywriter?
The number of specialists engaged in the project depends on the tasks. On average there will be 2-4 people. In addition, at given stages temporary specialists may be engaged - a designer, copywriter, translator, programmer, etc. In all, our team includes more than 10 specialists in various fields.
4. Do you have experience working with multilingual websites? What is the biggest problem for SEO involving them?
Yes, promoting multilingual websites is our specialty. We've been working in this particular field since 2008. There are no problems with this, but there are important components. The first is having specialists who are native speakers of the required languages. The second is that all the specialists work well as a team. The third is having a system for localizing websites and related material. We have all three.
5. How are your workflow and the coordination process arranged?
We keep our records using ClickUp, a service that provides a clear view of the tasks in process and supports planning of SEO campaign strategy for the upcoming periods. Each week we also discuss the results achieved and coordinate the work for the next period.
6. What do you do to make websites more user-friendly and improve conversion?
To accomplish this our team includes a UI/UX designer, a web analyst, and an internet marketing expert. Interestingly, quite often understanding the search demand structure is precisely what affects how various elements of site and page structure are processed. In addition to conversion readings, point of contact (POC) elements, etc., frequently it becomes necessary to refine filters, menu structure (and overall web page interlinking), and operations involving elements for expanding the content of each page. Our team includes both excellent developers and a high-level usability specialist.
7. How much do your services cost, and what do they include?
You can find a detailed description of our services and their costs on the services page here.
Naturally, this is by no means all that our clients ask us about SEO. There are many interesting questions that we will cover in other articles. If you have questions of your own, write to us and we'll be sure to answer!