No money? No time? No Problem. Here are 7 top tips for creating an SEO plan on a budget.
Whenever I speak to small business owners or marketers, one of the most common challenges I hear is how time poor they are. So firstly, if this is you – don’t worry, you’re not alone!
Another common challenge people face is how to tackle the problem of making sure their website can be found on Google. More often than not people have already researched online, spoken to the experts or engaged an online marketing agency – but, even after all this, most are still none the wiser as to what an SEO plan should look like for their website.
If you find yourself in the same boat as many others, here are seven top tips that can be used to help any small business owner or marketing executive, short on time or budget, to create an SEO plan that’s worth the time it takes to write.
1. Less is more
“SEO experts” love to share long lists of ‘quick tips’. The problem is that many of the people looking for the tips aren’t ‘experts’, and the information can be difficult to decipher and fully understand. The expert is basically leaving you to do the sorting work of what’s relevant and what’s not.
Think about trying to focus on three to five things you really need to do – why do you need them and what exactly needs to be done?
You are more likely to action something you fully understand, so when it comes to planning the SEO for your website look for quality rather than quantity every time. If the first list of things you do seem to add value, look for similar things to do next time.
2. You said, “How long??”
SEO is an effort-based business – so when you’re creating a plan you need to know how long things will take to complete, in order to make a quick decision on whether it’s worthy or possible to do with the resource you have available.
3. Priorities matter!
So now you have a short list of things to do that you understand, you even know how long it should take to complete. But, if push comes to shove you might still only have the time or resource to do the top three things on your list.
You know that some engaging content with a well thought out distribution plan is probably going to be a good thing to do for your website, but is it really worth several hours of your time to plan and execute?
What if for now, writing a few simple blog posts and creating a helpful customer FAQ page was enough to give you a boost in the search results for a keyword your business wanted to appear for? Prioritising how you use your resources means that you can work on the more difficult or lower payoff items later.
Having insight into the priority of each task you need to complete and an understanding of why, helps you make quicker decisions about what needs doing, and more importantly gives you more incentive to actually get it done.
4. Get evidence for why you are doing each task
If you’ve done any research into how to appear on Google you’ll know that results can’t be guaranteed, and basing an entire SEO plan on the fact it worked for another business is not the solution. Google’s algorithm treats every keyword differently and changes all the time. You need to know whether what you are spending your valuable time doing is actually worthwhile.
What’s the hard and fast evidence that supports a particular task being completed? Are your competitors doing it or is it ‘just standard best practice’, based on someone’s opinion? For more time-intensive tasks you need even more statistical evidence. What mathematical evidence is there to support creating an entire link building plan for the next six months? Ask your expert more probing questions, and expect evidence and rationale, not subjective opinion.
5. Make sure your plan is 100% transparent
Don’t accept generalisations when it comes to planning SEO. “Onsite optimisation” is not an activity, neither is “write some blog posts every month”. Demand specifics like “Fix 5 pages with a missing H1”, “write a roundup post of your previous 3 blogs”.
Some SEO ‘experts’ might find it challenging to deliver this amount of detail, but a true specialist won’t mind at all. The alternative of accepting an SEO plan without this level of detail is that you might be signing off a lot of work that costs money, has no impact, and is maybe work you could have done yourself.
6. Start doing things that will actually make an impact
Good SEO people show you some sort of plan of attack. But, great SEO people will show you the plan that’s ready to implement, today. You don’t want to see a plan that’s half prepared and still ‘requires further analysis’. You want to see things to do that can be implemented straight away.
At the end of the day this type of work will not drive results and improve your visibility online – remember, you only get benefit when the timesheet is full of specific tasks that have been completed and work has been done.
7. Don’t accept egotistic time-wasters
Lots of SEO experts love to wax lyrical about their experience and what they believe they can do for you. The worst examples are those that spam you with the same messages you’ve all seen before, “I can get your website on Google’s page one in a month!”. If they are promoting their personal experience as the number one reason you should work with them, then dig deeper. Look for people who can tell you exactly what it is that they do differently from others.
SEO is highly data complex, can be time-consuming and is a competitive game. To get the edge over your competition, you need a truly different approach to win now and in the long-term.
For a risk-free, automated SEO plan specific to your website, sign up for a 14 day Glasshat trial or ask to speak to one of the team for more information.