Planning for 2015: 4 Steps to a Fresh SEO Strategy
We’re not too far into 2015, so if you haven’t come up with a strategy for how you intend to handle your SEO this year, you have time to plan. As you try to work out how best to go about that, here are some steps you can take to come up with an actual plan, instead of waiting to put out fires as they arise like you may have done last year.
1. Talk to the stakeholders
These are the people to whom you report, and naturally this is the best place to begin. Find out what parts of last year’s strategy worked and what didn’t, and whether there is anything specific they have planned for 2015. Depending on who you are, you could be talking to a client, a boss, the boss, a project manager etc.
Get input from as many sources as you can, it can’t hurt. You’ll be interested to know the following:
- Whether there are any new product lines coming up
- Industry-specific trends and how they affect you
- Biggest sellers per quarter of the previous year
- How you match up compared to the competition
- What is sub-optimal for improvement
2. Collect your data for 2014
End of years are great since all the data is usually available, and it’s the best time to make wholesome decisions built on that data pool. Start at the top and work your way into the details of every metric, strategy, campaign and SEO audit. You need to know the things that worked, those that didn’t and why, and of course, what should be done in the future.
A few things to help you get started include:
- Organic visits, revenue and entries for the full site vis-à-vis channel visits
- Match up revenues against visits and note important changes in data e.g. algorithm updates
- Broken down categorization of organic entries and visits
- Rankings and changes of relevant keywords in the cause of the year. This can also be mapped against organic entry data
Be keen to identify the outliers and figure out why they happened if you can. Pinpoint areas that can be improved on.
3. Nail the timing
Timing is perhaps the most important, but tricky aspect of SEO, especially when it comes to reporting to the ones who call the shots. Most people think that SEO can be nailed to specific time periods, just like any other channel of advertising. This would be desirable, but sadly, it’s not the case.
However, you can provide rough estimates, with a safety margin you’ve worked out based on your experience and the particulars of each case. Being February, it might be too late to plan anything solid for Q1, but you can still work on Q2 onwards.
4. Determine projections
This is another hard one in SEO, because there are no formulas and basically too many variables, most of them are out of your control. Without a formula to generate estimates from, the best tool you can use is your historical data as well as click through rate evaluation. Even then, a lot of assumptions will have to be made, and be sure that the stakeholders are aware of these. Keep the expectations at sane levels to ensure that you don’t disappoint, come year-end.