Project Planning for SEO
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of increasing quantity and quality of traffic to a website through organic means rather than paid or direct traffic. For any business or individual with a website, SEO is undeniably an important part of the process. At this point, many are at least aware of the necessity, though a number are still working to catch up.
While many recognize the importance, some are reluctant to spend the time or money needed and potentially feel unsure of the payoff. SEO is something that requires continuous work and it can take time to see results.
It is well worth it though versus the alternative of doing nothing. Anyone who wants to see their business grow needs to engage in SEO on some level. It does require work, but with proper project planning for SEO it is absolutely possible.
Setting goals is an incredibly helpful way to measure the work one does. Without goals work can feel aimless and people often struggle to complete tasks without knowing the purpose.
A timeline will further help ensure completion of tasks as well as help to measure progress and understand how long it is taking to accomplish certain goals.
SEO Goals could include:
- Improving backlinks: Backlinks help provide credibility to your content. Not all backlinks are created equal - you want to find backlinks from other reliable sources. The stronger backlinks you have, the more credible your content is and the better you will rank.
- Improve page speed: A technical aspect of SEO that should not be ignored - especially for mobile users. On mobile, 53% leave when sites take over 3 seconds to load.
- Increase organic traffic: Organic traffic takes time and money, but it is cheaper than paid campaigns. The benefits last much longer and most users prefer organic results.
To reiterate - SEO results take time to see. Further, while it would be great to realize 100% of your goals, this is not always realistic. Rather than feel defeated, it’s important to recognize what has succeeded and ask: How long did it take? How well did certain efforts work? For attempts that did not work as well, what went wrong and what else can be done?
As more organizations begin to understand the importance of SEO, this will only become a more competitive endeavor. It’s helpful to remember that it isn’t failure if you don’t achieve 100% of your goals.
Researching different approaches is always important. Additionally, even when you succeed there is no guarantee that previous efforts will always yield the same results.
Content is an essential part of SEO. While certainly not enough on its own, it is one of the biggest reasons people will go to your site.
To start with we have site structure which is how you organize your site’s content. This is important to get right both for an improved user experience and for Google indexing. The easier it is for web crawlers to understand and index your content, the better chances you have at ranking.
Keyword research is another fundamental part of SEO content. Keywords can be one word, multiple, or even a complete question or phrase. It’s necessary to do this research to ensure that your content matches what users are searching. You might use certain words to describe your services or products, but customers might use different words while searching for what you offer.
With keywords it’s important to keep in mind that you want to use relevant keywords and also avoid using too many which is known as “keyword stuffing”. Many did this in an attempt to increase ranking on search engines, but this is not as common anymore.
Search engines, like Google, will not reward this tactic and may even penalize sites that do it.
It’s possible that users or organizations just starting out might try to fit in more keywords without bad intentions. While you want to use relevant keywords wherever you can, keep in mind that too many isn’t necessarily the answer.
Finally, copywriting is another crucial part of SEO. You want copy that is well-written - meaning it is easy to read and has a purpose. Most users, whatever their education level, are looking to quickly scan a website for information. No need to dumb anything down - just make sure users can easily and quickly go through your content.
Web design is another key part of SEO success. As with other aspects, you want design that is intuitive for both humans and search engine crawlers. This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice great design, but you do want to find a balance between exciting and innovative design that still works for people and web crawlers.
User experience is critical to the success of your website. If users are frustrated with a website they won’t stick around for long. If users are struggling with navigating the site search engine crawlers will pick up on this.
In regards to how a website looks, 38% of users will leave a website if they find the content or layout to be unattractive. Successful design offers a beautiful product that also helps guide the user and enhances their experience.
Once again, your website needs to function well both for humans and for search engine crawlers. People aren’t willing to give sites much time, hardly more than a few seconds, before they decide to leave. Web crawlers will pick up on this and it will be harder to rank well.
Page speed is critical. Half a second can drastically change the traffic you receive and sales you make. There are a number of tools to test page speed, like PageSpeed Insights from Google. These tools can help identify what is causing a site to slow down and what can be done to improve.
Certain features might seem exciting to the site owners. However, the end goal is to reach users. A specific feature might look nice, but is it slowing down your site in a way where users are likely to leave before they can even take in anything you offer?
To help search engine crawlers, your website should have a solid site structure and internal linking structure. This helps humans and web crawlers make sense of your website. It provides a guide for how the content is organized and how someone can navigate it.
Websites with a clear and logical hierarchy are at a much better advantage than sites with no clear structure. For users, this is a helpful way to navigate sites and continue to deeper pages.
Project Planning for SEO
There is a lot more to SEO than what we are able to cover here. The points mentioned regarding content, design, and development are only some of the things that can be done.
Project planning for SEO is crucial to the success of one’s efforts. Clearly the work that is required needs dedicated teams who can assess and improve these aspects of a website. This requires setting goals, deadlines, and a process for evaluating the success or even failure of attempts.
Search engines, like Google, are continually updating their own methods and so the rest of us must continually work to keep up.