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Why a Detailed Plan is the Most Valuable SEO Component

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May 28 2023, Published 3:25 p.m. ET

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Getting your website to rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs) begins with two fundamental components: a plan and a scan.

Following an in-depth plan is how you’ll meet your goals. Your plan will have many milestones along the way that, when met, will indicate you are on the right track. Without a plan, you won’t know what you must do to get the results you’re after. All the SEO efforts in the world can fall short when they’re not part of an organized, intentional, systematic plan to get specific results.

To devise a solid roadmap, you need well-defined goals, but first, you need to know where you currently stand.

An effective SEO plan begins with a website scan

Do you know how you currently rank for your target keywords? Are you up to speed with the strength of your backlink profile? Does your site have any errors or room for improving on-page SEO? You can get answers to these questions by running a simple scan.

When it comes to tools for checking your website, some SEO tools aren’t as good as others, so make sure you use one that is high-quality, reputable, and reliable.

Running a scan to check your website will tell you things like:

  • Where your inbound links come from. You can see the URLs and know if you’re getting links from social media sites, news outlets, images (like infographics), or other blogs.
  • The type of backlinks you have. You’ll see how many nofollow v. dofollow links you have.
  • Your Domain Authority (DA) and page authority. Both of these factors are important for ranking.
  • See what links you’ve gained and lost recently. This will help you know if some of your content just isn’t making the cut and your links are being removed.
  • Your spam score. Some backlinks are considered spammy, so it’s good to know what you need to clean up (if anything).
  • Any broken links. It’s critical to fix broken links so people don’t get 404 errors.

Use your website scan to create an in-depth SEO plan

Once you have a full website scan, you can use the information to create your SEO plan. Here are some of the most important components to include.

1. Specific goals tied to results

Goals are specific and have measurable results. Although things like getting more Instagram followers is often used as a goal, that’s too vague to be meaningful. Get specific with your goals. For instance, you might set goals to:

  • Increase your ranking by 20 spots for a specific search phrase.
  • Acquire 20 backlinks from specific, authoritative publishers in your niche.
  • Publish 3 onsite blog posts each month for your website.
  • Increase Domain Authority by 5 points.
  • Decrease your bounce rate by 3%.
  • Increase the average visitor’s time on your page by 30 seconds.
  • Increase organic traffic by 10%.
  • Increase Page Speed.
  • Get more content in Google Featured Snippets.

Set goals that are meaningful to you. Just make sure to be as specific as possible so you’ll know when you’ve achieved that goal. “Getting more traffic” isn’t a good goal. You need a specific number.

2. Set deadlines

While you can’t always control when your SEO results will happen, it’s important to set deadlines for your goals because that’s how you’ll create your plan to reach each goal. For instance, if your goal is to publish 3 onsite blog posts each month, set a deadline for getting these written based on how long it will take for you to edit and load them into your content management system.

Likewise, if your goal is to get 3 backlinks from specific websites, set a deadline. This will force you to plan ahead and start reaching out to those websites in advance.

3. Perfect your on-page SEO

Tweaking your web pages here and there isn’t enough. Don’t overlook the importance of perfecting on-page SEO. It is the easiest component to work on because there’s no guesswork involved. Although, it will take time and energy.

Work on perfecting everything, including your URL structure, setting 301 redirects, meta tags, title tags, clean up your HTML and CSS code, run it through the W3C validator, add schema markup if you haven’t already, and run your content through a spell checker to fix typos and punctuation errors.

Confused? Overwhelmed? Hire an SEO firm

If you’d like to get better results with your search engine optimization efforts, but you’re overwhelmed by the idea of doing it yourself, hire a professional SEO firm. They’ll scan your website to find out what’s working and what needs improvement, and then you’ll create a plan together to get the rankings you deserve.

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