However, magic doesn't happen overnight: the process of search engine optimization is somewhat complex and lengthy, taking up to 3-6 months. It involves many steps and requires specialist skills. This article describes what actually happens behind the scenes at an SEO agency before you get your perfectly optimized website.
What is the search engine optimization process?
Before we move on to detail the SEO process steps, let's get clear with the term "SEO." Search engine optimization, widely known as SEO, is the process of improving a website's quality so that it appears high on the search results page, attracting more visitors and consequently getting more traffic. From the business perspective, SEO services increase your website's chances of getting right before your customers' eyes when they are searching for products or services on the internet.
Steps in the SEO process
The process of SEO is done through a series of sequenced steps, each being strategically vital to the success of your SEO efforts.
Before we start our SEO process: customer research
Basically, each and every marketing activity revolves around your customer. In terms of SEO, if you seek to get more organic traffic and boost sales, you'll need to target the right customers who look for products or services like yours on search engines. To help people easily find you on the web, you need to get a feasible SEO strategy tailored to the unique customer journey of your audience.
We never start work without conducting audience research. During this stage, we learn everything about our client's business to understand the exact needs of their customers, making the importance of SEO for startups critical for a successful start online.
#1 SEO analysis
SEO analysis, also known as SEO audit, is the process of thoroughly examining a website to better understand how well it is performing and what can be done to improve it. Our SEO audit service involves competitor analysis, examining Google Analytics data, tech audit, content analysis, and backlink analysis, which help us reveal any technical, website structure, and user experience issues as well as give valuable insights to content optimization.
#2 Developing an SEO plan and setting up goals
Another essential step is establishing goals and mapping out a strategy for an SEO campaign. Each SEO strategy is unique since it is based on the results of the audit and created to cater to your specific audience.
#3 Technical SEO
Although technical SEO is invisible to your website users, it's a vital part of the search engine optimization process. In essence, technical SEO is a series of procedures aimed at ensuring that your site complies with the technical requirements of modern search engines. Without technical issues fixed, your website won't be able to rank higher in the search engines than competitors sites.
The most common technical issues we encountered were low page speed, insecure connection, mobile-unfriendly websites, slow loading time, too long, duplicate or missing meta tags, non-indexed pages, duplicate content, broken links, missing alt tags, etc.
#4 Keyword research
We perform keyword research to collect all possible search queries relevant to your business. It involves finding, categorizing, and prioritizing keywords that have the potential to attract your target audience to your web pages.
#5 Building a robust website structure
A well-thought-out site architecture is crucial for your website's high ranking in organic search results. First, it helps search engines understand your content by making it easier for a search engine to crawl your website and index new pages faster. In addition, it's closely connected with user experience. User-friendly navigation is vital to keep users on your site and reduce bounce rates. By improving website structure, you help your site look more attractive to Google, which inevitably translates into driving valuable traffic. Based on the results of the audit, keyword research analysis, and the client's business goals, our SEO team develops a plan to improve their website structure.
#6 On-Page SEO
On-page SEO is one of the most critical steps in SEO process, which is primarily based on technical and content audits. It is the process of optimizing your website's pages to improve its search engine rankings and user experience. It's a massive bulk of work that includes content creation, optimizing existing content, enhancing internal linking, and metadata optimization.
#7 Content strategy
Delivering high-quality content that can best serve users' needs is crucial if you want your potential clients or subscribers to find you on the web. Adding relevant content to your website can help you secure more traffic and drive qualified leads.
Based on keyword analysis, the current percentage of indexed content, content gap analysis, and users' search intent, we create a strategy reflecting your business needs and goals. First, we optimize already existing pages so that they satisfy the actual search demand and then move on with content planning. Content marketing is not only about creativity. In reality, well-thought-out content is built on a list of keywords that will help you bring your website before the eyes of your target audience.
What is more, keywords should be used in specified quantities based on their monthly search volume, and the length of your ideal content needs to average the length of your organic competitors' top-ranking articles.
Finally, we leverage different approaches to add value to the content and build readers' trust. One of them is using outbound links — linking out to relevant, trusted pages, for example, to authoritative health sites when we need to add some COVID-19 statistics to an article on business process management during the quarantine period. Our tech team creates technical tasks for copywriters that include all the requirements to help them create content, perfectly optimized and well-written.
#8 Off-Page SEO
Unlike on-page SEO, which involves fixing technical issues and optimizing the content on your website, the off-page SEO aims to grow your site's authority, relevance, and trust.
The most reliable way to achieve this is through link building. Links help search algorithms identify your content as valuable and secure more visibility for your website. Earning quality backlinks from authority sites is essential for positioning your website as an authority one, translating into higher rankings.
For link building, we leverage guest blogging on quality sites. First, with the help of specialized tools, we identify authority websites that belong to our SEO clients' niches. Then, we get in touch with the owners of those websites and request guest posting. If they agree, we write well-researched, quality articles with links to our clients' websites, and they post them.
#9 Local SEO
The local SEO process is intended for optimizing a website to grow traffic from local searches, which makes it especially valuable for brick-and-mortar local businesses. It allows people to quickly find information about your business, bringing them one step closer to becoming your customers. A local strategy involves mapping out location-relevant keywords, optimizing Google My Business profile, and building NAP (mentioning the business's name, address, and phone number) citations.
#10 Reports and work reviews
Keeping our clients in the loop about what is going on with the project is key for fruitful cooperation. Each month, we provide reports on what has been done, followed by video calls to review them with the clients and make changes in the plan if necessary.
We analyze the results of our SEO work with the help of a series of metrics that allow us to effectively measure the success of our efforts. The most important SEO KPIs we use include:
- organic traffic (including traffic from mobile search)
- organic impressions
- keyword rankings
- average time on page
- pages per session
- bounce rate
- featured snippets
- CTR (click-through-rate)
- domain authority
If our clients have questions between the meetings, our project managers are always readily available to answer them or arrange a call with an SEO consultant.
After we finish
Even when you get top ranks for each target keyword, it doesn't mean you don't need SEO anymore. Conversely, SEO is an ongoing process that should never end.
First and foremost, the market is rapidly changing, and once trending, keywords can eventually lose their value. Given that, it's necessary to regularly do keyword research to assess the effectiveness of your current keywords and optimize your website. In addition, user behavior tends to evolve as well, meaning that it's crucial to keep your finger on the pulse of ever-changing user behavior trends and adjust your strategy based on this data.
Also, you should focus on ongoing SEO if one of your actual goals is to outperform your competitors. Most people don't go further than the first page of search results, so it's essential to concentrate your effort on staying on the first page. However, it might be impossible unless you regularly do SEO since your competitors are likely to constantly examine and adjust their SEO strategies. That's why we recommend getting into a routine of having audits of competitors performed.
Finally, the most important reason you need ongoing SEO is that the major search engines undergo regular algorithm updates to improve search results, lead users to the most relevant websites, and prevent businesses from cheating the system. It's imperative to align your SEO strategy with search engine algorithms if you want your website to stay search-friendly.
SEO is critical in this digitally-powered world if you strive for steady online growth and efficient conversion rate optimization. However, effective SEO can't be done in 1-2 weeks; it takes several months of condensed effort to help your site achieve high Google rankings. As you can see from our step-by-step SEO process guide, apart from creating optimized content, SEO involves a range of aspects, including customer research, audit, technical optimization, keyword research, and content creation, just to name a few.
Also, quality optimization is not solely about your website: it is focused on driving additional link juice to your pages and helping them be recognized as authoritative by search engines. Last but not least, it's only possible to reach significant SEO success when you optimize your pages regularly.
Why choose Panem Digital Agency?
At Panem, we have seven years of experience optimizing websites for businesses belonging to a variety of industries, which allows us to develop custom, high-performing strategies no matter the niche. Our digital marketing agency is trusted by many clients, and thanks to high rankings and favorable reviews, Panem was recognized as one of the top SEO agencies by Clutch.
Discover the impressive potential of search engine marketing for your online growth. Contact us today to secure your future success.