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SEO Campaign Management

What is SEO Campaign Management?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of making your website and all of its content organized so that a search engine can easily understand it and search engine users can gain value from it, based on what they’re searching for. 

A search engine optimization campaign should provide an organized and strategic way to make sure aspects of your website are optimized for search engines and their users. This could mean making sure your content uses the same keywords that users type into a search engine, that you have enough backlinks going back to your website to have high domain authority, or that you’ve used structured data markup to technically optimize important items on pages throughout your site. Ultimately, all your SEO efforts will complement one another to help you increase traffic and reach your business goals.    

SEO campaign management is the practice defining strategies for SEO, executing an SEO campaign strategy, and measuring the results.In measuring the results, the campaign manager will assess the success of a particular strategy and determine what adjustments need to be made to search engine optimization efforts to achieve success.

In 2020, SEO is an integral part of digital marketing. Ranking on the top of search results pages (SERPS) will increase your business website traffic and presence, boost the traction of your content marketing efforts, and aid in brand authority and awareness. 

If you can learn to execute and measure most aspects of SEO internally, you’ll be able to accomplish these goals and save yourself from needing to spend money on the often overpriced SEO agency services. 

Table of Contents: 

  • Define SEO campaign goals
  • Do a website and competitor analysis
  • Define measurement metrics + SEO tools
  • Include SEO in the content creation process
  • Optimize for technical SEO

Define SEO Campaign Goals

One of the most important parts of any SEO campaign is deciding what you are trying to accomplish and creating measurable goals. Establishing well-defined SEO goals ensures that you and your team are always aligned and moving in the same direction. 

Here are important questions to ask before beginning any strategic SEO campaign:

  • Who are you trying to reach by appearing on a search engine’s first page?
  • Why are you trying to bring your target audience onto your site?
  • How will you measure the progress related to your goals?

The people you’re trying to reach should be your target audience. Before you begin creating content to rank for specific keywords, you need to have a clear idea of who you are writing for and why getting those users to one of your landing pages, or to click-through your website, will ultimately help your business and make you money. Once you’ve determined who you are trying to reach and why you want to reach them, then you need to determine the best way to measure the success of those goals.

Keep in mind, that increasing your rankings, click-through rate, or website traffic isn’t your ultimate goal. Your ultimate SEO campaign goals should coincide with your overarching business goals and they should include a clear way to measure return on investment. Quality SEO campaign management helps you reach your other digital marketing and business objectives through consciously aligned goals.

Goal Writing Tips

  • Measurable: You don’t have a clear idea of success without a way to measure results.
  • Be Specific: Success isn’t an idealized destination. Clarify exactly what criteria constitutes your success.
  • Share your goals: Write down your goals and share them with your team.

Website and Competitor Analysis

The second thing you’ll need to do is to analyze your own website, and then the environment in which you are trying to rank. 

The best place to start is with Keyword Research. Keyword Research is the foundation of all quality SEO campaigns; it provides data on what the audience of your product or service is looking for in search engine results, to allow you to utilize these keywords within your site, and ultimately improve search visibility and organic search performance.

Take a critical look at how your website discusses the products, services and/or content that you are trying to rank for and make sure it lines up with how your audience wants to receive this information. This is a crucial step in the process because although it seems obvious, it’s fairly easy to get so involved with what you want to tell your audience and what keywords you want to rank for, that you forget to ask what content and keywords are actually relevant to them.

After you have a clear idea of how your website is currently interacting with your audience, the next step is to use keyword research SEO tools — such as SEMRush or Ahrefs — to look up related terms and ensure that your content is aligned with popular ones that are relevant to your users. 

Once you have a better understanding of the average monthly search volume and keyword difficulty metrics you can start researching your competitors and carefully select which keywords to target. Using the keyword difficulty metric you may be able to uncover some valuable terms that your competitors are either failing to optimize entirely for or doing so ineffectively. Making this a part of your SEO strategy will help you start to build authority and rankings, which in turn will enable you to begin competing for other valuable terms.

One important thing to remember when you are performing a competitor keyword analysis is that your SERP competitors, or your SEO competitors, are different from business competitors. Your business competitors may not necessarily be trying to rank for similar keywords to you, and websites that are ranking for your target keywords might not even be in your industry.

Once you’ve determined which keywords you’d like to go after, and who your competitors are, you’re ready to move on to the next step.

Measure SEO Campaign Results

The third step of the SEO campaign management planning process is to decide how you are going to measure the success of your SEO campaign. If you’ve created a strategy for SEO, but fail to establish metrics of success, you won’t be able to determine the return on investment or how to refine and improve upon your strategy for future SEO campaigns.

There are a few key metrics you should track on a weekly and monthly basis to determine the success of your SEO campaign.

Key Metrics

Keyword ranking

Keyword ranking refers to your web page’s position on the SERP for a particular keyword. If you want people to see your content — relating to a particular keyword — then it will need to rank on the first page in organic search. To track where your page is ranking for a specific keyword, use an SEO tool like Ahrefs.

Traffic and conversions

Traffic and conversions metrics will track the number of people visiting your site, and the number of conversions that are coming from organic search traffic. To see the traffic coming to your site, go to the Acquisition section of Google Analytics.  Go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels and then click on the Organic Search channel in the report table. This is where you’ll see the numbers on how many organic search (non-paid) visitors are coming to your site and view the trend over time. The most important thing is that this number is growing over time — between 6-12 months after your initial SEO campaign.

Even more critical, is the ability to measure conversions from your SEO campaign efforts. After all, traffic means close to nothing for your overall business if it’s not converting. To do this, first set up Analytics Goals. Then go back to the Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels report to view all of the Goals from Organic Search traffic.

Inbound links for SEO

Tracking your inbound links (backlinks) is key to understanding the success of a search engine optimization campaign. Links usually show search engines a website’s popularity and its authority in an industry. You can track inbound links using an SEO tool like Ahrefs.

Post Engagement

On a content marketing front, it’s vital to measure post engagement, so you can understand more about what type of content your audience is interested in reading and sharing with others. Posts with higher engagement rates send trust signals to search engines because it shows that a specific post is helpful in answering the user’s search query. Higher engagement means more exposure to your pages in the SERP. There are multiple sub metrics that are useful to track in regards to post engagement including bounce rate, time on page, average session, and duration.

Revenue

Tracking the difference in revenue before and after an SEO campaign is vital. Of course, you won’t see results immediately, but you should see a correlation between revenue and these other metrics. If the other metrics are trending up, you should see a clear return on investment.

SEO Tools

Include SEO in the Content Creation Process

Content marketing can be very beneficial to a business. It helps educate an audience on a brand and guides them into seeing the value of that product or service. It also improves conversions, connects with customers, builds trust with a specific audience, and generates leads. 

In order for marketing campaigns to be successful, they need to be integrated into your SEO campaigns. If your content isn’t ranking on page one of the search engine results for a certain keyword or phrase, the chances of anyone seeing it are rather low.

Incorporate SEO into your content writing process: 

  1. Determine which topic or keyword you’d like to write for. 
    • Use your keyword research to determine what content your audience is interested in.
  2. Analyze the SERP for this keyword or phrase. 
    • Look at the top 10 results for this term in search results. Read through articles that are topically similar and take note of their average length and the number of headings, images and bolded words. Use these observations to make an on-page SEO blueprint for this keyword. Then, think about the content of these articles, and how you can add value to this topic to differentiate your article. Ask yourself: What are these articles missing?
  3. Create an outline.
    • Make sure it structurally matches your SEO blueprint.
  4. Write your article.
    • Optimize according to your SERRP analysis for things like headings, keyword density and image captions. 
  5. Consider how it will appear on the SERP.
    • Optimize your title tag and meta description here. Make sure to include your keyword in the title and meta description.

Writing valuable content also aids in SEO efforts. If a piece of content on your website will add value to someone else’s article by linking to it, then it will increase organic backlinks to your site, which helps domain authority and increases chances of ranking better in search results.  

Once you have published your content, make sure to continually track the success of each article using the SEO measurement metrics.

Optimize for Technical SEO 

One essential step to any SEO campaign is to keep in mind the technical aspects of SEO and to make sure your site performance is optimal for user experience. 

This means you need to consider how your web content is being received and understood by the search engine and the search bots that crawl and index your website, in order to rank your pages in the first place. Additionally, you need to evaluate how your site performance is affecting your SEO.

Without these foundational technical SEO items checked off, your other SEO and content marketing efforts will not be nearly as effective — if at all.

Crawlability and indexability 

Consider how easily search bots can crawl the code on your site. If you’ve never looked at code or are fairly unfamiliar with the backend of a website, this may be difficult to do. But remember, this is what the search engine bots see. Now, think about what the experience is of a search engine visitor to your site. Because Google the most commonly used search engine, we’ll use them as a standard. Google has a more difficult time crawling JavaScript than other forms of code. HTML and CSS are languages that give structure and style to web pages while JavaScript gives web pages interactive elements that engage a user, like chat boxes. If you have a highly engaging and stylized website, that’s great for users, but what Google really cares about is the the HTML, or the structure, of your website.

The problem you run into when you have a lot of JavaScript on your website, in terms of SEO, is that it takes longer for Google to render your website, and this can influence the amount of pages that get crawled and indexed into Google search results.

So, what can you do to fix this? The answer is not to sacrifice your user experience. Actually, you can accommodate both Google and the user with a solution called dynamic rendering. Dynamic rendering is a practice, endorsed by Google, that enables you to serve to different versions of the same web content. Google is served a flat HTM version of the page and the user is served a version that’s enhanced with CSS and Javascript — for a stylized, interactive experience. This enables Google to do it’s job much more effectively, so that it’s quick and easy for them to crawl and index your site, without compromising the user experience.

Structured data (rich results)

Another thing you can implement for Google to understand your website better — especially specific items on your site — is structured data. Structured data is really what it sounds like. It’s a format in which data is structured to clearly signify specific objects on a webpage. Webmasters can utilize data called Schema from Schema.org, and place it their webpage’s code in a structured, JSON-LD format in order for search bots to quickly identify things on a webpage like a product, an event or reviews.

Additionally, structured data markup enables items on your webpage to qualify for Rich Results in Google search. Rich results, or rich snippets, are results that in a featured box at the top of a search results page. This can greatly benefit your SEO campaigns and content marketing by enabling your content to be easily viewed at the top of a SERP.

PageSpeed 

PageSpeed has been a ranking factor for desktop since 2010, but in June of 2020 Google announced that the 2021 algorithm update will introduce Core Web Vitals as a user experience site performance metric. This will give PageSpeed even more weight as a ranking factor.

These technical SEO items are often overlooked because most SEOs or marketers do not know how to address these problems. As an SEO manager, you might need to call on your development team or purchase a technical SEO software solution to address these problems.

Key Take-Aways: 

  • SEO is an essential part of digital marketing
  • SEO Campaign Management includes defining an SEO strategy, setting goals, and measuring results.
  • Management is key to SEO.