Building a successful search engine optimization (SEO) strategy can be difficult for marketing professionals who wear many hats. In our recent AAM High! webinar, “Building SEO Success with Few Resources,” Diane Kulseth from Siteimprove shared basic terminology, core components, key team resources and a standard SEO process.
- Search engine optimization encapsulates all activities that contribute to getting a website’s pages to rank at the top of search results for target keywords.
- Crawling refers to the practice of search engine bot or spider navigating your website through its internal links to discover content.
- Indexing refers to the practice of search engines documenting that content for consideration in a search engines results page.
- Technical SEO Building a strong foundation for search engines to crawl and index your site. Ensuring your website loads and provides a strong experience for your visitors.
- Link Building Establishing trust and authority through external backlinks to your site, and through brand, social, PR mentions.
- Content (or Content SEO) Keyword target content that’s targeted to the user and optimized for search engines.
- Measurements Measure rankings, search appearance and traffic coming from organic search engine queries.
Key Team Resources
Your firm will need people to help with the content and technical needs of your website. Content people are able to make updates to the website content including web copy, meta data and images. Technical people are able to make updates to the website code and key files such as sitemaps, .htaccess files and server functionality.
A Standard SEO Process
A standard SEO process is cyclical. You can work on it throughout the year and continue the process from year to year. Successful SEO takes time – but it’s worth the effort.
- Site Audit Look for a tool that can crawl your web pages and identify common issues like poor page speed, too many internal links or missing titles or meta descriptions. (Action item: Create a spreadsheet to document audit findings.)
- Identify Solutions With your audit findings, document the fix needed. Prioritize your list based on the estimated impact on performance and resource need. (Action item: Develop a roadmap by adding a solutions column to your document audit findings spreadsheet.)
- Clean Up Experience Based on your roadmap, make optimizations to your website experience. This can include optimizing page speed, updating the navigation and adjusting links to and from pages. (Action item: Add a document fixes column to your document audit findings spreadsheet.)
- Target Keywords Using your internal web analytics and/or webmaster portal, document your top performing keywords. With your origin list of keywords, identify other areas for targeting by inputting them into a keyword tool. (Action item: Create a keyword map to identify areas in which certain keywords could be applied.)
- Refresh Content With your new keyword map, identify content needing updates, prioritize changes and refresh your content with keywords in mind. (Action item: Create recommendations and prioritize content updates.)
- Build Authority Make a list of the sites that your accounting firm partners with or contributes to such as industry groups or community and charity groups. (Action item: Where applicable, reach out and see if it’s possible to include a link to your website.)
Measurement and Awareness
Measurement and awareness are huge players throughout your SEO process. Using your web analytics tool, set up a report to check in weekly on your organic traffic performance and tie this performance to key website activities. This helps create buy-in from partners. You should also be aware of what your competitors are doing. You can track their keywords and marketing efforts, but their success should not dictate the marketing efforts of your firm.
- Find a tool that can start the work of a crawl and audit.
- Meet with internal teams to assess effort needed for changes.
- Build your reports to measure performance as your SEO activities go into effect on your website.
About Dawn Wagenaar
Dawn Wagenaar is Principal of Ingenuity Marketing Group, LLC, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Ingenuity works with accounting firms across the country on branding, research, marketing and growth to make their professionals famous. Dawn is past chair of the AAM Conference Committee and Virtual Education Committee and past member-at-large for AAM National Board of Directors.