Structuring your SEO process can get you a long way and both save you time, money while bringing you better results. That’s because SEO can be so broad and unstructured – you can already now make some quick changes and small fixes.
But sometimes you also need to re-think the whole thing – and this is when it’s important to know at what step of the process you are at any time.
When doing that, first and foremost, you need to create a document where you map all of your target keywords and the pages they are going to rank for. Doing this will ensure that you’re clear in your strategy and can therefore later do everything from your list in the right order.
This will save you time and let you focus on priorities. This also provides you with the opportunity to plan out pages that you haven’t created and therefore expand into more new keywords.
For example by knowing which page is supposed to rank, you can already plan how to interlink all of your pages. Therefore, you can make a per-page plan which you can follow once you’re actually working on your SEO.
1. Optimize Your Existing Important Pages
The next step is to start with your important pages. This will ensure that your most important keywords start climbing ranks as soon as possible.
This will therefore justify your time spent in SEO because the sooner the pages start ranking, the sooner you will start ranking higher and getting new customers.
For example, let’s assume you’re working on a local business that sells flowers. You want to note down your pages, the main most important keyword you’re optimizing for, and all secondary keywords in a separate column.
There are many ways to do this. However, the most efficient one is to use an Excel / Google Spreadsheet file where you can keep track of the pages for the future too. Here’s an example of how you can achieve that easily:
- Page Path – list the path of your own page that you deem important
- Main Keywords – list the main keyword that you’re targeting with this page – usually, it will be similar to the slug in the Page Path – your main keyword is usually the one with the highest search volume
- Secondary Keywords – any secondary keywords that you find important – these could be variations and long tail keywords – this step is not necessary to do if there naturally aren’t other similar keywords
|Page Path||Main Keywords||Secondary Keywords|
|/new-york-florist/||flowers in new york||flower service ny city|
|/new-york-wedding-flowers/||wedding flowers new york||ny city wedding bouquets|
|/new-york-flowers-for-men/||new york flowers for men||flowers for boyfriend new york|
2. Create Your New Pages
Now is time to create the new pages. These will usually take a while to rank since Google has not seen them before and has no data about them.
These pages won’t have any pagerank since there are no backlinks pointing to them.
Additionally, no users have clicked on them and Google still doesnt know which keywords they should rank for and whether they satisfy the search intent.
Both of these points make this step the second most important one. Firstly, you want to create those pages as soon as possible since Google will then have time to index and rank them – and you can start building links to them.
However, you don’t want to do this step too early – before you’ve optimized your existing ones – because the pages you already have is exactly how you can boost your SEO in the short term.
That is, they are already indexed and have a rank – and from now it’s about improving them rather than starting everything from the ground up.
3. Optimize Your Secondary Pages
Your homepage is the strongest page on your website. That’s because it’s at the top of the hierarchy and usually the majority of your links point to that page.
The homepage provides a lot of value and is therefore great for interlinking to other sub-pages. The problem here however is that usually it doesn’t provide many opportunities to link out to other pages. That’s because homepages are usually optimized around a very broad topic. THis means that it’s not text-heavy and doesn’t have a lot of content for each of your specific products – and if you offer several different products or services – it’s very hard to link to all of them.
That’s why it might be easier to link to category pages instead of direct product pages. That is, for example you can link to your /products/ or /services/ page rather than the /products/shoes/ or /services/cleaning/ pages.
This way you still pass value to the parent category where your sub-page is featured – and you link to them in a very natural way.
Contact pages are an important aspect for any company. While they don’t always directly bring you new traffic because they don’t rank for many (or any) keywords your customers are searching for, they are still valuable because many of your website visitors want to learn more about you.
Contact page SEO is usually great for local businesses that want to appear in the maps section for a given local area. That’s because Google uses both your NAP and signals from your site to associate your website and your Google My Business map pack appearance. Stronger websites that rank high in organic search in Google usually do well in the map pack as well.
Your contact page is an asset that can easily be optimized in just a day. When doing that, remember to also include schema on it.
4. Build Some Links
Now comes time to build some links. Depending on how you organized your process from the points above, you should prioritize your links as described below.
The majority of your links should point to your front page. It is very natural for websites to have the majority of their inbound links pointing to the home page. This is seen as a natural backlink profile by Google – and therefore you will not get penalized.
On the other hand, you also want to have some links pointing to your important pages. You can do that by both:
- Building backlinks directly to your important pages
- Interlinking your important pages from some of your other strong pages
Let’s get more specific about both of these points:
Building Backlinks To Important Pages
There are no official ratios of exactly how many backlinks should point to each specific page. Instead, in general you can follow this rule of thumb: For every 3 links you build to your homepage, you can build 1 link to a deeper page.
Once again, it’s best that you keep a list of the links you build to closely monitor your process so you don’t risk getting a penalty.
For example, make a spreadsheet like shown below which features these columns:
- Backlink URL – the actual URL of the page that is linking to you
- Linked Page – the URL of the page on your website where the links are pointing to
- Linked Page Type – what type of page you’re linking to – is it the homepage or a deep link
- Anchor Text – put in the exact anchor text that links to you for quicker overview
- Anchor Type – classify the type of anchor to easily monitor your ratios
And here’s an example of what it would look like in Excel / Google Sheets:
|Backlink URL||Linked Page||Linked Page Type||Anchor Text||Anchor Type|
|website3.com||mywebsite.com/||Homepage||check them out here||Generic|
|website4.com||mywebsite.com/product||Deep Page||buy product here||Keyword|
This logic applies to your anchor text distribution as well. For every 3 generic anchor texts, build 1 that has some form of your keyword in it. As you can see above, there’s good diversification and if you only build links this way, anchor texts content your target keywords cannot exceed 25% of your total link profile.
Interlinking Important Pages From Strong Pages
Another supplementary way to boost your important pages is to create internal links from the pages that have backlinks coming into them. For example, many of your product pages will never get backlinks directly to themselves – because that’s hard to do and people usually don’t link directly to products.
Because of that, a smart way to actually boost those same pages is to create other resources that can attract backlinks – which you can link out to afterwards. Similarly to how we did the breakdown above, you want to have a structure when doing this.
Because of that, this step is last – and you need to have both of the above spreadsheets created. From here on, you should create your last spreadsheet where you document your interlinking.
Let’s look at an example of how we’re going to do that:
Strong Page – List the strong pages on your website – usually the ones with the most and strongest backlinks – even if they aren’t ranking high in search themselves
Page Topic – Write the topic of the page so that you’re certain you can create the link from the content on the page itself (i.e. if it’s topically relevant)
Interlink Opportunity 1, 2, 3 – Simply list every page you want to link to; You can add as many of these fields as you want.
As a bonus, instead of adding more columns which can make your spreadsheet gigantic, simply add notes to the fields where more information is needed. For example, I’d personally use a note on each of the “Interlink Opportunity X” fields to put the topic of the page that is linked.
|Strong Page||Page Topic||Interlink Opportunity 1||Interlink Opportunity 2||Interlink Opportunity 3|
And there you have it! Use these 3 concrete tips to structuring your SEO process better which will ultimately make your work easier to follow, easier to explain to bosses and/or clients, and potentially grant you more success in your organic rankings because it’s more organized.