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10 Step SEO Process



The main purpose of this article is to explain our in house SEO process for a basic campaign.

We have optimized hundreds of websites over the years, have learned a little bit along the way- and would like to share some of this information with you.

Because we are developers, this article is written primarily from the developer’s perspective. However, anyone should be able to follow along and hopefully, they might learn something interesting- if not a lot more!

Before we get started, please know this: SEO requires a lot of work and there are no shortcuts. This work needs to be done continuously, mainly because of algorithm changes and competitor movements.

Now let’s transition into the technical stuff.

What is the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) process and how does it work?

In the vendor – client scenario, a successful search engine optimization process helps to ensure the campaign is set up properly, executed efficiently over time. This chain of events ultimately delivers a positive return on investment (ROI) for the client.

At the beginning, we recommend having the step-by-step process integrated into the client’s SEO proposal – and reviewing the process with them before the project is started.

A strong review allows the customer to understand not only how things will take place, but also see that their involvement (and input) can help the campaign achieve even higher results.

Across the Internet, you will see many processes varying in the # of steps; usually between 5-10. The main thing to understand is there are numbered steps that need to be followed… and not a “fly by the seat of your pants” approach to doing SEO. The aforementioned always ends badly for both parties and can be easily avoided.

PalmettoSoft’s in-house SEO process is 10 steps, and we have based our model off the traditional waterfall method.

We try to take a simplistic approach to everything we do – similar to the method Nick Saban uses, who is widely known as the most successful college football coach in history.

“Much of the credit for Saban’s sustained success has been given to The Process.”

“A team using process methodology achieves more gain than the sum total of individual effort.“


Follow A Step-by-Step Process- We Do!

SEO managers need to follow processes when they oversee an account. Never “wing it” and rely on your supernatural intuition or use of The Force!

If you are a DIY person and don’t think you need this, you are in for some really tough times. A process gives you a roadmap to follow. And at minimum, it guarantees you will cover all the important aspects of a campaign, while also not missing something fundamentally important.

Notice we mentioned “at minimum.” Real high-powered SEO success–as in being “really good”–is made up of your experience, technical knowledge, intuition, work ethic, and client input.

Within this article, we have intertwined local SEO and national SEO techniques. The main difference between the two is that local SEO focuses more heavily on Google My Business optimization and citation listings.

And for time’s sake, we didn’t discuss e-commerce SEO techniques that focus more on product optimization, reviews, etc. However, most Organic SEO campaigns, no matter what type we’re talking about, feature a tremendous amount of overlap.

Also note that an SEO campaign can basically be segmented into two phases: Campaign Setup and Routine Work.

As we progress through each SEO step, we have labeled each accordingly. Typically the campaign setup period can last anywhere from one to two months.

For example, a campaign of 30 keywords usually requires a two month setup period, because there is simply a lot of work to do. Smaller campaigns (15 keywords or less) typically require half the amount of time.

Now that we have the philosophical stuff out the way, let’s have some fun!

There are Two Major Parts of SEO

On-Page and Off-Page. Basically, it’s what you do on your website and off your website. And that is about it. While simple in concept, there is a lot happening in these two areas.

In this post, we have labeled each SEO step as either one or the other–or both.

Step 1: Keyword Analysis (Setup: On-Page)

Keyword selection is one of the most important steps in the SEO process, and some back and forth time should be spent between you and the customer.

Sometimes we create three or four different versions of the keyword report, as we constantly delete non-relevant/unwanted terms and add new ones.

It is also important to know that PalmettoSoft usually does keyword analysis within our sales process (before the SEO process you are reading now). Keyword analysis is a critical part of our due diligence work in learning about the customer’s business.

For clarity and ease of reading, though, we are showing this as the first step in our SEO process.

How To Choose Right Keywords for SEO | Keyword Analysis | SEO Process - Step 1 of 10

How we do Keyword Analysis

After an initial sales conversation about the client’s business and marketing goals, we ask them to send a list of keywords they think people search for that match their services/products.

Then we use our free research tool coupled with Google Search Console to uncover a more expansive list along with monthly search volume and competition and send it to the client via email to review.

We like to follow up with a phone call to explain what the technical terms mean, as well as tips for selecting the best keywords.

search result

The Google Keyword Planner is a great free tool
Image source: Google Keyword Planner

As a primary factor of consideration, we consider relevance first. And most relevant phrases tend to be long tail keywords, as those tend to deliver higher conversion. When a searcher, for example, types a four or five-word phrase, they tend to know exactly what they are searching for, rather than a generic term that can bring a lot of irrelevant traffic to the website.

A keyword analysis is very important and requires some back and forth collaboration with the client. You should let them know upfront that you need their input and it’s considered normal to create several versions of the report until the best keywords are discovered.

A secondary factor is a competition. This is typically shown as either high, medium, or low.

Competition is not the exact number of actual competitors for that keyword search traffic–rather, it’s the number of search results displayed when you do a keyword search. High competition means you normally will require more time to get the first page Google ranking for the keyword. Low competition takes a shorter time–you get the idea.

Finally, the third factor is the number of monthly searches. This is a distant third when compared to the first two factors.

From a strategy perspective, long-tail keywords usually gain faster first page ranking, and that leads to quicker sales. As the client begins to build a business during the short term, you can begin to build on this success by expanding the keyword list with more competitive terms.

seo process caution

When selecting keywords, customers tend to automatically lock onto the highest monthly search volume ones. These also tend to be generic in nature.

For example, if your customer produces faux alligator handbags, you probably don’t want to target the term “handbags.” Here’s why: Four years and $48,000 later, when (and if!) you finally do get a first page ranking, around 99% of the searchers that click through to the website will NOT end up buying from your customer.

Even worse, this traffic will overwhelm the client with unqualified sales calls and massive email spam, and also the site will have a very high bounce rate.

By the way, a high bounce rate has a negative effect on SEO rankings. It’s a vicious cycle you want to avoid, since it’s a huge waste of time and money.

Moral of the story: Generic, high competition keywords are NOT worth it…in many ways.

Step 2: Website Audit (Setup: On-Page)

The website audit can be thought of much like a website health check.

A major goal of the audit is to identify any major technical or functional issues a website may have during the SEO setup process. Of course, any issues found need to be fixed immediately or they will cause systemic ranking problems.

How To Do an SEO Audit of a Website | Website Audit | SEO Process - Step 2 of 10

For brevity, we are only going to cover the main elements of the audit and not go into detail. If you want to learn more about the elements, there is a ton of information available on the web– plus, you tend to learn and retain more when you do the research!

All website fixes should be 100% completed before any off site SEO work is done. Would you land a new jumbo jet on a dirt road? Of course not, and the engineers at Google hold the same view.

Main elements of a website audit

  • Technical SEO
  • Website Structure
  • On-Page SEO
  • Website Content Review
  • Competitors Website Analysis
  • Analyze Design and UX (user experience)

SEMrush is one of the best website audit tools.

Image source: SEMrush

Website audits, like an oil change for a car, extend the life and performance of your SEO campaign. And like oil changes, they need to be done periodically. We recommend running an audit on an annual basis.

Two Cases For a Website Audit

Algorithm changes

By doing so, you can keep the performance running optimally while also keeping up with ever-changing Google and Yahoo/Bing algorithm changes.

Webmaster guidelines

Another reason to periodically run your audit is to remain compliant with the major search engines’ Webmaster Guidelines.

seo process caution Overlooking or blowing through this step will almost guarantee your site will never get ranked.

Trust us as the experts: If your meta coding is out of parameter and page loading times are slow, this is like pouring water in a bucket with a small hole in the bottom. You keep pouring (effort), yet the results are always the same: You get a quick rise, followed by a long, slow, but inevitable decline.

No matter how many other SEO techniques you do, if your website foundation is bad, your SEO strategy will be a doomed house of cards.

Step 3: Landing Page Optimization (Setup: On-Page)

After keyword selection and the website audit is completed, the important step of landing page review begins.

In our experience, almost every website will need a few new pages built to support the new keywords. However, in rare cases existing pages on a website can be optimized for the new keywords.

If the client chooses 10 keywords in their campaign, you should usually plan on the creation of three to four new pages within the website’s main navigation.

SEO Landing Page Optimization Tips & Tricks | Landing Page Optimization | SEO Process - Step 3 of 10

Years ago, when the search engines were more rudimentary, each keyword basically merited its own landing page and the websites tended to have “keyword overload,” as well as repetition all over the page.

These days, however, several related keywords can be targeted to the same page in a more natural structure so that fewer landing pages are required.

Landing pages support the targeted keywords for your campaign. However, don’t just have a page full of copy… add supporting images, call to action buttons and make the page “come to life.” You will have higher conversion when you do this.

landing page template

Landing pages typically follow a template style for consistency & conversion.

Image source: Unbounce

Important elements of a successful Landing Page

  • Clear value proposition
  • Engaging banner image with strategic messaging
  • Stated benefits of product or service
  • Customer testimonials for credibility
  • Call to action buttons
  • Quick contact form

Install Landing Pages in the Footer

Usually, keyword targeted landing pages are inserted in the website’s footer (or in the sitemap) so as to not clutter the website’s top navigation.

This way the search engine sees the page as a “first level navigation page” and gives it the proper authority when indexing. When someone does a search on Google, they type in the query, click on the link, and arrive on the landing page.

Another benefit of the landing page is that the user is always within one click of your website’s main pages, such as the home page.

Install Landing Pages in the Main Navigation

Another way to install landing pages is to integrate them within your website’s main navigation structure. This can be a bit more tricky, and you always want your navigation links to support each other and look more fluid.

However, if you can pull this off you can expect higher customer conversion because the website looks more naturally geared towards these targeted keywords.

seo process caution
Beware of the customer who is obsessed with the design of their website. This tends to happen when a customer designed their own website and has an emotional attachment to the look and feel of their website.

When you make the recommendation to add landing pages, you can get a lot of pushback and odd workaround suggestions by the client (don’t do any of them!) in order to avoid doing the necessary SEO work to help their website.

We have heard, for example, “I don’t want keywords on my home page. I wrote the copy myself and everything looks great.”

When this happens, you need to have a straightforward and respectful conversation and simply tell them something like this: “Currently your website is designed for the public. However, Google requires you to design BOTH for the public and the search engine. If you don’t do this, your site will not rank.”

Once they understand the nature of SEO, the customer will usually come around and you can make the much needed changes to the website.

Step 4: Blog Integration (Setup: On-Page)

Over the last several years, blogging has grown and is becoming a more increasingly integral part of an effective SEO strategy. It is a good way to boost traffic, build trust, and also frequently adds new content to your site.

After installing WordPress, our preferred development platform, it’s important to set up the blog theme to include the overview and detail page.

We always use the overview and detail page structure for the maximum SEO benefit. When installing the blog theme, it is also important to use supporting plugins.

WordPress New Post

WordPress offers a robust blog with a lot of plugins.

Image source: WordPress

Importance of a Blog for a Website | Blog Integration | SEO Process - Step 4 of 10

It is also important to create a top navigation and footer link for your blog, as it shows your visitor this is an important component of your website.

This also helps your blog to get read more often and sends a clear message to Google that your website is a frequent content producer and not simply a static brochure.

Your website blog can be one of the biggest SEO drivers on your website. Set it up correctly, with all the appropriate functionality- and write content with teeth! Your visitors will appreciate it and the search engines will reward you handsomely. Never underestimate the power of your blog!

seo process caution You NEVER want to approach blogging with the mindset that “it’s a task I have to do.”

If you do, you will quickly become part of the status quo of the millions of average bloggers that waste time and effort on the Internet.

Instead, you should look forward to writing about things that you are passionate about or may be an expert in. Your readers and search engines like engaging and informative content, so always do your best!

These same habits will carry over into all aspects of copywriting you do on your website.

Also know this: It is good to have a strong opinion. Try not to be vanilla and boring. On the flip side, don’t use profanity, disrespectful language, or claims that are so over-the-top that you make some people angry or offend them.

Let me prove the math on the above: You have already invested some of your valuable time reading this post. If it was bad content, you probably would have left a long time ago!

Step 5: Meta Elements (Setup: On-page)

Meta elements, a.k.a. metadata, meta coding, etc., are one of the most basic parts of an SEO strategy. They have been around a long time and are still just as important.

Basically, they are hidden words (hidden from the public, that is) in your website’s coding that tell the search engine what your site is about.

As a result, it’s paramount that you address all the major elements of meta elements as well keeping the information within the search engine’s parameters.

In layman’s terms, meta elements tell the search engine what your website’s pages are about. As you can imagine, the actual web page content needs to also be in balance with the meta elements.

Google compares both to each other, and this forms one of the pillars of their ranking algorithm. Below are some major components of meta elements.

Make sure you do your meta coding correctly and to the search engine’s parameters. After all, you are talking directly to the search engines about your website’s content.

Learn Eight Very Important Meta Elements | Meta Elements | SEO Process - Step 5 of 10

On-page meta elements

Meta Tags

Meta Coding is what the search engines sees, and not your visitors.

Image source: deepfieldinc.com

seo process caution For years, literally millions have tried to stuff keywords in meta coding and use other negative techniques (like “hidden text”) to try to artificially influence the search engine for better rankings.

Don’t do it, or you run the risk of being penalized. And many penalties can ultimately become Reconsideration Requests to the search engine.

We guarantee you that any shortcuts or sneaky ideas in meta elements you may think of has already been done by someone, and has been addressed in an update to the search engine’s algorithm.

Think of meta element adjustment in your site as pouring a concrete foundation to a house. It’s not complicated or fancy, but does require some skilled work. And like a house on a good foundation, your SEO strategy will be on much better ground as you move forward.

Step 6: Citation Building (Setup: Off-Page)

Citation listings help search engines verify that your business is legitimate.

This is a seriously important step within local SEO.

When multiple and credible websites all feature the same name, address, and phone number (NAP), website address, and business description, this helps your website build authority, establish trust, and greatly improve your business’s ability to rank in the local search results.

Developing a strong citation profile for your business is one of the most fundamental and cost-effective methods to optimize for Local SEO.

How to Build Local Citations (Complete Guide) | Citation Building | SEO Process - Step 6 of 10

Key findings

  • 76% of SEOs use Citations / Directory listings to build links
  • 58% of SEOs use Content Marketing to build links
  • 24% of SEOs use Press Releases to build links
  • 21% of SEOs use Guest Posts to build links


Source: BrightLocal

seo process caution If not done correctly, inconsistent NAP and related business information within citation listings will harm your SEO rankings.

In particularly bad cases, you may need to spend additional money and a lot of time to correct the issue. There is also the ultimate possibility of not having your rankings restored at all due to the severity of the problem.

Our advice is to use a reputable Citation Listing tool and do everything “best practice.”

Step 7: Blog Posting (Routine: On-Page)

Blog posting is an integral part of SEO for many reasons.

First, it tells the search engine robots that your site is routinely producing content and that basically guarantees frequent indexing of your website.

Second, it can help establish your company as a subject matter expert (SME) in your field of expertise.

Third, it can become a major source of quality inbound traffic to your website, and this can have a fantastic effect on your overall SEO efforts.

WordPress Dashboard

The WordPress dashboard is easy to use and allows for robust blog management.

Image source: WordPress

How to Write an SEO-Friendly Blog Post | Blog Posting | SEO Process - Step 7 of 10

Blog writing tips

  • Focus on 1–2 long-tail keywords that match the intent of your target reader
  • Include your 1–2 keywords in specific parts of your post.
  • Make sure your blog is mobile-friendly and responsive.
  • Optimize your meta description, and use all the space.
  • Optimize your images with image alt text.
  • Don’t use too many similar topic tags.
  • Use URL structures that help your visitors.
  • Link internally when possible.


Image source: HubSpot

Google Analytics (when installed on your site) measures important metrics like page stay times, bounce rates, visitors per page, and a lot more!

While you can personally measure your website’s performance, Google Analytics also reports this data back to the mothership: Google. Over the last several years, website performance data has become an ever-growing piece of the pie in the Google ranking algorithm.

An extremely well written SME type blog post can even bring in more traffic than your website’s home page, and Google loves it when an inner page delivers more traffic than your home page.

This scenario can also lead to more stable and higher SEO rankings. For a deeper understanding of this concept, check out the Google Hummingbird update. Specifically, “It also looks deeper at content on individual pages of a website, with improved ability to lead users directly to the most appropriate page rather than just a website’s homepage.”

Also, activate a social sharing widget at the top of your blog which shows how many comments, number of views and shares the post has.

When people see high numbers at the top of your post, they tend to want to read it more, which leads to higher visitor stay times. Google Analytics sees this too and continually boosts your post in the rankings.

If you have the talent and passion, write more than 700 words and develop more informative articles. The search engines will reward you for this effort as you are making your website more of a knowledge base instead of an online brochure.

Social Sharing Widget

social share

The Google Keyword Planner is a great free tool
Image source: Google Keyword Planner

seo process caution Don’t use Facebook comments in your blog because they are not indexed by Google, which is Facebook’s direct competitor. If you do, you are wasting your time and also bypassing an extremely important part of SEO- visitor commenting.

Instead, enable Disqus comments or native WordPress comments (both are indexable) in your blog and get some compelling back-and-forth conversation going! This will definitely help SEO by showing Google your topic is important.

Back in the late ‘90s when Google started its run to dominance, it began to heavily measure the number of links pointing to a web page to establish its quality.

At first, the number of links (the higher the better) was a huge factor, but over time the relevance of the links began to matter more. Basically, as Google evolved it realized that websites tend to link to other related websites in a natural way.

Link building is the process of acquiring high quality backlinks from other websites to your own website. A backlink (keyword-rich anchor text hyperlink) is inserted in the content for both humans and search engines to navigate between pages from one website to another.

How to Do Link Building in SEO (Ultimate Strategies) | Link Building | SEO Process - Step 8 of 10

Link building also happens to be the most popular and effective off-page SEO technique.

It also has major importance within the Google ranking algorithm. You should work to generate quality “do follow” backlinks from high ranking Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) niche/related websites.

Reference: Google created a short video to explain how links work on the Internet.

Link building is an incredibly important step in SEO. It should be done carefully, routinely and never forced. Always try to think like the search engine when you build links so your strategy has a natural structure to it.

link building

Linking is an extremely important part of SEO and should be done by professionals.

Image source: singlegrain.com

Manual Link Building- GOOD

For the vast majority of SEO accounts, link building is a manual exercise where quality/related content, such as guest posting, articles, press releases, etc. are submitted to niche websites in order to gain a quality backlink.

This can be a time-consuming and tedious process, but the outcome is definitely worth higher search results rankings.

Natural Link Building- EXCELLENT

Have you ever heard the phrase “Content is King?” It is so true, and great content will generate its own natural backlinks.

Our owner, Rhett DeMille, likes to say “Content is King and linking is the Queen.” Think about a deeply researched PDF, a great video, an informative blog post (hopefully like this one!), or a well-written web page that someone wants to link to as a reference.

Within this post, you notice we have linked to a lot of related websites that lend credibility to what we are saying. And this interlinking of high quality web content represents the best type of link building.

seo process caution When link building is done with black hat techniques, your site can be penalized, removed from the search results, and your domain name can even be blacklisted.

Example: You have a new website and a “SEO know-it-all” suggests that you need to acquire more and rapidly created backlinks in order to have faster and higher rankings. So you hire this person and they purchase mass backlinks from untrusted and unrelated websites.

These low DA sites can be over-optimized, thereby creating toxic links to your website.

To prevent this type of activity, Google has implemented many types of algorithm updates, including Penguin, which specifically targets websites with spammy content.

Our advice: Always do things white hat–that is, the right way.

Step 9: Google Business Profile Optimization (Routine: Off-Page)

It is a free tool for businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Google Search and Google Maps. GBP provides a unique platform for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) to display their storefront address and phone number in Google Maps results. We highly recommend that all businesses add their details in Google Business Profile.

GBP is not really a citation listing; it’s much more.

Think of a GBP as a business directory listing and social media profile. You may have read earlier that citation listings can positively affect GBP rankings, and this is true. However, the two are separate and support each other in your local SEO strategy.

A GBP listing does not require a website

You don’t need a website to create a GBP listing, but a website is strongly recommended, as it forms the foundation of an effective SEO strategy when considering both on-page and off-page work.

GBP data can be reviewed in Google Insights, but not in Google Analytics.

GBP is off-page, while GA is installed within your website.

How to Optimize Google Map Listing | Google Business Profile Optimization | SEO Process - Step 9 of 10

GBP Insights provides performance data within your business listing. Basically, you can explore the keywords that people are searching for, number of searches, number of visits to your website, number of calls, and more.

Google Business Profile is the Internet’s ultimate version of a citation listing and social profile. Put a lot of effort into this and your Local SEO should benefit. Remember this: Nobody loves Google more than… Google (think indexing!).

google my business insights

Google Business Profile Insights shows customer actions within your GBP listing.

Image source: Google Business Profile Insights

Google Business Profile Verification Process (a Gmail or G Suite account is required)
This is a basic process, and the first step is signing up for Google Business Profile, you basically do the following process:

Verification process

  • Go to Google.com/business
  • Set up a new Google Account
  • Enter your business name
  • Enter the address of the business location
  • Specify service areas (Service Area Businesses only)
  • Choose your business category
  • Add a contact phone number and website URL
  • Request Google for verification PIN postcard via mail
  • After receiving PIN, go to GBP profile and click Verify.
  • Enter PIN, click Verify

Google Business Profile Optimization Techniques
After uploading important business details to your newly created GBP page, you should begin the following techniques:

Optimization techniques

  • Add photos and videos to your listing. Also, be sure to enable the “Locations” setting in your smartphone. Google can authenticate imagery this way.
  • Write and optimize a compelling business description
  • Use Q & As to understand your audience
  • Create a Post to showcase offers and promotions
  • Add service menus and product collections
  • Start requesting and managing Google Reviews
  • Maintain your Business Profile

seo process caution Gaining positive customer reviews is essential for GBP optimization. Higher numbers of favorable comments increase your business’ reputation, branding and credibility.

However, there will occasionally be some instances where an unfavorable review is made.

Maybe a mistake was made, or perhaps the customer woke up on the wrong side of the bed that day. The main thing to know is this is not a disaster–there are some best practice ways to address the problem:

  • Assess and evaluate the feedback internally first.
  • Publicly respond to the review.
  • Be transparent about mistakes.
  • Ask questions when details aren’t clear.
  • Empathize and offer solutions.
  • Sign your name.
  • Request an update for review.

Source: HubSpot

When the above steps are done, the situation is almost never made worse, but it does tend to get better. Many times a potential customer will see how you responded to the negative review, and this can end up becoming a positive outcome for your business.

In other cases, the negative review may even be removed by the poster. Regardless of the outcome, follow these steps and you will win a lot more times than you lose!

Step 10: Reporting (Routine: On/Off-Page)

The final step of your SEO process is reporting. This is where both the optimizer and customer should understand how the campaign is performing in the same terms.

Reporting should contain a few main features:

Monthly Campaign Performance Report

Whether you use a PDF, a software generated report, or a spreadsheet, they all should feature the basics like keyword rankings, website traffic, bounce rates, page stay times, and other important metrics you can pull from Google Analytics.

At minimum, the report should feature a summary, technical information (mentioned above), and ROI Tracking.

Image source: Google Image

While all the above is great info, you should have a monthly call with the customer as well!

During the call, go over the important aspects of the campaign and take notes. Personally, we like to record our calls for our technical team to hear later, as it helps them better understand what they are responsible for.

Elements of a Monthly Campaign Performance Report–What it should contain

Market Analysis–What We are Seeing

Talk about some high level points of interest in layman’s terms. Think of something noteworthy the client would really find interesting. Sprinkle in some math to back up what you are saying.

For example, here is some information we provided for one of our clients, who offered industrial cleaning services during the COVID-19 period:

“Disinfection type keywords have seen an exponential increase in searches over the last few months. From 5/7/20 until 7/20/20, “disinfection type services” searches have increased 9,328.57%.” As a result, we recommend to add at least (5) disinfection type keywords to your campaign.”

Performance–How Your Campaign is Progressing

This is where you show keyword rankings, website traffic, bounce rates, page stay times, website speed, and more: basically all the technical stuff that people in our field get excited about.

Notice I mentioned “our” instead of the customer. While data is important, it doesn’t mean much to most of your customers. What does this mean? Don’t make this the most important section of your report. Try and think like your customer.


This is self-explanatory. As you have been working in the campaign, this is an opportunity to recommend proactive things like a website content refresh, new plugins, or a new web page describing how your customer produces something (such as a process style blog post like this).


Talk about the good recent campaign tweaks you have done here. Perhaps you added a 20th Year Anniversary ribbon to the top of the website, meta element adjustment, or maybe you did extra work on a keyword and its now ranking on the 1st page of Google.

You could have recently implemented an ROI tracking system in the SEO campaign (see below).

ROI Tracking

This is advanced stuff if you are new to this. It tends to be used for bigger clients with larger budgets.

If you have a willing and capable customer, set up a basic return on investment (ROI) tracking system. While this can be a bit complicated to understand, it’s essentially where the campaign can be justified (or not) to the customer in terms of dollars.

We try to keep this very brief and note some basic points:

Create a basic spreadsheet and use this simple example formula:

ROI is calculated by dividing the net return (sales profit) on investment by the cost of investment (your SEO fee) and multiplying by 100%.

Example Calculation: Total net profit = $15,000 / $3,000 *100 = 500%

Hypothetically, the above formula means the client received a +500% ROI from your SEO firm for this particular month. The $3,000 is the cost of SEO.

Note #1: ROI calculation needs to be done at the end of each calendar month.

Note #2: You will need the customer’s total sales profit for that month (in dollars) in order to make the calculation. A percentage of sales profit will NOT work, as all your formula inputs need to be in dollars.

You can set up ROI tracking for E-commerce as well with some basic adjustments.

Professional level reporting is like hitting the top of the striker bell at the fair. This is where both the client and vendor can see success.

Reporting is the most important step of the SEO Process. Numbers don’t lie and when you are really good at what you do, it shows. Always strive to improve your reporting process and everything else you do in SEO will improve as a result!

Final Thoughts on Reporting

You can imagine that if you are not good at your craft, this is where a lot of problems will be found. Think of a bad report card.

If you are new to this industry, this can be one of the most scary aspects of SEO, because it requires everything you know to come together nicely under the spotlight of the customer’s scrutiny.

If you are a newbie, our advice is to keep your report basic, to the point, and don’t get too wordy. Otherwise, you could be painting yourself into a corner.

Over time, add sections of value to your report and your template will only improve for the next customer you gain.

On the flip side, if you are experienced at this, great reporting builds customer confidence and dramatically increases the chance of client retention, upselling your services, and referral business.

Basically, there is a high chance this client is going to spend more money with you on an ongoing basis. After all, your efforts are instrumental in helping to grow their business.

seo process caution At any time during reporting…like the client reviewing the report…or the phone meeting…always remember what you are obligated to do by your contract with the proposal and not what the client may ask for in real time.

For example, if your proposal states to “gain a first page ranking for each keyword within Google within so many months,” that means any position on the first page will meet that goal.

If the client says, “I want to be ranked #1 for this keyword” and Wikipedia just so happens to be in the top position–and if you agree to that task–guess what? You just earned a lifetime’s worth of uncompensated work ahead of you.

While this is an extreme example, there very likely will be a time where you face a situation like it. In some industries and/or larger metro areas, it can be very difficult to simply gain a first page ranking for a keyword, let alone hold the position against heavy competition.

A way to avoid this problem is to review the proposal with the client before you ever begin work on their account.

In the event they need “additional work not specified” in their contract, kindly remind them what you are obligated to do and let them know that you will be glad to give them a new upgraded proposal with specific language and adjusted fees.


If you are a developer or casual reader, we hope you gained something of value from this article.

While there are many ways to do SEO, this is the way we do it at PalmettoSoft, and we have been quite successful at it. When in doubt about a technique, you should always do your research to find the best white hat method.

And if you are still stumped, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to steer you in the right direction.

Don’t forget that a website needs one complete content refreshment per year at minimum. Otherwise, your rankings will start to get stale.

Finally, your best performing campaigns tend to be the ones where your customers take a personal interest in SEO for their business. After all, their input and thoughts can help provide critical guidance to long-term success.

Now let’s transition into the technical stuff.


What is SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the continual process of improving a website’s ranking in the organic search results. Work is done both on the website and off the site (technically known as On-page SEO and Off-page SEO) in the effort to target keywords which match what the business/organization wants to be found online for. Ultimately, these keywords should be boosted to the 1st page of the SERPs (search engine results pages).

“For example, for a typical search query, the number one result will receive 40-60% of the total traffic for that query, with the number two and three results receiving significantly less traffic. Only 2-3% of searchers click beyond the first page of search results.” 

Source: Optimizely

Once started, SEO work should never stop primarily due to: Continual search engine algorithm updates and competitor movements.

A hypothetical SEO campaign in action: A business manufactures faux alligator purses for sale to the public. It has optimized for many keywords, but a specific few are “fake alligator pocketbook” and “imitation crocodile purses.” When the visitor searches for one of these terms, the business is found on the 1st page search results.

Then, the visitor clicks on the link and visits the website- and ultimately buys a bag. The main goal of the SEO campaign is to deliver as many potential customers as possible to buy these products.

It is also very important to understand that professional SEO is one of the highest ROI marketing activities that a business can do. Why? First, the website owner is not paying for clicks, such as an advertising solution like Google Ads… and secondly: Optimization itself, and the act of doing it, makes the website continually better as a destination for the visitor. Better website = Better conversion.

Takeaway: It can be a great long term online marketing solution.

What are the main areas of SEO?

There are two main areas of SEO:
On-Page: This is work done on the website, such as a meta coding, content interlinking, image ALT Tag, etc…

Off-Page: This is work done off the website, such as promotion which ultimately builds value backlinks.

What is the average size of an SEO campaign?

Many SEO firms, for example, measure campaign size by the number of targeted keywords. For a small campaign, this number in many instances is around (10)

Larger campaigns can sometimes target more than (50), with each keyword “being its own unique battle in order to gain a 1st page search engine results page (SERPs) ranking.”

Does PageRank still dominate the Google algorithm for SEO?

  • No, it does not.
    PageRank is a ranking algorithm developed in 1998, in which it basically measures the “value” of inbound links to a website. Typically, more links meant an ultimately higher search result ranking.

After years of evolution as well as millions of black hat attempts to cheat PageRank for artificially high results, Google stopped offering the PageRank toolbar to the public in 2013. Nowadays, PageRank is used nominally by Google when ranking websites, and carries exponentially less authority than when it was first created.

Can you describe how the Google ranking algorithm functions in layman’s terms?

The Google algorithm is a machine learning system which attempts to match the most relevant websites to a query in which the user enters into the Google search engine. It is commonly thought in the SEO industry that Google measures hundreds if not thousands of signals within their algorithm.

Does Google consider Domain Authority in ranking websites?

No… but hold on.
Domain Authority is not a Google ranking factor and has no effect on the SERPs. Domain Authority and Page Authority are ranking formulas developed by Moz.com– a commonly understood search engine authority.
However, in an indirect method, a higher domain authority can help a website rank higher in the search results.

How often does the Google ranking algorithm update?

While this is not an exact number, in 2018 for example, Google updated more than 3,000 times. However, these tend to be minor updates with 1-2 major updates occurring each year.
Basically, it updates continually and SEO should never be a one time exercise.

What is the typical time duration between Google indexing?

Typically between 4 days to 4 weeks- or more.

Does Google Analytics report website data to Google?

Absolutely. In addition, website analytics data is an ever increasing performance  metric used in how a website ranks in the SERPs.

Is the Facebook Comments Plugin indexable by the Google algorithm?

Yes, but this was not always the case up until recently. A more informative answer can be found in this article.


Author Bio

Rhett Cameron DeMille is the founder and operator of PalmettoSoft, a digital marketing company founded in 2005. Among his peers, he is known as a “process and methodology” guy and loves to help expand the online presence of his customers.

He also periodically writes subject matter expert blog posts on SEO, PPC, web design and reputation management topics. And several of these posts are globally ranked on the 1st page of Google.

Thanks for your time and please comment or share your experiences below!

Leave a Comment

    All Comments

  • Alan Jordan says:

    Thanks Rhett, this is what I was looking for and the best part which I like most is the Caution section. I really learned such amazing things from this post.
    Thanks again for your great contribution.

    • I added the Caution box to try and help people avoid some of the challenges my team has faced over the years. And a lot of people (including you) seem to really like it. Thanks for the nice words and good luck!

  • Obremski says:

    Be grateful for spending time to speak about this. I think strongly about that and delight in reading and reading more about this topic. Two thumbs up in this article!

  • Katelin says:

    Very helpful blog. Thank you for sharing such an informative post!

  • Eddle says:

    Great work Rhett! After reading your post, I learned the importance of an SEO landing page to help gain better ranking for my targeted keywords.

    Also, the importance of page elements to increase conversion makes total sense.


    • When someone initiates a keyword search, they should eventually land on a page that reflects the same. Think of a chain of events happening. Google’s algorithm also heavily measures the time your visitor spends on the page. Higher visitor stay times tend to reflect a better user experience. And this, of course, can lead to higher search result rankings.

  • Kevin Galstyan md says:

    Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative. I am going to watch out from Brussels, Belgium and would greatly appreciate it if you continue this in future. A lot of people can benefit from your writing. Cheers!

  • Imran says:

    Thanks Rhett, this is a really crisp SEO process. I love your in depth analysis with this post.

    Keyword Analysis was always challenging for me… It is more clear now and will help in my future keyword research efforts. Thanks again!

    • Keyword research almost never tends to be a one time exercise. In many cases, we will do 3-4 versions with the client until we uncover those “gems.” And those great keywords can help serve as the foundation of a great SEO campaign.

  • Schaetzle says:

    Great information! Gonna test this out to see how I can tweak it for my clients.

    • You have a great outlook. Remember, our process is high level and you can tweak it as required to suit your own requirements. We also periodically modify sub steps (not mentioned in this article) per client.

  • Dru says:

    That’s really an effective SEO process. Thank you so much for letting us know.

  • Gangel says:

    Best view I have ever seen! This is some valuable information cramped in just one page. I’ll definitely try these methods on my site.

  • Sarra says:

    Hi Rhett, this is my first time on your blog. I thought I already knew everything about SEO until I saw your techniques. I browsed on your site and almost all your steps are unique and helpful.

  • Nila Wiggins says:

    Some truly great info, Glad I detected this.

  • Malcolm Mcdermitt says:

    This web site definitely has all the information I wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  • Great post i must say and thanks for the information. Education is definitely a sticky subject. However, it is still among the leading topics of our time. I appreciate your post and look forward to more.

  • Mike says:

    While searching images for “seo process steps,” I saw your image is ranking #1 in Google. Then I read your blog post and I am really impressed by your content.
    Can you explain what exactly you have done for that image to rank on the #1 position?
    Please reply to my comment. 😃

    • We create our images from scratch, and use ALT tag (image title). The image also needs to match (be associated with) great content.
      By doing the above, you have a solid chance of having your image(s) appear in the top results.

  • I’m impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is something which not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy I stumbled across this during my search for something concerning this.

    • We appreciate your comments and will continue to try and produce content in this manner. We want to be able to reach as many readers as possible, while also breaking down very technical subjects and helping to make them easier to understand.

  • Michelle says:

    Amazing post, thanks for sharing this article. I am impressed with your SEO process techniques.
    Thanks again.

  • Selma says:

    Interesting post. I Love it.

  • Ben says:

    Ha! I love your idea to bring in some pop culture to SEO. Creative 🙂

  • Davidjinny says:

    Best view I have ever seen !

  • I was pretty pleased to uncover this page. I need to thank you for your time due to this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it and I also have you bookmarked to look at new information on your website.

  • Brianin says:

    As always great content which makes me think again about blogging. Loved all points you described – makes great sense.

  • Park says:

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  • Foreman says:

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    • We have an RSS feed in development and it should be done soon. In the meantime, please bookmark our blog for future reference. Thanks for visiting and we appreciate your nice words.

  • Johnny says:

    Very helpful to see these steps outlined. Thank you!

  • Hello, I read your blog occasionally, and I own a similar one, and I was just wondering if you get a lot of spam remarks? If so, how do you stop it, any plugin or anything you can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me insane, so any assistance is very much appreciated.

    • Yes, we do a lot of spam comments as we use the native WordPress plugin, Akismet. If you are using this system, you could migrate to Disqus, where it is more difficult for spammers to penetrate.
      We recommend NOT using Facebook comments as Google does not index them (for SEO value).
      If you are using another system, please let us know and we will look at it. Thanks.

  • Your new valuable key points imply much to a person like me and extremely more to my office workers. With thanks; from every one of us.

  • Nolan says:

    Needed to compose a message to thank you yet again regarding the nice suggestions you’ve contributed here.

  • Andrea says:

    My spouse and I have an in house SEO company and love your blog. We know and appreciate the time you put into your work. Again, awesome weblog!

  • Evan says:

    Hello there! This is my first comment here, so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading your articles. Thanks.

  • Maria says:

    How many citation listings are required to rank a website in Google Places? Is this a specific number?

    • Maria, there is no minimum specific number for citation listings. However, when trying to gain a stronger ranking in Google Places (a.k.a. Google My Business), if you can complete more than 75 local citations it would be optimal.
      Tips: NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) Must be the same (and consistent) in all listings.
      In addition, you need to write a robust description about your company which should be similar to the “Google My Business business description.”

  • Henry says:

    You really did a fantastic job by writing this extensive post. This is a very useful and effective SEO strategy. I will share this post with my team for learning purposes.

  • Ethan Parker says:

    Rhett, your link building recommendation step is awesome. Yes, now-a-days quality backlinks from niche domains matter more than volume. Also, I think onpage SEO is carrying more weight in the algorithm than it used to.

    • Thanks for the kind words.

      Quality backlinks (natural / authentic)… Can be thought of like a larger carat diamond: The larger- the more rare it is found in nature. As a result, larger quality diamonds fetch exponentially more money (think more value in the Google algorithm too) than smaller ones.

      In addition, high quality on page SEO helps to land these big diamonds!

  • Robert says:

    This is really a nice post and thank you for sharing this great info. Most of what I need to know is in one place- imagine that, LOL.

    Looking forward to reading your outlooks on similar topics- Thanks again.

  • Kevin says:

    Hi, I am learning SEO. I love your blog post and the step-by-step instructions you have given. So my question to you is on what basis you are defining the National and Local SEO campaign? I would like to know “what determines” a campaign type. I look forward to your thoughts on this. Thanks!

    • Hey Kevin, thank you for your questions!

      Basically, national and local SEO campaigns are defined by both the “nature” and “locality” of their keywords. These keywords, of course, are determined by the type of business. For example, a local plumber vs. a national reach SEO company.

      National SEO: Keywords that are not location-specific such as: Seo company, seo services, seo optimization, web design agency, etc…

      Local SEO: The keywords included location names such as: Plumber near me (*Google My Business helps with this), charleston sc electrician, atlanta dentist, etc…

      *Google My Business optimization can also be an immediate indicator of a local SEO campaign. For further clarity (and not to confuse you), some national businesses also maintain a Google My Business page in the effort for local business acquisition (close to their headquarters).

  • Kristen says:

    Do you consider Google Analytics data and Google Algorithm updates when you conduct a website analysis?

    • Yes, we consider both.

      Google Analytics (GA) helps us better understand the website’s performance (# of visitors, visitor stay time, bounce rate, top traffic generating landing pages, etc.).

      GA also reports website performance to Google and this factor is now a major driver of keyword rankings.

      We also consider the latest Google Algorithm updates to ensure the website is in compliance with them. If any adjustments are required, we highly recommend that they be fixed.

  • Olivia says:

    I appreciate the way you described the SEO Process. I have a question (see below) you provided in the blog post. Could you please explain what exactly you are doing for content refreshment? Are you completely rewriting it, or only adjusting it?

    “Don’t forget that a website needs one complete content refreshment per year at minimum. Otherwise, your rankings will start to get stale.”

    • We actually do one or the other on a per client basis. For example, we look at the industry, what type of SEO campaign (local, national, E-commerce) and the keywords themselves. Then, we determine if the website needs a simple adjustment- or a complete rewrite.

      Please also understand there are varying degrees of in between. Such as: For example, 100 new words simply need to be added to a page. And sometimes, the entire page needs to be rewritten.

      For more clarity, higher competition tends to generate more copywriting effort in the form of complete website rewrites.

  • Leah Moore says:

    This is really a great post.

  • Ryan Lewis says:

    I agree with you that a longer blog post (above 1500 words) will help reduce the website bounce rate. Thanks for providing the valuable information.

    • Yes! A longer blog post that is well researched along with great subject matter can help to increase the page authority- as well as attracting more backlinks.


  • Olivia Wilson says:

    Google recently suspended my Google My Business listing because I recently updated my business name in GMB. Do you have any suggestions to reinstate my listing?

  • Jayden Wright says:

    This is probably the best SEO process blog post I have seen. I have a question about Google Analytics. Does Google Analytics’ bounce rate data affect SEO rankings?

    • Yes. A high bounce rate, for example, has a negative impact on Google rankings. Google sees the visitor arrive at the site from a search term- and leave without navigating further. This is seen by the algorithm as “not a relative match to the searcher’s query.” Conversely, low bounce rates have the opposite effect.

  • Jonathan Hill says:

    Currently, one of my client’s used the “All in One SEO” plugin on his website. Does the SEO optimization score provided by this plugin help with higher rankings in Google search?

    • Yes, this does help with the SEO optimization score. By the way, we really like the All In One SEO plugin.

      The plugin guides you on placement of items such as: Targeted keywords in the page title, meta description, H1, page copy & image alt tag, etc… These are main on page factors which help to improve keyword rankings

      • Jonathan Hill says:

        Thanks for your valuable feedback, this really helps me. I will use the same.

        • Gerald says:

          I recommend YoastSEO, because this plugin provides more optimization fields than All in One SEO. You can also optimize the landing page copy better with their recommendations.

  • Christopher Green says:

    Recently, one of my local SEO customers asked for a paid citation campaign for his website. According to you, which (best value) paid citation builder tool do you recommend?

  • D. Baker says:

    Buyer intent keywords are now en vogue. What are some of the best keyword research tools to find buyer’s intent keywords according to you?

  • JJ Brownstone says:

    I read your blog post and found you have mentioned adding additional landing pages in the main navigation.

    One of my clients doesn’t want to add anything in the main navigation and footer section. What should I do in this situation?

    • We recommend creating stand alone landing page(s) and they are linked from within your sitemap.

      Major benefits: Google views these pages with the same authority as your main navigation pages, but it also doesn’t clutter the look and feel of the website.

  • Mary Lou Patton says:

    Where can I find more information about the website audit process? There is so much info on the web about this, that it’s confusing on which resource to trust. Thanks.

  • Eduardo Ramirez says:

    How important is image optimization in the 2021 SEO? Do you think that keyword based image file names and alt tag implementations are really helping for SEO rankings?

    • It is extremely important. Google “reads” images with the ALT text. In addition, keyword based image names help SEO rankings.

      For further clarity, you can only use one keyword per image.

  • Sherley Alaba says:

    Do you think tags are important to use in a blog post? I am asking because tags always create extra duplicate links when I test or run a website audit by using a paid SEO audit tool. Please guide me.

  • Cory Spears says:

    In the routine link building step, what are the major activities we should do for 2021?

    • There are several major activities to follow:

      -Resource Page Link Building
      -Broken Link Building
      -Build Backlinks With Social Media Posts
      -Strategic Guest Blogging
      -Replicate competitor backlinks

      For more information you can contact us and we will get back to you!

    • There are several major activities to follow:

      -Resource Page Link Building
      -Broken Link Building
      -Build Backlinks With Social Media Posts
      -Strategic Guest Blogging
      -Replicate competitor backlinks

      For more information you can contact us and we will get back to you!

  • Scott Rodes says:

    I love this article, really a nice post -and I will bookmark this for my reference. You mentioned that Google My Business customer reviews are important for reputation enhancement and brand building. But, does it HELP for SEO rankings?

    • Yes, it helps more with local SEO rankings as well as potential customers read and like great reviews. In addition, you can always know that Google loves the use of its products and applications.

      • Gilad Sheffer says:

        Yes, I agree with Rhett that GMB customer reviews are important for SEO rankings. One reason is that it greatly helps to enhance customer trust in your business.

  • Gilad Sheffer says:

    All this info is great! I have a question… Do you think a lot of what Google does for SEO is to drive businesses and SEOs to use Google Ads?

    • There are many theories swirling about your question- and it’s a great one!

      While we cannot directly prove that Google does this, most people realize that Google is a publicly traded company and they primarily earn income from paid services such as Google Ads. So… one could easily theorize that Google intentionally makes SEO difficult to drive businesses to use Google Ads.

      In addition, it’s important to understand that Google primarily is a search engine. As a result, they always want to deliver the best and most accurate results to the user.

      In my opinion, both occur simultaneously. To us, this seems to make the most sense. We also see that BOTH Google Ads and their organic results IMPROVE over time and they can work very well in delivering quality traffic to a business website. I hope this long winded answer helps.

  • Nancy Taylor says:

    Do you have any resources to look at for algorithm updates?

  • Alex Tedford says:

    How do you feel about Whitepaper creation for SEO? Does it help and should it be part of an SEO strategy?

    • This is a great method to improve your SEO strategy. However, you need a section on your site where these reside such as a “Media Center.” Then, you will need to begin creating these with some type of consistent frequency. We recommend once per quarter.

      Please note that a whitepaper takes a lot of effort, mainly due to research on the subject topic. However, it can pay off once you become good at it. You can be seen as an industry leader in your field of business.

  • Ashley Johnson says:

    This may be somewhat off topic, but can a press release substitute for a blog post?

    • A press release (PR) can substitute for a blog post, yet each has its own benefit and you should know this: A PR needs to be written about something actually newsworthy and not “gratuitous,” so there is value for the reader. In addition, ensure you begin with your most important information at the top.

      Blog posts, in contrast, tend to be a bit more personal and “connect” with the reader.

      Takeaway: Both are important for SEO and you can do both. However, apply a different style when creating them.

  • Josh_Martin says:

    Google recently disable the “request indexing” feature from their search console? How do now request Google to index? Thanks.

    • Google still does this, but there is a new process: You need to create a new sitemap.xml file and login to the Google Search Console and then add the file. Afterwards, Google should soon index the website’s pages.

  • Hannah says:

    Do E-commerce websites need Google My Business pages? I hear mixed things about that.

    • Officially, Google does NOT allow E-commerce (selling products online only) to have a Google My Business listing. We think this has to do more with having a physical storefront where either the customer visits the store- or the vendor visits the customer.

  • Rikk says:

    I have never read a blog post with “Caution” sections- really cool!

  • Amber says:

    This is a great post Rhett, a thorough and holistic approach to SEO- very refreshing.
    Does this SEO strategy work for eCommerce websites as well? Thanks!

    • Thanks Amber, the answer is “yes,” and with a few more E-commerce additions to the process. I am referring more to steps like product page optimization, SSL certificate installation, breadcrumb navigation installation, etc… Our process is flexible enough to where you can insert these steps at your choosing that best fits your operational model.

      Great comment!

  • deepyanti says:

    The strategy list seems interesting and quite helpful for business,
    I would recommend business to actually through this article and now more about what strategies they can use to accept digital technology.
    What I still personally think is lack of knowledge and communications as the highest impact on the overall marketing strategy hence making it much more difficult to actually get adopted in a very clean and organized manner and also have an everlasting impact. Hence in order to contribute more to this article I would like to share this link that talks much in depth digital transformation by top reformed cx experts.

    • We also believe in chatbot applications as long as they are utilized in the proper manner and help “bridge the communication gap” between a website and a potential customer. Thanks. for your insight.

    • We also believe in chatbot applications as long as they are utilized in the proper manner and help “bridge the communication gap” between a website and a potential customer. Thanks. for your insight.

  • Sophie says:

    If you had to pick the #1 factor that drives Google My Business rankings, what would you say? I know this may be difficult, but I am thinking about customer reviews. Looking forward to your reply.

    • Hello Sophie, as of today, we would say positive customer reviews (and reply to all) as well. However, don’t forget to upload images (with geo tagging), and ensure your business profile is 100% complete.

  • Sarah says:

    What happened to Google+? I was using it a few years ago but noticed that none of my friends were really on there. Now it’s not opening.

    • Google+ was inactivated for personal use in April 2, 2019. We think it was a feeble attempt by Google to compete with Facebook and ultimately failed. Microsoft did the same thing when it created the Bing search engine to compete with Google. And Bing’s % of the market is now well under 10% and falling.

      For businesses, Google My Business is now the platform to use- especially for local businesses.

  • Herrick says:

    Awesome article, I love the process and visual concept that shaped the article. Are there any specific factors we need to consider for 2021? I appreciate your thoughts on this.

    • This is a great question and we don’t actually have a clear answer. However, we recommend following all the steps mentioned in this process and White Hat SEO principles. When a major algorithm update does happen (and we tend to know after the fact), your site(s) should not suffer too bad as a result.

      Pondering the future… we expect see more YouTube video video creation in 2021- as Google owns YouTube. So you know what that means: Higher SEO rankings for quality YouTube videos.

    • This is a great question and we don’t actually have a clear answer. However, we recommend following all the steps mentioned in this process and White Hat SEO principles. When a major algorithm update does happen (and we tend to know after the fact), your site(s) should not suffer too bad as a result.

      Pondering the future… we expect see more YouTube video video creation in 2021- as Google owns YouTube. So you know what that means: Higher SEO rankings for quality YouTube videos.

  • Oliver says:

    Are landing pages the same thing as web site main pages? I am a bit confused on this- please explain in more detail please.

    • To Google, the answer is “yes.” It is important to understand that landing pages are essentially main pages of your website that support targeted keywords. In many cases, they are part of your existing main website navigation. At other times, they may be incorporated in the website footer (and Sitemap) in order to not confuse the visitor and/or clutter the website. Google still sees the above as top level… or important pages.

      Landing pages do not need to be designed in any way that would confuse your visitor. Think of your website’s top navigation structure: That link structure should look natural should reflect exactly what your business does and normally understood supporting pages.

      Special note: You never want to try and hide landing pages and trick the search engine.

  • Gerald says:

    It sounds like Google My Business is really important for local businesses. I own a small pet grooming business with a retail location and mobile truck to visit customers. Your information is great, but it is a lot of info for me to understand. Can you tell me some of the basics I need to focus on to improve my Google My Business page? I have been reading your comments and really appreciate the effort you take to answer our questions.

    • Here are the basics:

      1. Send happy customers to your GMB page and ask them to review your business.
      2. You want to REPLY to these same reviews as extended conversation is good for better ranking.
      3. Make sure your business category, description, hours of operation, etc. is properly updated.

      Thanks, Gerald.

    • Here are the basics:

      1. Send happy customers to your GMB page and ask them to review your business.
      2. You want to REPLY to these same reviews as extended conversation is good for better ranking.
      3. Make sure your business category, description, hours of operation, etc. is properly updated.

      Thanks, Gerald.

  • Katherine says:

    First of all, kudos for writing such an awesome Blog! Please help me with this question… What is the “real benefit” of doing a monthly blog post?

    • Thanks for your kind words.

      We consider the primary benefit of the monthly blog post to cause increased search engine indexing, which helps increase your overall SEO rankings. Why? Google likes new informative style content as it basically lets them know you are constantly working to improve the messaging of your site.

      A secondary benefit of a well written post is it can help better establish your site as a brand leader in your industry. This is one main reason why you want to write about topics in which you are well versed and/or a subject matter expert in. The blog post content should also be related (at least to a degree) to the overall messaging of your website.

  • David Burns says:

    I am new to SEO. When it comes to backlink creation, I have heard horror stories about how easy it is to get in trouble. I am literally scared to do it. I read your comment about not doing social bookmarking- that was awesome and thanks. Do you have another tip you can tell to avoid as I would much appreciate it!

    • Hey David, another example to avoid is a non relevant link exchange with a website outside of your industry. The Google algorithm looks for “degrees of association” between websites. When a website does engage in reciprocal link exchanges with non related sites, the site can get penalized for attempting to manipulate the algorithm.

      Please note I am also saying it is OK to exchange links with related websites. This practice can actually HELP your site in the rankings- think quality guest blogging on related topics to your website. PalmettoSoft does this with our Write For Us program.

  • Steven says:

    In the Reporting step, do you sometimes find it hard to get the most appropriate person available on the phone call? One of the most frustrating parts for me is being assigned someone to speak with who has no “skin in the game.” I am referring to an office manager- every time I speak with her it seems like she is not listening. She even answers phone calls during our meeting and it’s frustrating as #$%&. Any advice?

    • Steven, I have seen this problem many times over my career. The main problem is the person assigned to work with you is not what we consider to be a “stakeholder” in the overall success of the company. No matter how much you try and/or say, this person is simply not getting paid to care about it.

      Recommendation: Talk directly to the owner/president/vp, etc… and let them know THEY need to be involved in these marketing review meetings. Otherwise, they won’t understand the value of your service, you will not get important feedback- and the overall trajectory of your SEO service will continually degrade.

      In the event, this person denies you: Send them a “Meeting Summary” email after every monthly review meeting so they can see what topics were covered, possible challenges, successes, recommendations, etc… This way, you are covered and are acting in the most professional way possible.

      Have a great day and thanks for your question.

  • Joseph Came says:

    In the landing page setup can you please mention what elements make a great landing page?

    • Thanks Joseph for your question. For brevity, I will try and touch on the main elements:

      1. Page header: Banner will strategic messaging -about targeted keyword(s)
      2. Introduction: Which features benefits or “value added proposition.”
      3. Testimonials: Feature client success with logo
      4. Quick Contact Form: Above the fold of the page, short and to the point.
      5. Two-to-three call to action buttons: Such as “Get In Touch!” or “Call now with the phone #”
      6. Clickable phone number: At the top and bottom of page for ease of use.

      Summary: Try and think of the landing page as your “customer conversion page.” This will help you organize your elements for the user to maximize their chance of contacting you.

  • Maria Garcia says:

    What type of link building should one AVOID in 2020? Please give a specific example(s).

    • Thanks Maria for your comment. I recommend avoiding Social Bookmarking as it is now can be considered Black Hat SEO technique. Why? It allows for the quick creation of backlinks and this is not considered a “natural way of creating backlinks” to Google.

  • Maria Hernandez says:

    As you know, title tag & meta description optimization is one of the most important elements for SEO. How much does the character limit matter for SEO rankings?

    • There are no firm rules for this but we aim for the title to be up to 58 characters and description to be 155 characters. The main thing to consider are these characters are clearly short enough to be displayed in the search results. By doing this, your visitor has a higher chance of clicking on the result- thereby helping your SEO rankings.

  • Bentley Christmas says:

    Thank you for sharing the top 10 best local citation building site lists here in your SEO process post. It will help me to better set up my SEO campaigns for local clients here in upstate New York. Great approach! Waiting for the next blog… Thanks!

    • Citation building is important mainly for local SEO as it can help boost your Google My Business ranking. You also gain trusted trusted high quality backlinks. Thanks and the best of luck in the Empire State.

  • Chris says:

    In one word, it’s awesome! I have a question from your SEO process blog. I want to know more about meta elements and its impact within organic SEO rankings. Can you please explain it further? For example, how important are meta descriptions these days- as opposed to 10 years ago?

    • Thanks for the kind words.

      Meta elements, in general, are still very important as ten years ago in helping to achieve search engine ranking.

      Meta Description Tags, while not important for SEO rankings, are extremely important to increase click through rates (CTR) within the search results.

  • Chris says:

    In one word, it’s awesome! I have a question from your SEO process blog. I want to know more about meta elements and its impact within organic SEO rankings. Can you please explain it further? For example, how important are meta descriptions these days- as opposed to 10 years ago?

  • Michael Smythe says:

    The way you have explained the landing page setup in this SEO process post is really commendable. I love your interactive way of writing as you blend the technical and personal testimony for SEO experts like me. Keep sharing.

  • Adam Nevs says:

    Thanks for the post. This will help me to run my initial SEO process in a more fluid way.

    • Fluidity- An often underused word, I like it! Thanks for you comment and we always try and work as fluid/seamless as possible. One tip: At the end of each email to your client, always feature your current step and its date range, along with the next step. It helps the client follow along and sometimes helps them expedite tasks such as getting you material and/or feedback faster.

  • Long tail keywords (keyword phrases with several words) tend to have lower search volume, lower competition and higher conversion. Notice I said “tend.” While this is not always the case, it is most of the time. With new campaigns especially, you want to include a nice mix of long tail keywords as they can get ranking faster as well as bring in business.

    Over time, and once you establish an SEO footprint for the customer, I recommend targeting the more generic and higher competition keywords.

  • Adam Nevs says:

    Thanks for the post. This will help me to run my initial SEO process in a more fluid way.

  • Daniel Shealy says:

    Well explained PalmettoSoft! I gained insight about keyword research from this SEO process post. Furthermore, I am looking forward to learning more about long-tail keyword research because I have heard about this term which can be effective for website traffic also. Please keep me updated as this is interesting stuff.

    • Long tail keywords (keyword phrases with several words) tend to have lower search volume, lower competition and higher conversion. Notice I said “tend.” While this is not always the case, it is most of the time. With new campaigns especially, you want to include a nice mix of long tail keywords as they can get ranking faster as well as bring in business.

      Over time, and once you establish an SEO footprint for the customer, I recommend targeting the more generic and higher competition keywords.

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