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The SEO Program at VIA

By:

Kim Clark

on 4/15/2010

So we have completed a technical audit and we have come up with a long list of things that need to be done. What happens now? Depending on your website and on your business goals, the road can get rocky from here. Generally, we recommend a dedicated amount of time each month be spent on research into content management strategy, implementation and technical maintenance, all geared towards reaching pre-defined goals. It is by these goals that we measure SEO success. A solid maintenance program can range from 3-10 hours a month to well over 20 hours a month, depending on your website structure, the technology its built with and the goals you’re trying to achieve.
Lets look at a few examples:

  • Example 1 is a small website with a specific target audience. This client came to us with a website featuring 10 pages covering 3 product lines and they have two pages that have well defined actions. (We call these Conversion Goals). They weren’t having much success driving traffic to these conversion pages and were interested in increasing their overall site traffic and search rankings.
  • Example 2 is a large ecommerce website looking to increase overall sales. This website had pretty good traffic but due to insufficient analytics and lackadaisical content entry they weren’t able to track traffic through the website’s content and they weren’t showing up very well in the search engines.

It doesn’t make sense to try to push these two very different client cases into the same SEO program package. Example 1 needed a program that would pay attention to their keywords, content and traffic analytics while Example 2 needed much more attention to address all their huge products list and the way they displayed information on their site (Kim calls this their Content Management Strategy.) In the case of Example 1, we began with a 3 hour maintenance program that grew to 5 hours a month over time. In the case of Example 2, we began with 10 hours a month of dedicated maintenance time for 6 months and the client chose to end the project after that time because they were so pleased with the results that they felt further optimization was unnecessary.

In each of these examples we were able to develop a solid series of actionable items during the technical audit. We were then able to prioritize the items with the client and to estimate how much time we would need each month to accomplish the tasks.

In Example 1, we were able to reconstruct their conversion pages, optimizing the content to make it as easy as possible to use. We also helped the client develop a content management strategy that would help drive users to those conversion pages. By re-organizing their information architecture we were able to move the user through the site instead of causing them to spend valuable time searching for their next click on the page. We continue to advise the client on design elements and content strategies that help them maintain their standings in the search engines as an authority in their field.

In Example 2, we helped the client identify and change a long list of missing technical items that needed addressed to optimize the site for search engine spiderability. (No, I didn’t make that word up). Once we had addressed their technical issues, the site’s search engine rankings jumped up several pages simply because the spiders were able to thoroughly navigate and record their inventory. The resulting increased visibility in search produced a rapid increase in sales, producing a remarkable return on investment (we call this ROI in the office). Applause all around.

The take away from these two stories? Don’t be sold on empty promises that claim to take your site from page 10 to page 1 in 2 weeks or less. A solid SEO Program should consist of:

  • Actionable items derived from a concise study of your current situation.
  • Measurable goals of success.
  • Dedicated time each week or month to address these goals
  • Explanation & consultation of your analytics reports (not just piles of graphs).
  • Return on Investment

I’ll address the importance of analytics in further detail in a future installment of this series, , but I wanted to mention it here to get you thinking about it.

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