Every successful strategy is backed by a rock-solid blueprint – a tactical roadmap, in other words.
Building SEO strategies to optimize your website is no different. Having an SEO roadmap in place is crucial to plan out the journey ahead and steer your way up the rankings.
From covering the basics to the elements that make up an SEO roadmap - we’re letting you in on how you can plot the course of your SEO success with the ultimate SEO roadmap.
What is an SEO roadmap?
Think of it this way - an SEO roadmap is a strategic document that is used by businesses or agencies to outline their SEO-related activities and keep them in check. This plan comes into force post conducting a technical SEO audit - where your website is analyzed and errors are identified.
The SEO roadmap lays the groundwork for streamlining process workflows and achieving scale. This is made possible by structuring the plan to prioritize actionable tasks, specify deliverables for your overall strategy and decide deadlines to meet your SEO goals.
An SEO roadmap can be used to map your entire journey, roll out timely updates, fix errors along the way, and eventually achieve increased search engine visibility.
Why create an SEO roadmap?
Apart from determining how you can put your SEO strategy into action (in a highly consumable format), SEO roadmaps are essential to keep your team on track and point them in the right direction.
Adele Sweetwood, Principal Analyst at Forrester was spot on when she said, “a strategy without a plan is a vision without action”.
We’ll quickly run by a few reasons why it’s imperative to chalk out a roadmap along with building an effective SEO strategy.
- A cornerstone for all your SEO efforts, the SEO roadmap brings the project stakeholders, the management, the clients, and everyone involved, on the same page
- It helps to bind the SEO strategy together, keeping it consistent and future-proofing it in the face of organizational or business uncertainty
- In essence, an SEO roadmap clearly outlines the vision of the project, serves as a central point of reference for all stakeholders, and guides the continuity of your SEO campaigns.
Now let’s take a look at a bunch of essential elements that go into building the ultimate SEO roadmap.
What to include in your SEO roadmap?
When you’re devising an SEO strategy, you will need to back it up with data based on keyword research, search engine results in page insights and website analytics. This information then goes on to become the bedrock of your SEO roadmap.
When it comes to building that perfect roadmap for your SEO strategy, you cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach. It boils down to what works for you, what’s realistically doable (take into account your budget and your teams’ bandwidth), and more importantly what are your business goals.
Having said that, while we may all adopt a unique approach, we’re listing out some recommended SEO tasks that will support your search engine optimization objectives:
1. Web page essentials
We’ll take it from the top, it’s important to ensure that the bare essentials are taken care of!
If you’ve been scrambling to rank higher in search engines, then do a quick check to see if you’re on track with the following:
- Navigation is critical for website visitors and so configuring your sitemap must be a priority
- Verify your website with Google Search Console and install Google tag manager
- Enable Robots.txt for crawlers
- Perform regular website audits and ensure your content is optimized for SEO
If yours is an established website, we suggest you start with running a generic audit to identify and fix errors.
On-page and technical SEO
Next up, it’s important to conduct an on-page assessment of your web pages.
Understand what is stopping these pages from ranking higher in search engines and jot down recommendations for each of your key web pages.
From page structure, user intent, page depth, keyword usage, content optimization to internal links analysis - it’s important to look into all these factors when performing an on-page audit.
Diving a little deeper into content optimization - it’s important to ensure that the meta title tag, the meta description, keyword density, and the other related factors are in line with Google's recommended guidelines.
To ensure that you are driving maximum results from your SEO efforts, it’s imperative to also evaluate the technical aspects of your web pages like:
- 404 errors and redirect chains
- Enable indexing permissions
- Add canonical tags
- Use correct URL parameters
- Address recommendations or any issues highlighted in the search console
Keyword research & gap analysis
You cannot afford to miss out on conducting keyword research. This is carried out in two formats - keyword research for existing web pages and keywords gap analysis for any new web page.
Ensure you are not stuffing your content with keywords (beware of keyword cannibalization).
You need to narrow down on pages that are failing to show up in the SERPs, identify the problem areas, and update the content with relevant keywords (keywords with high search volume, low competition rate) and backlinks as required.
If you want to break the mold and rank higher, then you need to stalk your competition - check how your pages stack up when compared to those of your competitors’ pages.
A comprehensive competitor’s analysis will help you understand:
- What are you doing better than them?
- What content of your competitors is faring well in the search engine?
- How strong is their link-building strategy?
- What keywords are they ranking for?
Do a thorough site comparison to identify gaps in content, pricing, or product positioning opportunities and find out how you can get an edge over your competition.
Source: Broadband Search
More than half of the web traffic comes in from mobile devices and so optimizing your website for mobile is of paramount importance.
Google has been tweaking its algorithm so that it’s optimized for mobile users. Case in point: Google’s mobile-first indexing.
So if you want to reign the rankings it’s time you start optimizing your website for smartphones and tablets.
Ensure that your website loads quickly across all devices, has a stunning UX that works on all mediums, and most of all see to it that your content does not get cut off (or worse, spillover).
Local and international SEO
So the primary goal of search engine optimization is ensuring that your content is made visible to your target audience. But where is your target audience located?
Does your business cater to a more local audience or are you going global with your offerings?
Once you’ve got that sorted, you need to then decide if you want to work on local SEO or international SEO - we’ve got both the strategies covered for you!
We have all, at some point, typed out searches that go like: Cafes near me or florists near me.
Local SEO is the strategy that you adopt to rank in search queries with purely local intent.
If you have a brick-and-mortar store or any physical location then devising a local SEO strategy makes perfect sense for your business. To ensure that your business ranks high where the search intent is for your local area, you need to list your business in Google’s business portfolio. You also need to identify the search terms that users would key in to find your business locally - using these keywords in your content will help you drive targeted traffic to your website.
SaaS companies and E-commerce businesses that serve a global audience will benefit from leveraging international SEO strategies. You need not necessarily have a physical store in this case. If you are a brand that has country-specific offerings, then you need to see to it that you optimize your web pages to drive traffic from the specific regions that you cater to.
Some of the tested strategies that you could use for international SEO are determining the URL structure to differentiate the domain for each country - you could either opt for country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) or General top-level domain (gTLD) with language parameters. Some businesses even make do with a subdirectory where you simply create a separate folder for a specific country. Conduct native keyword research in the languages that are used in your target countries and create content that particularly resonates with the audience in those countries.
When it comes to the domain authority of your page, the quality, and relevance of the links directing back to your website play a vital role. That’s where link building steps in.
It’s important to acquire quality backlinks to your website to help you drive organic traffic.
You need to map out the links that are directed back to your web pages and strategize how you can build on this list with new links from relevant sources.
Conversion Rate Optimization
Conversion rate optimization is all about making sure that your landing pages are built to convert. Conduct split tests with design and content, and remove unnecessary steps that slow down the users or distracts them from converting.
The roadmap to success
SEO is never constant - your roadmap needs to be revised and improved now and then to adapt to the ever-changing Google algorithm. Looking to find your way up the search ranks with optimized content?
Give Dashword a try today - get started for free!