All successful marketing starts with a bulletproof plan of action – and SEO is no different. I think Brian Tracy said it best…
So, imagine the impact just a few hours of planning could have on your SEO campaign before you start it? Exactly. ‘Unstoppable’.
If you don’t plan it all out properly, you can kiss goodbye to all the champagne, the women (or men), the luxury homes, the Lamborghinis – the lot. Ahem, well, maybe just a very comfortable and relatively passive income then.
Because being able to control Google is like being able to print money (in the right hands).
By the end of this post, you’re going to be armed with all the tools and information you need to action a formidable SEO strategy. One that – if diligently followed – will catapult your website to at least the top 3 spots of Google.
The great thing is…I’ve watched it work.
In fact, if it doesn’t work you can send me an invoice for the time you took to read this post and I’ll gladly pay you – you just pick your hourly rate 🙂
This Blueprint Is Split Into 3 Sections:
1. WHERE YOU ARE NOW
- Being Honest with Yourself
- Your Website’s Health
2. WHERE YOU WANT TO BE
- Keyword Identification
- Removing the Guesswork
3. HOW YOU’RE GOING TO GET THERE
- Stealing Like an SEO Artist
- The 4 Step SEO Plan
So, you have a business and you have a website. Good effort, you’re nearly there!
Now we need to dominate the search engine results pages for search terms that are going to have people banging on your website’s door.
SECTION 1: WHERE YOU ARE NOW
“By the end of this section you’ll know…”
- Exactly what condition your current website is actually in.
- The questions you need to ask yourself before embarking on your SEO campaign.
Be Honest with Yourself
Are you Really committed to this?
Your SEO results will be shaped by your SEO knowledge (you’ve got that covered by reading this blog). But there’s something else…
Your ability to follow through with things. How are you at that?
Knowing what to do will be useless without commitment to executing your SEO plan. There’s no point you reading further if you’re just having a little dabble with SEO – things aren’t going to go well for you.
How do I know this?
I know because I’ve dabbled many times before. When I first began, before setting up my own agency, I was a serial dabbler! I worked an hour here and an hour there. Read a bit of this, read a bit of that. The crazy thing was, I would check my Google rankings constantly, expecting to be #1 literally only a few hours after doing some pretty mediocre SEO.
Then one day it just clicked. I committed.
I stopped being a dabbler. I stopped expecting fortune and glory by being an ‘SEO Tourist’ and finally created a solid optimisation strategy for every campaign.
And from that point onwards, my results went positively stratospheric.
Look in the mirror. Do you really want this?
To be successful at just about anything takes consistent application of effort, and forming great habits that take you towards your goal. SEO is no different.
There are a lot of people – and I mean A LOT – that are just looking for the quick fix. They want the secret SEO sauce that if only they knew the recipe for, they’d own that luxury ski chalet just outside Lake Geneva (complete with maid). Well I’m going to finally reveal the ‘trick’ to you right here. Are you ready?
You need to work hard. And you need to be consistent.
Hey F”^#ing Presto right?!
I’m always reminded of that scene in Lawrence of Arabia about the ‘trick’…
If you want to get to the top of Google, and you can consistently work on it for the next 3 – 6 months, then I’ve got good news for you…
To the victor goes the spoils.
If you get your website in the No.1 organic position in Google for a high-volume search term within your industry, you will win at business.
If you’re still reading, then let’s put a stake in the ground and assess the current health of your website through the eyes of Google.
How Old Is Your Website?
Who Cares? Google Does. That’s Who
First the bad news. If your website is 1 year old or younger, and you’re in a competitive industry*, then it’s very likely that you’re not going to get onto the first page for at least 6 months (more likely a year), even with flawless SEO.
If the there’s lower competition you can absolutely do it in less time, but for the keywords where the big bucks are, your website needs to be older than 12months. Period.
*Examples of Competition Level
|COMPETITION LEVEL||EXAMPLE OF WEBSITES|
|Very Low Competition||Local Plumber in a Small Town|
|Low Competition||Local Plumber in a Large Town|
|Medium Competition||Plastic Surgeon in a Large Town|
|High Competition||National Insurance Company|
Imagine for a second that you’re Google, and that just published website is the guy your 17-year-old daughter has just brought home for Sunday dinner. You naturally don’t trust him. You want to make sure his intentions are good before you hold him in high regard.
Google is no different when it comes to protecting its users. After all, the only reason they made over £25 Billion last year was precisely because people value their organic search results above all else. They’re rightfully sceptical of young sites. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s just going to take a little bit of time to build trust with Google before it’s wiling to start showing your website to its users.
Use this website to determine your domain’s age.
Now, I’m going to assume your website is older than 6 months. If it’s not, then check out my guide on SEO for new websites – it’ll tell you how to build the perfect foundations for a brand-new site before you start getting aggressive with your SEO on it. To be honest, even if your website is older than 6 months, then it’s still worth checking that guide out just to make sure you’ve got the right foundations in place.
Anyway, if your site is older than 6 months, then the first thing we need to do is to perform a ‘proper’ SEO analysis. We need to make sure your site is healthy, get an idea of how you’re ranking currently, and form some idea of who your direct competition is.
Your Website’s Health
We can use a few powerful SEO tools to help us perform a ‘health check’ on your website to see how you’re currently performing in the search engines.
Here we want to make sure your domain hasn’t been penalised (very unlikely unless you’ve been a naughty boy or girl, and previously been involved in some dodgy SEO tactics in the past), and gain a general idea of how you’re doing in the rankings.
Here’s a video on how to perform a speedy but comprehensive SEO health check:
SECTION 2: WHERE YOU WANT TO BE
“By the end of this section you’ll know…”
- What keywords to target with your SEO strategy
- How much money you can expect to make with your SEO campaign (the fun part).
If you’ve done some background reading on SEO, and you’ve read a few blogs along the way, you’ll quickly see people make a big song and dance about keyword research.
Don’t get me wrong, keyword research is very important. But making it a huge deal can sometimes make it intimidating for someone new to the game when really, using a bit of common sense is all you need.
The 3 Things Every Keyword You Target Should Have…
- A sufficient number of monthly searches to make a position #1 ranking exciting to you (based on how well your website’s ability is to convert website traffic).
- Good commercial intent (if you’re not interested in monetising your traffic, then I’m not sure why you’re on this blog!?)
- An acceptable level of competition
There’s no point messing about. Sure, we can try and be clever and search for keywords that deliver ‘little pockets’ of traffic which are seemingly uncompetitive. However, there’s a reason they’re uncompetitive – the rewards are usually small.
Low traffic keywords are also what ‘Get Rich Quick Through SEO’ online courses tend to plug. The people selling them (usually affiliate marketers) would rather have you get lame but tangible results via black hat practices in 2 months for low traffic keywords because that sells courses and ‘traffic secrets’.
They know the truth – that’s not where the money is. Otherwise they’d be doing it.
I’m a big believer of finding keywords in your industry that give huge, life-changing amounts of quality traffic.
And to hell with the competition.
One of the common themes in SEO is the habit of overestimating the competition. If you’re subscribed to my email list, read this blog, and are committed to beating everyone else; then you will beat your competition.
If you’re putting in the effort to carry out a comprehensive SEO campaign anyway, you may as well be shooting for game-changing keywords, and not messing around with ones that are only going to make enough for you to buy a new car.
So, What Keywords Should I Target?
If you’ve been in your industry for any reasonable length of time, you’ll likely know, or can guess, the keywords that will generate your website the most profitable traffic.
We just need to spend a little time backing up your assumptions with data before we start throwing ourselves into the work.
Don’t Guess How Much Money You’ll Make…
…DECIDE how much
If you have a rough estimate of the existing conversion rate of your website, it’s possible to get a very good idea of exactly how much your website and business will benefit from your SEO campaign.
(NOTE: even if you don’t know your conversion rate, you can take a conservative average of 5% to get an idea of the money on the table)
We do this by using SEMRush’s ‘Top Organic Keywords’ feature. With it we can spy on the keywords your direct competitors are ranking for. This process can also identify some great keywords to go after that you may not have considered up until this point.
The Cash Formula: How to Translate Rankings to Money in Your Wallet
All we need to do now is a bit of mental mathematics to work out how much your SEO campaign will be worth to you…
Let’s take this example:
- You’re an architecture company serving the London area.
- Every new client you bring in is worth roughly $1,500 in revenue.
- You’ve decided to go for your industry’s 2 ‘big hitter’ keywords:
‘london architects’ & ‘architects london’
You’ve typed these keywords into Google and you’re now exploring the website ranked in position #1.
SEMRush currently estimates this company is receiving 1,800 organic website visitors a month (this tool isn’t massively accurate but it will do for our purposes).
It shows that 32% of the 1,800 monthly visitors are landing on the website from these 2 keywords alone.
So, 1,800 multiplied by 0.32 = 576 prospective customers that will land on your company’s website if you ranked at the top of Google for only these 2 search terms.
Now, multiply this by your website’s conversion rate. (let’s just say 3%)
576 multiplied by 0.03 = 17 guaranteed extra monthly customers who will use your services.
Now multiply 17 by the average net worth of a customer to you, and voila – you have the value of a well-executed SEO plan in monetary terms.
Which in the example of an architect in London – is an extra $25,500 / month in revenue.
How’s that for getting juiced up and ready to go?!
SECTION 3: HOW YOU’RE GOING TO GET THERE
“By the end of this section you will know…”
- What you need to do to smash the top of Google for your selected keyword(s)
- The 4 key steps to execute your 2017 SEO plan.
Steal Like An SEO Artist
Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to cheat.
We’re not going to cheat in a ‘black-hat’ SEO kind of way though (although, if you’ve read this article, you’ll know there’s no such thing!). The idea of ‘outsmarting’ Google with a soon-to-be-penalised private blog network on borrowed time, or with automated link-building software, is frankly quite stupid.
‘Really? You’re a guy who operates out his bedroom on a second hand 2012 Macbook and YOUR knowledge & manpower can outsmart a company with over 3000 engineers & computer scientists working full time on search algorithms day in day out? Yeah, ‘sure’.
Don’t get me wrong, Black Hat works. But it works with low search volume, low competition, and all round low hanging fruit keywords. If you’re going to make serious money from SEO, wouldn’t you rather go after keywords that can change your life? Not keywords that give you a bit of pocket change until Google penalises your site.
We want SEO that’s going to pay for us to go on holiday 4 times a year business class – not just buy us a few extra takeaways.
Anyway, like I said, we’re going to cheat.
We’re going to spy on what high-ranking websites on Google for your chosen keyword(s) are doing. And then we’re going to do the same.
We need to eliminate as many as possible of the hundreds of optimisation variables that separate your website from those currently in the tops spots of Google.
I’ve yet to stumble across a website where I can’t identify at least one thing they could be doing better with their SEO. This means that we just need to make sure that we’re doing all the good things that your main rivals are doing, and then do a few things a little better to beat them.
The 7 Things We Must Spy on Our Competitors’ Websites:
|On-Page Optimisation||Off-Page Optimisation|
|· URL, Title tags, Header tags, Alt tags||· Link Profile|
|· Word Count||· Anchor Text Ratios|
|· Keyword Densities|
|· Media Use|
|· Page Speed|
Watch What I Do To Analyse Competitors’ Websites
The 4-Step SEO Plan
We now need to take the information we’ve researched so far and birth the nuts and bolts of our SEO campaign.
This post is concerned with planning your 2017 SEO campaign via a blueprint, so I’m not going to try to explain every single SEO tactic under the sun (I’ll be linking to all the guides you need via this post).
By now you should be:
- Confident Your Website’s SEO Health is Good
Is your site older than 1 year and in good health? If not, the first thing we need to do is to build the right SEO foundations and fix anything that will hamper our future efforts.
Can you spend the next 4 – 6 months making your mission to get your website to get on top of the organic rankings? Can you identify with your ‘One Thing’? (P.s that book is responsible for some of the greatest success in my SEO career)
If not, it’s probably not for you. Perhaps you’d be better suited to working for someone else – because when you ARE the boss, you don’t get to dabble. Well you do, but you end up being a failure.
By Now You Should Have…
You’re not messing around anymore. You know which keywords bring home the bacon so there’s no point formulating an SEO plan around scrappy, low-volume keywords.
BONUS: If you set your sights on BIG keywords, you’ll likely end up ranking for the smaller keywords anyway.
You now have a few ‘cheat sheets’ of all the things your first page competitors are doing that you’ll need to mimic to level the playing field.
The plan you need to follow covers the 2 main facets of SEO; on-page optimisation and off-page optimisation, and should feature 4 clear steps:On-Page Optimisation:
- Mimic the competition
- Follow my On-Page Optimisation Guide to ‘outdo’ the competition’s on-site ranking factors
- Mimic the competition
- Use my Link Building Guide to get more trustworthy and relevant links coming to your site (Coming Soon!)
Executing these 4 steps in accordance with the research you’ve done on your competitors’ websites will have your website on the top of Google in next to no time, and you’ll have people flocking to your site.
Good Luck. I’m counting on you.