When starting out, SEO can seem very overwhelming with a lot of strategies and steps. That can be very frustrating and leave you with more questions than answers. However, SEO is a great way to get organic traffic to your website and potentially increase your earnings. Competition can be fierce though and it is important to target the right keywords. Many people seem to make it more difficult than what it actually is and try to reinvent the wheel. That is why we created a 9 step SEO game plan to get your website to rank higher in your niche.
Our SEO game plan is a process to make your search engine optimization better and outrank your competition. This plan focuses on identifying what your competition is currently doing and understand why they rank first. Based on the conclusions reached from your research those guidelines are then implemented on your own website but in a better way. Add a little bit of time and patience to the mixture and you will outrank your competition. Anyway that is enough about that. Let’s get to the actual SEO game plan:
1. Find 3-5 Competitors For The SEO Game Plan
Google the service or product you want to rank for and select the top 3-5 competitors from the search results. The success they have had in SEO will determine how you should do your SEO. When it comes to selecting competitors, choose the ones that you actually compete with and be realistic about it. For example if you just started selling hats and caps don’t use New Era as a competitor. Start with competitors within your reach and then expand from there. The reason for this is because those established brands usually rank for quite difficult keywords. If your website is new it will be very hard if not impossible to rank for the same keywords. Start at the bottom and work your way up!
2. Pull Their Stats
There are many SEO tools you can use but we use Semrush for this. It is a paid tool but they have a 7 day free trial which is more than enough time to complete this process. There are free tools out there but we don’t use them so we don’t feel comfortable recommending them. If you are serious about your SEO it might be worth investing in a tool like this. The cheapest plan (Pro plan) is like $120 per month. It gives you a lot of insights into how well a website performs online. It also has a lot of other features and benefits that can really help in your SEO strategy.
Anyway back to the task at hand. We pull their stats to understand what the competitors are doing. We look at things like authority score (also called domain authority), organic search traffic, backlinks, how many keywords they rank for and what keywords they rank for. All this information tells us what is required in order to rank first and how much effort we need to put in.
3. Write Down The Competitors Keywords
For the keyword research we have a look at the organic keywords that they rank for and write down all the ones that are relevant to our business. That means any keyword not applicable to our business we don’t write down. Some competitors might rank for thousands of keywords which means we go through every single one of them and write it down in a word document or spreadsheet. We do this for all the competitors we chose in step 1. This is now our keyword list. We find that this process is much easier and takes less time. Also, these are keywords our competitors rank for which means we want to outrank them and take their traffic from them. The competition is telling us exactly what we have to do. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Look at what’s already working and apply it to your website.
4. Scan Through The Competitors’ Web Pages
Next we go through the web page that the competitor is ranking for and see how their on-site SEO is. Things we look for are:
Overall layout, is it easy to understand what the page is about? Is the copy easy to read?
Keyword in URL?
Keyword in H1 tag?
How many times is the keyword used on the page?
Keyword in the anchor text?
Number of images on the page and does the Alt text and file name include the keyword?
Number CTAs or internal links
Is there a contact form?
Is the price of the product or service included?
Number of words used on the page
All this information gives a fairly good understanding of what is expected of us in order to rank first.
5. Create The Web Page
The next step in our SEO game plan is to create a web page based on the guidelines in the previous step but better. That means creating a page that’s easier to read, follow along and has more descriptive content such as text and images. If the competitors use a keyword about 15 times on their page you also need to use that keyword about 15 times. Focus on one keyword per page because then you don’t drift away from the main message of the page. This can result in a poor experience for the reader and worsen your rankings.
If your website is brand new it’s also recommended to focus on a keyword with a low keyword difficulty and search volume. When your website is new it doesn’t have any authority and without authority you don’t rank. Hence starting with easy keywords will rank you faster. So begin with words that have a search volume of around 20-100. Then slowly work your way up to more competitive keywords and conquer your niche!
6. Web 2.0 And Local Directories
Once we have created the web page we search on Google for something like “top business directories” and “top web 2.0”. We sign up for all of them that are relevant to our business. Once that is done we find a new list of top local directories and web 2.0s and sign up for them too. We only sign up for like 2-4 of them each day and then complete the list over several weeks. This is very labor intensive and boring but it’s an important step in order to rank high. If you really don’t have time or are too lazy you could outsource it to a VA or use Fiverr.
A little insider tip, if you’re a digital marketing agency or B2B company then consider using Clutch. And keep the profile updated with the latest info and reviews. The way Clutch works is that they contact your current and past clients to get their input and feedback. That means you really have to deliver on your services and products. It also makes your reviews and projects very credible to any prospects looking to invest in your services or products. Therefore we strongly recommend this as it can be a great source of more leads and business.
7. Competitors Backlinks
(If you’re using Semrush and plan to only use the 7 day free trial you might want to save some relevant backlinks in a document before the trial ends) Here we go on Semrush and check out the backlinks our competitors have. We start to go through them to see which ones we can contact in order to get a high quality backlink. We aim for both do-follows and no-follows in our link building. Alternatively what you could do is to contact relevant blogs and websites that you already know about or google some of them.
Another solution would be to outsource this part too because this can also be very time consuming. Again go on Fiverr or Upwork and try to find someone reliable that provides you with white hat backlinks. You should at all costs avoid black hat SEO backlinks as this can harm your rankings.
Start promoting your page on social media. Post it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and any other place that is relevant. You could also include a link at the bottom of an answer you provided on a Reddit post for example.
The reason we do this is to get traffic to the website in order to show google and other search engines that people are visiting our website. It will help you get ranking and indexed faster.
However, promoting your site doesn’t have to be only online. You can do stuff offline as well. For example handing out business cards, walking around in public with a T-shirt that has your website on it, posting a sticker of your website on your car, telling your friends about it, etc. The list is literally endless in things you can do to promote your website. Just do what you have to do in order to get traffic to your site.
9. Sit Back And Observe
Now lean back, watch the stats and let our SEO game plan do the work. If a page starts ranking better for a keyword then start adding more content to that page. Promote it as mentioned in the previous point. Now, a thing to remember. If you complete all these steps your website won’t just magically rank first within a few days. SEO takes time and it could take weeks, perhaps months until your page starts ranking well. It’s a long term investment. This is especially true for a completely new website that has no online presence whatsoever. You have to be patient with SEO but it will pay off if you stay in there. Keep doing small improvements over a long period of time and this will compound to massive change!
That Is Our SEO Game Plan
We know that this is pretty labor intensive but to be the best requires hard work. Also by doing SEO on your own you can learn skills that are very valuable. The moral of the story is, don’t just do some search engine optimization and hope for the best. That won’t get you anywhere. Instead look at what’s working for your competitors and use that to your advantage. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are people and businesses that are already ranking well for your niche. Just have a look at why they are ranking so good and emulate them.
Once thing to remember is that ranking high for SEO and having a lot of traffic to your website doesn’t automatically translate into more customers. If you rank first but your website is really bad you probably won’t convert a lot of visitors. Therefore a good web design is important to convert as much traffic as possible into customers. The sweet spot is to get traffic to your website and then have a good web design. That web design should lead visitors to perform a specific action. Whether that is starting a free trial, contacting your business, etc. To learn and read more about SEO please check out our local SEO tips for small businesses.
If you need any help with your web design and SEO then give us a call or send us a message. We’re happy to help and get you ranking better! We hope that this post was useful and provided some value for you.
Have a nice day!