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Tell me if this sounds familiar: you’ve fleshed out quality content, did the search engine optimization work, and tracked it all through Google Analytics — but the results just aren’t there. Your SEO strategy was seemingly solid but your client’s web pages just aren’t ranking well in the SERPs. So, what gives?
If this scenario sounds familiar, it often comes down to oversights in two key areas: a local SEO framework and process management. Today, I’ll discuss both and offer some first-hand knowledge, too.
Having a Local SEO Framework
To get the sort of SEO results you want, your first order of business is to set up a local SEO framework. That is, a plan that addresses all of the important aspects of local SEO so that your work remains consistent from client to client.
Your plan might include:
- Organizing all client documents into one place for easy reference. A project management tool is a good place for this. I like Asana.
- A detail onboarding process for new clients. Gather and collect all relevant login information and contact info for each client and store it in an easily accessible place.
- A plan for SEO audits. It should be a standard process you can leverage for any website that addresses its current loading speed, organic traffic, page rank, domain authority, duplicate content, responsiveness for mobile devices, quality of site content, and bounce rate.
- A plan for tracking conversions. Indicate the SEO tools you plan to use to track search engine rankings as well as conversion rate and the overall performance of each piece of content.
- A link building strategy. Decide how you will go about building backlinks to your client’s websites and have this written out as a technical document for reference.
- A citation management strategy. Decide how you will build out local listings and citations for your SEO campaigns with a spot for managing usernames and passwords of all relevant client accounts.
- A reputation management strategy. Decide how you will monitor the public perception of your client’s website and brand across the web, paying close attention to social media, reviews across company directories, as well as featured snippet performance.
- A plan for technical SEO. It’s important to have a plan to address technical aspects of SEO as well like site speed, responsiveness, SSL, sitemap, AMP, structured data markup, as well as site registration with the top search engines.
- Schedule SEO tasks. There are so many moving parts involved with your SEO efforts, so it’s important to document even the minutia. Write down (and schedule things like performing keyword research, writing high quality content, editing content for readability, writing meta descriptions and meta tags, optimizing content for long-tail keywords, adding internal links, and more.
- Create client reports. Finally, plan to create reports for each client every month that goes over all of the above. Pay special attention to google search volume metrics, content marketing performance, and any KPIs you wish to convey. Include charts and graphics of various ranking factors to show your work, so to speak.
Once you’ve configured your local SEO framework or plan, you’ll have a much better idea as to what needs to be done for each new client you bring on board. It’ll take some trial and error and ironing out of details, but by keeping detailed documentation of which tools to use (Google Search Console? Ahrefs?), you’ll streamline operations considerably.
Getting Processes in Place
With your framework in hand, you can begin creating processes around it. This will take a good deal of time, I’m not going to lie. But it’ll be worth it in the end, because effective processes mean you can assign tasks to other team members and they’ll be able to complete the SEO work without intervention from you.
This is how businesses grow and move past the freelancer stage and move onto becoming an agency. This is how your team members can make great content fully optimizing for organic search (without an alt tag or title tag out of place) and you don’t have to micromanage every step. It is through effective processes that businesses can scale.
And this extends beyond ensuring team members just know which tasks to complete. It also allows you to train new hires in the way you do things without having to hand hold them throughout it. If you can document step-by-step what they need to do, you won’t have to re-train each new team member that comes along. Just share the documentation and you’ll be set.
Here’s a recent example from my own attempt to create processes for my SEO work:
I needed to decide exactly how I wanted to manage my clients’ citations. I knew I wanted to automate this process as much as possible by using a citation service called Yext. [Update: I now recommend Whitespark instead of Yext for citations.]
So, to get started, I went into Yext and took screenshots of the process for how to add a location to Yext. Then I took those screenshots and added them to a Google Doc with step-by-step instructions next to each screenshot.
Now when I onboard a new client, I simply assign the task to a team member and include a link to the documentation in the description area. I get a notification when the task has been completed and I can double check their work briefly. After I feel the team member has gotten the hang of things, I won’t have to keep double checking their work.
So now, instead of me having to do all that work, I’ve used citation software, a tasks management platform, and a team member to “automate” my citation management processes. And the more hands off I can be with the day-to-day tasks of my business, the more time I can spend on client outreach and goal-oriented tasks like tracking algorithm changes, attending to the user experience of my business for clients, and testing new tools.
Get SEO Results By Building a Framework and Adopting Processes
If you’re ever stumped as to why your SEO work isn’t getting the results you’d hoped, backtrack a bit and flesh out a local SEO framework with accompanying processes. It’ll take some extra time, yes, but the end result more often than not will pay back in dividends.
Looking for SEO training? Check out “Bring Home the Bacon“.