Creating an SEO annual plan
Creating an SEO annual plan is vital to determining what success looks like and what can be done to achieve success. In this article, I will take you through my process for determining such an SEO annual plan and what is involved.
The importance of SEO for larger organizations
SEO is not just a buzzword; it is a crucial factor in the online success of any organization. For larger organizations, where competition is often fiercer and the stakes higher, an effective SEO strategy can make the difference between being visible and being lost in the digital noise. As a CMO or marketing manager, you want your organization to stand out, and SEO is the key.
A major reason to bet on SEO for larger organizations is that SEO is at the core of all parts of online marketing. It not only affects the number of visitors, conversion is also improved with a (solid) SEO campaign. It thus has a major impact on a company’s intrinsic value. Don’t just think about tomorrow, think about the years to come.
Determine why SEO is essential for your organization
Imagine a world where your organization provides the solution a customer needs, but they just can’t find you. Frustrating, right? That’s where SEO comes in. By optimizing your website for search engines, you ensure that your target audience can easily find you. For a CMO or marketing manager, this means more traffic, more leads and ultimately more sales. In today’s digital world, SEO is no longer an option; it is a necessity.
Creating an SEO annual plan in a nutshell
Where are we now?
To know where you want to go, you need to map out where you are now. In this part, make sure you are clear on where your organization stands in terms of technology, content and authority. In doing so, it is important to flesh out how these components relate to the rest of your online marketing department.
Conducting an SEO analysis
An SEO audit is like a health check for your website. I dive deep into the technical aspects, content and backlinks to see what is going well and where there is room for improvement. It gives us a clear picture of current performance and lays the foundation for our next steps.
Competitive analysis: how are we performing compared to others?
It is not enough to just look at ourselves; we must also understand how we are doing relative to our competitors. By conducting a competitive analysis, we gain insight into our rivals’ SEO strategies. Where do they score high? Where do they leave stitches? This information helps us make strategic decisions and see where our opportunities lie.
What do we want to achieve with SEO?
Now that we have defined what the current situation is, we can move on to determining the dot on the horizon. You can find more about prognosticating the value of an SEO journey in this article (feel free to use it as input for this section).
Critical performance indicators for success
SEO is not an end in itself; it is a means to our broader business goals. So, what exactly do we want to achieve? More traffic, higher conversions, better visibility in specific markets? By clearly defining our goals, we can develop a focused strategy that will get us there.
Objectives of this annual plan
Before you get started on determining the right KPIs, you need to identify the organization’s OKRs. A common mistake here is that the KPIs do not aligne with the organization’s OKRs. This mismatch results in investing in the wrong parts and achieving “success” only on paper. Read more about this in this article.
To know if we are on the right track, we need measurable indicators. These critical performance indicators (KPIs) are our signposts. They can range from organic traffic and bounce rates to specific conversion rates. By monitoring these KPIs regularly, we can adjust our strategy as needed and ensure that we meet our goals.
Keyword research and selection
At the heart of any SEO strategy is understanding what your target audience is looking for. To do this, I dive into keyword research to discover which terms and phrases are most relevant to us. This goes beyond just identifying popular keywords; it’s about understanding the intent behind each search and selecting the terms that are most valuable to our goals.
This is often the first misalignment I encounter within an SEO project. The search terms chosen are not generating the (right) conversions. Always think carefully about the intent behind the search terms and what the CPI is associated with them. See more on this in my article on conducting keyword research.
Content strategy and planning
Content is king in the world of SEO. But it’s not just about producing a lot of content; it’s about producing the right content. Together we will create a content strategy and schedule that matches our keywords and the needs of our target audience. This ensures that we consistently deliver valuable and relevant information.
Technical SEO optimizations
A well-optimized website is like a well-oiled machine. I look at the technical aspects of our site, from loading speeds to mobile optimization, to make sure everything is running smoothly. This not only helps search engines, but also provides a better user experience.
Links are like voices of confidence in the digital world. By developing a strong link building strategy, we build authority in our industry. This goes beyond just getting links; it’s about getting the right links that add value and enhance our reputation.
Who is responsible for what?
In a larger organization, it is essential to have clear roles and responsibilities. Who engages in content creation? Who analyzes the data? By giving each team member a specific role, we ensure efficiency and make sure that every aspect of our SEO strategy is covered.
Required tools and software
In the world of SEO, the right tools and software are essential. From content tools to analytics platforms, it is critical that we have access to the best resources to support and measure our strategy. This allows us to make informed decisions and continually optimize our efforts.
My SEO annual plan template in a table
|SEO knowledge required
|SEO analyst, tools
|Gain insight into current status and identify areas for improvement.
|SEO analyst, keyword tools
|Understand which terms are relevant to the target audience.
|Creating content strategy
|Content team, SEO analyst
|Create a roadmap for content creation throughout the year.
|Technical SEO optimizations
|Web developer, SEO analyst
|Improve website performance and user experience.
|Link building strategy
|SEO specialist, outreach team
|Building authority and trust in the industry.
|Content team, designers
|Deliver valuable content to the target audience.
|Web developer, SEO analyst
|Improve the mobile experience for users.
|Local SEO optimization
|Improve visibility in local searches.
|SEO analyst, tools
|Understanding and improving the current link profile.
|Refresh outdated content and add new insights.
|CRO specialist, SEO analyst
|Improve website conversion rates.
|SEO analyst, management
|Review progress and plan for the next year.
Looking back at our SEO annual plan, it becomes clear that a structured and strategic approach is essential for success. Each month offers a unique opportunity to strengthen our online presence, from the in-depth insight provided by an SEO audit to crucial updates in content and technology. For a CMO or marketing manager, it is important to understand not only the actions, but also the reasons behind them. With the right resources, investment and knowledge, we can ensure that our SEO efforts pay off. Want to work with me to create your SEO annual plan? Please feel free to contact me via the contact form.