SEO roadmap and planning

Of course, if you have a Web site, your goal is for search engines to find it as well as possible. After all, visibility and findability lead potential customers to visit your website and learn about your products and/or services. To achieve that, an effective SEO strategy is essential.

To help you do that, I wrote this article. I tell you in great detail how to create an SEO roadmap from performing a baseline measurement to monitoring performance and implementing technical optimizations and link building.

Creating an SEO roadmap

You lay the foundation for your search engine optimization success by creating an SEO roadmap. Below, I first briefly tell you how I go about creating such a roadmap.

Step 1: getting to know the client

If you want to develop a successful SEO strategy, it is crucial to understand the customer (or website). Your job is to connect the client’s goals with SEO opportunities.

Step 2: establishing KPIs

A KPI is a Key Performance Indicator, or variable by which you measure performance. Without KPIs, you have no guidance in measuring your SEO strategy and assessing whether you’re achieving your goals using them.(1)

Step 3: baseline measurement

Before making any changes to your website, a baseline measurement is essential. This measurement gives you insight into the current status of your website.

Step 4: Create SEO roadmap

A comprehensive analysis of various aspects of the website is a prerequisite for developing a successful SEO strategy. In doing so, it is important that you have an eye for technical SEO as well as content and authority.

Step 5: implement SEO roadmap

If you want to develop a successful SEO roadmap, a holistic approach is necessary. The three elements mentioned above, namely technical SEO, content and authority, each play an important role.

Step 6: Monitoring and reporting

Finally, monitoring and reporting your website’s SEO performance is crucial to an optimal strategy.

Now that you know what a roadmap for an SEO strategy roughly looks like, I’ll go into more detail about each step in the rest of this article.

SEO roadmap in a nutshell

No time for a long article? No problem. In that case, watch the video below for a summary of this article.

SEO roadmap in a nutshell.

SEO roadmap part 1: getting to know client

Getting to know the website, client and target audience of the website is important for a successful SEO project. Briefly how I do this:

  • I go through the website globally to get a feel for it;
  • I consider who the target audience is for the website;
  • I write out the characteristics of this target group;
  • I write out the key search terms for the course;
  • I write out the key competitors for the route.

From this information, I can move on to step 2. Again, the most important part of this is getting a picture of the website.

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SEO roadmap part 2: SEO objective setting

KPIs are best thought of as a measuring stick for the progress of your SEO strategy. Of course, in order to measure the right goals, you also need to set up the right KPIs. Below are some examples of KPIs/goals.(2)(3)

  • positions in Google of key search terms;
  • average position in Google (entire website);
  • number of organic visitors per month;
  • progress of organic visitors;
  • number of conversions from SEO;
  • number of MQLs from SEO;
  • number of micro conversions from SEO.

You can think of dozens of conversions this way, but think carefully about what your “ultimate” goal is from the SEO roadmap and what you can do to make it measurable.

SEO roadmap part 3: The baseline measurement

The baseline measurement is the first measurement moment. Its results give you insight into where you are now, or in other words the performance of your website before you have made adjustments to it. This is similar to step 1, only now you go deeper.(4)

  • Elaborate on the written down search terms;
  • Group the most interesting search terms;
  • Shortlist the most important competitors;
  • Make sure the basics are in place (Google Search Console and Google Analytics);
  • Map conversions and organic traffic.

SEO roadmap part 4: SEO strategy analysis

In this part of my SEO roadmap, I set the content strategy. I base the content work on the objectives, keywords and competitors from the previous steps. Broadly speaking, work will include:

  • A full keyword research resulting in a content strategy for the key search terms I want to rank higher for.(5)
  • A thorough technical website analysis of the entire website resulting in a technical SEO strategy.(6)
  • An analysis of our own backlink profile and that of key competitors resulting in a schedule of what links (and with what anchor texts) I want to obtain myself each month.(7)

Optionally, you can do some specific work at this step such as analysis of a landing page that is important. From the outcome of this work, I move to step 5.

SEO roadmap part 5: implementing SEO strategy

Now that I have a complete roadmap in place, I can begin the first work that actually makes an impact on findability.

Technical SEO strategy

With the technical SEO roadmap, I get to work on the items I have named as a high priority. Some examples:(8)

  • Improve website structure and navigation;
  • Robots.txt file optimizations;
  • Setting up XML and HTML sitemaps;
  • optimize canonicals tags where necessary;
  • improve website speed;
  • improve accessibility;
  • improve mobile usability;
  • Optimize (incorrect) redirects;
  • HTTPS / SSL setup;
  • structured data.

So this is mainly about optimizing the way GoogleBot and the visitor reads and experiences the website.

On-page SEO / content

On-page SEO / content refers to the optimization of a page’s content and HTML source code and content. Below are some of the things I’m thinking about. Is there any .

  • Duplicate content on the website?
  • Low quality content?
  • Headers that are not optimized for SEO?
  • Headers that don’t properly describe what the content is about?
  • Page titles and meta descriptions that are not optimized?
  • URLs that don’t reflect what the page is about?
  • Blogs written “just like that” and not in accordance with a strategy?
  • Internal links that don’t conform to SEO or user experience?

Then I intervene. I start by further developing the SEO content roadmap I created from the keyword research. Once this is done, I set up the next content strategy and so I continue with the optimization.(9)

Link Building

In terms of getting backlinks, the full SEO roadmap has also already been established. From the analysis of the backlink profile of one’s own website as well as that of the competitors, I start working out the details. In outline how I think about this:

  • I follow what the strongest competitors are doing well in the market;
  • I use quality websites as far as possible;
  • I am not too aggressive with the use of anchor texts;
  • I’m thinking about the long term;
  • I only use “real” websites, not link building sites;
  • For the Dutch market, I use Dutch websites;
  • I don’t obtain too many links in one month.

Especially with link building, I would always say . Quality over quantity. One strong link equals more than a hundred spam links.(10)

SEO roadmap part 6: Optimizing and monitoring

Now it’s a matter of optimizing monthly according to the SEO roadmap, monitoring the results and making adjustments if necessary.

Important to say here is that SEO is an ongoing process and when you stop optimizing, the competitor is likely to win out (who is not sitting still). Especially in the first few months, do not pay too much attention to the results; they will come when you know what you are doing. What matters is the end result, and that result comes after a longer period of time.

Tools for SEO

There are many different tools available for SEO. Some of it is available for free and some is paid.

  1. Google Search Console;
  2. Google Analytics;
  3. SEMrush;
  4. Ahrefs;
  5. Moz;
  6. Screaming Frog;
  7. Yoast SEO;
  8. Keyword Tool.

Conclusion

SEO optimizing a website for search engines is a complex process that involves several aspects. Creating an SEO roadmap helps give you a handle on what you are working on each month in terms of optimizations.

If I may impart one thing. In everything you do, make sure that quality takes precedence over quantity. Good luck!

Resources

  1. Twin, A. (2024, Jan. 30). KPIs: What Are Key Performance Indicators? Types and Examples. Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/k/kpi.asp
  2. Team, S. (2023a, October 4). How to Align Business and SEO Goals for Long-Term Success. Semrush Blog. https://www.semrush.com/blog/seo-goals/
  3. Larkin, K. (2023, May 15). How to Set the Right SEO Goals with 3 Examples. SEO Blog By Ahrefs. https://ahrefs.com/blog/seo-goals/
  4. De Vivo, M. (2022, April 27). Baseline analysis for your SEO strategy. Search Engine Land. https://searchengineland.com/baseline-analysis-seo-strategy-383860
  5. Leist, R. (2024, April 4). How to Do Keyword Research for SEO: A Beginner’s Guide. HubSpot. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-do-keyword-research-ht
  6. Stox, P. (2024a, April 6). The Beginner’s Guide to Technical SEO. SEO Blog By Ahrefs. https://ahrefs.com/blog/technical-seo/
  7. How to Check Backlinks and Analyze Backlink Profiles for SEO – Majestic. (s.d.). Majestic. https://nl.majestic.com/guides/how-to-check-backlinks
  8. Thirugnanam, S. (2024, April 13). 11 Important Technical SEO factors in 2024. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/11-important-technical-seo-factors-2023-sankaramoorthy-thirugnanam
  9. Moz. (2023a, May 24). What are On-Page ranking factors for SEO? Moz. https://moz.com/learn/seo/on-page-factors
  10. Szymanski, K. (s.d.-k). Quality links to your site | Google Search Central Blog | Google for Developers. Google For Developers. https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2010/06/quality-links-to-your-site
Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
Five stars
My clients give me a 5.0 on Google out of 75 reviews

I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 8 April 2024. The last update of this article was on 10 May 2024. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.