It’s 2022, and you’re ready to take your business to the next level. You’ve been dabbling in SEO for some time now and are ready to make a real commitment to driving organic traffic. But where do you start?
SEO is one of the most important aspects of any online marketing strategy, but it can also be one of the most difficult to get right. Even small changes to your website’s SEO can result in a significant increase or decrease in traffic, so it’s essential to develop a repeatable process for optimizing your site and tracking your progress over time.
That’s where standard operating procedures come into play. By documenting your SEO process in an SOP, you can ensure that every member of your team is following the same process and achieving consistent results.
A well-developed SEO SOP can help you achieve better rankings in search engine results pages and increase your website’s visibility and organic traffic over time.
In this article, you’ll learn what a standard operating procedure is, why you should use SOPs for SEO, and the five SEO SOPs you should have.
What is a standard operating procedure (SOP)?
A standard operating procedure (SOP) is a set of instructions that document a routine or recurring task. SOPs are designed to help businesses achieve consistent results by outlining the steps necessary to complete a task in the same way every time.
For example, a recent study shows nearly 70% of businesses struggle to receive payments on time from clients.
If you’re a service-based business, you might have an SOP for billing clients that includes sending a reminder email seven days before the due date or prompting clients to set up automatic payments.
This way, you can be confident that every client will receive a reminder about their upcoming payment, and you won’t have to waste time chasing down late payments.
Or let’s say you’ve had trouble with customers’ payment information being compromised or hacked. You could create an SOP for online payments that includes steps like using a secure payment processor and encrypting customer data to ensure that your business is in compliance with the PCI standards to keep customer payment information safe.
SOPs allow you to remove the guesswork from tasks performed regularly, which can be an invaluable tool for training new employees or contractors.
Why Proper SEO Is So Important for Organic Traffic
SEO seems to be a fancy buzzword that’s been around for a while, but it is imperative for many people to understand the difference between just adding a few keywords to your homepage and actually optimizing your entire site for search engines. This includes landing pages, blog articles, interlinking, etc.
However, if you’re like most people and simply just want to stuff your article with keywords in an attempt to manipulate your way onto a SERP, your article will likely be penalized by Google and won’t rank as well.
In fact, keyword stuffing is considered one of the worst black hat SEO techniques, and it can result in your site being penalized greatly. Search engines like Google are incredibly smart and constantly getting better at weeding out low-quality content from their search results.
That’s why quality SEO that emphasizes providing your audience with “value” is essential. Not only do you need to create content that is relevant to your target keywords, but you also need to ensure that it is well-written, informative, and unique.
Search engines use a variety of factors to determine which websites to index and how to rank them.
Outside of content quality, other factors include the number of other websites linking to yours (backlinks), your site’s loading speed, mobile-friendliness, and so much more.
Why Use SOPs for SEO
One of the most tiresome and time-consuming aspects of SEO is constantly monitoring your site’s performance and making changes as needed. This can quickly become overwhelming, especially if you’re managing a large website with lots of content.
As a business owner, your focus and time should be spent on things that generate revenue, such as acquiring new customers and developing new products or services. This is where SOPs can be a lifesaver.
By having a set of standard operating procedures in place for your SEO, you can delegate many of the tasks involved in managing and optimizing your website to other members of your team. This way, you can be sure that these tasks are being completed consistently and correctly, freeing up your time to focus on other aspects of your business.
Search engine optimization is a complex process, and it’s important that everyone involved understands their role and how their actions can impact the success of your SEO efforts.
5 SEO SOPs You Should Have
There are a number of different tasks that need to be carried out on a regular basis in order to maintain and improve your website’s SEO. While the specific tasks will vary depending on your website and industry, there are five core SOPs that every business should have in place.
1 – Keyword Research
In order to rank highly in search results, you need to be intentional about the keywords you’re targeting. You can’t just stuff your content with any old keyword and expect to rank – you need to be strategic about it.
The first step in keyword research is understanding what your target audience is searching for. Whether it be “best cars of 2022” or “Androids vs. iPhone,”—you need to be able to put yourself in their shoes and understand what they would type into Google if they were looking for the product or service that you offer.
This can be done through a variety of methods, such as using Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner or Semrush. Then, once you understand the types of keywords your audience is using, you can start to narrow down your focus and choose the most relevant keywords to target.
When selecting keywords, it’s essential to consider many factors, such as search volume, competition, and relevance. You want to make sure you’re choosing keywords that people are actually searching for but that aren’t so competitive that it will be impossible to rank for them.
2 – On-Page Optimization & Content Creation
After you’ve researched and selected your target keywords, the next step is to use them to start optimizing your website. This process is known as on-page optimization, and it’s one of the most important aspects of SEO.
There are a number of different elements on your website that need to be optimized for SEO, such as title tags, meta descriptions, headers, and body content. Each of these elements should be carefully crafted to include your target keywords in a way that sounds natural and makes sense to the reader.
3 – Internal Linking
Once you’ve optimized your website with your target keywords, it’s time to do some internal linking. This is the process of linking pages on your website to other pages within your website. A great example would be a blog post that links to a product page.
Not only does this help search engines understand the relationship between your website’s pages, but it also helps to improve the user experience. When done correctly, internal linking can help guide visitors through your website and encourage them to take action.
When placing internal links, it’s important to make sure they’re relevant to the content around them.
You don’t want to force links into your content – it should flow naturally. Don’t just link to any old page – make sure the link makes sense in the context of the content and that it’s going to a page that’s relevant to what the reader is looking for.
At this point, your website has been optimized internally, but now it’s time to do some outreach to boost the popularity of your website.
Link building or building backlinks is a process of placing links from your website to other websites that have a high reputation. In the early days of SEO, link building was all about quantity – the more links you had, the better. But these days, it’s all about quality.
For new websites, it can be difficult to start ranking for keywords because you don’t necessarily have the “credibility” to outrank sites that are already dominating for a particular keyword.
When your website links to other high-quality websites, it shows search engines that your site can be trusted, giving you an extra edge to outrank your competitors.
For example, let’s say you have a website about dog training. A high-quality link would be one from a website about dogs, such as the American Kennel Club. This is a relevant and authoritative website, meaning it would likely send some traffic your way.
4 – Email outreach to scale quality backlinks
One of the best ways to get high-quality backlinks is through email outreach. This involves contacting other website owners or webmasters and asking them to link to your website through a blog, landing page, or some other type of content on their website.
When emailing someone for a link, it’s important to be polite and professional. You want to make sure that you’re not coming across as spammy or sales-y. Take the time to personalize your emails and explain why it would be beneficial for the person you’re emailing to link to your website.
When done correctly, email outreach can be a great way to build relationships with other website owners and scale the number of high-quality backlinks to your website.
5 – Tracking & reporting for continuous improvements
The final step in creating an effective SEO strategy is to track and report on your progress. This will help you understand what’s working and what’s not, so you can make necessary changes to improve your results.
There are a number of metrics you can track, but some of the most important ones include:
- Search engine rankings
- Organic traffic
- Number of backlinks
- Referral traffic
- In-depth competitor analysis
You can use several tools to track these metrics, such as Google Analytics and Ahrefs. Once you have this data, you can start to see patterns and trends.
For example, you might notice that your traffic spikes every time you publish a new blog post. This would indicate that your content marketing efforts are working and that you should continue to produce quality content regularly.
Alternatively, you might notice that your traffic dips every time you make a change to your website’s design. This could be an indication that you need to be more consistent with your designs or that you need to do a better job of communicating changes to your users.
You can make the necessary changes to improve your results by understanding what’s working and what’s not.
SEO can be a complex and time-consuming process, but it doesn’t have to be. By using standard operating procedures, you can make your SEO efforts more efficient and scalable.
With the tips provided in this article, you’ll be well on your way to creating the perfect SEO SOP for your business so that you can focus on what you do best: providing an amazing product or service to your customers.