How to Get a Client Started Right with SEO
As you know, SEO is a massive undertaking. And it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it kind of project. Great SEO starts with a solid foundation and requires constant upkeep.
But for many businesses, they didn’t begin with that strong SEO foundation. If they didn’t have a great marketing consultant on hand from day one, some of the SEO best practices likely slipped through the cracks. It’s hard enough for entrepreneurs just to get their fledgling business off the ground; who has time to wade into the SEO weeds?
That’s where you come in. Whether you’re helping a new business establish a strong SEO strategy from the start or you’re lending a hand to a more established business who’s let their SEO efforts fall to the wayside, these are the foundational steps you must take to set your clients up for SEO success in the long term.
Google Search Console
Does your client already have a Google Search Console account? If not, now is the time to make that happen. You can access a ton of valuable information about how your client is ranking on Google via the Search Console tool.
From understanding how they rank for certain terms to identifying issues with their website that are holding them back in rankings, the information you learn from Google Search Console will inform your entire SEO strategy.
Bing Webmaster Tools
While Google accounts for about 80 percent of all online searches, Bing is the second most popular search engine. Bing Webmaster Tools is essentially Bing’s Search Console counterpart. If you want to help improve your clients positioning on Bing and their local standing in Bing Places, you’ll need to establish a Bing Webmaster Tools account for them.
Without Google Analytics in place and hooked up to their website, you’re missing out on huge opportunities when it comes to tracking your client’s audience and understanding their performance overall online.
It’s also important to connect your client’s Analytics to their Search Console. By doing so, you can begin to see some of the search query information that’s typically housed on Search Console within their Analytics reports. While it’s still important to have both platforms, as they provide unique, important insights into your client’s online presence and SEO status, integrating the two sites helps you pull additional information into Analytics so it’s easier to analyze all in one place.
The best way to optimize your client’s web pages for SEO is to download an SEO plugin for their site. There are a number of them out there, but I always prefer Yoast SEO for clients who are on a WordPress site.
The Yoast plugin takes you through all of the SEO steps, from keyword optimization to suggesting internal links and more. It makes it easy for you (or even the non-marketers on your client’s team) to optimize all of their content now and moving forward.
Having a mobile-friendly site is critical. The majority of today’s searches begin on mobile devices, and so if your client’s site isn’t optimized for mobile, they’re doing some major SEO damage. Google is now ranking all sites by how their mobile site looks, rather than on their desktop site’s effectiveness, so if your client has a slow, poorly-designed, or absent mobile site, they simply won’t rank on Google.
Fortunately, Google offers a free mobile-friendly test so that you can see how your client’s mobile site stacks up. If their mobile site is a mess (or non-existent), getting that in working order is one of the most important first steps you can take to boost their SEO.
Site Speed Test
Site speed is another thing that can kill a website’s SEO standing right from the jump. A slow site will lose its standing in SERPs quickly. Not only will it harm its ranking, but prospects and customers just won’t stand for it. Nearly 50 percent of all visitors expect a website to load in two seconds or less. Longer than that, and they’re clicking back to SERPs and moving onto a competitor’s site.
Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to understand how your client’s site stacks up in terms of load speed. If their desktop or mobile site is loading slower than it should, addressing this issue is a quick and easy way to boost their standing in SERPs.
Address Website Security
Recently, Google began punishing sites for not being secure. It’s now standard for new websites to be HTTPS, but if your client has an older site that hasn’t yet been migrated to HTTPS, now’s the time to change that.
Google is not only lowering unsecured sites’ standing in SERPs, they’re also alerting anyone on a Chrome browser that the site is unsecured by flashing a big red warning in the address bar of any unsecured site.
Like site speed, addressing website security is a quick fix that can provide a pretty immediate boost in SERPs. For more on how to migrate an existing website from HTTP to HTTPS, check out this post.
SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. But all great SEO starts with laying a smart foundation. By addressing essential issues and ensuring your clients have the right tools and platforms to help them monitor and improve their SEO over time, you start you and your client off on the right SEO foot.