Posted by laura
This post was originally in YOUmoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of SEOmoz, Inc.
You know the client. The one that really needs your help. The one that gets pumped when you explain how keywords work. The one that has an image file for a site. Or maybe the one that insists that if they copy their competitor’s title tags word-for-word, they’ll do better in search results (I had a product manager make his team do that once. Needless to say (I was thrilled when) it didn’t work).
In Step 6 of the SEO Strategy document I noted that this strategy document we’ve been building isn’t a best practices document, and it’s more than a typical SEO audit. It is a custom set of specific, often product-focused recommendations and strategies for gaining search traffic. For that reason I recommended linking out to SEO basics and best practices elsewhere (in an intranet or a separate set of documents).
But most of the time you’ll still need to call out some horizontal things that this client must have put in front of their faces, or else it will be missed completely. SEO/M is your area of expertise, not theirs, so help them make sure they’ve got their bases covered. You can create an additional section for these call-outs, wherever you feel it is appropriate in your document.
WHAT CAN I INCLUDE HERE?
Here are some examples of things you could include if you felt your client needed this brought to their attention:
- Press Release optimization and strategy
- SEO resources for specific groups in the company:
- SEO for business development (linking strategies in partner deals)
- SEO for writers/editorial
- SEO for designers
- SEO for long term results rather than short term fixes
- International rollout recommendations
- Content management system – how it is impairing their SEO
- Risks and avoidances
- Anything that you feel should be covered in more detail for this particular client, that wasn’t covered in your strategy in the last step. This is a catchall – a place to make sure you cover all bases.
- Nothing - if you dont feel it's needed.
If the client really needs a lot of help, you’d want to provide training and best practices, either as separate deliverables along with the strategy document, or better yet – work on training and best practices with them first, then dive into more specific strategy. You don’t want to end up with a 15 page (or even 4 page for that matter) best practices document in your strategy doc. Remember, we’re beyond best practices here, unless, in this case there’s something specific that needs to be called out.
If the client needs more than one thing called out, do it. If it’s several things, consider either adding an appendix, or as I mentioned, creating a separate best practices document.
The reason I recommend best practices as a separate document is because it is really a different project, often for an earlier phase.
Let’s say for example, my client has the type of content the press loves to pick up. They don’t do press releases, mostly because they don’t know how exactly to write them and where to publish them, but they want to. I‘ll add a Press Releases section after the strategy and I might give them these simple tidbits:
- High level benefit of doing press releases
- What person or group in the company might be best utilized to manage press releases
- Examples of what to write press releases about
- Channels they can publish press releases to
- Optimization tips
- References they can go to for more detailed information
My client gets it. They’re pretty good at taking on most SEO on their own. This strategy document I’m doing for them is to really dig in and make sure all gaps are closed, and that they’re taking advantage of every opportunity they should. Additionally, in a few months they are going to roll out the site to several international regions.
My dig into the site and its competitors (and search engines) for this strategy have all been for the current site in this country. Because the Intl rollout hasn’t started yet, I will add a section to my document with specific things they need to keep in mind when doing this rollout.
- Localized keyword research (rather than using translate tools)
- ccTLD (country code top level domain) considerations
- Tagging considerations (like “lang”)
- Proper use of Google Webmaster Tools for specifying region
- Potential duplication issues
- Maybe even a lit of popular search engines in those countries
- Point to more resources or list as a potential future contract project
Make sense? Use your judgment here. Like we’ve seen in the rest of the steps, this strategy document is your work of art, so paint it how your own creative noggin sees it, Picasso.
Other suggestions for what you might include here? Love it? Hate it? Think this step stinks or mad I didn’t include music to listen to for this one? Let’s hear about it in the comments!