SEO Agency In my previous article on The Agency SEO Process, I introduced my recommended SEO process for agencies. As an agency, one of the biggest challenges you face is setting expectations for what you can accomplish each month for your clients given the number of hours you have. The SEO Process I've been recommending assumes you have 25 hours available each month to work on your client's SEO. Before we enter month four of this process, let's recap what I recommended you focus on in the initial months of your engagement:

· Month 1: The SEO Audit and Keyword Research

· Month 2: Keyword Testing and Architecture Analysis

· Month 3: Content and Meta Tag Optimization

During those first three months we focused heavily on onsite optimization. Now it's time to shift that focus to off-site.

Month 4 - Link Bait Research

Although there are multiple ways to acquire links, one of the most successful ways is through the creation of appealing content. What many SEO professionals forget, however, is how much they can learn from their competition about link bait. You see, your competitors have done a lot of work for you. Through the content they've created and promoted, you can get a feel for what succeeds and what doesn't. Take a look at the top competitors in your client's industry and analyze how well received their content was. Which posts/articles received the most comments, tweets, Facebook likes and links? Which posts/articles received little to no attention at all. What you want to do is start putting together a list of what works and doesn't work so you know where the best use of your time will be.

In addition to your competitors, head over to key industry forums and take a look at what posts are getting the most attention and interaction. Forum threads are usually dedicated to important questions in the industry and create an opportunity for you to be told what your community is most interested in at the moment. You'll also want to spend time analyzing the content generated by the top blogs in your industry. Similar to the way you would analyze your competitors, take a look at which posts are being shared, commented on and linked to the most.

Your goal this month is to create a content list that you'll work on with your client to create and use to build links in the upcoming months. Begin the content creation process with any remaining time you have.

Month 5 - Content Creation and Link Research

Now that you have an idea of what content you want to create, it's time to start building your content out. The ideal setup for a project like this is to have your client write the article and then have you jazz it up to have the best chance at going viral. While they are creating the content, you should start building out a list of sites you want to acquire links from, taking note of the best strategy to get that link (e.g. content exchange).

Finding links can be difficult. I recommend using a link research tool like Raven's Site Finder which will allow you to enter in a keyword and then recommend hundreds of links for you to target based on what links the top ranking results for that keyword have. In a previous SEP post I put together a handful of great link researching tools that you can use to build out your list.

I spend a lot of time adding to my link database so in the upcoming months I can really focus on link acquisition and not have to worry as much about finding the links to target. A organized approach like this should help improve efficiency.

Month 6 - Link Building

You have your content. You have your database of links you plan to acquire. It's time to put that plan into action. You should also know by now how far your onsite optimization changes have influenced your rankings and traffic. Now it's time to take things to the next level by building links to your client's internal site pages. Using your favorite link management tool, keep track of the status of your links and be sure to spend the extra time it takes to build those quality links. Whether that means engaging with a blog author in the comments or on Twitter, do whatever it takes to ensure your requests won't just be ignored.

As always, be sure to keep track of any changes you make so you can successfully measure the impact they have on your campaign. It will help you decide where you should be focusing your efforts in the upcoming months. Stay tuned for part three of the Agency SEO Process!