This is a continuation of the Agency SEO Process series (Part 1 and Part 2) where I'm breaking down what a typical twelve month engagement looks like from the agency side of things. We all receive requests to scope out a monthly project, and in my experience, a twelve month engagement is the most effective. Here's what we have covered to date (assuming you have 25 hours/month to work with):

  • Month 1: SEO audit and keyword research
  • Month 2: Keyword testing and architecture analysis
  • Month 3: Content and meta tag optimization
  • Month 4: Link bait research
  • Month 5: Content creation and link research
  • Month 6: Link building

Wow, we sure have been busy! So now that we've completed the first half of this project, it's time to shift gears and start focusing on the final half of this project. In Part three of this series we're only going to focus on one month (because it is such an important month):

Month 7: Six Month Review

Our initial on-site recommendations have had plenty of time to take effect, and last month we began building links to our client's site. Now it's time to see how much the on-site changes are paying off and determine where we need to make adjustments. I spend a good part of my hours this month doing this review process (keep in mind you need to reserve time to go through it with your client). Basically what we need to do is re-analyze the impact all of our recommendations have had and determine if they've had the desired effect.

What this entails is taking a look at a few KPIs:

  • Non-branded traffic change (because they will get found for their name, anyway)
  • Non-branded conversion rate change
  • Ranking changes
  • Top performing keywords (for both conversions and traffic

There will most likely be a handful more KPIs that will be customized to each individual client. Hopefully those will help get the ball rolling for you.

There are a few questions you should be looking to answer during this audit process:

  • Are we targeting the right keywords? You should be able to determine that based on how well your top targeted keywords are performing.
  • Are we targeting the right keywords on the right pages? Are we helping answer the user's question, or are we simply contributing to their problem by directing them to the wrong place?
  • What content has proven to be the most successful? Is there a way to duplicate those efforts?
  • Which keywords do we need to stop focusing our link building efforts on, and which do we need to intensify them? I determine this by the conversions and traffic each keyword is sending me and how well I'm currently ranking for the term.
  • What changes did we make that had the most impact on our rankings? Hopefully you were keeping track of your changes like I had told you too!

These questions should help guide you through the review process, and hopefully get you to question a few other metrics. Our goal is to figure out what is working or not working, why it is and what we can do about it. There is nothing wrong with thinking a keyword is going to perform well, investing time in trying to make it perform and then find out it didn't. The real problem is when people let their ego get the best of them and they refuse to shift focus somewhere else.

Finally, in this review process I like to take a look at how my competitors' sites have changed.

  • What keywords have had the biggest shift in rankings for them?
  • What content has been the most popular (since we last looked at their site)?
  • How aggressively are they building out their backlink profile?
  • Are they beginning to participate more heavily on a particular social media website?

What other factors are you looking at when evaluating your SEO efforts?