SEO Opportunity Analysis – Choose Your Own Adventure

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SEO Opportunity Analysis – Choose Your Own Adventure

SEO Opportunity Analysis – Choose Your Own Adventure

28fGVwN SEO Opportunity Analysis – Choose Your Own AdventureSEO is hard work. Pitching it to prospective clients shouldn’t be. To support our pitching process, sometimes we’ll generate an SEO opportunity analysis following our introduction call. It’s a great sales tool, but an even better tool for understanding if the client is a good fit (and vice-versa).

The following “Choose Your Own Adventure” is for those who need to get buy-in from someone else in order to go after the SEO work that they want.

Throughout this guide, there will be optional paths for you to explore. What opportunities will you uncover? The best part is that you can repeat and change up the analysis until you’ve had not one, but many incredibly daring adventures!

Are you with me? Let’s go!  Choose correctly and you won’t get hit with the joker.

1. Let’s answer “what do we hope to get out of this opportunity analysis?”

Besides the existential questioning “why do anything?” let’s ensure that we have what we want – and need – to do this. Here are the questions to ask to get that answer.

  • Do we want this new client?
    We don’t work with just anyone, and that’s good for everyone. Be frank with yourself (not Frank Underwood) and set aside the rote “we need new business to make money.” Would it be a good, productive, challenging relationship? Would your team learn something? Is it something your team can really handle? Let’s see what Richard Branson would say (go to page 2).
  • Are there areas of opportunity?
    Initial conversations should give you a sense of what your potential client wants to hire you for. Jot these down and then ask why times. Simon Sinek can give insight into how to get at the heart of a “why” in his Ted Talk.  Gut check these initial insights with a peak at SEMRush, or even the prospect’s GA and Search Console (if they’ll let you – offer to sign an NDA). This is just a cursory review, we’ll be going into the full analysis later.
  • Do you need to give opportunity examples?
    Now that you’ve gotten a sense for the potential opportunity and working towards building this relationship, now it’s time to determine how you want to pitch the opportunities. I advocate that outlining at least one example not only shows what the opportunity is and creates early buy-in, but also gives the client the sense for how you present ideas. Their reactions are also very valuable.

Based on your answers above, do you:

Decide the analysis is not for you or not at this time. If so, go to page 3

Decide to investigate the analysis and see if it makes sense for you and your potential clients, lets go!  Read on.

2. Packing our Bags

Truth is, I’m a last minute packer. Going overseas for 3 months? Why not just pack the night before? Does that make you nervous? Not me. I did pack the night before a 3-month journey to Thailand and didn’t regret it a bit. Why? Because I had been mentally preparing to pack weeks before. I was ready and packed everything in a flash.  This section should do the same for you, by giving you insight into what you need for the analysis. Get prepared ahead of time.

As you set out in the Land of Opportunity you see a backpack in the road. Despite being in a hurry, you pick up the backpack; by its weight, you can tell it holds something important. The backpack has a lock, but you can choose to pry open the backpack and see what’s inside, delaying your exploration.

 If you choose to open it, go to page 4. If you choose to keep walking, then go to section 3.

3. Let’s head out on our journey!

Hooray, you’re still with us. With the wise words of Lao Tzu, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Let’s take that step together.

Start with getting an overview of the prospect’s site and organic search performance. I suppose this is more a “top-down” approach, but I’ve found that I can

The Overview

What’s their organic traffic history (GA) and keyword ranking history (SEMRush) look like? The findings and causes for changes can be many and various, but here are a few key considerations I keep in mind:

  • The site. Your brain is the most valuable tool so we’ll start with it. Review the site itself and the competitor sites. There’s no set of actionable takeaways for this because every site is unique, but you should easily spot some opportunities and get a feel for what the user would experience on their visit.
  • Organic Traffic. What’s the overall trend of organic traffic by week, month and year-over-year? How does organic traffic compare to other channels? Has there been a sizable dip or increase in organic traffic over the past two years? (Don’t be afraid to go back to the client and share these initial findings if significant.)
  • Keyword Rankings. Are the majority of terms brand terms? If so, how important is brand visibility? Were there any sizable dips or increases in keyword rankings? Are keywords ranking for suboptimal page (filter pages, blog tags, etc.), homepage, or simply not the desired page?
  • Competitors. What is their competitive organic ranking keyword profile (SEMRush)? See how many keywords the target site ranks for compared to the top 2-3 organic competitors. This alone can be a gold mine of data. (Take a peek at what we show, but don’t stay gone too long!)
  • Goals. With the goals, first check if they’ve had completions at all this past year, quarter, month and week. This gives you an indication if they’re happening, how frequent they happen, and by checking out reverse goal pathing, you could even see how users are getting to them.
  • Search Console. What pages have the highest organic CTR? What keywords have the most impressions and highest CTR? Brand keywords and the homepage usually have a high organic CTR, do they for the site? Want to know what their organic CTR curve is (aka what CTR is at different ranking positions)?
  • PPC? Let’s take you over to the land of PPC Keyword Data then!

At this stage, we usually have quite a bit of general data in the form of notes, screen captures and excel files. We prepare for the presentation by distilling this into a few introductory slides.  We’re preparing to provide context for our work and show how we see their site’s performance (from an outsider perspective). Some slides get moved into an appendix because they end up not lining up with what we want to present, but at least we’ve got the data on tap. And importantly, we’ll use it in the next section to provide context and justification for our chosen opportunities.

Pillars of SEO

The challenges continue. You are aggregating data in the Lands of Opportunity and see three trails. This time you don’t have a choice – you need to walk down all three trails.

  • Contextual. Schuylkill Trail

Content opportunities including optimizing current content, new content initiatives, somewhat technical opportunities such as markup, and optimization for semantic search. For a detailed map of this journey, head here!

  • Technical. Perkiomen Trail

Technical issues include items that prohibit crawlability, indexability, and readability. That is, the factors that search engines (and their bots) attempt to consider as part of the organic search algorithm. Indexation issues, crawlability, URL response errors (404s, 500s) page speed optimization, and mobile optimization are among the areas investigated as part of a technical SEO analysis. You’ll find examples of these here. Want to do a simple audit – we’ve got tools for that too!

  • Authoritative. Horseshoe Trail

Audit backlinks (aka “external” or “inbound” links) for “naturalness” of links, quantity of links from different websites (domains),  volume of links going to different pages and the rate of acquisition. Look at the distribution of links, followability, anchor tags and several other necessary components of a backlink profile. Still want more? Find evidence of link acquisition campaigns (such as expert interview opportunities) and backlink profile cleanup.

(Psst! Ask us for details or Build the audit yourself!)

4. The End!

I hoped you enjoyed your journey through SEO Opportunity Analysis (and avoided that nasty Joker). Thanks for sticking with it to the end! I’ve written a lot already, so there isn’t much else left to say. What, you want more?


5. Souvenirs!

As promised, here’s a link to some templates and examples:

While not mentioned here (yet), I do find this to be a handy tool on occasion so I wanted to give it a shout out:

Overall, I hoped to have provided insight to the value I see from analyzing the SEO opportunity for a website before actually professing ability to deliver on an engagement. This has been working out for us, so you’re welcome to give a try. 

Have an opportunity analysis process you love already? Please share with everyone in the comments, and thank you!

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June 6, 2016 at 08:04AM

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