If you’re an SEO working with a very limited monthly budget to improve organic rankings and drive organic traffic to your client’s website, you may be wondering where to start. With so many important ranking signals, it can be difficult to prioritize your search engine optimization task list.
When you have limited time for SEO each month — whether due to budget limitations or resource constraints — accomplish these 5 must-do items to improve your website’s authority and organic rankings.
1. Fix any on-site SEO errors and technical issues. Before diving into any link building or content creation efforts, be sure your website is technically sound and free of all errors. Google Search Console is free, and you should take advantage of their diagnostic tools and SEO resources. If you are willing to pay for additional SEO tools, Moz or Screaming Frog are good ones.
Find and fix any major website issues (crawl errors, duplicate content, pages block by robots.txt, etc.) and SEO issues (missing title tags, duplicate title tags, broken links, manual actions, etc.) to improve your website’s authority and accessibility to search engines. Once this foundation is strong, you can work on additional SEO tasks.
2. Create a basic Key Phrase Map for your website. After performing key phrase research and determining which key phrases you want to rank for in the organic search results, you should create a Key Phrase Map to organize your most important on-page SEO elements. This will serve as a guide to your web developers when creating or editing your pages and will inform anyone working on your SEO efforts.
You can customize your Key Phrase Map as needed, but be sure to include the key phrase target(s), title tag, headers, and meta description for each URL at a minimum.
If you find that you don’t have existing website content to support one of your key phrase targets, plan to create it a new page or piece of content that speaks to your key phrase of choice.
3. NAP time. No, it’s not time for a break! NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone. Search engines check for consistency of these three items across the web. Be sure your business name, full address(es), and phone number(s) on your website match exactly with your business listings on Google My Business, social media, and other websites. This is low-hanging fruit, but important to search engines.
Tip: Keep a record of every website or profile where you’ve published your name, address and phone number. If your contact information changes in the future, this will make it much easier to update in all instances. You’ll be glad you did.
4. Find your competitors’ backlinks. First, identify any direct or indirect competitors who are ranking well for your key phrase targets. If they are ranking in the organic results, chances are they have built a good amount of quality backlinks. Take advantage of the work they’ve already done by identifying where they have been able to get links and pursuing similar opportunities for your website.
When your time is limited, it’s about working smarter to make the most of your hours.
5. Track your progress. Keeping tabs on the organic rankings for your key phrase targets and other similar phrases is one way to know if your efforts are working. In addition to tracking the rankings, be sure to look at other measurements like organic traffic to your website and website engagement. After all, what good are high rankings if they aren’t bringing in website visitors?
If you’re strapped for time, these five SEO tasks should give you a good foundation for ongoing link building, on-site optimization, and content creation. I suggest coming up with a formal monthly checklist so you can ensure each item is completed. As you become more sophisticated or gain more time for SEO, introduce new tactics to your checklist.