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Questions to ask yourself about your Search Marketing Plan

September 26, 2011

Search Marketing Plan Questions

If, like me, you’re getting ready to write your annual search marketing plan, you’ll be starting to think about what initiatives you need to prioritize time, budget and resources for in the coming year.

Here’s a few thoughts and questions that will be top of mind for me in 2012. The following doesn’t provide answers (as the answer will depend on your company and the maturity of your search program), rather it is intended to get the thought juices flowing!

1. Content

Once you have applied all basic optimization to your pages, link building — and content that is linkable — starts to become a pretty big deal. Do you have content on your site that people want to link to? Now take a hard look at the page you are trying to get links for and ask yourself, “Is this really something that people would want to link to?”.

Do you have resources in-house that can build new content or develop existing content? Or do you need to set aside budget for someone to help you in your mission for good, linkable content development?

2. Link Building

Once you have that content, how are you going to get people to link to it? Is specialist support needed to help you develop a cohesive link-bait program or do you have the skills in-house to handle this? Does it make sense for you to “prime the pump” so that you guarantee links prior to even investing time or money on developing content? If so, how will you do this?

What approach are you taking to build out your link graph? Have you really thought this through to the point that you have an actionable strategy in place, and is this strategy scalable? Link building, when approached right, can be more than a full-time job in itself, so if you don’t have resources to handle this in-house, you’ll need to set budget aside for agency help.

3. SEO and Social Media

Studies carried out earlier this year showed a correlation between SEO and social media. With this in mind, are your pages and content already set up to take advantage of social factors that are used to indicate content popularity and relevance?

If not, how will you get a handle on this? Is it a case of just including share and like buttons on your content, or does it play a more integrated role in your link building programs?

4. Paid Ads and Social Media

Paid ads in social channels (such as Facebook, YouTube) can be an effective way to reach customers, when done right.

If you have not yet step foot into paid social media ads, is this something that you should be testing out? If so, do you have budget set aside to support this effort?

If you’ve seen success in social channels, is it time to split out your PPC media budget into traditional search and social search buckets? And of course, if you’re starting to scale up on these efforts, is paid social something you can handle in-house, or something that you’ll need outside help managing?

5. Beyond your Traditional Search Approach

If you’ve slayed the traditional HTML page results in the search engine results page (SERP), where else will you focus on your quest for domination?

Will you go after blended SERP results like video, images and shopping? Or maybe you need to give more love to the local country search engines like Baidu, Naver, or Yandex?

Perhaps you will focus on your results in social channels like YouTube or Facebook, or identifying some priority verticals in your market?

Maybe you decide that with all the updates going on lately that you will simply concentrate your time and effort on maintaining your good position in the main search engines because this is where you gain the most benefit, particularly with the resources you have available. Afterall, SEO is more like a marathon rather than a sprint, so you need to continue to hold onto your lead, particularly for your most competitive keywords.

These are just some of the thoughts and questions that I’ve been thinking about this past week. What other things are important to you as you start planning for next year?

From → Search Marketing

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