Perfecting a Plan: An SEO Checklist for Agencies
Like any reputable search engine optimization and digital marketing agency, your firm is passionate about delivering real results for your clients. But creating each client’s SEO strategy from the ground up can be inefficient and tedious. You need an SEO checklist for agencies to use as the foundation for your marketing game plans.
In our SEO checklist for agencies, we provide 15 actionable tips that you can leverage to better serve your clients. Whether you are helping a small plumbing business garner more local traffic or supporting a national brand’s long-term growth, you can seamlessly incorporate our checklist into your strategy.
The SEO Checklist for Agencies — 15 Actionable Tips to Get Your Clients Noticed
We designed our SEO checklist for agencies to be versatile so that you can apply it to virtually any client. When working to improve a client’s visibility, we suggest that you:
1. Get a Lay of the Land
You know exactly why your client contacted your agency: They are unhappy with their visibility in organic search and want you to help generate quality traffic.
While you might understand the broader vision, we suggest getting a lay of the land before you start to plan a custom SEO strategy.
Before you can get where you want to go, you need to know where you are starting from. If you haven’t already, dive deep into the client’s website. Peruse any blogs, landing pages, service pages, and other content. Make a note of anything worth keeping, along with any obvious concerns.
2. Conduct Keyword Research
Once you have a better idea of the client’s SEO strengths and weaknesses, shift into research mode. See which companies sit atop the rankings in the client’s region and use these pages as inspiration.
While thinking outside of the box and putting your creativity to use can be quite rewarding, there is something to be said for modeling your SEO game plan after the brands that are currently dominating the search engine results pages (SERPs).
During your research, make sure not to neglect long-tail keywords. Targeting these keywords with SEO and paid search campaigns is a great way to get your client noticed, especially if they are working with a tight budget.
3. Revamp Existing Content
You’ve seen plenty of websites that need to be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up. However, even if you do decide that your client’s website needs a top-to-bottom overhaul, you might be able to salvage some of the existing content and transfer it to the new page. Repurposing and optimizing old content can save you time and help your client stay within budget.
When sifting through existing copy, focus on evergreen content first. Then, look for well-written lists, how-to guides, or benefits pages. Refreshing these pages using the latest data can help garner some additional traffic.
With that being said, don’t hesitate to scrap content that is either too outdated or too poorly written to salvage. In these instances, you will be better off starting from scratch.
4. Optimize Metadata
Small businesses are notorious for overlooking some of the more nuanced aspects of SEO, such as meta tags and meta descriptions. You have probably come across your fair share of clients who have either poorly written metadata or no tags altogether.
With that in mind, check every single page and ensure it includes the appropriate tags and keywords. Systematically go through the client’s website and add this content wherever necessary.
Now is also a great time to examine the efficacy of the client’s content management system (CMS). Hopefully, they are using a flexible, user-friendly platform like WordPress. If not, you may want to encourage the client to overhaul their website and move to a better CMS. If you can get them on board, it will make everyone’s life easier — especially yours.
5. Improve Website Speed
Website load speed has a direct impact on site visitor bounce rate. Pages that load in two seconds or less have a bounce rate of just under 10%. If the page load speed doubles to four seconds, the bounce rate nearly doubles to a rate of 17%. Pages that take seven seconds to load will lose a third of inbound traffic.
All of your hard work will be for nothing if you cannot even get users to stick around until the page loads. With that in mind, assess the load speed of the client’s website.
Make sure to check the speed of multiple pages, especially the Contact page and About page, along with several product pages. If the load speed is high, do some digging to identify the issue and make adjustments to remedy the problem.
6. Ensure the Site Is Optimized for Mobile
Since Q1 of 2017, mobile searches have accounted for over half of organic search engine visits in the U.S. In Q4 of 2021, that figure reached 63%, which means that nearly two-thirds of organic traffic originates from mobile devices.
The bottom line is this: Your clients’ websites must be optimized for mobile devices. Testing mobile device compatibility is quite easy. Simply attempt to visit your client’s website with a few different mobile devices and see how it performs.
7. Get Technical
We could create an entire technical SEO checklist for agencies, but instead, we will just briefly highlight the most important technical SEO issues that you need to address. When evaluating a client’s website:
- Check for duplicate versions in Google’s index
- Ensure it uses HTTPS
- Find and resolve crawl issues
- Remove or replace broken links
Addressing these core technical SEO problems will provide near-immediate improvements to your client’s rankings, enhance site performance, and elevate the user experience. Some other technical SEO tactics are already featured on our checklist, including optimizing the site for mobile and addressing page load errors.
8. Install Google Analytics 4
It is finally happening: Google is sunsetting Universal Analytics. To ensure your clients are prepared, they will need to have Google Analytics 4 (GA4) installed on their websites before July 1, 2023.
We recommend putting GA4 in place before you start modifying your client’s SEO strategy. Installing and using GA4 will help you establish a baseline and monitor the impacts of your search engine optimization efforts.
You can use these insights to optimize your strategy and demonstrate how you are delivering a measurable return for the client.
9. Explore Content Optimization Tools
Whether you are a savvy writer in your own right or prefer to work with a business-to-business (B2B) content creation firm, you should consider using content optimization tools to maximize the impact of new website copy. While there are many such tools out there, one popular option is Surfer.
After you create a new project file and provide some basic details about the niche you are targeting, Surfer will automatically populate a list of recommended keywords. It will also recommend how many words, sentences, paragraphs, and subheadings you should include.
As you write your content in the Surfer app, it will provide a score ranging from 0 to 100, as well as a target range that you should strive for.
10. Work on Those Links
If you want to maximize your client’s visibility, you need to acquire lots of high-quality backlinks. While this step has a few extra moving parts, there are plenty of ways to acquire links from reputable platforms.
For example, you could reach out to local businesses in related verticals, write press releases and distribute them to regional news outlets, or encourage your client to try guest posting.
11. Stay Apprised of the Latest Updates and Trends
Google is constantly updating its algorithm and ranking protocols. Seemingly minor changes to the algorithm could easily bump your client down the SERPs and back into organic search obscurity.
Make sure you are keeping apprised of the latest trends, updates, and SEO tactics. Being an early adopter of new trends can help you and your clients stay one step ahead of the competition.
That said, there is no need to change for the sake of change. If a new fad emerges — but you aren’t sure if it actually provides any measurable SEO benefits — hold fast for a while. The last thing you want to do is waste time and energy chasing trends that will fade into obscurity without producing results.
12. Add Schema Markup
Also known as “structured data,” schema markup is the language that Google and other search engines use to understand the content on web pages. Adding this code to web pages can make them eligible for rich results and significantly increase the visibility of content like FAQs, recipes, product reviews, and definitions.
If your team includes a skilled coder, you can add schema markup manually. Or you can leverage an innovative tool like Schema App. Unless you absolutely love coding, we recommend using schema markup tools.
13. Guest Post
Guest posting is a great way to acquire quality backlinks for your clients. More importantly, publishing quality content on reputable websites can expand a company’s reach and establish it as an authoritative voice within its industry.
When searching for guest posting opportunities, make sure to find websites that have audiences that align with your client’s target consumer base. For instance, if your client is an attorney who specializes in personal injury cases, look for guest posting opportunities on legal directories, forums, and similar sites.
14. Plan a Content Sprint
SEO is often talked about as if it were a marathon, not a sprint. Climbing the rankings is usually a relatively slow process that requires consistency, perseverance, and patience.
You likely shared this viewpoint with your client when creating an SEO strategy in order to temper their expectations. But while moving up the rankings does take time, you can speed up the process with content sprints.
For a long-term SEO campaign, you might publish two to three pieces of content per week for months. During a sprint, you publish four or five pieces of content each week for a shorter time frame, usually about one to three months.
Content sprints have been shown to propel websites up the rankings and yield faster results than a traditional posting schedule. By using content sprints, you can provide your clients with measurable short-term results while you work on implementing other aspects of your SEO strategy.
15. Use B2B Content Writing Services
What is B2B content writing? Simple: It’s the process of outsourcing your content creation processes to a team that specializes in crafting compelling copy. A talented group of B2B content writers will provide you with all the content you need to get your clients noticed and bring your SEO vision to fruition.
You can use our SEO checklist for agencies to prepare your client’s site for the new copy from your B2B content writing partner. For instance, conducting keyword research and defining your client’s audience will help a B2B writer create more effective copy that aligns with the existing content.
Want to Deliver for Your Clients? We Can Help
Now that you’ve explored our SEO checklist for agencies, it is time to put these tactics to use so you can deliver for your clients. What is B2B writing going to do for your digital marketing agency?
Most importantly, outsourcing the writing process to Write Collective will allow you to spend more time focusing on the strategic aspects of SEO. Working with our multifaceted team will also enable you to serve more clients, as we have wordsmiths who specialize in a variety of niches, from legal to healthcare to tech. The first step is to check out Write Collective’s B2B content writing services and samples.
Once you are ready, order your content marketing package or schedule a 15-minute call with our team. We will take it from there and get to work crafting captivating copy for your clients.