How to Create SEO SOPs (That Work)


Over the last decade, I’ve created hundreds of SEO SOPs, and today, I’ll share how you can create killer SOPs that actually drive results.Let’s get into it.Why Most SEO SOPs SuckMost SOPs collect dust and never get used. As a result, SEO teams struggle to manage multiple campaigns, and it creates chaos.Chaos leads to inconsistent SEO results. Inconsistent SEO results increase client churn and make your agency unstable.So that’s the bad news.The good news is that I’ll help you fix it today. But first, let me explain the four reasons why most SEO standard operating procedures don’t work:1. Not Integrated Well Within a Broader SystemEvery agency wants to systemize its SEO because it’s the key to scaling.However, most attempts are nothing more than throwing stuff at all, leading to random SOPs scattered across different project management tools, Google folders, and Loom videos. SOPs are step-by-step instructions for a well-defined SEO task.On its own, it has little value.An SOP achieves maximum utility and usage when integrated within a logical and organized set of processes and a broader system.I’ll explain what this looks like in a second.2. Too Vague or Too ComplexYour SOPs should land in the middle of the spectrum regarding simplicity and complexity. This quote is often attributed to Einstein:“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”And it’s perfectly applicable to SOPs.For example, an overly simple SOP leads to massive operational drag because your team members will bombard you with clarifying questions. But even worse, an overly simplistic SOP leads to excessive mistakes (that could have easily been avoided).On the other hand, an overly complex SOP kills morale and is nothing more than an attempt to predict the future. Complexity breeds confusion and overwhelm, which reduces usage.Which brings me to the third most common issue:3. Untested SOPsThe worst thing you can do is spend months building what you believe to be the perfect SOPs.This is like people who create products without getting any validation from the market.Like SaaS, you need to create minimum viable procedures. These procedures must be good enough to be practical and actionable.Then, deploy the SOPs and have your team use them.You’ll quickly identify the holes in the boat, and you’ll be able to iterate on the procedure to achieve continuous improvement.The Anatomy of an Effective SEO SOPOne basic reason why many SOP building attempts fail is because definitions haven’t been properly established. Let me clear this up.There are three ideas you need to master:SystemsA system is composed of processes. “Search Engine Optimization” is a system because it has many independent processes, such as keyword research, on-page SEO, content creation, technical SEO, etc.Think about it from a different perspective.Let’s say a car is a system. If you remove one tire, the system fails.So, like SEO, the entire system falls apart if you remove one process, like keyword research.That’s why you always map out the broader system first.ProcessesA process is a high-level overview and organization of step-by-step SOPs.For example, my keyword research process (in Gotch SEO Academy) comprises 22 individual SOPs, each of which is required to execute the complete process.Standard Operating ProceduresSOPs are highly focused step-by-step checklists for specific tasks like fixing broken links, optimizing title tags, or optimizing internal linking.So remember:System > Process > SOPTo take your SEO systems to the next level, you’ll also need guidelines, reference docs, and templates.7 Types of SOPs to Create for SEOTo develop an effective SEO strategy, you need to be systematic. I mentioned above that you need to formulate a logical SEO process.Well, I already did it for you. The system below is a complete collection of processes and SOPs you need to create.1. Keyword ResearchAt a high level, your keyword research process should involve finding relevant keywords and prioritizing them based on quantifiable metrics such as search volume, competition, and resource requirements.For example, some more competitive search queries will require you to produce exceptional-quality content and acquire high-quality backlinks. Each of these activities requires an investment in capital or time.I’m writing this blog post right now, and it doesn’t cost me dollars to write it. But it costs me time, an important consideration due to opportunity costs.Would it be better for someone else to write this content for me?In other situations, the answer is yes. But in this case, I’m the most qualified person to write about this topic.The point is that everything has a cost, and this must be considered when prioritizing your keywords.2. SEO Competitor AnalysisYou could argue that SEO competitor analysis is a subcategory of keyword research. But it’s a fundamental process you need so you can make educated guesses about what keywords to target.The biggest mistake business owners and SEO experts make is targeting the wrong keywords.“Wrong” can defined as targeting keywords that are too competitive or have a low probability of conversion.You can measure competition in two ways.First, based on site authority and backlinks. In short, it’s nearly impossible for a new website with a weak backlink profile to outrank websites with established link profiles.Second, based on content quality. Some niches have higher standards for content. In those cases, you’ll have to invest more to gain ground on competitors.3. SEO AuditingSEO audits are fundamental to identifying technical SEO opportunities.I recommend creating SOPs for these opportunities, including crawling, indexing, internal linking, site architecture, keyword cannibalization, and page loading speed.I’d also throw in User Experience (UX) optimization because it indirectly influences SEO performance.4. On-Page OptimizationOn-page SEO sops are critical because they are fundamental to ranking. Some on-page elements you need to standardize are header tags, URL structure optimization, title tag optimization, writing meta tags like meta descriptions, links (internal links and external links), image optimization via alt text, and, most importantly, NLP optimization.I recommend benchmarking your current content relevancy and on-page SEO using Rankability. It uses NLP technology to help you create highly relevant SEO content that Google loves.5. SEO Content MarketingYou’ll need two types of SEO SOPs for creating quality content: keyword-driven content and link bait.Keyword-driven content may be blog posts, static web pages, or landing pages, but the commonality is that they’re built around one target keyword.One of the most important content SOPs you can create is for SEO content briefs. In short, an SEO content brief and outline will set your content writers up for success.You can build an SEO content brief template via Google Docs (something I show in Gotch SEO Academy).You can also streamline the process by using an SEO tool like Rankability, which helps you create briefs using AI.6. Off-Page OptimizationYour off-page optimization varies depending on whether you’re targeting a local or national market. But for both, you’ll need to develop a link building strategy.Within that strategy, you’ll have many different SOPs that are required.These include link prospecting, link qualification and prioritization, link bait development, email outreach, and even follow-up.On the local SEO side, you’ll need SOPs to create and optimize your Google Business Profile, audit local citations, and generate reviews.7. SEO ReportingYou’ll need to standardize SEO reporting once all your execution-related SOPs are ready.In short, you need SOPs for setting up Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Tag Manager, Google Studio, and even a tool for tracking keyword rankings.Next StepNow, it’s time to start creating your minimum viable system, repeatable processes, and SEO SOPs.It’s hard work but worth it because this is the only way to scale your SEO campaigns and produce consistent results.FYI:If you don’t want to spend thousands of hours building, testing, and refining your SEO system, join Gotch SEO Academy.I’ve already done all the hard work for you.Plus, my systems are tested and refined daily by hundreds of agencies and SEO professionals who are using them right now.

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