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What’s Included in an SEO Set-Up?

Lindsay Halsey

Lindsay Halsey is a co-founder of Pathfinder SEO. She has over 10 years of experience working in SEO with small to large businesses. Lindsay focuses on teaching site owners, freelancers, and agencies how to get found on Google via a guided approach to SEO. Stay in touch on Twitter - @linds_halsey.

We mentioned before that when we started our SEO agency, we made the most common mistake in the book — offering custom services.

When it came to establishing the project for SEO Set-Up, we incorrectly assumed that because each website was starting in a different place, each website’s SEO foundation would need to be built a little differently.

In time, we learned that regardless of where a website started, the process of building the SEO foundation was the same, as was the order of tasks therein. The primary difference was that sometimes a task was quick and easy on one website, but could be a time-consuming task on another.

We were able to standardize our process for the SEO Set-Up. This made it easier to sell, deliver, and scale.

Now, we’ve turned this process into a step-by-step SEO Checklist for our subscribers at Pathfinder SEO.

Let’s take a step back to the beginning and look at this project in more detail.

What’s an SEO Set-Up?

SEO Set-Up is a one-time project to build a website’s SEO foundation and to expand on the initial strategy created during the SEO Assessment. It's completed in collaboration with the client and done in a relatively short period of time; roughly 1-2 months.

This project is considered an accelerator and it moves a client through the initial time-consuming tasks required to get started with SEO.

SEO Set-Up can be completed on a live website or in conjunction with the development of a new website. If you are completing an SEO Set-Up in conjunction with the development of a new website, then the SEO project moves in parallel with the new website development.

What’s Included in an SEO Set-Up?

Deciding how best to present the packages for your SEO services offering will come in time. It is important, however, to outline the scope of services for each project so that eventually, it will be easier to price and sell the service to your potential customers.

In the meantime, allow us to offer some guidance by providing you with the framework that Pathfinder SEO uses to best define what is included in an SEO Set-Up.

Here’s a breakdown of the steps we include at our SEO agency:

1. Onboarding

Get to know the client and their immediate goals. Ensure you have all of the resources you need to help them be successful.

  • Set up a kickoff meeting: Here you and the client establish goals, workflow, and timelines. And don’t forget to discuss target audience(s) and other useful analytic data.
  • Request access: Obtain the backend access (passwords, URLs, etc.) to the website necessary to set up Google Analytics, and verify the website with Google Search Console.

2. Research & Strategy

This phase focuses on analysis and strategic planning.

  • Keyword Research — Doing in-depth research to identify the keywords your client’s audience uses to search for their products and services.
  • Competitive Analysis — This is a thorough high-level review of the client’s top competitors currently on the market.
  • Content Strategy — Here we review the website’s current content performance and rankings. This section of the project also creates a plan for future growth and expansion, including creating a strategic content calendar.
  • Off-Site SEO Strategy — Piggybacking off the strategic content mapping above, this step is perfect for brainstorming ideas for growth directly with the client. Review current domain authority and any existing backlink network(s).

3. Implementation

This phase includes tasks that should be completed on a customer's website to ensure it meets SEO best practices.

  • XML Sitemap — Create an automatically generated sitemap that acts as your website’s resume to the search engines.
  • Robots.txt — File creation/update. A robots.txt file tells the search engines which parts of a website we want them to avoid crawling and indexing.
  • 301 Redirects — Respond to the page not found errors in Google Search Console by creating 301 redirects to improve website crawlability. Alternatively, if this is for a new website in development, then map old URLs to new URLs to ensure a seamless transition.
  • Page Titles & Meta Descriptions — Create a custom title and description for each top-level page of the client’s website. Automate this for frequently updated content types such as blog posts.
  • Alternative Text — Update and optimize descriptive text for images on your top-performing website pages.
  • Headers — Review existing headers, updating content and hierarchy based on keyword research.
  • Google Maps — Create/update listing.

4. Results & Transition to Monthly Services

We expect to see improvement in the search results within mere weeks of completing the implementation step. It's now time to review these results with your customer and transition them into purchasing your monthly SEO services offering.

Additional Considerations

The breakdown of the process above is an example of what you might include in your agency’s SEO Set-Up with the goal of building your client’s SEO foundation.

You may decide to include additional tasks such as:

  • Site Speed: Optimization and improvements of a website’s speed.
  • Schema Markup: Adding structured data to webpages to enhance Google’s understanding of a page.

But regardless of any additional steps, you may choose, the four fundamental steps above should always be incorporated.

What's Next?

Grab a pen and paper. Document what you will include in your SEO Set-Up. Then, learn more about what’s included in Monthly SEO services.

Your packaging is coming together and before you know it, you’ll be ready to dive into profitable pricing.

We’re Here to Help

We built Pathfinder SEO for agencies like yours who are looking to start and scale their SEO services offering. We’ll accelerate you through the process and help you avoid costly mistakes.

A subscription to the Pathfinder SEO platform includes access to all the resources you need to create your SEO services offering and effectively deliver the service. That includes templates, process documentation, and built-in SEO tools.

New Pathfinder SEO subscribers receive two free onboarding sessions with our SEO coaches.

Sign up for a subscription today.

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Lindsay Halsey

Lindsay Halsey is a co-founder of Pathfinder SEO. She has over 10 years of experience working in SEO with small to large businesses. Lindsay focuses on teaching site owners, freelancers, and agencies how to get found on Google via a guided approach to SEO. Stay in touch on Twitter - @linds_halsey.
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