Creating SEO Roadmaps for Success





Blog Date

June 6, 2024


UK, Manchester

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Creating SEO Roadmaps for Success

Creating SEO Roadmaps for Success

The path to strategic website optimization is full of twists and turns, and no shortage of potential to-dos. That’s why defining the core initiatives behind your SEO plan is so imperative. But how do you actually connect the dots between those high-level strategic goals and granular execution? Enter the SEO roadmap – a dynamic and essential document that shows where a site has been, where it’s going, and the tactics to get there, including actionable tasks and scalable workflows.

As the Chief Digital Officer at The Gray Dot Co, I’ve seen firsthand how our SEO roadmap approach is the bread-and-butter for executing robust cross-functional search optimizations and maximizing ROI. In this article, I’ll guide you through the process of creating your own SEO roadmap using our free template.

An SEO roadmap is a collective document that plans, plots, and prioritizes the action items to execute on your channel strategy. It includes detailed tactics, tasks, and target deadlines. A good roadmap encompasses key SEO opportunities and explains how to best leverage them. It can include a combination of net-new implementations and optimizing current implementations which have already been vetted in an SEO business case.

The SEO roadmap benefits businesses, regardless of their individual objectives, in several ways. For one, it aligns the “how” and “what” of your SEO strategy with the “why” behind each item, making it an invaluable resource for both strategic and executional stakeholders across the team. It also streamlines communication by getting everyone on the same page, especially when collaborating with the Product and Engineering team on assessing the value of SEO work and translating it into the development roadmap.

Strategy and roadmap go hand-in-hand when it comes to achieving SEO goals and making measurable impacts. The SEO strategy is the “what” (core objectives) and the “why” (value to the business) at a high level. The SEO roadmap then links them to the “how” (action items) and “when” (timelines and urgency based on prioritization). You can’t create a roadmap for SEO without the strategy, nor can you efficiently carry out the strategy sans a roadmap.

The Gray Dot Co SEO roadmap approach starts with a tried-and-true framework that we’ve found to be the most valuable. This includes details on the project, its impact, urgency, risk, and level of effort – all of which feed into a weighted value-delivery score that helps us prioritize initiatives.

When it comes to communicating the roadmap, we include three main views meant to support different stakeholder needs: List, Kanban, and Timeline. The List View is a traditional spreadsheet, the Kanban View visualizes the workflow stages, and the Timeline View looks at the timing of individual projects. By updating the record in the List View, the other views will update automatically.

One of the most important aspects of an SEO roadmap is ensuring it covers all your efforts, not just the big projects. Aligning ALL your SEO work with business objectives helps you understand which initiatives are delivering the most value and keeps everyone focused on the most impactful projects. This includes everything from technical optimizations and content strategy to link building and local SEO.

Prioritizing the projects in the roadmap is where the rubber meets the road. We use a methodology called weighted value-delivery, which gauges the amount of value an objective or initiative delivers, as well as the level of effort required to execute it. This involves setting a numeric value for SEO impact, urgency, risk reduction, and level of effort.

Quick wins are a key part of our roadmap strategy. These are tasks you can complete in a short amount of time that make a considerable difference in your site’s SEO performance or sales. Tackling the quick wins first creates early momentum in terms of collaboration and tangible impact, paving the way for buy-in and resources for more resource-intensive projects.

But what about those big, impactful projects that could get deprioritized due to resource limitations? The answer is simple – make them smaller! Take a step back and consider how to parse out the work, starting only with the pages or elements that will have the biggest impact. This reduces the resource ask and allows you to test the waters, potentially building buy-in for the rest of the work.

Competitive analysis is another crucial piece of the SEO roadmap puzzle. Understanding what your competitors are doing, and where the gaps lie, helps you position your business to win market share. We typically look at factors like their domain authority, backlink profile, content quality, and technical SEO implementation.

Once you have your prioritized list of projects, it’s time to start plotting out the timeline. This should align with how your company tracks goals and communicates progress – often a full year, broken down into quarterly phases. Within each phase, you’ll need to factor in resource availability, cross-functional overlap, and overall business objectives.

SEO doesn’t exist in a vacuum, so it’s important to keep a pulse on what’s happening in other marketing channels or areas of the business. Things like a site migration or redesign can have major SEO implications, both positive and negative. Ensuring SEO is part of those discussions and processes is key to a well-rounded roadmap.

With an approved roadmap in hand, the execution phase begins. This involves assigning qualified teams or individuals to each task, determining the right tools and communication channels, and collaborating closely with the execution teams to ensure progress and quality. Regular check-ins, testing, and performance monitoring are essential to keeping the roadmap agile and relevant.

Creating a successful SEO roadmap is a journey, not a destination. But by following a structured process, leveraging the right frameworks, and maintaining an agile mindset, you can set your SEO agency and clients up for long-term, sustainable growth. The roadmap is your map to SEO success – let’s get started!

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