Joining a mid-sized company as their first SEO person, what's a good 30-60-90 day plan for an SEOer?
First month is all about meeting the people, understanding the product, etc. but the videos I'm watching show of implementing a small change after each month along with general 30-60-90 day tasks. Maybe I'm over thinking it but I don't think a simple new blog would suffice as an impactful change to my first 30 days.
Experienced SEO professionals, what are some things you did that made you successful when starting a new role?
If you're joining as their first SEO-dedicated staff member then there are likely many small changes you can make that will have a positive impact and demonstrate value in your role.
For the 30-60-90 day route, I'd do something along these lines:
30-day: Conduct an entire website audit. On-page, off-page, and technical. Draft a list of recommendations and triage by priority. More impactful changes at the top, lesser impact at the bottom. Meet with your team/ supervisor to discuss and approve. It's also a good time to create any sort of baseline reports to see where things started out at.
60-day: Implement your recommendations in the triaged order you created above. Be sure to notate when changes were made.
90-day: Monitor metrics and how they improve (or, hopefully not, worsen). While Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a long game, you should start seeing changes in rank and traffic to some extent within this 30-day window.
During this time, create a game plan for the next 3-6 months. This could include more intense on-page optimizations, new content, and link development. At the end of the 90-day period, compile a report and meet with your team and/or supervisor again to go over the changes made and their results. Use this as an opportunity to segue into the next 3-6 month "campaign" you created.
Hope this helps!
The first 30 days are crucial.
Research is always a substantial part of the first month for me. I don't see anybody mentioning it yet which seems odd.
Even if they already have keyword research, you can almost certainly do it better, which will be a solid platform for your future success.
Get to know various stakeholders at every level of the company, talk to some good clients, and get ideas to seed keyword research. Most people only talk to one layer which isn't the whole picture.
…and then have at it for several days.
And of course the audit.
Agree. Everyone is assuming that OP will have access to shit like the Content Management System (cms) or analytics on day one, and I find that to often be laughable because that assumes they know how to get there themselves.
It's also usually a mistake to assume you're standing on the shoulders of competent giants when getting into a new situation. … Not to speak ill of our SEO brethren, but I stumble upon incompetence far more often than I uncover thoughtful, thorough practitioners' footsteps.
Just because you're given a stack of data and told it's the whole picture – doesn't make it so.
Is the brand voice guide up-to-date? Have there been new products or services? Acquisitions or mergers? New stakeholders who have fresh visions or complaints? New end user problems to address with RM? And on and on.
Better to start from the ground up so you can then access pre-existing "assets" put in front of you.
I was at a mid-size company a few years back. They'd had an SEO, and they had an agency that did a big audit. The prior SEO was basically terrible. The agency was fine, but had real difficulty understanding the company's tech stack.
I spent my first 30 days laughing my ass off at how bad the prior in-house SEO work was (it was really really bad, like "it's <year> and we think keyword stuffing URLs is THE BEST!"), and sifting through the agency audit to rationalize it to tech stack. (Most of it was okay, some was not realistic or understanding of the stack, and it had a giant blind spot to one of the single biggest issues on the site.)
But I've worked with mid-size companies as a freelancer where the first thing discussed is "we have no idea what the f*ck, we had an agency develop this site and we think we have Google Analytics and can you figure this shit out? Also, we want to rank for the word "food!""
Ha! Thank goodness for incompetence; there'd be less work for us without it.
Smaller mid market companies and larger mom and pops are my bread and butter. I stopped working with the big boys ages ago; they're the worst.
I have a small but important checklist to choose what sort of organizations I decide to get into bed with.
👉 I require a clear path to an empowered nimble decision maker. … No more of this BS waiting months for messaging to trickle and filter through layers of behemoth bureaucracy.
👉 I need to know that they like and trust whoever's responsible for their relevant tech stack. If I hear grumbling's or noticed things completely out of place on my own, I politely decline the engagement. … But if it's a particularly interesting opportunity for me and I sometimes try to help them find good help to fix those foundational problems so that I can climb on board a better team.
👉 They need to know that they want to work with me. I don't do Request for proposal (RFP)s. Superfluous meetings and unnecessary gloss aren't my thing. I won't sign a contract other than a required Mutual Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). They can quit me at any time and I can quit them at any time. Keeps everybody honest.
The most recent company to try to engage with me has tried twice already. I sent them back to the drawing board both times, with a little help. I'm guessing they'll have all of their ducks in a row here in another month or two and I will dig in. They are now with their third development team in the past six months; I introduced them to this latest crew so I finally feel comfortable with their situation. … They kept asking me to start working anyhow, but I told them they be wasting their money spending it with me if I didn't have solid ground to stand on, so to speak.
I stopped working with the big boys ages ago; they're the worst.
I love enterprise in its own weird-ass way. They often have process issues, but they have tech stacks and accountability. The in-house role I am rolling right now didn't bat an eyelash for me to spend $10k in tools, expensed. It's nice.
I won't sign a contract other than a required Mutual NDA.
I do demand contracts, largely to scope the work and the rate. I don't use it as handcuff so much as I use it for mutual accountability, and, occasionally, to send someone to collections.
I'd go so far as to make sure they even have analytics and search console integrated properly. I've occasionally seen companies that don't have them, which is bizarre.
You'll need at least a month or two worth of data, so tick this one off as soon as possible.
Lots of scenarios, yes, ranging from '"we don't know how to log in our agency set it up" to "what the actual trash fire f*ck is this."
An analytics audit is often a step needed before a site audit as a whole. Who has access, what levels, what are events and goals in tracking, is Google Search Console (GSC) integrated, is paid search integrated, is the code in the right spot and firing.
👉 Setup & Access (Google Tag Manager (GTM), Google Analytics (GA), existing SEO reports, keyword research, setup your SEO tool of choice, SEMrush, Spyfu, Screaming Frog etc)
👉 Audit (Onsite SEO, offsite (Search Engine Result Page (SERP) analysis brand terms)
👉 Competitor Analysis (perhaps there are existing resources you can use)
👉 Audience research (perhaps there are existing resources)
👉 Formulate a plan for the next 3-6 months (that is tacking items uncovered in the items above)
👉 Beginning of first 60, small progress report – what's been done, what's next?
👉 Keyword research (this could be done in the first 30, but you'll be pressed per time)
👉 Writing assignments for marketing team – that include keywords from keyword research
👉 Complete technical items discovered in first 30
👉 Beginning of first 90 – first big progress report – everything that's been done, changes so far, upcoming plans
👉 Continue completing the items discovered in the first 30
👉 Start working on your next plan
That's a tough job. You've been hired to fix something the current team cannot. In four months, you'll either be "the man" or unemployed.
I will assume their content is bad. Be careful if you point out an example because you'll offend whomever wrote it. Spend the first 30 days creating a style guide for the company to follow. The employees are making mistakes they're not aware of, and most of them can't write, so they don't care.
You might see increased traffic by Day 45. You should know that your colleagues aren't rooting for you. Like I said, they couldn't get the job done, so now you're here.
Or they are just lazy…
I include that in the equation.
Google offers free online certification classes on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how using Google Ads in conjunction helps raise the ranking. They will give you fill in the blanks to walk you through optimizing your ranking. If you are a business also look at what domains they own and make sure you are pointing those searches at your main domain. Good luck to you!