Sample 6-Month SEO Plan That Anyone Can Follow

Jim Dee
Jim Dee
Apr 26 · 7 min read

A simple, actionable, measurable SEO plan for web site owners.

I think everyone agrees that 2020 was a strange year for web sites. As a web development agency, Array Web Development saw all sorts of weirdness from the pandemic. Some clients closed up shop; others decided to redo their sites during the “down time” that came along with the changed business environment. I welcomed new clients from out of the blue, and even got ghosted by a long-term client. So yeah, weird!

At the (hopeful) end of the pandemic, though, I’m getting a strong vibe from my own client base that a renewed interest in promoting their sites is coming. So, it’s time to get into SEO in a much more formalized way than ever before. (I’ve actually done a ton of SEO work over the years, but it’s always been via one-off customized engagements rather than my coming up with a broad plan to fit many clients.)

In the end, all SEO plans will need customization, but here’s a sample approach, below, that I came up with lately that I feel should be applicable as a starting point for just about anyone. I like it because it’s a well-defined six-month foray into SEO (which I feel is the absolute minimum anyone should pursue), and it’s also 100% measurable. At the end, clients can see for themselves what’s happened, what’s improved, and gauge what the overall ROI is (which should help them decide where or not to continue with the program or change something up SEO-wise).

So, here’s the plan. You can hire me, do this yourself, or use this as a starting point with your own web developer or digital marketer.

Setup Phase (Recommended One Month Prior to Launch)

I’ve included a solid month here for prep work. This gives businesses and SEO workers time to prepare, plan, and get some baseline items in place. Tasks include:

  • Preflight measures — make sure Google Analytics is installed on site(s)
  • No other significant work this month, as we will be measuring current traffic and basic metrics.

Month One

  • Kickoff / Planning Meeting (1 hour): “Identify where we are now.” Just prior to this meeting, the SEO worker or digital marketer would consult SEO audit software to mark baseline metrics. (I’m using ahrefs.com, but you might also like SEMrush.com or Moz.com, to name the top players.)
  • This month’s focus: Infrastructure. (I like to start with the technical side of SEO to make sure we’re starting the program on a solid structural footing. SEO audit software usually points out many of these issues, and the web developer would use additional resources in addressing them. For example, if a site has slow pageload time, the web developer would optimize this using pagespeed tools, on-site optimizations, hosting changes, etc.)
  • Mark baseline metrics — “Where we are now” (review of key metrics, per the SEO audit software — which keywords are present, which are missing, rankings for keywords, traffic numbers, other stats as relevant to the target client).
  • Additional structural notes: We will work on things any needed improvements in the area of URL improvements, SSL, mobile/responsive/pagespeed (site optimizations that improve load time)/HTML and markup optimizations/robots, strategic outbound linking, and/or anything identified by the SEO audit software.
  • Report provided to client about what all was done this month. (I keep this bullet on all months, as I think continual reporting is good for many reasons. It keeps clients interested and involved, shows the effort going into the process, and tracks progress as time goes forward.)

Month Two

  • Next Steps Meeting: “Identify where we want to be.” (1 hour)
  • This month’s focus: Content creation, distribution, and link building (backlinks and also internal linking). We will identify goals here based on (1) data from analysis of keyword trends, (2) data showing SERP improvement opportunities for the current site’s keywords, and (3) review of competitor data for additional keyword opportunities. (Competitors identified by keyword analysis as well as by client recommendations.)
  • Also: Identify any remaining errors or problems as identified by SEO audit software and address issues.
  • TBD: If Needed: Onboard content creator(s) and social media manager(s) and/or discuss how we will approach content and distribution ongoing.
  • Report provided to client about what all was done this month.
  • Note that this is the month where we’re finally getting into creating and marketing new content. Also, note that here we’re primarily focused on written content. But, for some clients, video or podcast content may replace or augment written content.

Before I continue with the monthly plan, a few resources:

Month Three

  • Distribution meeting (30–45 min). Discuss (possibly with 3rd-party social media manager) possibilities and options for wider distribution of content. I think when we first start in month 2, we should hit the basics (site blog, FB, LinkedIn, and Twitter). But, we may also want to look into cross-posting to additional platforms (Medium, YouTube (if video applies), Tik-Tok, Pinterest, etc. — depending on the type of content we have and distribution opportunities).
  • Continue working the content creation / distribution plan as set above, tweaking approach as necessary.
  • Look into boosted posts and other similar low-cost ads on FB for greater, targeted exposure.
  • Report provided to client about what all was done this month.

Month Four

  • Mid-course Meeting: “How’s it going so far?” (A review of the key metrics as of 3-months in.)
  • Continue working the content creation / distribution plan as set above, tweaking approach as necessary.
  • Report provided to client about what all was done this month.

Month Five

  • Working the plan / meetings or calls as needed.
  • Continue working the content creation / distribution plan as set above, tweaking approach as necessary.
  • Report provided to client about what all was done this month.

Month Six

  • Working the plan / meetings or calls as needed.
  • Continue working the content creation / distribution plan as set above, tweaking approach as necessary.
  • Report provided to client about what all was done this month.

Six-Month Evaluation

  • Review data from 6 months of doing this program. Identify successes, opportunities, ROI, etc. and decide if it merits going forward for another 6 months. If so, it would likely mean a continuation of the same content generation and distribution, with a continued occasional review of opportunities for wider reach, efficiencies, improvements, etc.

By this time, the program is beginning to mature, any any two programs that started off on this same outline will now have diverged and have taken on a life of their own. But by now, there should be some momentum showing (and hopefully it’s positive momentum!). And from here, you can chart a custom course onward. Maybe you’ll branch out into video (if you haven’t already), maybe podcasts, maybe CPC advertising, or maybe more cross-posting on new platforms. There’s a ton to SEO, and very few companies can do it all.

Budget: How Much Does The Above Cost?

Finally, I want to talk budgeting. I also ran some numbers for the above plan, and customized those numbers for a handful of clients. I won’t go into too many details here, as a lot of those calculations are proprietary.

But, I can at least say that, broadly speaking, I think many businesses can expect total monthly costs of $1,500 or so on the low end to $3,000 or so on the higher end for a decent, basic foray into serious SEO.

So, that’s ~$10–20k over six months.

Can a company lower those costs? Yes, definitely: If you do all or part of the work yourself. But site owners rarely have that kind of time. So, the above envisions a normal corporate web site using various outsiders — a web developer/tech SEO project manager, content creators, and social media managers.

Could it cost more? Also yes. The above is meant as a minimum effort. You could go full-on SEO and do written, podcast, video, and shoot for super high production values on all. You could hire artists and transcribers and marketers. You could branch way out into multi-platform advertising. Et cetera et cetera et cetera… The rabbit hole of SEO runs as deep, especially for competitive niches!

But, for most, I think the above would be the minimum budget I’d recommend in order to truly test the waters and be able to know (1) that you did things right, and (2) whether continued effort into SEO is merited.

The bottom line is that, in order to see results from any kind of promotion or marketing, you have to either get super lucky early on (which won’t happen for 99.99% of companies) or you have to make a concerted effort over time. To me, six months is the absolute minimum mount of time that should give an indication if the ROI is there or not. And that’s why I designed the above program as I did. So… get going, and good luck!!

✍🏻 Jim Dee maintains three blogs — Hawthorne Crow, Web Designer | Web Developer Magazine, and Wonderful Words, Defined — and contributes to various Medium pubs. Connect at JPDbooks.com, Amazon, FB, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Medium, or Jim [at] ArrayWebDevelopment.com. His latest screwball literary novel, CHROO, is a guaranteed good time.

Web Designer / Web Developer Magazine

WDWD Magazine features articles on web site design /…

Jim Dee

Written by

Jim Dee

Web guy at ArrayWebDevelopment.com; author of books & blogs. See: JPDbooks.com.

Web Designer / Web Developer Magazine

WDWD Magazine features articles on web site design / development, internet marketing, social media, SEO, and topics like marketing, communications, business development, etc. Editor: Jim Dee of Array Web Development — jim@arraywebdevelopment.com.

Jim Dee

Written by

Jim Dee

Web guy at ArrayWebDevelopment.com; author of books & blogs. See: JPDbooks.com.

Web Designer / Web Developer Magazine

WDWD Magazine features articles on web site design / development, internet marketing, social media, SEO, and topics like marketing, communications, business development, etc. Editor: Jim Dee of Array Web Development — jim@arraywebdevelopment.com.

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