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Guides and Templates

Managing SEO playbook

A top-level review for managers to assess their use of the SEO factors for success in their organization

How will the playbook help me and my business?

Our playbook series of marketing templates is aimed at helping you quickly review the main activities you need to work on and get better results from different digital marketing channels. This playbook focusses on search engine optimization (SEO), giving you a 'fast start' checklist of all the factors businesses need to get right for SEO success. This helps give the top-level view with a simple list of factors to consider.

You might feel the draw of "newer" forms of marketing, such as content marketing or social media marketing - and they certainly have their place - but SEO is still a fantastic way to drive quality visitors to your site. Some businesses and blogs, including Smart Insights, deliver well over half their traffic from organic search through their SEO mastery, or the strength of their brand. We drive almost 80% of our 500,000+ monthly unique visitors from SEO!

How is the SEO playbook structured?

The concept is based on the idea of playbooks in American sports. The coach compiles a book of offensive and defensive plays to be used when their team is in specific situations or has desired results. That's just how our marketing playbooks works – we signpost essential tasks and refer you to the resources you need to complete them. With this SEO playbook, we have listed all the steps needed for a strategic review of your organic search marketing aimed at defining improvements to results. The steps are:

  • Step 1: Carry out an audit and set your goals
  • Step 2: Make sure the engines can find your content
  • Step 3: Improve on-page optimization
  • Step 4: Create awesome content for SEO
  • Step 5: Use content marketing to earn more quality links
  • Step 6: Refine your internal linking
  • Step 7: Improve SEO through Analytics

Who is the SEO playbook for?

This playbook is aimed at anyone involved in managing SEO who needs a high-level overview of the main activities needed for successful SEO:

  • Marketing, e-commerce, and digital marketing managers who need to understand and improve SEO to help review potential improvements to discuss with their in-house team, agencies or consultants, i.e. it will help marketers ask the ‘Smart questions’ to improve SEO results.
  • Agencies and consultants who can use it to review their process and techniques, making sure they are aware of the last Google changes and techniques.
  • Smaller businesses who can use it to boost their business with SEO without the need to invest in SEO consultants or agencies. budget owners in companies managing paid media activities either via internal specialists or external agencies.
  • SEO specialists who can use it to compare against their SEO programme to identify improvements.

It’s written to be easy to understand by non-specialists, but you may need to reference the definitions and examples in our more detailed seven-step guides to understand some technical terms if you are unfamiliar with them.

Latest updates

This playbook was been updated in October 2020 with the latest SEO resources on Smart Insights - including our new SEO Learning Path modules, which are task-based e-learning modules available to Business members.

Resource Details

About the author

Dr. Dave Chaffey

Dave Chaffey

This audit checklist and health check was developed by Smart Insights co-founder Dave Chaffey, who first started helping businesses improve their SEO in 1998 and continues to advise businesses on SEO today through consulting and training. Dave has helped many companies improve their SEO from small businesses looking to improve their rankings in one country to international businesses looking to maximise their digital footprint in hundreds of markets.

For his full profile, or to connect on LinkedIn or other social networks, see the About Dave Chaffey profile page on Smart Insights. Dave is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing.

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