The 20-Point SEO Account Takeover Checklist
What should you do if you are stepping into a role as the new “SEO Manager” of a website?
This is a question you could ask yourself either as an in-house employee at a company, an agency taking over an account from another agency, or moving into the role from one account to another within your agency.
Truth be told, I imagine that if you are at an agency, and simply taking over an account from someone else, much of the account transition will go smoothly, so you may not need to do as complete a discovery as I am suggesting below.
Think of this checklist as a way to get up to speed as quickly as possible if your predecessor did not leave a very clear audit trail/documentation. Or, perhaps you are the first person to take on the SEO Manager role at your company?
The SEO Account Takeover Checklist
This checklist is NOT in order of priority, but is numbered for usability.
Yes, some tasks will be more time-sensitive than others, and I will attempt to make a note of these as I go along. It is worthwhile to say right here that you shouldimmediately look at how links are being created to your site, and halt any link building efforts that appear to be poor-quality, abusive, against search engine stated guidelines, etc. At least for the time being, until you get a handle on the situation.
- Pull Together Your Organic Keyword Targets.Get the list of the keywords that have been targeted for SEO. While “rankings are dead“, and I am not a fan of “rank chasing”, bite the bullet and check the keyword rankings for your target keywords. You do need to know where you are starting.
- Access Website Analytics. Get your hands on the data!! This is an absolute must, and perhaps one of the first steps you should take. Examine where your traffic is coming from (all sources, not just search), which keywords are converting, review the most-visited pages, look at 18-month trends (to look for seasonality and cyclicality), and generally dig into the data.
- Re-Do Keyword Research. Don’t blindly trust what you’ve been told are the target keywords for organic SEO! You absolutely must have a deep understanding of the keyword space that your business lives in. There is no substitute for doing your own keyword research. Period.
- PPC Data. Get access to as much Pay Per Click (PPC) data as you can from existing advertising programs that are being run for your site. Get a feel for the keywords that are being bid on, the impressions being generated, the clicks to the site, and which keywords are converting best.
- Webmaster Tools. Get access to, and log into your Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools accounts. Look to see if the XML sitemaps are uploaded, fresh, and not showing any page crawl errors. If you find that a Webmaster account has not already been established, get on it! [...]