The Secret of the SEO Plan and Kickoff Meeting

Kickoff Call Quote

An important part of being an SEO contractor is setting appropriate expectations with clients. This is especially vital in a field that has the potential to come across as mysterious. It is our job as SEOs to demystify the process as well as what can be expected as the results.

Kickoff Meeting

The kickoff meeting should revolve around a plan for the first several months of SEO.

This plan serves a few purposes:

1. It builds initial trust between you and the client by showing that you have thought several months out and are prepared. 2. It builds extended trust between you and the client as you set and meet deadlines. 3. It lays out a plan for success for you for the first several months so you can send your client deliverables throughout the month. Continuing to plan in advance will deepen this trust as well as give the client advance notice if any industry expertise is needed.

Before the call, write your plan and send the document out to everyone involved. Label it a preliminary plan and note that changes can be made during and after the call.

SEO Plan

A good plan for the first several months of SEO should include the following:


An overview should be about three sentences. This is where you can let the client know that this plan is preliminary.

Here's an example:

"The following is a preliminary plan and timeline for optimizing [website url] for search engines. This plan should be discussed during the kickoff call tentatively scheduled for [insert time]. A final plan will be distributed to team members following the kickoff call."

Team Members

Everyone who will be involved in the SEO process should be listed including:

  • a liaison from the the client company
  • a member of the company's  marketing team, or the owner of the company if there is a small staff
  • other people within your SEO company who will be involved, however it's best to stay a little light on the details here. Stick only with team members who will be talking directly to the client.

If you're at all hesitant to include the client on the team, just remember that in SEO the client has an important role.

Some examples of duties that may fall on the client are:

  • To share industry specific expertise as a part of content creation.
  • To clue you in when marketing efforts are made outside of SEO.
  • To review content within a reasonable time frame and give approval.

It's best to let the client know their importance up front.


Assumptions can be defined as low-level risks. In an SEO kickoff call, the assumptions should be anything you see as being potentially in the way of successfully optimizing the website and material.

A few examples:

  • Preliminary marketing information is collected from CLIENT.
  • Deadlines stated in timeline are met by both SEO COMPANY and CLIENT.
  • Industry specific expertise is provided from CLIENT when needed for content creation.


The timeline should include onsite and offsite SEO.

Consider starting your timeline with onsite SEO. Include dates for:

  • research
  • development tasks
  • reports
  • check in calls

For offsite SEO, you may choose to lay out a general plan from month to month and fill out specifics after you've familiarized yourself with the company's target market.

An example of text that could be included in the timeline to this point is:

"The schedule may repeat similarly from month to month as offsite optimization progresses. Diagnostics and research will be performed each month and content will be created based on its conclusions."

A well written project plan and well managed kickoff call are two best practices that will get your client relationship off to a good start. Keep up with your deadlines and provide plans a couple of months in advance throughout the relationship and you are well on your way to SEO success.

Did I forget anything? Please let me know by commenting below.

Follow Steph McGuinn on Twitter, @HeartBuzzAgency.

How to Influence Your Landing Pages Visitors for Lead Conversions

When making landing pages for Google AdWords, SEO, and other marketing initiatives, there are several factors that are important to consider in order to convert visitors to leads. The following DESIGN ELEMENTS can be used to send visitors' eyes in the desired direction. The PSYCHOLOGICAL ELEMENTS listed second in this blog post can be used to remove doubt and encourage action.


1. Color Be sure to ask these questions: What kind of emotional response do the colors used in the landing page provoke? Are they appropriate for the purpose of the landing page and for your brand?

The emotional impact of color can be seen in this chart of logos arranged by color from the Huffington Post: ColorforLandingPages

2. Contrast Highlight important elements on the page by using contrasting colors. Make the most important page element, the call to action, highly visible by choosing a rich color that will stand in stark contrast against the rest of the colors on the page.

A great example comes from a post about design accessibility for the visually impaired. Making the site more visible to those with partial sight and color deficiencies can coincide with making the text stand out to everyone. So why not follow their guidelines and open the page up for an even wider audience?


3. White Space Since there are specific places on the landing page meant to draw the visitor’s eye, it is necessary to leave some breathing room around important elements in order to separate them. Otherwise the page can look to busy or crowded which is not easy on the eyes and could lose the visitor’s interest.

The following iPhone ad uses white space to make the phone stand out.


4. Directional Cues Directional cues like arrows, color, pathways, and line of site should be used to draw the visitor’s eye to the call to action or other important page elements.

  • Arrows: Arrows are the most obvious directional cue and should be used to point out the call for action. The example below uses (perhaps over-uses) arrows to point out their Instant Access form.


  • Color: Color can be used in repetition or blocking to direct the attention around the page.
  • Pathways: Pathways are lines and paths that replicate natural points of travel that lead somewhere. An example is a road. Pathways should be considered as a way to lead to the call to action.
  • Line of Sight: Consider using an animal or human with their eyes looking toward the call to action.

5. Headline Headlines should be descriptive and concise. Each word should be chosen with purpose.

6. Eye Catching Image The landing page should include an image that captures the visitor’s attention. Two techniques that are attention grabbing are:

  • Encapsulation: Encapsulation is a classic technique which makes it nearly impossible to look away from a certain point on the image, like the example below:


  • Interruption: Interruption is a technique where something in the image or the image itself is so out of place people can’t help but want to investigate closer.


1. Validation For online sales, it is important to show that the product or service is valid. Including any of the following will help achieve this:

  • Press mentions
  • Tweets about the service or product
  • Online ratings
  • Member stats
  • Customer logos
  • Case studies
  • Testimonials

2. Value Propositions

  • Why your product/service? Include a concise statement on why your product/service is the right choice. This section should read like an elevator speech and visitors should be able to understand what is being offered on the landing page from this alone.
  • Why should I care? This may be included in the same text block as the “why us” statement. Provide visitors with a reason why the product or service being sold on the landing page is important to them and why they need it.

3. Removal of Doubt Removal of doubt is a smart element to include and will certainly increase conversions. A few ways to remove doubt are to offer:

  • A no risk, money back guarantee.
  • To allow visitors to try before they buy.
  • An easy return policy.

4. Call to Action Last but far from least, every landing page absolutely needs a clear call to action. The call for action should give a preview of what the next step will be, and there should only be one call for action.

Presenting a form is a popular choice for this element. Just be advised to refrain from using words like “submit” on the button. Instead, use more polite and descriptive wording, like “Preview our collection.”

When designing landing pages it is important to carefully consider the design and psychological elements of the page. Make a careful selection of which will best motivate your visitors to take the next step.

Follow Steph McGuinn on Twitter, @HeartBuzzAgency.