The 18-Month SEO Strategy: The Manual For Smaller Sites

If you’re like me, you probably want to dominate Google search as quickly as possible. However, that’s not always how it works out for small websites with limited resources. For us, search engine optimization (SEO) is a long-term strategy. 

Six months may seem like an eternity to wait before seeing your site rank above your competitors on the front page of Google, but that’s the pace of online marketing these days especially if you’re in a highly competitive niche. 

So what exactly is this 18-month plan? What should we do with our time? And how do we make sure we don’t fall behind our competitors?

SEO is a complex topic and one that’s constantly changing. Because of this, it’s difficult to know what will work and what won’t. 

But if you want your site to rank at the top of Google search results, you need an SEO strategy that will keep your site relevant and optimized for search engines.

This guide addresses all aspects of an effective SEO strategy: how often you should change your keywords, how many page titles and meta descriptions you should have per page, and whether or not social media has any impact on search rankings (spoiler alert: it does). 

It also contains a few tips on avoiding common mistakes when optimizing pages for organic traffic.

The goal here is simple: by following the steps outlined below, we’ll put together an 18-month plan that ensures maximum visibility for our websites through organic traffic in 2019 and beyond!

How to Do SEO For A Tiny Site With No Backlinks – YouTube
– Crafting a comprehensive SEO strategy over an extended period.
– Tailoring SEO tactics for smaller websites’ unique needs.
– Focusing on sustained organic growth through strategic planning.
– Incorporating on-page and off-page optimization for better rankings.
– Building a strong backlink profile for increased authority.
– Embracing a long-term mindset for consistent and lasting success.
– Utilizing data-driven insights to refine and adjust strategies.
– Monitoring progress and adapting the strategy as needed.
– Engaging with the ever-evolving SEO landscape proactively.
– Leveraging content, keywords, and user experience for optimal results.

Choosing To Compete

Choosing to compete is the first step of your SEO strategy. You have to choose against something, and you have to choose against something that you can beat.

The next question is: how do you know if your competing site has done everything it possibly can? This is where competitive analysis comes in handy. When we do the competitive analysis for customers we look at three things:

  • The site’s on-page content (the text that appears on a page)
  • The structure of the website (how it’s built)
  • How old is the website is

Crafting a successful SEO strategy requires a solid foundation of building backlinks. Our 18-month SEO strategy manual can guide you through the process, offering insights tailored to smaller sites.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the first step in any SEO strategy. It’s also the most important part of your monthly process. Before you can determine how to improve your website’s ranking, you need to know how it stacks up against the competition in terms of keywords and search volume.

This is where keyword research comes into play. You want to use tools like SEMRush or Keyword Planner by Google (formerly known as AdWords).

To figure out what people are searching for when they come across your site and then match those terms with other keywords that are likely being searched for in connection with yours.

That said, this isn’t an exact science you still have to take a step back now and again and make sure that everything makes sense from a business perspective: 

Are these keywords relevant? Do they align with our goals? Can we realistically achieve them within a reasonable timeframe?

Link Building

Before we begin, I want to make one thing clear: link building is not easy.

If you’re running a new business or blog, it’s understandable that you may be hesitant to invest time and money into a long-term strategy. 

You have other things to do like write content, promote social media posts, and manage your website’s overall design and the last thing you need is another task on your plate.

But what if I told you there are plenty of ways to get links without having to spend a ton of time or money? And what if I also told you that these methods will help boost traffic and conversions?

Are you new to the world of SEO? Discover our SEO for beginners guide and learn the essential 10 steps to attain that coveted spot on Google’s first page. Complement your knowledge with our 18-month strategy for lasting success.

The Power Of User Generated Content (UGC)

If you haven’t already, we recommend that you start creating UGC. If your site is new, it will be difficult to find relevant content for your users and audience. You can use UGC as a way to help populate your website with interesting pieces of content that relate to your business.

The user-generated content on your site must be authentic and relevant. Otherwise, visitors will notice the difference between original and fake content and they won’t be happy about it!

UGC also helps you understand what users want from their experiences on the web. 

For example: if someone is posting images or videos about how much they love eating at restaurants in New York City (and there are hundreds), then this tells us something about what kind of experience customers want when dining out in NYC (i.e., great food).

Design & Usability

User experience (UX) is the most important factor for SEO and conversion, but it’s also vital for branding. The best sites are those that meet user expectations by prioritizing design and usability. 

If a site’s design is poor, customers will not stay on it very long, let alone come back again. 

As such, you need to ensure that your website is as easy to use as possible for example, it should be mobile-friendly and responsive across all devices so people can browse easily no matter where they are or what device they’re using. 

If a user finds your content difficult to access or navigate through an unappealing layout, they will simply give up looking at your site altogether.

The benefits of good UX go beyond just improving the look and feel of your website; there are real monetary gains too: 

Research shows that websites with better usability rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), thereby getting more traffic from organic searches than less usable ones do

Starting your first website can be overwhelming. Dive into our article, Everything I Wish Someone Had Told Me, for valuable insights that can guide your journey. Combine this knowledge with our 18-month SEO strategy to lay a strong foundation.

Social Media Marketing

Social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools available to today’s business owners. If you’re not using social media, you’re missing out on a world of potential exposure for your brand, as well as the opportunity to build relationships with customers, clients, and prospects.

Social media can be used in several ways: to promote your site or product; to interact with customers and build a community around your business; 

And even as a traffic driver, if you leverage it correctly. Let’s explore some ways that social media can help fuel growth for small businesses like yours!

Email & Content Marketing

To succeed with email marketing, you’ll need to do the following:

Develop a strategy that aligns with your overall business goals and objectives. The first step is to define what you want to achieve with your email marketing efforts. 

This will help inform what types of content you create and how often you send out emails. It’s also useful for targeting subscribers who are most likely to convert into customers or subscribers (e.g., recent website visitors).

Create compelling subject lines and body copy. If someone opens an email from you, they should be able to tell at a glance what it’s about and whether or not it’s relevant for them. 

Make sure it includes some sort of call-to-action so that readers know exactly what they have in store if they click through.

Focus on quality over quantity when sending out content updates via email campaigns; this means only sending high-quality newsletters rather than mass spamming people with information overload every time something changes on your site (or whenever there’s news about any given topic).

Effective SEO copywriting is an art that drives traffic and engagement. Uncover our top 15 tips for SEO copywriting to enhance your content creation. Seamlessly integrate these skills into the 18-month SEO strategy for optimal results.

Reputation Management

Reputation management is a critical part of any SEO strategy. It’s important to keep an eye on your site for negative reviews, so you can address them as soon as possible. When addressing negative feedback, be sure to respond quickly and professionally. 

Keep in mind that you want to instill trust and authority in potential customers by being honest and transparent in all of your responses, while also remaining positive and friendly in tone.

As mentioned earlier, this stage of the process may take some time but remember: it’s all about patience!

SEO Can Be A Slow Process, But If You’re Diligent And Smart About It, Your Site Will Benefit

SEO is not a quick fix. It can be a slow process, but if you’re diligent and smart about it, your site will benefit.

SEO is not a sprint; it’s more of a marathon. You need to remember that SEO is an ongoing process that will take time and effort to see results (assuming you do things correctly). 

If you’re looking for instant gratification, SEO isn’t the way to go. Instead of rushing through the steps in this guide or trying to implement them all at once, break up your strategy into smaller chunks so they are easier to manage over time. 

You’ll get better results if you don’t try too much too soon and have more fun doing so!

Harness the power of SEO to boost your organic traffic and expand your digital presence. As you follow our 18-month SEO strategy, remember that increasing organic traffic is a cornerstone of long-term success.


17 months later and your site is now ranking for all its targeted keywords. The content is fresh, the site has tons of authoritative links, and you’re seeing a ton of traffic, which converts into sales. After all your hard work it was worth it!

Further Reading

SEO Tips for Small Businesses: Discover practical strategies to enhance your small business’s online visibility and drive growth through effective SEO practices.

SEO Guide by HubSpot: Dive into HubSpot’s comprehensive guide to SEO, covering everything from the basics to advanced techniques, helping you optimize your digital presence.

Developing an Effective SEO Strategy: Learn how to craft a winning SEO strategy that aligns with your business goals and maximizes your website’s performance.


How do I implement SEO for a smaller website?

Implementing SEO for smaller websites requires a targeted approach. Focus on optimizing relevant keywords, creating high-quality content, and building a strong backlink profile.

What are some essential on-page SEO techniques?

On-page SEO techniques include optimizing meta tags, creating valuable and well-structured content, using descriptive URLs, and ensuring proper internal linking.

How can I measure the success of my SEO efforts?

Monitoring your website’s organic traffic, keyword rankings, and conversion rates can help gauge the effectiveness of your SEO efforts.

Are there SEO tools that can simplify my optimization process?

Yes, there are various SEO tools available, such as keyword research tools, site audit tools, and analytics platforms, that can streamline and enhance your SEO efforts.

What role do backlinks play in SEO?

Backlinks are crucial for SEO as they indicate to search engines that your content is valuable and authoritative. Quality backlinks from reputable sources can significantly boost your website’s ranking.