SEO planning: The one-page SEO plan


This article will show you how to create a simple SEO plan. 

This plan focuses on a single group of related keywords applicable to your business’s primary offerings or individual products/services. The plan is concise and fits onto a single page. 

SEO planning vs. SEO strategy

SEO planning is often conflated with SEO strategy. Although they are related, they are different parts of your overall SEO process, so they should be considered separately. 

SEO strategy involves identifying an SEO USP and finding a way to stand out from the crowd (I detail how to do that here). 

SEO planning is the tactical process of delivering your strategy. 

The objective is to take the complexity out of the planning so you can focus on the SEO (which is complicated enough). 

What is an SEO plan?

An SEO plan covers how to research, document, create, optimize and promote content to improve your website’s visibility on search engines. It will help you attract visitors and generate more business from your website. 

The plan you will create here is a highly simplified approach that anyone can follow and will help you get started with SEO. 

The steps we will follow here are:

  • Step 1: Create a list of related keywords
  • Step 2: Identify search intent 
  • Step 3: Strategize
  • Step 4: Create
  • Step 5: Optimize 
  • Step 6: Promote 

You will detail this in our simple One-Page SEO Plan template. (It is a Google Doc, so navigate to File > Make a Copy to create an editable version.) 

This plan is purposely simple to keep you focused on what matters. There is no talk of web design, technical SEO, generative AI or other fancy bells and whistles. Instead, this plan is simple and focused on what matters — creating great content that Google loves and ranks highly. 

Step 1: Create a list of keywords

Our goal here is to identify a list of related keywords.

We want to optimize your homepage, a product, service or content, so all search terms should relate to this single item.

This should give us several keywords with the same overall intent behind them.

We then want to form these keywords into an organized group.

There are a few approaches you can use here:

Talk it through  

I suggest talking this through with your team. Make a note of all the search terms you can think of. If your team has customer-facing members, they will likely have some powerful insights. 

Google autocomplete

Take your initial list and Google those terms. Google autocomplete will give you loads of suggestions in the drop-down box.

A simple tactic I like is to add your main term and then work through the letters of the alphabet and see how it alters the suggestions. For example:

  • SEO a…
  • SEO b…
  • SEO c…
  • Etc.

Pull the trigger on relevant terms and get more related searches at the bottom of the page. 

Google Search Console 

If you already have a website, you can look at the search terms you already rank for. 

You can filter this to look at the terms that relate to a single page and get a list together that Google already agrees with, and you are at least part of the way there. 

SEO tools

Various SEO tools can help you flesh out your list of keywords and get some search volume and difficulty. I would start with the Keyword Planner in Google Ads. 

Action items

Make notes in your one-page SEO plan template.

You aim to find five to 10 related keywords that work from shorter and more specific to longer tail keywords.

Get these in a spreadsheet with search volume and relative difficulty (you can use PPC difficulty as a gauge if you don’t have a paid SEO tool). For example:

  • Artificial grass
  • Artificial lawn 
  • Best artificial grass
  • Artificial grass near me

Note: If you find a keyword that goes beyond the context of what you are currently looking at, expanding on the example above(e.g., best artificial grass for dogs), then you would create a new one-page SEO plan for that term. 

Step 2: Identify search intent 

It is easy to see a keyword and the numbers behind it and be tempted to dive in, but more intelligence is needed here to refine your approach.

Firstly, you want to understand the search intent and how the content returned is categorized:

  • Are the results helpful and informative?
  • Are the results more commercial in nature (products and services)

Answering this question will help you understand what users are looking for, as Google has already run that experiment and tilted the content toward what users are looking for. 

Then, what types of content are returned?

  • Webpages
  • Videos
  • Images
  • Informational snippets
  • News 
  • Local businesses 
  • FAQs 

Often, you will find that most of the results will be of a given format (like video dominating the top of the page). 

Other times, various content types will indicate variability in the searcher’s preferred answer to that question.

For example, I recently had to do some DIY on our tumble dryer to fix a broken button. When searching for solutions, the search results were nearly all videos. By following these videos, I could easily follow along and fix the button (a big win for me as I am not a DIY kind of guy).

Details matter

When it comes to intent, the details matter. 

You can’t just look at the posts and say okay, these are informational articles. You need to dig a bit deeper than that. 

The results will typically represent the content you should create to rank for this term. 

You want to know what they are, how they are similar, what they link to and reference and start thinking about any gaps or opportunities. 

Action items

Make notes in your one-page SEO plan template detailing:

  • Informational or commercial intent.
  • Types of content (videos, blogs, etc.).
  • Specifics:
    • List-type articles.
    • Short actionable tips. 
    • Maximum 10 tips. 

Step 3: Strategize

A common mistake in SEO is creating yet another version of what is already out there. This may have worked in the past to a degree, but it could have been a stronger strategy.

The trick here is to examine the existing results, conduct an SEO SWOT analysis and identify improvements.

A common idea is that what you create should be different or better. 

If you are targeting better, try to add something new and unique that makes the content better than what already exists. If you are a contender looking to run with the big hitters, then you have to create something wildly better than what is out there. 

Often, being different is easier and better. If the competition is all very similar, being different will help you stand out and piggyback on some of the more established competition.

Another useful job here is to see what is out there and see what people are linking to. This could be statistics, guides, checklists, studies, data or anything else – but there will typically be a pattern. 

You have two jobs here. The first is understanding the commonalities between what is out there so you can stand out. The second is to understand what the competing content is linking to so you can be more like that (as this will help with the promotion of the post). 

In a previous article, I covered a range of SEO strategies to help you create unique, helpful content that blows your competition out of the water. 

Action items

Make notes in your one-page SEO plan template detailing:

  • Gaps and opportunities.
  • What are people linking to.
  • SEO strategy:
    • Original research.
    • New statistics.
    • Checklists, worksheets or something actionable.

Get the daily newsletter search marketers rely on.


Step 4: Create

By this point, you should:

  • Understand what is out there.
  • Have a strategy to bring something new, different or better to the table.

Now, you just have to build it and they will come. 

The specifics here will vary, but if you are a local plumber, it may be as simple as providing a gallery of recent work, case studies or testimonials.

If you are targeting a highly competitive search term, you may need to provide something unique, which may require a study or additional research. 

The specifics of different and better will vary depending on the keyword and location but you can’t skimp here, or SEO is not the game you should be playing. 

Action items

Make notes in your one-page SEO plan template detailing:

  • Document what you will create.
  • Create a rough outline of the content (bullet points are enough).
  • Detail any images, videos or other assets needed.

Step 5: Optimize

Here, you should note everything you will optimize on the page to follow your plan and check things off the list. 

On-page optimization 

This is not rocket science, but a checklist will ensure you tick all the important boxes.

  • Page title.
  • Headers.
  • File names and alt text.
  • Keywords in the opening paragraph.
  • Keywords in body 

On-page SEO will vary depending on the topic and format of the article. While important, think of it as the icing on the cake rather than the driving force. Your optimization should be almost invisible to a standard reader! 

Action items

Make notes in your one-page SEO plan template detailing:

  • Make a list of all of your optimized on-page elements.
  • Detail how many times you will use your keywords.
  • List all articles where you can link to your new content.

To help your content lift off, you need to promote it. There is a social media aspect and an SEO and PPC conversation, which you should not ignore, but you must build links to see the content fly in the organic search results. 

The two main types of links here to consider are:

  • Internal links. Review your site and list all places to include an internal anchor text link to your new blog post. CMS systems like WordPress will do some of this by default, but you want to list all the relevant content pieces on your site where you can link to (think promote) this content. 

Dig deeper: Internal link building for an E-E-A-T-focused content strategy

  • External links. Good external links, not the kind you can buy for $50 bucks from link vendors, but real links from real bloggers, are still crucial, especially for highly competitive keywords. We don’t have to overcomplicate this. Links help Google understand that your content is worthy! 

This is where the importance of your strategy and the overall planning comes full circle. People don’t just link to anything for the sake of it. 

You must offer something new that ideally adds value to other people’s articles (statistics are big in this industry) so they will want to cite and link to your work. 

There are two tactics that I find helpful:

  • Google prospecting
    • Here you simply Google the terms you want to rank for and find other articles that are out there where your article (or something from it, like a statistic) will add additional value. 
    • You can then contact these site owners, by the contact form, their email or LinkedIn is often easier and see if you can build a relationship with them that results in a link. 
    • I always like to try to add some value here and offer a unique comment, some other insight, etc., to make their life easier. You will have more hits than misses. 
  • Reverse engineering
    • Any SEO tool will allow you to see who links to any high-ranking piece of content. By using a tool, you can get a list of the linking domains. Then, as with the prospecting, you can create a pitch and reach out to the site owners. 

The aim is to get this manually to a position where the article ranks and has a good enough hook to generate links automatically. Remember, to do this, you have to feature something inherently linkable like statistics. 

For a comprehensive review of link building today, I recommend reading “Modern link building starter guide” by fellow Search Engine Land contributor Kevin Rowe.

Action items

Make notes in your one-page SEO plan template to:

  • List all articles and pages on your site where you can link to your new content. 
  • Identify a list of external sites for outreach. 

Measuring your results 

As a final point, you need to measure your results. Beyond this planning for the SEO itself, I would also ensure you define your SEO goals (ideally following the “SMART” framework) and establish a list of SEO measurements or KPIs to ensure your results align with real-world business results. 

Failing to plan is planning to fail

SEO can be a complex topic. SEO for even a single site can be incredibly broad. To succeed, like any professional, you need a plan. 

This approach steps away from all of the technical aspects of SEO. It simplifies the planning of a single article so you can cover the strategy and execution of a highly-ranked article in a competitive niche. 

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

Featured Post