Ask anyone here at Main Street ROI what comes to mind when talking about November, and inevitably the answer will be “Thanksgiving!” While everyone has different Thanksgiving traditions be it watching the Macy’s Parade or afternoon football, there’s no question that the biggest focus is placed on the food. Thanksgiving dinner is most definitely the kickoff to the “most wonderful time of the year.”

Analyzing a Thanksgiving dinner is also a great way to better understand how to plan a successful SEO strategy. Read on below as I fill you in on why hosting Thanksgiving dinner is just like planning an effective SEO strategy for your business.

Hosting a Thanksgiving Meal is just like an Effective SEO Strategy

1. Planning Your Party (…the Audit)

Once you’ve decided to take on the ambitious task of being the host for the day, the first step is planning. Now, it’s important to not rush this stage. The better you do early on with your planning, the easier it will be once the celebrations are in full swing.  It’s a good idea to start planning about a month in advance.

You want to invite the right people. So who’s coming? Uncle Phil & Auntie Anne? Your brother Steve and his family? What about your best friend Katie who can’t go home to family this year?

It would be a disaster if you didn’t have enough food to feed everyone, so knowing how many people are coming is really important. Do an inventory of what you have in your house and what you’ll need to buy. Do you have enough silverware for everyone? Or do you need to stock up on additional place settings? Figuring out all of these details in advance is just like planning and preparing for an SEO strategy.

Before embarking on an SEO strategy, you’re not going to dive in head first. Each business is different, each website is different, and each customer is different. Completing an audit of your website will highlight the key areas of improvement and give you a place to start. This forms the basis of what needs to be done to improve your search engine rankings.

Take the time to formulate a plan so you’re able to set up a solid SEO foundation from the start. If you’re planning to hire a company to manage your SEO, make sure they do an in-depth look at what’s already working on your site and what needs improvement. If you want tips on how to do this yourself, check out our 16-Minute SEO Audit.


2. Menu Preparation (…the SEO Plan)

After your friends and family have RSVP’d, the preparation can begin. While celebrating Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks for what we have, I think we’re all aware that the mouth-watering food is an essential part of the celebration too. Therefore, catering to your guests’ specific needs is pretty important…

Any vegans in the house? People can be picky, but that’s fine! You’re the host and it’s up to you to provide the right ingredients so everyone can enjoy their meal. It’s important to prepare here, so order the Turkey in advance, take your time reading cookbooks and researching online for the best recipes. Instead of leaving it until the last minute, make sure to go shopping for your ingredients at the right time so there’s no rush (and limited stress) on the big day.

Planning SEO is very similar. After undertaking the initial audit, the next stage is the plan. Each project is different, so similarly to the menu preparation, it’s important to outline a plan of action. Depending on your budget and how much work needs to be done,  it’s important to accurately put together a plan that outlines the tasks over a fixed schedule.

Remember, with SEO it’s a marathon, not a sprint! I guess you can compare it to chowing down your Thanksgiving meal from the get-go – not the best idea. Take it steady, try to save room for each part of the meal and don’t overload your plate and rush everything! SEO is all about taking the required actions and being patient.


3. The Shopping (…the Technical Tune-Up)

Now, the shopping stage isn’t limited to the ingredients for your meal. This incorporates everything from wine, decorations, extra cutlery, perhaps a special tablecloth and anything else you think may be a nice addition to some Thanksgiving-themed décor.

Since you’ve already prepared the menu, you’re good to go. You know where you’re picking up the turkey from, you’ve got your list of ingredients and let your guests know what to bring. With this kind of advance planning, it’s going to go perfectly – we hope!

With SEO, the shopping stage is just like the technical tune-up. It’s impossible to start eating dinner before the food is on the table. Similarly, before you start with creating new SEO-focused content, building quality links and other on-going efforts, you want to ensure that the website is technically fine-tuned.

It may be that your website needs a new XML sitemap, installation of Google Analytics & Tag Manager, implementing the correct heading structure, meta descriptions, and titles or a combination of it all. Either way, this part of the SEO process is like making sure you have all the ingredients in place to cook a successful dinner.


4. The Meal (…and the SEO)

The day is finally here… so let’s break down the main course and relate it to some of the most important SEO elements:

Turkey & Website Content

You may have heard the SEO saying “content is king” – well, on Thanksgiving, I think it’s safe to say that turkey is king too. Like cooking the turkey to perfection, spending time creating high quality, unique content is arguably the most important element of SEO – with poor content, why would people want to stay on your website, and why would Google rank your site?

Creating well-organized content that interlinks with other pages where necessary and provides the visitor with a user-friendly experience can be challenging, but is most definitely appreciated by all. The technical elements are vital to get right, but the content and design are what people will see when they visit your website.

The Stuffing & Mobile Optimization

While the turkey is the main focus of the meal, it’s not enjoyable if it’s the only thing on the plate. Thanksgiving stuffing helps make the turkey look and taste even better.  Similarly, having your site optimized for mobile will make your content even more enjoyable for your visitors.

Mobile search now exceeds desktop search, so it’s no longer an option of whether or not you want to convert your site to a mobile-friendly design, it’s vital. People love simplicity when it comes to browsing on their mobile devices. They don’t want to pinch their screen to zoom in or attempt to click on a link and end up going to the wrong page.

When it comes to stuffing, simplicity is key. Sure it’s fine to spice it up with a new recipe, but you risk the flavors not meshing with the rest of your meal. When it comes to Thanksgiving, you can’t go wrong with a classic. Keep your mobile design simple as well so that people can really focus on the ease of use of your site and be able to engage with your content.

The Gravy & The Link Building

The turkey and stuffing are great, but without gravy on top they’d be a bit bland. The gravy is what helps bring the entire meal together. Good gravy can make or break your Thanksgiving dinner. The link building process in SEO is very similar as it is the perfect compliment for your website’s SEO.

Although SEO has changed over the years, the importance of building high-quality links has been a mainstay component; the more relevant, high-quality links that you build, the more authoritative your website will be in the eyes of Google, thus helping you climb up the search engine rankings.

Be careful with the links that you build, though, as some can be of low quality and will do more harm than good… just like some poorly made gravy can potentially ruin the meal; it’s best to ensure you’re experienced with making the real deal.

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