Friday, October 17, 2008

12 Steps to Successful SEO

In an ideal world, SEO would be taken into consideration from the earliest stages of a new website design process, and "baked in" to the site from the start.

In the real world, however, SEOs are often called in to optimize an existing site, after all of the URLs are created, the navigation is already in place and all of the content is written. While that obviously reduces flexibility and makes certain steps impossible, the site's search performance can still be improved using this 12-step process.

1. Compile an initial keyword list

This involves two independent activities. First, generate a list of keywords based on the content of each page. Second, ask key individuals in the company (sales, top executives, etc.) for their lists of key search phrases. It's not unusual to turn up several important 2-4 word key phrases that don't even appear on the website!

2. Expand, verify and prioritize target keyword list

Use SEO keyword tools to expand your initial list of key words and phrases from step one, then prioritize the list based on search term popularity as well as value to the business. In other words, ask two questions for every key phrase: 1) how popular is this term among searchers? and 2) how likely is it that a searcher using this phrase is looking for what we have to sell?

3. Match keywords to pages

Once the keyword list is established, search terms should be mapped to specific pages. Each page can support, ideally, one "core" key phrase as well as 2-3 long tail variants. So, for example, a page optimized for a high-volume two-word phrase like "blue thingamabobs" could also be the target page for "screaming blue thingamabobs," "blue thingamabobs sales" and "screaming blue thingamabobs sales."

An excellent way to start matching keywords to phrases is to use Google Advanced Search. Enter your key phrase in the box for "this exact wording or phrase:" and your domain (in the form in the "Search within a site or domain:" box. If no good matches are found, you may need to rewrite an existing page to target the key phrase or even create an entirely new page. Read More..

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