Twelve Step Program for
When I start working with new clients,
the invariable question is what are the process steps in
a SEO project?
If you are planning a new website, the
issues are somewhat different than with a website
already online. A new website has to deal with the
which can take anywhere from 2 to 6 months or longer
based on my experience.
Completing my website
design questionnaire will be helpful. Also
complete my SEO
If your website is already online and
your home page is in Google's index (search for
cache:www.yourdomainname.com in the Google search box)
or if you have a Google PageRank, then the issues are
somewhat different. Being older is a good thing in
the case of Google. Being newly online is not.
There are two things that are important
for both new and older websites:
If you are targeting the wrong search
phrases and keywords your web will not connect with the searchers
Search Engine Optimization is mostly about words.
Without well written page copy, you will have a very
difficult time ranking for anything. Flash
webs or embedded files, words in graphics,
etc. are not content that search engine
spiders and robots can read. If you want
rankings, you must have well written page copy.
Websites designed in frames can be made to work with
search engines but a redesign will probably work
better in the long run.
The typical steps
in managing a SEO project are:
your goals for the website? Do you want
online sales? Inquiries? Information
downloads? To make referrals to another
information source? It is not unusual for
different pages in the website to have different
goals. Every page with good content in a
website can be a landing or direct entry page from
important page in the web needs to be targeted to
something people are searching for. As
noted above, if
you are targeting the wrong search phrases and
keywords your web will not connect with the
searchers you want. How do you know what
people are searching for? Obviously, you can
guess. A better way to target web pages is to
discover what people are searching for using an
online research database service like Wordtracker.
Read about keyword
services. Complete my
research needs to be refined to the most relevant
targets. This process requires both an
understanding of the market being addressed (the
client's viewpoint) and which targets offer the best
opportunity for achieving a decent search engine
ranking (the optimizer's viewpoint). Relevance
is key to conversions, so the more specific the
subject matter of a page in the website, the more
likely it is to accomplish the goal as defined in
item 1 above. Highly specific targets are
likely to have fewer competing web pages already in
the index of the major search engines, which
improves the opportunity for higher rankings.
What are the
demographics of your best prospects?
Writing page copy for a teen audience is totally
different from copy for baby boomers? These
two groups might be looking for the same content,
but how you present your message can make or break
your opportunity to create a conversion to an
inquiry or sale.
king. Once the targets are selected and we
understand the demographics of our prospects, we are
ready to begin creating page content. The key
questions are where will the content come from?
Existing information in text form can often be
edited to be suitable for the web. The
alternative is to write the content from scratch,
which is both time consuming and requires a
copywriter educated on the subject matter.
Read web copywriting
content provider and ideas on
quality content to your website for ideas to add
An important point about
content: Content that creates conversions should
be written for your web visitors - not for you - not
for search engines. Top Google rankings and
volumes of traffic to your website are of NO VALUE
if web visitors don't inquire or don't purchase?
Focus on the ratio of conversions to visitors, not
just rankings and traffic volume. And, look at
7 and 8 below.
needs to be structurally correct. Google
does a good job of making clear the things that make
a good website in their
Webmaster Guidelines. It appears to me
that few web designers take these recommendations to
heart. Read my recommendations on how to
Google hits. Part of the issue with
structural correctness is making it easy for search
engine spiders and robots to quickly find new
content in your website.
needs to be easy to navigate. Read web
usability guru Jakob Nielsen's recommendations and
usability tips. If your web visitor is
lost, your opportunity to communicate and convert is
lost. Keep it simple. For some humorous
examples of learning what to do by seeing what not
to do, visit Vince Flanders'
needs to be credible.
credibility is a crucial part of earning
conversions for inquiries and sales. Great web
usability, great content and great rankings are
wasted if folks who visit your web can't tell that
you are worthy of their trust. Read about
Stanford University's research which is a valid
today as when the study was originally conducted in
Before implementing changes to a
web already online, establish a current benchmark.
If your existing website has rankings, those need to
be preserved and strengthened? Absolutely.
A ranking analysis of your existing content is the
first step to determining how to improve on what you
may have that is working and as a basis for
monitoring the results of improvements. An
analysis of existing web statistics is also part of
If you don't have good web stats,
you need to move your hosting to someplace that
does. Good web statistics are critical to
monitoring the performance of your SEO project.
Google Analytics are good for AdWords but are not
great for organic optimization. We need good
web stats to monitor your website
performance and can show you some examples.
Links in to your web are
critical, especially for Google. Google
says in their patent applications and elsewhere that
links in to your website are equal to a positive
vote for your web content. Contrived links
like purchased links from link farms are not good.
Reciprocal links are usually
of little value. Purchasing links from
reputable directories is a
good way to get started. If you have good
content, other websites will link to you for the
value of the information in your content.
Here is what Google says:
Make sure that other
sites link to yours
Links help our crawlers find your site and can give
your site greater visibility in our search results.
When returning results for a search, Google combines
PageRank (our measure of a page's importance) with
sophisticated text-matching techniques to display
pages that are both important and relevant to each
search. Google counts the number of votes a page
receives to determine its PageRank, interpreting a
link from page A to page B as a vote by page A for
page B. Votes cast by pages that are themselves
"important" weigh more heavily and help to make
other pages "important." Please note that ranking of
sites in our search results is completely automated,
and we don't manually assign keywords to sites.
Keep in mind that our algorithms can
distinguish natural links from unnatural links.
to your site develop as part of the dynamic nature
of the web when other sites find your content
valuable and think it would be helpful for their
visitors. Unnatural links to your site are placed
there specifically to make your site look more
popular to search engines. Some of these types of
links (such as link schemes and doorway pages) are
covered in our webmaster guidelines.
Only natural links are useful for
the indexing and ranking of your site.
Here is the source for
How can I create a Google-friendly site?
A proactive strategy for establishing links over
time is key to your success. Research
and testing confirms that
it is not the quantity of links that matters as much
as the quality of websites linking to you. A
good linking campaign takes time and over time is of
Establish a plan for continually
adding content and do it.
A great website is never finished. Adding new
content is of value both to web visitors and to
search engine spiders and robots. Without new
content, the frequency of spider and robot
visitation will decrease, which gives your
competitors an opening to outrank you. Read
quality content to your website. A page a
week, a page a month, new product information, an
email newsletter published as online content,
customer testimonials are all good ways to keep
There is more to it than this, but these are the basics
of a good SEO project management process. For more
information, please contact us.