Planning for SEO

When you decide to optimize your website the best way to get started is in the pre planning stages. There are so many elements that play key roles in bringing users the information they search for. Each of these elements needs to be thought out.

  • The brand (what is companies focus and message?)
  • Target audience (who are we aiming our focus towards?)
  • Wireframes (site layout and hierarchy affect SERPS)
  • Competition (understand the enemies weaknesses)
  • Content, Content, Content (this is where search engines focus the most attention next to links)

The Fresh Advantage

It’s easy for a company with a unique name to get ranked high in the search engine results, but most companies have competition. The web is full of opportunities for new sites to compete and possibly out rank older more established ones.

  • Newer companies have the advantage of the tried and true method. They can analyze the data and offer a newer more useful experience. The new kid on the block can optimize all of the content and media so Google, Bing and Yahoo! recognize the vertical searches better.
    • Can think outside the keyword box and find fresh new content with keywords that attract more users.
    • New companies make new friends among giants and share links that are highly valued.

User Intention

Determining what the user intended to search for is another obstacle that is easier to overcome before building your site. There are 3 types of categories of search intent and they break down like so:

  • Navigational – This is when the user wants to get to a particular website by typing the company name into the search bar. (i.e. The Giant Peach)
  • Informational – A user searches for an answer to a general question. (i.e. Top ten automobiles)
  • Transactional - This is when a person searches for an item (i.e. Flat screen TV) and maybe intends to buy one, but could also be researching the specific subject. If the user was more specific (i.e. Sony Viera 61” HDTV) the search engine would think they’re researching rather than buying.

SEO Development

As stated at the beginning of this page, SEO needs to be thought out. Planning is crucial and it is best done in the beginning.  Plan out your week to get one small goal accomplished a day and you’ll have your site optimized in no time. You could start with doing page titles and meta-tags. Then that would leave you with content development and internal link placement and you’re almost done with the basics!

Figuring out your site technology is crucial. Some can help and some can hurt your planning methods. Joomla and Drupal are content management sites and if setup improperly can yield disastrous results.  The same goes for certain database websites.

Determining your market

Certain markets are super competitive and analyzing who’s on top can really pay off. The example search of “cars” brought back some interesting results on Google.

In organic order the following topped the list:

  • Disney/Pixar Cars the movie
  • Cars.com (New and used cars
  • Cars.gov (Car Allowance Rebate System)
  • Pixar Cars

The first page did not include a single car maker company. This is a market that is highly competitive section of the market and shows that being a big company doesn’t automatically put you in the SERPS. At the same token cars is a pretty vague query, but the point remains the same.

Link building

Links are directly attributed to site ranking. Just like keywords, link building is a continuous cycle of marketing your site.  Any big highly recognizable company will not need links as much as say Jim’s Ice Cream Dream Shack.

  • Links are like a ballot system. Each one you get is a nomination for your site and search engines like Google take these links into account and return results to the user based on the quality.
  • Quality links are the key to success. Would you rather have 10 Gold pieces or 100 Copper pieces? Good quality links hold more weight than low quality ones.

Getting links to your site is another process that is best done day to day. Assuming your site looks halfway decent and not like the county dump, there is someone who will be willing to link to it. You submit to directories like Yahoo!, Open Directory, and Digg.

  • Beware of not so well known directories that require payment.
  • You don’t need to list your site in every free directory.
  • Be specific which category better fits your site. Check the quality of which category will yield you better results.
  • Look at sites that have high page rank for similar keywords. Check for contact information and request a link from them.