Today I am going to talk about the steps put forward when taking on a new SEO client or when optimizing my own sites. I use a 10 step formula which basically covers all aspects of optimization and ranking.
From competitive analysis, keyword research, directories and articles all the way through to social bookmarking. Everything you need to get started optimizing your site today, in a quick and easy to follow manner. So lets get started..
1. Initial Analysis
During the initial analysis of a campaign I will look at what your target niche is and plan around where you would like to take it. Whether that may be a service or product route or if your simply ranking for an aggregate affiliate program, the ground work needs to be laid out so you can decide on which keywords to focus on, which leads into the next stage.
2. Keyword Research and Analysis
Perhaps the most important of all the stages, keyword analysis sets the tone for your entire optimization process and will prove whether or not you are successful marketing with the search engines. I like to use Keyword Elite for my research as it has a friendly interface and makes your keyword research a breeze. What you are looking for when researching keywords are niche relevant words that have a decent amount of search traffic, but not so much as to make it too competitive. Its about finding the right balance, which can sometimes be hard to do. Thankfully there are other tools available like the Google Keyword Tool which can make this daunting task simple.
3. Competitor Analysis
Once you have your keywords selected you will need to take a look at what the top sites in your niche are doing to have those top rankings. You can use free online tools like SEO Digger to lookup their info, or you can use a more complete solution like SEO Elite which will automate it all for you (in a very similar way to Keyword Elite). Once you know what your competition is doing, or not doing, you will have an advantage on where to go next in terms of your optimization campaign.
4. Sitemap/RSS Feed Inclusion
The next step I like to do is generate an xml sitemap for google, so that the spiders can start tracking your pages as fast as possible. If you are running a wordpress blog, this task is done quickly and easily with the Google Sitemaps plugin. After creating an xml sitemap I make sure I have an RSS feed setup for subscribers, and make sure its easily accessible.
5. Search Engine + Directory Submission
While it is debated that you should allow the spiders to crawl your pages instead of submitting to the SE’s, I myself have never had any issues with this and always find that I can get my pages indexed that much faster simply be submitting to the major engines. (Yahoo, Google, Msn) Directory submission is a whole other ballgame. There are services on Wickedfire and DP for directory submission and you can usually get your site submitted to 500+ directories for pretty cheap. While this doesn’t really boost you THAT much in the rankings, it does help and should not be overlooked.
6. Social Bookmarking
Social bookmarking is submitting your site and your sites content across social networks like digg, reddit, furl, delicious, technorati and the list goes on. Even now I would consider using twitter as a social bookmarking tool. I prefer using Bookmarking Demon for my submission as it makes it quick and painless for a task that would otherwise be mundane and time-consuming. There are other free services out there like Social Marker that do the same thing in essence, so be sure to check them out too.
7. Blogs & Press Release Creation
Its a no brainer that the search engines love wordpress, so creating a blog for rankings should fall hand in hand with any SEO campaign. At the same time creating a press release for the launch of a new product or service is a great way to build steam aka traffic for your site. Once you have a press release written up I would recommend using PR Wizard to get it blasted out to over 28,000 media outlets, which in turn create backlinks and much needed publicity, a big plus.
8. Article Submission
Once you have some content on your blog/site, you will undoubtedly have some articles in which to press around the various article sites on the net. Now while there are a few major ones which gain more precedence than others, I prefer to just submit them to the whole lot using Article Post Robot. This neat little application allows you to select as little or as many article sites from their database of over 500. You can select sites with the highest PR or you can just choose the ones that don’t require a login (save time), the choice is entirely up to you.
9. Link Popularity
Link popularity is the measure of quality incoming links from other sites. The more backlinks you have from higher PR sites, the higher your link popularity will be. There are service sites out there that will check it for you, or you can go the old fashion way and just go to Google and type link:www.sitename.com and get your total number of listed backlinks.
10. SERP Report
Once I have completed all these aforementioned steps I usually do a final report to see where I am ranking and also to see what I can improve upon. I record my keywords and where they are ranking at the start of my campaign, and then do another lookup at the end of the campaign (usually a month) to see the progress I have made. I prefer to use SEO Elite for my reporting but there are a slew of programs out there that you can use.
I don’t cover link bait development in my SEO campaigns, and I don’t drive tons of backlinks using other social media methodologies not discussed. But using these basic 10 steps you can build a basis to work from, and will more than anything be a step ahead of the competition. And as niches and sites get more and more competitive, it definitely doesn’t hurt to get a step ahead.