From the Blogosphere
Create SEO Plan
Give your plan at least three months but no more than six between checkups
By: Mohsin Khawaja
Nov. 9, 2009 06:20 AM
Learn How To Create SEO Plan: Following are the steps that I think are crucial in any SEO plan or strategy. The article will a little longer than usual, but I believe it will be noteworthy and helpful to most of the people. Let's start the SEO plan.
Competitive analysis is one such step you should take in the very beginning of your SEO efforts. It should be right at the top of your to-do list, along with keyword analysis and tagging your web site. In fact, you should probably do a competitive analysis even before you begin tagging your site. Get a list of 3 of your major competitors and note the following points:
You should realize that not every part/page of your website requires equal amount of work and attention. Similarly, if you have a long list of products then you should focus on high demand product pages first and then move on to other product pages or conversely if you can not manage the high competition at the beginning then you should focus on those products which have demand but less competition; however it all depends on your overall plan but make a decision first and then stick to it, so that you can always know what is working and what not.
Your SEO assessment should be a document that outlines the current standing of the main SEO elements of each page. It should contain columns for the element of the site you're assessing, the current status of that element, what needs to be improved in that element, and the deadline for improvement. It's also helpful if you have a check box next to each item that can be marked when improvements are completed and a column for follow-up, because SEO is a never-ending process. The elements that should be considered during an assessment include:
Note the strategies you plan to use:
It include strategies that can be efforts such as submitting your site or pages from your site to directories manually and planning the content you'll use to draw search crawlers, or they can be keyword marketing plans or pay-per-click programs you plan to use. Also be sure to include a time line for the testing and implementation of those efforts as well as for regular follow-ups.
Follow-up is also an essential part of your SEO plan. Give your plan at least three months but no more than six between checkups.
User experience is a little harder to quantify than other site-ranking elements. It's easy to say that users will find your site simple to use, that they will find the information or products that they're seeking, or that they will have reason to return to your site. But in practice, that's a little more difficult to achieve.
We now live in the Interactive Age. Most of us want to interact with the web sites we're visiting. That interaction might take the form of a poll, the ability to comment on a blog post, the downloading of a file, or even a game that relates to the site content. No matter what the type of interaction, users expect it, and search crawlers look for it.
Why is interaction so important? Simple. If you can influence a user to interact with your site, you have more of a chance of gaining a goal conversion. Goal conversions are the completion of some form of activity designed to gather further information about your user. A goal conversion can be something as simple as enticing users to sign up for a newsletter, or it can be more specific, like persuading them to make purchases.
Interactive forums: When you're creating your web-site content, consider interactive forums. If you're adding articles to your site, give users a forum in which they can respond to the article, or a comments section. This leads to more frequent updates of your content, which search crawlers love. The result? An interactive relationship with your web-site users will keep them coming back, and give an extra boost to your search engine ranking.
Take the time to design a navigational structure that's not only comfortable for your users, but is also crawler-friendly.
Caution about cookies: Any navigation that requires cookies will cause the crawler to be unable to index the pages.
Understanding entry and exit pages:
Although this aspect is a part of another topic i.e. Landing Page Optimization, but you should note that in your SEO plan about your top landing pages and how do you want to improve them. [You can find separate tutorials on Landing Pages and How to Optimize them on this very site, kindly check this: Landing Page Optimization]
Creating great content:
Two points should be kept in focus while developing content contemplating and completing. Great content starts with the right keywords and phrases. Select no more than three keywords or phrases to include in the content on any one of your web pages. Have a keyword density of 5 to 7 percent the freshness and focus of your content is also important. Also remember to write powerful page titles with compelling calls to action.
One reason many companies began using blogs on their web sites was that blogs are updated frequently and they're highly focused on a specific topic. This gives search engines new, relevant content to crawl, and crawlers love that.
Consider implementing a content strategy that includes regularly adding more focused content or expanding your content offerings. It doesn't have to be a blog, but news links on the front page of the site, regularly changing articles, or some other type of changing content will help gain the attention of a search engine crawler. Don't just set these elements up and leave them, however. You also have to carry through with regular updates.
Keep the links included in the content active:
Dynamic content links can occasionally break. Be sure you're checking this element of your content on a regular basis and set up some kind of a user-feedback loop so broken links can be reported to your webmaster.
Images or graphics on your web site are essential. You're not going to be happy with using plain text instead of that cool new logo you had designed for your company, and neither are your users. They want to see pictures.
One technique that will help your SEO make use of graphics on your site is to tag those graphics with alt tags inside the img tags.
You want to tag your images as part of your SEO strategy for two reasons. First, crawlers cannot index images for a search engine (with an exception, which is covered shortly). The crawler "sees" the image and moves on to the text on the page. Therefore, something needs to take the place of that image, so the crawler can index it. That's what the alternative text does. If this text includes your keywords, and the image is near text that also includes the keywords, then you add credibility to your site in the logic of the crawler.
If you must use content that's not original, or if you must have multiple copies of content on your web site, there is a way to keep those duplications from adversely affecting your search rankings. By using the <robots.txt> or <noindex> tags, you can prevent duplicated pages from being indexed by the search engine. That small tag of code tells the search engine not to index the page, but to follow the links on the page.
Internal and external links:
Links can be incoming, outgoing, or internal.
Using Internal Links:
One linking strategy that's often overlooked is internal linking. Internal links are those that lead people from one page to another within your web site. This is different from the navigational structure. Internal links are more natural links that occur in the text on your web pages. Without a good internal linking strategy, you run the risk of not having your site properly spidered. It's not enough simply to have a navigational structure or a site map (though site maps help considerably). You should also have links that lead from one element (like a blog post) to other important elements (like an archived article or news clipping on your site), so site visitors find that moving through the information they're examining on your site is a natural process that takes place without too much difficulty or thought.
Getting External Link:
Getting links from other websites towards yours is bit time consuming and effort seeking, the techniques require an other article to explain, but I will list common methods to acquire links.
I hope this will give you a good start on your SEO project and you can fine tune you SEO plan later on by experience. Kindly share you comments below and If you have got question, ask them here.
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