I generally implement my optimization campaigns in two phases. The first phase is a quick run through to get as many of the site pages "search engine friendly" as possible. The second is a much more thorough process that provides a complete optimization for each page.
Quick process can often be done in a matter of hours for the entire site, while the best process can take days, months, or even years to get through it.
Do SEO Fast
You can't start the SEO process until you know what keywords you are going to target. Fortunately, you don't have to complete the entire keyword research process to get through this fast stage.
Once you know what your core terms are, and what page should be optimized for each core term, you're ready to get started.
There are four things you want to work your core term into:
The goal isn't to optimize each of these perfectly; they will be revisited in more detail later. But you do want to make sure that you are working in your core term into these areas while also keeping the readability intact.
The process for each page should take no more than 10-15 minutes, but can often be done in five.
The goal here is to get as many pages optimized for their core terms as quickly as possible. The search engines will begin to pick up these keywords and you'll see some slight improvement in the rankings. Once you start the more detailed optimization process those efforts will help improve the overall performance of the site. Having the pages optimized--even on this most basic level--should help get you more exposure and better rankings overall.
Before you move into the more detailed optimization process (or at least while you are doing that) you don't want to neglect some of the site architectural issues. A lot of times the architectural problems should be addressed before you begin any SEO, but some of these elements can be done as the SEO progresses.
Do SEO Best
Once your site has been made "search engine friendly" you can start diving into the more detailed optimization process. I suggest taking a single page at a time. Doing it this way allows you to perform your keyword research on a page by page basis instead of trying to do it all at once.
In this phase you'll revisit all the things you did in the fast optimization but on a more granular level. This isn't just about working in some keywords into the content. You want to take a more measured approach to not only work in keywords but to focus on the content and marketing abilities of every area of the page.
Here are a few things you want to consider:
Title tag: You've already worked in your core term. See if you can adjust the tag to add the more important qualifiers that might also entice additional click through.
Description tag: Same as the title. You can generally work in a lot more qualifiers here than you can in the title. Be descriptive and compelling.
Headings: Ensure proper hx use throughout the page using proper hierarchy. Don't do a lot of keyword stuffing in your headings, but use them as it makes sense.
Content: Look for opportunities to write or rewrite the content to work in keywords, explain your features and benefits and keep visitors engaged in your site. Make sure you use a consistent voice from page to page and include active words with regular calls to actions. Keep your content scannable with good paragraph heading, bold, and bullet point usage.
Review the page from a customer standpoint and look for anything that breaks the intended conversion process. This includes finding poorly worded sentences, titles or headings that may fail at their jobs, and ensuring that the reader absolutely knows what they are expected to do next and/or drives them to the information they came for in the first place.
Make sure the page is able to convey its purpose visually, both with images, formatting, etc. We'll add or change things as necessary to ensure the page provides the reader with the best possible visual representation.
Internal linking: Don't miss an opportunity to link to other areas of your site from within your content. Link keywords relevant to other content, informational and product pages.
Images: Use the ALT attribute for your images and describe each image properly. Use keywords when it fits.
There is nothing quick about this process. The goal is to get everything done in the most perfect way possible before the page goes live. Go through as many edits as you need to ensure that all the elements are in their place and will do the job intended.
It's unlikely that this version will be the most perfect version either. It may take further adjustments to get better rankings or improve click through and conversion rates. You can always find ways to improve.
If you've performed the quick optimization process first, you don't have to worry about getting every page fully optimized immediately. You'll get benefit from the fast optimization which will then be expanded upon as you continue to optimize each page on a much more thorough level as time permits.
Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.
If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.
Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.
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