Engaging in proper site SEO isn't about pulling out a checklist that you can run through in a month, check them all off and say all done! A good optimization strategy consists of a variety of moving parts. Check one issue off your task list today and two more problems show up on your radar. Good SEO is kind of like an engine: There are many working parts, any of which can (and should) be improved, repaired or replaced to boost your vehicle's performance. The more your engine is used, the more work there is to do to keep the engine in top shape.

With that said, there are some basic components of every SEO campaign (not to mention a really big checklist) that form the foundation of a successful campaign. Anyone who's been around SEO for any length of time already knows these "basics," but they bear repeating for anyone who is unfamiliar as to where to begin with their SEO effort:

SEO & Keyword Research

Every SEO campaign starts with keyword research. It's critical to uncover and organize your core terms and extended phrases in order to create the optimization road map moving forward.

The SEO uses keyword information to create customized titles, descriptions and page heading recommendations, along with editing the content of your pages to make them more keyword friendly. The SEO can use your existing content and rewrite it specifically to integrate the keywords selected, as well as improve the sales conversion funnel. Text edits should includes internal linking to other important pages as well as adding strategic calls to action if necessary.

As keyword performance is measured, additional recommendations should be provided, tweaking the pages to improve rankings and conversions.

Information Architecture & Usability

SEOa should regularly be reviewing site analytics information in order to seek out and uncover site architectural issues that hinder your performance in the search engines. Using this information, they can provide specific recommendations and solutions that will build better site architecture, remove duplicate content, fix problematic HTML and a whole lot more.

The mission here is to make your site search and searcher friendly on all levels.

Content Review

A site-wide content review provides strategic recommendations designed to help you produce content that better relates to your audience, effectively uses frequently searched keywords and improves the overall sales message being delivered. The goal is to create engaging content that informs, educates and sells your products or services while also attracting visitors through the search engines.

Content development doesn't assist SEO alone, but also improves your sales process and your link and social media efforts. Without great content, your site really doesn't deserve great search engine placement.

Link Building

Your SEO should research your and your competitor's link landscape and provide you with a variety of linking opportunities to pursue. These opportunities include lists of sites, directories, blogs, and other strategic sites and the best approach for establishing a linking relationship that compliments your optimization efforts.

The SEO works to establish contact with these link opportunity sites and lays the groundwork for a (linking) relationship, submits linking requests and negotiates link placement, among other things.

Social Media

Developing an immediate and long-term social media strategy is critical to leveraging your blog, Twitter, Facebook and other social streams to your advantage. In conjunction with the SEO efforts and content strategy efforts, the social strategy pushes content in the most effective way, monitors reputation and boosts SEO performance through keyword and link targeting. Part of the social media strategy is to create a publishing calendar that can help you keep moving forward and not get caught in social stagnation.

Analytics & Conversion Optimization

SEOs need to regularly review your and your competitor's Web data to understand search performance and user trends. With this information, they can provide additional insight and strategy recommendations that assist on-page optimization, link building, social media and content development.

Based on the analytic data and findings, the SEO can conduct a/b and multivariate testing designed to test various performance and conversion options. Selecting the best performing options provides the ammunition needed to continually improve your site conversion rates.

These are just the basic fundamentals of a solid web marketing campaign. Each area noted here can produce a plethora of actions, reactions and recommendations that are designed to continually propel you forward in the search results. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the tasks in each of these categories, but it can give you a good place to start.

Follow at @StoneyD, and @PolePositionMkg.

April 9, 2012

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.


SEOs need to get out of their comfort zone once in a while, step back and look at the big picture. They need to evaluate their efforts based on the company business goals, which does fit into conversion optimization somewhat. They need to be aware of other marketing efforts, especially off line. That could also help linkbuilding. Finally, they need to know the audience and the intent. When a person searches for your keywords, what exactly do they want to find out? Are they ready to buy a product (hopefully your product)? Are they evaluating candidates? Are they looking for information? Does your content answer their question? What do you want them to do once they consumed the content? Is it a logical step?
SEO cannot stand alone anymore.

I agree completely Lyena. SEO certainly cannot stand alone. It's only a very, very small piece of marketing and, almost entirely ineffective without other elements such as social media, etc. Good thoughts!

In terms of social media, would you add any other sites apart from twitter, facebook and google+1 in your strategy?

I always tell my consulting clients that they don't have to rush through the first phase of SEO (keyword research). Take your time and really dig for the right keywords for your business and your site. Get a good mix of broad and long tail and don't forget to factor user intent int!

Rob - yes, but you have to figure out what's most appropriate for your business.

Social media is so in these days i guess this can be one of the better options right?

This is a great list for starters.

It would be fun if SEO gurus compared their old checklist they used when started learning about this industry to this new one. Some things really changed, and the most important one is social media.

I startet my SEO adventure about a year ago-I think that the best thing you can do on your own in optimization is to improve the content by proper keywords. I use Colibri Tool-it's a very nice tool to track website's position on every Google and to monitor my competition, also shows Facebook, Twitter mentions, shows backlinks and page rank-most usefull
Because when you know how you website's are positioning on which keywords and when you know how is your competition in this case-half of SEO work is behind you.

Scott, having had some luck and taken some hits in learning 'good' SEO techniques I am finding it harder and harder to convince clients what "good" SEO is. They are convinced the the Indian based company offering top rankings for £25 is all they need. Thus I think the going forward the key will be to finding the balance between cost effecting techniques and best practice. But that line is always changing and looking back I think we probably all would cringe at how we started compared to where we are now.

i am not exactly a beginner but i still learned something from your blog :)
thank you for all the links
didn't have time to check each one of them, but i will.
thanks Stoney

I agree with Stoney,
But I think Link Building & Social Media can give more ROI using targeted keywords.

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