SEO To Do List – Existing Site

Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Optimization

80/20 To Do List™ – Existing Site

The step-by-step Search Engine Optimization To Do List is outlined below.

Executive Summary:

I think there are 2 different scenarios for optimizing existing Web sites – one for small Web sites (approximately 10 pages), and another for sites with more pages and/or multiple product/service sections.

For “small” Web sites, the goal should be to (1) optimize the site for one major “Educational Conversation” AND several iterations of that same conversation in the major search engines; (2) create or re-optimize your “Site Map” pages (a XML version for search engine crawlers and a HTML version for human visitors) and via submit it to the major crawler-based search engines via the search engines’ Webmaster Tools application; and (3) re-optimize your site’s Home Page.

For “large” Web sites, the fastest, most effective and least disruptive way to optimize an existing site for the major search engines is to (1) create 3-5 “Educational Conversation” Web pages; (2) create or re-optimize your “Site Map” pages (a XML version for search engine crawlers and a HTML version for human visitors) and submit it to the major crawler-based search engines via the search engines’ Webmaster Tools application; and (3) re-optimize your site’s Home Page.

These 3-5 “Educational Conversation” pages should align with the major product or service sections of your Web site. I suggest creating and optimizing 3-5 educational conversation pages in this exercise because optimizing that many pages is a formidable task.

If you follow this “80/20 Search Engine Optimization To Do List”, it will provide you with the greatest traffic volume from search engines for the least amount of search engine optimization effort (a form of the “80/20 rule”).

Let’s get started!

  • Whether your Web site is large or small, the FIRST STEP is to sit down with a pad of paper and describe in as much detail as possible the characteristics of the major “Buyer Personas” that you are most interested in attracting to your Web site.

    Buyer Persona
    – what’s that? Here’s a primer on the subject from HubSpot: How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your Business [Free Persona Template]
    SECOND, now that you have a clear idea of who your major Buyer Personas are, next you need to write down the type of “semantic searches” those folks who want to learn more about the problems that your product or service solves would search for in Google or the other major search engines.
  • This step is the KEY to a successful “on the page” Search Engine Optimization effort, so put as much time as necessary into selecting these key “semantic searches”. Be prepared to “tweek” the initial selections based on what is returned when tried in Google.
  • Example: simple keyword phrase search: “buy flowers boston” (without the quotes); semantic search: “need to buy a dozen roses in downtown boston today” or more simply for searching purposes: “buy dozen roses boston today” (again without the quotes).
  • When you finish this exercise, you should have identified 3-5 key semantic searches that are closely related to the products, services and/or topics discussed on your Web site, and are popular enough to attract a sizable amount of search traffic based on researching these phrases in a major search engine like Google.
  • Enter your 3-5 key semantic searches only into the Google Search Engine, but do it as follows:
    • FIRST, go to www.google.com, type one of your key semantic searches into the Google search box on that page and press the Enter key. Note the number of results returned and print the top 10 search results.
    • SECOND, type the same quote into the Google search box, but this time surround it with quotation marks, and press the enter key. Note the number of results returned and print the top 10 search results.
    • FINALLY, first type in the phrase “intitle:” into the Google search box, then add the key semantic search in quotes, and press the enter key. Note the number of results returned and print the top 10 search results. (Here’s what your search box entry would look like if your key search phrase was “yellow submarines”: intitle:”yellow submarines”)
    • What you have done in this short exercise is found out how many search results Google returns for the typical manner that a search phrase is entered (no quotation marks), how many search results Google returns for pages that contain that exact phrase at least once (quotation marks), and how many search results Google returns for pages that contain that exact phrase in the Title Tag of that page (see below).
      This final step will help you identify those Web pages that have had at least some amount of search engine optimization applied to them relative to the search phrases you are working with. These pages are your real SEO competition for that phrase!
  • For each key semantic search phrase, analyze the following 3 Web page components on the Web pages generated above:
    • Page Title Tag (use the “View | Source” command in your Web browser to view Title tag)
    • META Description Tag (use the “View | Source” command in your Web browser to view META Description tag)
    • First 250 words (approximately) of the “visible” page text – this is the text you can actually see when viewing the page in your Web browser

    Note: We will also look at visible text in each internal hyperlink pointing to that page later in this exercise

    These 3 items are the most important “on-the-page” components for the search engines we’re interested in optimizing for.

SEO TO DO List – Existing Site – Page 2