Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Optimization
80/20 To Do List™ – New Site
The step-by-step Search Engine Optimization To Do List is outlined below.
The major difference between optimizing for a new site versus an existing site is that you can take all of the correct actions from the very beginning that will optimize your site to be found, indexed and highly ranked by the major search engines. Key among these will be the proper selection of 3-5 semantic search phrases, creation of “Educational Conversation pages” based on these semantic search phrases, inclusion of Site Map pages (a XML version for search engine crawlers and a HTML version for human visitors), proper structuring of the Home Page, and focusing your registration and optimization efforts on the major search engines that handle over 95% of the queries made by Web surfers.
There are 2 different scenarios for optimizing new 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 semantic search phrase AND several iterations of that same phrase in the major search engines; (2) create and 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; and (3) optimize and submit your site’s Home Page to the major search engines.
For “large” Web sites, the fastest, most effective and least disruptive way to optimize a new site for the major search engines is to (1) create and submit 3-5 “Educational Conversation Pages” to 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 submit it to the major search engines; and (3) optimize and submit your site’s Home Page to the major crawler-based search engines. These 3-5 “educational conversation pages” should align with the major product or service sections of your Web site. I suggest 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.
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 “semantic searches”. Be prepared to “tweek” the initial selections based on what is returned when tried in the major search engines (see below).
- 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 semantic search phrases 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 semantic search phrases into the Google Search Engine, but do this as follows:
- FIRST, go to www.google.com, type one of your semantic search phrases 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 semantic search phrase 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 semantic search phrase was “yellow submarines”: intitle:”lyrics 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 for 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!
- Next you’re going to examine the 30 Web pages generated from the exercise above for each semantic search phrase. The reality is that you’ll probably have fewer than 30 Web pages to examine per semantic search phrase because some of the results will be the same in all 3 steps.
- For each semantic search phrase, analyze the following 3 Web page components on the Web pages generated in step 3:
- 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.