When you launch a new website, or decide that it is time to optimize your current website for search engine ranking, you need to prioritize your steps. There is so much information out there about what factors Google, Bing and other search engines use in their ranking algorithms, especially SEO for start-ups. Do you concentrate on on-site or off-site tactics? Do you concentrate on link building, social signals, or do you simply focus on local search? There really is no one size fits all answer, as each SEO program needs to be tailored to your specific goals. However, for the purpose of this article, we will presume a small business that needs people to find it and walk in the door such as a restaurant or retail location with a brand new website.
When you have a new site, we typically break the tasks down into 3 specific components, regardless of whether it is on-site or off-site activities. The first component is basic optimization and analysis to set up your site for success and then analyze monthly reports to track your progress. The second component is local search activities to ensure when someone searches for your city or town and your service, that you show up on the SERP map or Yelp reviews. The final component is based upon building content for long-tail terms and encourage new inbound links each month. This is not really a “secret sauce” that only those in the know use, but rather simply grouping your SEO practices into logical steps to help organize your process.
With the foregoing plan in mind, the first thing that we suggest for a new website is to determine the 10 – 20 keyword phrases that you believe your customers will search for to find a solution to their needs. Once you do that, go through your website to ensure that each page is targets one of these keyword phrases and then set up titles and Meta descriptions on each page. You also should create some sort of analytics package, such as Google webmaster tools.
Once you know the terms your website is going to try to attract and have a way to track your audience and new inbound links, you want to ensure that when someone searches for your keyword and location, you show up on the Google and Bing maps. This can be accomplished by submitting to and maintaining local directory citations such as Yelp, Foursquare and creating a Google and Bing business page. You may also want to create a Facebook fan page that contains your contact information.
Finally, you need to have a plan to build content and generate new links each month to grow your site and rank for lesser searched terms. The use of a blog and videos are a great way to do this. Often times, you can even take your original keyword list and use it to develop 20 – 40 blog topics that you can write about and then post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc., as well as include a social signal button to promote others to share your content.
As we said earlier, this may not be the optimum solution for every business of every size and type, but is a pretty good game plan for most new sites and local businesses. For more information, please contact a reputable white hat SEO company to discuss your needs.