- Know Your Target – You need to have clear goals and an understanding of the potential users. Is it a young male in his 20’s looking for hip clothing, a middle aged mom looking for health products for her family, an executive looking for high quality with an unlimited budget? These questions may sound simple, but just like writing a business plan it is essential to know the answers.
- Keyword Research – Don’t put the horse before the plow. You need to know what keywords your customers will use to find you. One trick is to run a short PPC campaign and do basic conversion testing. Testing with Google adwords can potentially save you thousands of dollars by engaging in natural optimization for high converting keywords. Good keyword research tools are Wordtracker & Keyword Discovery.
- Create Pages – Write good content and use your keywords appropriately in the text. In general, the more words you use the better, but it must be readable and logical. Search engines can detect poor quality writing and keyword stuffing and will downgrade you for it. Write title tags between 6-12 words that use your keywords. A good tip for penning titles is to write Jeopardy style: in the form of an answer to a question. If you have a niche insurance website a good title might be “Find Out How Green Cars Lower Your Auto Insurance Premiums”.
- Site Architecture – Intra site links and page structure are key. Link keywords on your pages to related pages. For example if your page lists the keyword “green car” link this text to a page describing environmentally friendly products. Create a navigation structure that includes all the links you will need to each subpage. Strive to make all pages less than 4 clicks from the homepage.
- Link Building – Get quality, relevant links to your site. This is a very tedious and time intensive process, but the reward is top rankings. The 2 main ways to get links are to ask for them or create linkbait. Asking for links requires personal emails or phone calls to be sent to site owners, and the success rate is generally less than %25. Creating linkbait has the potential to attain larger numbers of links from the linkerati: bloggers, journalists, webmasters and content creators. These people look for interesting and unique content and write about it.
Here is a 15 point inspection list cheat sheet for optimizing your website to get better search engine rankings. Proper on page