“7 Steps to getting started with SEO – optimizing your new Website into total “SEO Domination.”
First and foremost I want to point out that you should probably read my other blog post regarding “Top 5 things to remember when choosing a hosting provider” before reading this post. Choosing the right hosting provider is essential to your ability to being able to alter all of your SEO content, or only “part” of your SEO content (many real estate platforms, free microsoft office live small business platform – both are EXTREMELY limited and good examples of hosting providers to AVOID at all costs! Again, read the article above to get a better understand of why this is, before you dive into this topic.
1. ) Your Domain Name – Most people might not realize this, and it does happen to be one of the most COMMONLY overlooked steps in the SEO process today. I mean just pause and think about it for a second, everything kind of begins and ends with your Domain Name. Having a good domain name that “describes” your business in some form or fashion is going to be easier to get recognized on search engines than a domain that doesn’t. (i.e. hatchwise.com – name doesn’t do it justice, great site, very under-rated, but they have a big problem, and I believe it begins and ends with their domain name.)
Bonus Hint : Most people and I mean 85% of all web designers today, commonly overlook this dilemma. And that is, if and when, you choose to host more than one domain name, you want to make sure that you host the other domain on a DIFFERENT hosting provider (tnbhosting, hostgator, hostmonster, godaddy), or on its own hosting account, or a simpler way if your very “IT Savvy” go ahead and purchase an extra “Unique IP Address” from your hosting provider and make sure the NEW domain (website) points to this IP. I know what you may be thinking – “Why on earth would I go through all this trouble? Heck I know some people with 50 domains or more on one hosting account” Well this is fine and dandy but think about it from the Search Engine’s perspective, when the “robots / bots” come crawling along and index your domain names/content/meta’s/yadda yadda, and if they happen to see, which they will, that all of your domain names are all on the same hosting account – a.k.a. “sharing 1 (one) IP Address” with the same host; Then the Search Engines are going to view you as “one domain, with MANY multiple sub-domains.” – This is not what you want obviously. So if you have a website you truly want to market to the limit and take its SEO / SEM to the next level, remember to have it on its own IP or its own hosting account or just get an extra IP address for a dollar or 2 extra a month, trust me it’s worth it!
2. ) Your Title – This is a pretty obvious one right? HA, Go ahead and pull up Google right now and put this into the search criteria on Google.com (everything inside the dashes) -sitetitle: “home”- or simply click here. You should see that there are currently about 12 million+ websites that still have a page title of “Home” which is the default page title that your given with almost all platforms used today; Your major 2 (two) being “Microsoft Front Page” and “Adobe Dreamweaver.” I happen to prefer Dreamweaver, but that’s just a side note and a topic for another post. Anyway if you were to do the same search again -sitetitle: “default”- or simply click here. You will see that there are just under 3 million website with the creative platform’s default name. That’s over 15 million websites right this moment, that have neglected the second most important step in the process, Optimize your page title. Read more about your page title by our friends over at SEOmoz.org.
There are various ways to go about optimizing your title, but the first is pretty much the same, no matter who or what you’re doing – and that’s Keyword & Phrase Research. This part of the process is going to be the most grueling, I know, trust me, but it’s the most necessary! If you screw this part up, you should just call up an SEO provider and have them do it for you. I’m being serious – if you don’t have the patience to do what I am about to explain, don’t even bother continuing on. I’ve divided this Keyword and Phrase Research into 3 parts (A, B, and C)
A. ) One of the first things you need to do is pull up a tab with Google Keyword/Phrase Search Tool URL (its inside your Google Adwords Account under Reporting & Tools > Keyword Tool), then If you can afford it, I STRONGLY recommend you purchase the “Keyword Wordtracker tool” from a company that just also happens to be called the Keyword Wordtracker. They offer, by far, the powerful Keyword/Phrase Search Tool on the web today; they also offer a free 1 month trial to all new members, so that may entice you to try it. If you can’t afford 70 dollars a month, don’t fret!, there is another tool you can use that’s offered by a company called SEObook.com (they also have a great blog full of fantastic, up to date, SEO information) that I have attached a link for here SEO Toolbar, and it just so happens that Wordtracker partnered with SEObook.com and there “mini-wordtracker app” is built-in to the SEO Toolbar, which you will see after you download it. Also, this isn’t going to be needed right now, it actually won’t really be used until the end, but you should probably download it now anyway; install this plug-in here called the “SEO for Firefox” plug-in – as I just mentioned, we will refer to this later (note: Firefox may be necessary for the “SEO toolbar” and “SEO for Firefox”.)
B. ) Now that you have your 2 Keyword/Phrase search tools (google’s keyword phrase search url) on your computer, let’s get started. I want you to pull out a plaint sheet of notebook paper, please don’t ask why you’ll find out before you can say “Bob’s My Uncle” lol, and I want you to write very short, “3-5 word phrases” that best describe your business; make sure to include your direct demographic/location in the phrases (If your someone that’s marketing nationally then obviously your going to have to choose words MUCH more carefully), and keep in mind your “industry” or “niche” (as I call it) at all times - Here’s a 5 (five) phrase example list for someone who is a Personal Injury Trial Lawyer in Houston, Texas.
- i.e. “Trial Lawyers Houston Texas.
Lawyers in Houston Texas
Trial Lawyers in Houston
Injury Lawyers Houston
Personal Injury Lawyers Texas”
Does that help clarify what I’m asking for a bit? After you have a list of about 20+- “(3-5 word) phrases” that describe your business in detail, I want you to pull up the Google Keyword/Phrase Search Tool (if the link doesn’t work remember it is inside your google.com/adwords account under Reporting & Tools > Keyword Tool, and go ahead and put in the first 5 on your list all in a row (one column for each set of phrases, just as Google describes – same format shown above with the Personal Injury Lawyer) and then click Search, once logged in it won’t ask you to enter that annoying “text” that no one can ever make out anyway, lol. Here comes the creative part now…. On to step 3, or also known as “part C.”
C. ) Your Search results inside “Google’s Keyword / Phrase Search Tool” should now be up and I want you to click at the very top “Global Monthly Searches” so that it sorts by global monthly searches – If you have more of a US/Canadian demographic, then sort my “Local Monthly Searches” which basically means a total of all the searches made here domestically and in Canada. With your search results now sorted, according to your marketing demographic, go ahead and pull ANOTHER sheet of notebook paper out and get ready to write (well be referring to this new sheet of paper as the “New Keywords/Phrase Sheet”.
Now what you want to do is you want to start to jot down all of the major keywords that you see listed in front of you now, but keeping in mind the “competition” bar in the middle – I sometimes make 3 dashes or hash-marks (with my pen, so to speak) that helps me mark levels of competition next to the word – For “Low” (1 mark) “Medium” (2 marks) and obviously (3 marks) for “High”, this isn’t as big of a deal as you would think when optimizing the site but it does play an important factor when we start to optimize your Google Adwords Account.(If you want to know more about Google Adwords and setting up your account, check out some of our other blog posts). After you have jotted down all the keywords/phrases that are most commonly used in your area and that are most relevant to your business (and don’t forget to make those hash-marks so that you don’t have to go through the same trouble later on) now you’re ready to begin using the content you have written on this “New Keyword/Phrase Sheet”. Make sure you keep this “New Keyword/Phrase Sheet” (as I will refer continue to refer to it) right next to you at all times – you will be referring to it VERY regularly over the remaining steps.
Now that we have our New Keywords sheet we can finish the Title optimization, go ahead and use those keywords/phrases (that had the highest number of monthly searches, in your demographic area) to create what I like to refer to as a “keyword rich” Title; Remember to include words that have been searched most often and are pertinent to your industry and your location.
Title Example with the Personal Injury Trial Lawyer:
(i.e. Title : domain.com | Trial Lawyers in Houston, Texas | Providing Trial Lawyers on Injury, Theft, Auto, Accident, and Life Insurance)
Side Note : Also remember to keep all title’s (home page or sub pages) between 60 and 80 characters, any higher than that and your just giving yourself carpel-tunnel syndrome. And don’t neglect those sub-pages as I just briefly mentioned they need title’s and attention too ; By the way, for those of you who don’t know what I’m referring to when I say “sub pages”; Sub Pages are just all of the internal pages within a website… Best way to describe it is when you get to a website and you see there “menu toolbar” along the top of the site that usually says “Home, Products, Services, About Us, Contact Us” – well those are all considered SUB PAGES. I hope that helped some of you out there understand that a bit better.
3. ) Create Meta Description – Well a lot can be said about this topic because, and yes I’m going to say it again, “Most People, even Web Developers”, don’t realize that after you spend time optimizing your description to your website, Google may just come along and override your Meta Description with either a DMOZ description or by using its “Auto Summary Bots/Spiders.” In other words, your Meta Description that you worked so hard on optimizing has just been replaced “automatically” by Google. Now there are commands and different “courses of action” that you can take now, that will give you BIT more control of your Description with all the Search Engines, not just Google… You can learn more about those commands and controlling your “Robots” so to speak by click HERE.
Assuming you’ve read the Wikipedia blurb above regarding the “Meta” Robot commands, you should now be familiar with how to tell Google, and many other search engines, how and when to ignore information, or when to utilize it… In a nutshell, your telling Google, “don’t overwrite my Description with whatever you have on file (in those robots), I want to use my own Description!” So if you’ve done this, your now ready to optimize the Meta Description! Your Meta Description should be about 175-225 characters in length and should be very “Keyword Rich,” as I continue to reiterate, which can be accomplished by integrating all of the content rich “Keywords & Phrases” that were in your “New Keywords Phrase Sheet.” Use that sheet to create a description of exactly what it is your company does, where they do business, and who they offer business too. Remember, USE YOUR NEW KEYWORDS SHEET, this is Gold at this point. Our resourceful friends over at SEOmoz.org provided this article which helps glean a little bit of extra information on Meta Descriptions.
4. ) Create Meta Keywords – The meta keywords are actually one of the few steps in the SEO process that isn’t entirely neglected, BUT, and a big “but” here, it certainly is one of the most vastly “misunderstood” steps of the Search Marketing process. One common mistake is that many people believe that all of the phrases should be broken up individually, word for word, (i.e. they would have “lawyer, in, Cleveland, Ohio, trial, lawyer, Cincinnati, Indianapolis) basically everything separated by commas. This is NOT how you go about your keywords/phrases. Your Meta Keywords should be between 250 and 300 characters in length, and they should contain all of your “now selected keywords and phrases” from your “New Keywords/Phrase Sheet.” You should be able to fly threw this step really, as long as you have that sheet of paper right next to you still, like I said in the beginning
5. ) Headers – I can stress to you the importance of headers enough, I really can’t. Headers are being used more and more frequently and by more and more search engines on a regular basis to help them “identify” and then “describe” exactly what it is your company/blog/website does. If your not familiar with Headers I suggest reading up on the blog post Here which is a fantastic post by the guys over at SEOmoz.org. Once you’ve read that post and now that you know exactly what a header is and where headers usually go; it’s now very important to remember to make all of your headers H1 – H4 (4 headers at least), very “Keyword / Content Rich” (again, I continue to refer to that term and in the Jeremiah 101 SEO dictionary, lol, it means using the material from the “New Keyword/Phrase Sheet,” that should still be right next to you and making sure that all of your headers are FULL of the keywords and phrases that are contained inside your “New Keyword/Phrase Sheet.” Your new Keyword/Phrase sheet has essentially become your own personalized list of optimized keywords and content for your business, this is something you want to make sure you hold on to for quite a while, but you also want to make sure that you continue to update your recently created New Keyword/Phrase list, using the methods and steps described above; this will insure your data/info stays current, even with the ever changing world wide web.
Side Note: Headers have been known to increase your chance at having organically recognized and created “sitelinks.” These are fantastic outlets that link your new potential viewers to all of the various places on your website, and this is done without them ever leaving Google! Until they click on one of your sitelinks of course. For more on sitelinks and how there created, refer to the blog posts HERE, created by the experts of the SEOmoz.org
6. ) Sitemaps and Alt Tags – Sorry but I have to throw another statistic at you… “20% of all websites today, either lack a sitemap all together, or have a sitemap that is inadequate (broken, missing proper priority and link structure, and/or written totally incorrectly)”. I know that may seem crazy, but it really isn’t; the crazier part is that most people don’t realize that “creating a sitemap” is FREE, and doing it is very very simple. I like two sites in particular when it comes to creating sitemaps, for those of you who are just starting off, I suggest http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/ ; and for those of you that are more advanced users and know a bit more about sitemaps and setting “priorities” use http://makeasitemap.com. Once you’ve created your sitemap, simply upload the sitemap.xml file to your main Public_Html folder in your main root folder of your hosting domain.. Next you want to go to Google Webmaster Tools , I’ll throw in there Alexa Site Verification as well(you want to go to both, by the way to Verify at Alexa, you want to search for your domain first, after you create an account obviously, and once you find it, you want to click “CLAIM SITE or DOMAIN.” (whichever one it is, I forget ) By the way the entire point of being in the Webmaster Tools of Google and Alexa is to “upload” your “submission information” to Alexa and to upload your new sitemap now at with google at www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml and once pointed to that location it will instantly begin to filter in the new Internal URL’s associated with the sitemap.
As for the Alt Tags, you’re going to have to read a post on alt tags to understand them a little bit better before I can really begin to describe where you need them. So go ahead and read this post before you continue on (It’s crticial to have a better understanding of Alt Tag’s before you move on. Now that you’ve read that, I think you can already see where these puppies belong, cant you? Alt Tag’s essentially are a command that tells Search Engines, that look at photos/menu bars, exactly what it is that the photos are portraying or linking to. I think you can already see the benefit right there! Alt Tags are terrific for helping search engines understand images and menu bars, I mean think about it, search engines can’t read/capture the text INSIDE a photo whatsoever…. As far as a search engine is concerned it’s just a picture, nothing more, nothing less, but there’s no content; until you place your Alt Tag, example: -Alt Tag=”Trial Lawyers Search”- You have just told google that the picture or the menu bar that has an image of “Trial Lawyers talking or searching” on it is actually pointing to a Trial Lawyer Search Subpage – perfect! You are literally “taking full control” of what the “Search Engines” get to see, and don’t see.
7. ) Content – You would think this would be #1, but truth be told, I’ve seen sites with about 100 words on the entire website have a PR of 6. Now that’s not to say that content isn’t important, PLEASE DON’T MISUNDERSTAND ME, on the contrary, I believe that goes to show that 100 words, written correctly can be powerful enough, and you don’t have to be caught up “stuffing your site full of content” or full of “over powering” (too much) information. Everyone still with me? lol. Content is becoming more important by the second though (not to say it wasn’t already important!). Just recently in Oct, 2009 Google announced that it had created an entire new line of “robots / spiders” who’s sole job was to go out and find what I like to call “Keyword Matching Words” on all various websites. Keyword Matching Words mean that Google has basically made a huge “list” of words/keywords/phrases that all belong in particular categories, from trial lawyers, to call centers, to advertising agencies, Google will go to a website now and make sure that, if the site claims to be a trial lawyer site, it contains at least 80% of the words in the “list” that has been made for that particular category of “trial lawyers”… Now I hope I didn’t lose anybody there? If I did, this may help – Go to Google real quick and type in the search window “~trial lawyer”; and what you will see now is a search result page, the fancy name for what I am about to tell you is “LSI, or Latent Semantic Indexing,” but the short of it is this… All the words that appear in “Bolded Black” are your “Keyword Matching Words” or “LSI, or Latent Semantic Indexing,” - so what do you think I’m going to ask for next? Yup! Another sheet of paper folks, get one out and go ahead and start jotting down ALL of these words, page by page, go through at least 25 pages, no joke(or if you’ve started to smarten up on your own already, I take it you have a few notepad’s open on the desktop now ). After you have your new list of matching LSI words, make sure that those words are contained in at least 80% of all of your websites content (note: The way you can do a “phrase summary search” like this mentioned here is with the “SEO for Firefox” plug-in (mentioned above offered by seobook) I mentioned a while ago, for those of you that are still with me, amidst my many typo’s I’m sure. :-) If you choose to skip this step for whatever reason, or ignore this LSI factor, you should know this…. Google has been known to penalize your sites PR (Page Rank, a.k.a. Website Authority, that’s the best way to describe page rank) and it can even penalize your sites ranking organically on the SERPS if you fail to utilize these “Keyword Matching Words” – or “Latent Semantic Indexing” – but you can see why I prefer the name “Keyword Matching Words.” lol, no brainer. Anyway to wrap things up here, let’s make sure to refer to this new sheet of paper full of your LSI words or “Keyword Matching Words,” I should say, when creating and generating your ANY content on your new website.
Utilize these Tips & Tricks and your Search Engine Marketing and Optimization will go to new heights, that I assure you. If you have questions, you can ask them freely by clicking here, or by emailing us at email@example.com. If you don’t already know this, our affiliate company does offer a TOTAL SEO solution package that actually encompasses everything listed here and SO MUCH MORE, visit www.tnbhosting.com for more information on that. Thanks again for visiting and reading www.thenerdblurb.com, please come back and see us! And remember, If a nerd doesn’t know, no one knows!