Our SEO Marketing Strategy: A Step-By-Step New Website Guide to SEO
Arc Intermedia has helped optimize plenty of websites for better search engine performance (it is a major crux of our business, after all). And at the risk of sounding braggy, we’d say we’re quite good at it. But while our SEO clients do experience more traffic and better SERP rankings, what we think is even more important is helping them achieve their digital marketing goals. With that spirit in mind, what we’d like to do in this article is walk you through the real process of how we start off any SEO project for a new website. Now, keep in mind that every SEO project is different, and we’re not going to give away all of our secrets, but these are the basic building blocks to a successful SEO initiative:
1. Technical Set-Up
a. Set-up and Verify Google Analytics: Google Analytics will be one of your most important tools in measuring the effectiveness of your SEO efforts. GA is easy to use and to setup. You’ll also want to create a Destination Goal, which can be defined as a purchase, a contact form being filled out, or whatever you consider a conversion.
b. Set-up Google Webmaster Tools: Webmaster Tools will allow you to do things like see who is linking to your website and what search queries are leading users to your site. You’ll also want to make sure your Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools are linked, which will give you even more insight into how users are finding your site.
c. Set-up Bing Webmaster Tools: Yes, most people use Google over Bing, but it’s still worth it to set-up a Bing Webmaster Tools account. For one, Bing offers a different toolset than Google and has a few unique features that you won’t find in GWT. And you can submit a sitemap directly to Bing for faster indexing (more on that in a bit).
d. Create a Robot.txt file: The Robot.txt file restricts access to certain parts of your site by search engine robots crawling the Web. This way, certain URLs (for instance, a Goal Confirmation page) will not be crawled and indexed. Create a robot.txt file that blocks the appropriate pages and upload it to the root directory.
e. Create a Sitemap.xml file: Create a sitemap outlining the URLs and metadata for your site, then upload it in both Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools.
2. Content Set-Up
a. Keyword Research: This research is the most important part of your content optimization, because it will inform just about every on-page decision you make. Start with your sitemap and begin to do keyword research based on the concept of each page. Once you’ve felt you’ve exhausted your options, start assigning keywords to each page. No more than three-to-four keywords should be assigned to a page, and each keyword should only be assigned to one page.
b. Write Meta Data: Once you’ve got your keywords, it’s time to start writing title tags and meta descriptions for each page. This is the content that appears within actual search results pages. Note that Google restricts this content based on character limits – exceed the limit and your content could be cut off or simply not shown at all.
c. On-Page Content: Still using your keywords, write on-page content for each page (minimum of 250 words). You’ll also want to keep your headers in mind. Each page should have just one main heading tag (called an h1 tag), and it should target your chosen keywords.
d. Internal Links: If you’ve got internal links in your on-page content that point to other pages on your site, be sure to use one of your target keywords as the anchor text.
e. Image Alt Tags: Having lots of images on your site is a good thing. But search engines can’t see those images. This is where alt tags come in. These tags tell the search engines what the visual is that the user is seeing. And it presents you with an opportunity to write a descriptive, and keyword-targeted, tag for your images. Make sure all on-site images contain an appropriate alt tag.
Pretty easy, right? While this certainly isn’t everything that’s involved in launching an SEO marketing strategy for a new website, this list will help you get the ball rolling on all the basic stuff that your site needs. Just remember, it’s much more beneficial to start your new website with search engine optimization in mind, rather than trying to bake it in after launch.
Got any SEO questions for Arc Intermedia? Contact us to learn about search engine optimization services!