Saturday, February 7, 2009

Creating an Overall SEO Plan

After you have set one or more goals in your mind, considering your website, now you need to create a good SEO plan. SEO Plan is a document which keeps you focused as you implant SEO strategies on your website. Your SEO plan is many more than merely a picture of what is there and what is not. Since search engines will naturally change, as the technologies develops so your plan should be dynamic, changing document. To keep up with your SEO plan, you as a SEO need to be evolving or changing as well. And that’s where your SEO plan will help you stay on track.

The Key Functions of a SEO Plan:

Web Page Prioritization

In SEO, individual pages are equally important (if not more so) than the entire site. One should assess where the site stand and what all is need to be done with current SEO efforts. Again, assess each page individually, rather than the site as a whole. This SEO plan is long term process and create an SEO plan will maximize your web site’s potential in the minimum amount of time. Highly prioritized pages should be the one which are crawled by search engine spiders on routinely basis, such as the home page of your website, or the service or product pages which are generating maximum revenue or traffic. When you prioritize your pages, you’ll also be generating a roadmap focusing your marketing efforts.

Assessing Your Website for SEO

When you finished with prioritizing your webpages, you should assess where you stand and where you need to be with your current SEO efforts. SEO Site Assessment analyzes your existing web site from the search engines’ perspectives. The site assessment enables SEO to identifying areas where improvements can and must be made such as studying and analyzing at site structure & content, existing link networks, navigability and all the other key elements for Search Engine ranking success. With your target market in mind SEO does extensive assessment based on many hours spent examining your web site.

The elements that should be considered during an assessment include:

Page content: How fresh is your content? How relevant is it? How often is it updated? how much content is there? Does the site have a lot of textual content for visitors to read and for the search engines to index? Is it done in plain text, graphics or Flash (because the last two options make it invisible for the engines)? Is it unique? Content is still important when it comes to search results. After all, most people are looking for a specific piece of content, whether it’s information or a product. If your content is stale, search engines could eventually begin to ignore your site in favor of a site that has fresher content. There are exceptions to this generalization, however. And one exception is if your content is, by nature, very rich but not very dynamic. Because of the usefulness of the content, your site will probably continue to rank well. But it’s a difficult case to determine. In most cases, fresh content is better.

Site/page tagging: The meta tags that are included in the coding of your web site are essential to having that site listed properly in a search engine. Tags to which you should pay specific attention are the title tags and description tags, because these are the most important to a search engine.

Site links: Site links are essential in SEO. Crawlers and spiders look for the links into and out of your site in order to traverse your site and collect data on each URL. However, they also look for those links to be in-context, meaning the link must come from or lead to a site that is relevant to the page that is being indexed. Broken links tend to be a large problem when it comes to search engine ranking, so be sure to check that links are still working during the assessment process.

Site map: Believe it or not, a site map will help your web site be more accurately linked. But this is not the ordinary site map that you include to help users quickly navigate through your site. This site map is an XML-based document, at the root of your HTML that contains information (URL, last updated, relevance to surrounding pages, and so on) about each of the pages within a site. Using this XML site map will help to ensure that even the deep pages within your site are indexed by search engines. If you don’t have a site map, you should create one. If you do have one, make sure it’s accurate and up to date.

Other factors include…

  • Flat hierarchical site structure
  • Acceptable use of flash (if any)
  • Acceptable use of JavaScript - JavaScript in include file(s)
  • Smart CSS use - CSS in include file(s)
  • Robots.txt is correct
  • 301 redirects, where redirects are used
  • Acceptable keyword density
  • Web Server on quality host, non-blacklisted domain, dedicated server or at least good neighbors

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