Now that you’ve got your business up and running, and your website is being built (or maybe you’ve already got one online, good job!) you’re ready to begin your keyword research. You may even want to consider keyword research before you construct your website. Often times keyword opportunities will present themselves that will affect how you structure your website hierarchy. To promote your page(s) effectively you need to know what keywords people are searching for relative to your product or service.
There are numerous free tools in the market place like UberSuggest, Google Trends and Google adwords that will make your job infinitely easier at researching and culling through keywords. For more advanced users you may want to pay for tools like Seomoz and Raven Tools (I’m subscribed to both), well worth the money in my opinion. Both tools will help you identify, utilize, and track the performance of your top keywords easily and effectively. The goal is to find high traffic keywords with low competition organically.
You should also check out other resources like Richard Baxter’s SEOgadget which has the most amazing seo tools just using excel and api calls. I can’t believe his stuff is free. Also be sure to check out Inbound a brainchild of Rand Fishkin and Dharmesh Shah.
Every good SEO best practices checklist needs to include on-page optimization, also called on-page SEO. Essentially this is the technical side of making sure you’re feeding the search engines exactly what they want to see. There are certain items to pay attention to like:
1. H1 tags
2. Title description
3. Canonical Url tag
4. Avoid keyword stuffing
5. Anchor text
The list above is not comprehensive but certainly covers the highlights. When optimizing your website the first item to look at is your content. Use headings in the right places (titles, H1 tags, sub-titles, etc) along with making important keywords you’re promoting on that page bold, italic, or underlined. Also, link to other content (your own and other authorities on the web) with anchor text.
Be aware that on-page optimization is important but recent grumblings in the SEO world are pointing to Google releasing an “over optimization penalty” to its’ algorthim that will penalize pages going overboard on over optimizing to the point of being spammy. The rule of thumb should always be write great content, write unique content and always write content for your audience first search engines second. Definitely still optimize your site with the previous tips but keep an eye on the optimization penalty update as it unfolds.
Now that you have identified your keywords and optimized your web pages technically along with great content, it’s time to building your links. This part can be a bit time-consuming and you may find the DIY approach too much for you. If this is the case Raven Tools will go a long way here. The link manager in Raven Tools is worth the price of admission alone. If you don’t want to pay for tools, SEOgadget will have a few filler tools. Always remember great content will create organic link-building all by itself from other blogs and the social media community. It’s best practice to proactively go after links that are relevant to your content as well as generate content that is amazing fodder for inbound links. The popularity of infographics alone is a good example of organic link-building.
When you are reviewing other SEO best practices checklists remember the popular saying, “All things in moderation, even moderation itself.” Do your research, set up your site the right way, and build your links in an ethical and honest way. If you do this you’ll stay clear of penalties and be able to watch the traffic to your site increase as you continue to promote yourself.