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A SEO Project Checklist by Reg Charie

A SEO Project Checklist.

An old saw that exactly fits a SEO project is "Fail to plan - Plan to fail".

The order you do the SEO process is most important as each factor has a place in the system.
The system takes everything into consideration, at least as many factors as possible, given one's knowledge of Google's Algorithms.

  1. Hosting location.
    If you are going with a country specific domain then host in that country.
    A minor point in the authority hierarchy.
     
  2. Define your product.
    Write out a list of keywords.
    If you are selling multiple products/services write the list in declining order of sales, (profit)
     
  3. Do your keyword due diligence.
    Use the Google keyword tool to read and report on your site.
     
    1. Use the "Website" field and enter your URL.
    2. Have the tool generate a list of phrases.
    3. Export the list to Excel.
    4. Sort by difficulty (competition) - Lower is better.
       
  4. Pick your keywords based on a 3 word term
    The majority of searches are done with this value.
    Long-tail terms (Long-tail = more words) convert the best, and have easy to get top rankings.
    Short-tail brings more traffic - this also means higher bounce rates, one of the 200+ signals. (CTR/BR)
    Short-tail also means more work building the information silo so as to compete with the established authority sites.
    Put this list aside.
     
  5. Search Google for your keyword list.
    Record the amount of competing sites for each KW phrase.
    Check out the competition looking for:
    1. Keyword in URL Domain name and path.
    2. Keywords in title
    3. Keywords in description
    4. Keywords in Logo
    5. Keywords in h1
    6. keywords in h2
       
  6. From your keyword list, pick a phrase with the least competition.
    Don't worry about the KW tool's global or local searches yet.
    Do not believe the figures.
    Do not expect xx amount of traffic for a #1 listing based on their figures. It just does not happen.
     
  7. MOST IMPORTANT -> Get a domain name with 2 or 3 keywords. Separate with a - (hyphen)
    2 reasons for the -.  
    #1  it is easier to read. 
    #2 - in database language the use of a hyphen means more than a space artificially inserted by the word detection algo.
    If you want a branded or short domain name, get that too and forward it to the keyword heavy domain name.
     
  8. Choose your software carefully.
    You need a SEO friendly variety. One that prompts you to put title, description, and keyword tags on EACH page.
    My choice is the well proven "Loaded Commerce"  which is the latest iteration of CRELoaded.
     
  9. While in the development phase, exclude Google and all search engines.
     
  10. Build your main page.
    1. Use a CSS image replacement for your logo If your logo has keywords in it.
      Make certain these words are in the largest text on the page.
    2. If your logo does not have your keywords in it, use alt text not image replacement.
    3. Make certain your keywords are in the page header in the largest text on the page. Use a

      <h1>tag</h1>


      We want to let the incoming visitors know what the page is about immediately.
      Use your keywords in the body only when absolutely necessary.
    4. Keep the header as clean as possible. NO out links. NO navigation.
    5. Build your navigation in the left column, starting at the top.
      This is a key position as determined by eye tracking and is the next in the code hierarchy.
      This section should be h2 and worded to describe h1.  Again, only use the primary phrase as little as possible.
      You don't need Fram Filters /fram oil filters/ fram air filters. 
      Fram would be in the header.
      Filters would be the navigation category h2 and oil and air would be links under that.
    6. Ignore the urge to place a site map at the bottom of every page.
      The page rank passed to internal pages is a factor of how many links are on the page.
      If your navigation is properly done you will not need a sitemap. (See below)
    7. Forget about putting a site map on your site. Just get the navigation correct.
      A sitemap is a crutch for poor navigation and if it IS poor, you will most likely get a +Penalty.
      See Google webmaster central post http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Webmasters/thread?tid=17ade056ba60cc3c&hl=en
      "Google’s Webspam team is working with our Sitemaps team to alert some (but not all) site owners of penalties for their site." was posted by Matt Cutts.
       
  11. Build your internal pages.
    The main page is your index to internal content and the internal pages the meat.
     
  12. Get Listed
    Remove your search engine exclusion.
    All you need to start is ONE good link.
    Get it on a page with relevant content. If both page's titles have similar keywords, consider it a bonus.
     
  13. Build traffic.
    Seek out the sites that will benefit from your input and place links.
    START LOCALLY - I cannot say that enough. Get your physical address and phone in the header.
    Don't worry about nofollow tags, you are linking for people, and not to influence Google's results.
    Forget about finding the high PR sites. You will get better results from relevant pages regardless of PR than you will with links on a high PR page that is not relevant to your topic.
     
  14. Watch your metrics.
    Keep tracking usage patterns and metrics.
    www.CrazeyEgg.com and eXTReMe tracker are 2 good additions to Google Analytics and AwStats.

Done correctly, you will find you have top positions right from the start.
When I started this site I targeted a long tail because it was relevant and none of the big guys was using it.
On the first publishing I got a #1 in a field of over 19 million competing sites with Search Engine World coming in at #2.
They had 277,000 links from about 8000+ domains.
 

best,
Reg

Contact me by email or Instant Messenger:
http://nbs-seo.com/seo/contact_us.php

This article was published on Tuesday 25 October, 2011.
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