7 Steps: SEO Planning Guide For Beginners
SEO Planning is critical if you decide to gain competitive advantage via Search Engine Marketing (SEM), and you have to plan and act ahead. It could take at least 6 months to few years depending your industry, competition, market size etc. factors, before you can see desire results provided that you do it right.
SEO is not instant noodle which can fill your needs in short time. It is a long term on-going marketing activity which rarely provides instant or short term results. Thus, many small businesses trying to take short cut by using Google Ads (AdWords) etc. paid methods to get exposure.
However, you may aware that Google Ads (AdWords) is also an on-going activity. You get nothing once you stop paying. Besides, your website gets no impact on ranking. For this reason, businesses with long vision will invest in organic SEO strategy.
In Long run, organic SEO will definitely provides better return (ROI) for your investment over paid impression and clicks.
Here under are steps as reference for your SEO planning:
- Domain Name: Domain name appears as URL in browser. Furthermore, it is one of the search engine ranking factors. Many businesses using business name as domain name which is fine. However, if new businesses those are not quite well known, business name domain name is not going to offer you benefits in SEO, unless your business name includes a keyword which is likely to be a search criteria your potential customer group will use in web search.
For example, if your business name is John’s Plumbing. If you register a domain name with johnsplumbing.com or similar ones which contains the keyword “plumbing”, this will certainly have SEO benefits. However, if domain name like johnswholesale.com where this business is wholesaling bolts & nuts, you don’t get SEO benefits from the domain name.There are options for this case. You can either add your products into domain name, eg johnsBoltsNutsWholesale.com or register multiple domain names. One for branding, one for SEO, having branding domain name mapped to SEO domain (website).
- Keywords Planning: Prepare a set of standard keywords (primary and secondary) and long tail keywords, your website content will be produced around these keywords. If your major business is fashion and accessories, you may have a big list of keywords comparing to selling bolts & nuts.Example for fashion and accessories, primary keywords could be Shoes, Dress, Tops, etc. Secondary keywords may be tall boots, shot boots, high heal, casual, cardigans etc. Shoes could be for men and woman, right? Therefore, your keywords set will contain primary, secondary and combination of these, eg Woman Shoes tall boots (long tail keywords).
Well, for bolts and nuts business, there are also large quantity of secondary keywords you can generate by using Synonyms finder, you get tons of secondary keywords to be used in your website content with White Hat SEO technique. This is a vital part in SEO planning. Google Ads provides free Keyword planning tool to generate long tail from your target keywords. There are also free keyword tools online.
- Website Structure: Quite often this is an area easily be ignored. Website structure refers to page hierarchy of your website. How many pages/sections do you want to include into your website? One page website or multiple pages? Why is this important? Search engines treat every page individually, and they will be ranking individually too. With multiple pages, you can target more and wider keywords range. This will help expending your net to catch more fish. Furthermore, internal links are one of the factors effecting search engine ranking. Multiple pages allowing you to build internal linkings.
- Contents: Search Engines see pages with long article (at least 2000 words) as content rich web page. These pages are very likely to get high ranking than short articles (thin content). No only you need to prepare content rich articles for search engines to “think” you have information, contents must be carefully plan keywords into articles without injecting too much. Over injection of keywords may face penalty because search engines consider this is Black Hat SEO which is prohibited.
- URL Strategy: Website URLs (slug) refers to links between pages/sections. Well planned website will have keywords planned into URLs. Remember that search engines dig keywords out of URLs as well. Thus, URLs are great tools for SEO. Typically, having a blog section makes much easier to generate as many keyword URLs as you wish. However, each page is not artificially for SEO purpose or may face penalty for Black Hat SEO.
- On-Page SEO: On-Page SEO is to optimize web page contents and HTML codes to make it SEO friendly by following known search engine rules as opposite to off-page SEO where using internal links and external signals. Some basic configuration for on-page SEO are Meta description, Meta Keywords, keywords density in contents (do not over inject keywords or it will be recognize as SEO cheating, will get penalty in ranking), readability of contents, etc.
- Search Engine Submission: When everything is done and launched, website URLs are required to submit to search engines (notify) so that search engines will start crawling your website for indexing.