Prepare Your Site for SEO
Your web site looks good. You’ve given it all the things you’ve been told it needs: great titles; H1-H3 tags, meta tags, good quality unique content, and easy navigation. But you’re still not getting the traffic you deserve. What should you do next?
Perhaps your site isn’t quite as ready to fully benefit from your SEO efforts as you thought. Just as you need a good foundation in place before you build a house, there are certain basic things you need to have in place if you want to get the most out of your SEO efforts. This article will walk you through that preparation.
First, let me give credit where it’s due. This advice comes from Gary Beal, also known as GarytheScubaGuy in the SEO Chat forums. Every year for the past three years, he’s been giving out sets of tips for improving web site optimization. This article is adapted from his latest set, which actually forms a step-by-step strategy “that most anyone with a bit of knowledge can implement,” according to Beal. I’m going to cover as many as I can here, in some depth (I may only get through a few this time, but you can be sure I’ll cover the rest in future articles).
The first step really involves planning, and making sure your site is ready for SEO. You’ve heard the phrase “Content is king,” but you might not have thought through all the implications of it. It means getting good, fresh content on your site regularly enough for the search engines to sit up and take notice. And that means setting up your site so that it’s easy to get all that content up there.
In all likelihood, this means getting some kind of content management system working with your site. You’ll want something along the lines of WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, or some similar application. If you don’t set something like that up early on, you could end up with various pages all over the place and tons of internal navigation issues. Those kinds of issues can confuse the Googlebot and other search engine spiders when they come crawling…and that’s a problem you don’t need.
How do you know whether your internal navigation is an issue? Beal recommends running Xenu (a free tool) on your website. The tool will give you a detailed overview of your website’s navigation and tell you if there are any problems with its internal linking structure. You’ll learn all about your site’s 302s and 404s, and knowing about these problems is the first step toward fixing them. Once you fix all of your issues, be sure to create a new XML sitemap and submit it to Google through Webmaster Central.