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The Comprehensive Search Engine Optimisation Checklist
 

The Comprehensive Search Engine Optimisation Checklist

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Search Engine Optimise your website to rank higher and gain more brand visibility. SEO as part of an online marketing strategy. Instructions on how to improve you web presence to win new customers ...

Search Engine Optimise your website to rank higher and gain more brand visibility. SEO as part of an online marketing strategy. Instructions on how to improve you web presence to win new customers faster. Also includes a new section on Social Media & SEO.

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    The Comprehensive Search Engine Optimisation Checklist The Comprehensive Search Engine Optimisation Checklist Document Transcript

    • @KunalKripalani Search Engine Optimisation & Visibility: Strategy & Checklist Google is the search engine of choice by a very wide margin, so concentrate your efforts here and attend to Yahoo, Bing and the minor search engines if resources permit. http://gs.statcounter.com/ Search Relevance Visibility SEO Uniqueness Engine Freshness Authority Optimisation Quality The Facts: ♦ 92 percent of all search-driven clicks come from organic results. ♦ 95% of clicks come from page 1 of search engine results.i ♦ Most of those clicks go to the Top 3 rankingsii ♦ It’s clear that if you don't rank on the first page, then you may as well not be there at all. You will miss out on business. Kryptonite.co.nz | @kunalkripalani
    • @KunalKripalani Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is improving your website's visibility and ranking on the first page of Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs.) Kryptonite.co.nz | @kunalkripalani
    • @KunalKripalani 1. SEO should form part of a strategy to achieve business goals like, • An increase in brand awareness • An increase in sales / market share • A reduction in customer acquisition costs. • Increasing operational efficiency • Reducing customer service queries 2. The business benefits of high organic search rankings are the result of a well formulated and sustained SEO effort. "SEO needs to be iterative and evolutionary. It should learn from itself and its PPC sister to become more targeted and relevant to the intended audience."@RyanDeShazer So it follows that SEO does not deliver free traffic, because it requires time to first implement your strategy and then also to sustain it. That's human resources working with an analytics package. Expect to wait atleast 1 month before you start to see the fruits of your labour. There are ofcourse opportunities to reduce the financial investment by using automation tools like Wordstream, but let's not get sidetracked. By optimizing your search engine presence, you can make sure people who need what you have are able to find us more easily than they can find your competitors. This is successfully achieved through: 1. Relevance: determined by contextual keywords, volume of traffic, volume & quality of backlinks from credible (authoritative) websites and internal linking 2. Uniqueness: Original content, with unique meta titles (But don't waste your time on Meta keywords.) Meta description, author, robots etc. are important for human navigation and for search engines to properly index your websites, but they are insignificant when it comes to your rankings. 3. Freshness: Update your content frequently We want prospects to visit our website, to place orders, fill out applications and subscribe to our mailing lists. We need to know what keywords are driving tangible results,that your landing pages meet expectations and we need to measure our progress month to month and quarter to quarter. If you are an SEO newbie, you need to read Google's Search Engine Optimisation Starter Guide. For the rest of us i've created a 35 point Search Engine Optimisation Checklist to increase your visibility and rankings. Kryptonite.co.nz | @kunalkripalani
    • @KunalKripalani I also suggest you understand Conversion Optimisation to ensure continuity and relevance between your search engine results and your landing pages. Kryptonite.co.nz | @kunalkripalani
    • @KunalKripalani Contents 1. Step 1: Keyword Discovery 2. Off-site SEO: Things that don’t require modifications to your website. 3. Onsite SEO: Things that do require modifications to your website. 4. Social Media for SEO 1. Keyword Discovery What are people searching for? Are you catering to their needs? Your first step towards search engine optimisation mastery is to identify the search behaviour of your target audience. From this information, create your Keyword Glossary, which will in effect become your SEO bible. As a part of this process, create a list of your brand, product and most popular industry terms. All your content on third party websites (press releases, bloggers etc.) should link back to you and should contain some of these keywords (anchor text.) Over time, these backlinks will help you secure higher SERP positions. After we know what prospects are searching for, we have to ensure that the pages on our website cater to these needs. This is where onsite optimisation comes into play. It’s very important to address the competition factor when creating your keyword glossary. By identifying high traffic keywords with few competitors (the long tail), you can increase the chances of boosting your visibility and seeing tangible returns. You can identify these keywords and phrases using these tools: ♦ Google Trends ♦ Google Insights for Search ♦ The Adwords Keyword Tool ♦ Google Webmaster Tools ♦ Wordstream Your Keyword Glossary should contain. 1. Your brand and product names. 2. Generic industry terms that people are searching for. 3. Best selling products / services in your industry Kryptonite.co.nz | @kunalkripalani
    • @KunalKripalani Measurement & Benchmarking: Track the ROI of your SEO efforts Always benchmark where you currently rank for your chosen keywords. You ca view a listing in Google Webmaster Tools, but this data is only saved for 1 month, so you need to download the data for later comparison. Alternatively, you can also make use of tools like SEOMOZ’s Rank Tracker , Web Position or WebCEO which show you changes over time. They even have a Firefox Plugin so you can view SEO metrics for any website as you surf. Webmaster Tools for the Big 3 Search Engines: Google: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home?hl=en Bing http://www.bing.com/docs/submit.aspx Yahoo: http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/ Here’s an example dashboard to use for a monthly report: Keyword Rank Impressions Clickthrough Clickthrough % $ Value A B C Offsite Optimisation 2. Referring sites (link building): .High authority sites in your industry niche and also from .edu and .gov sites are what you want. Content links from related sites pass quality link juice. Get your backlinks through: ♦ A simple email request, in the case of your supplier websites ♦ Paying for a listing on relevant directories or sites looking to earn some advertising revenue. ♦ Providing them with content like a guest-blog-post through which they link back to you ♦ Advertising: Adwords or other networks Try to direct 20% of inbound links to your homepage and 80% to deeper pages (landing pages.) Sending traffic to your homepage usually leads to a disconnect due to the lack of immediate relevance to the referring link and the lack of continuity with regard to the product or service displayed on your homepage. Linking best practices include (see image): ♦ The clickable link text contains your keywords, not the company name ♦ This is a one-way link from another website pointing back to your website ♦ Descriptive text surrounding the link also contains keywords 3. Unique IP addresses. The referring sites should not be hosted on the same shared IP address and your website. Kryptonite.co.nz | @kunalkripalani
    • @KunalKripalani 4. Commenting typically offers no link juice because of the ‘No Follow’ attribution. This means crawlers will ignore the link that you leave with your comment. However, other people may still read your comments and find them insightful enough to want to clickthrough to your website. 5. Code optimization: Eliminate any junk code. A website with a page heavy on the backend that doesn’t display content on the front-end appears unprofessional at best and deceptive at worst. If nothing else, clean it up to speed up your site – a proven conversion optimisation tactic. You can use The W3C Markup Validation Service to help with this task. Kryptonite.co.nz | @kunalkripalani
    • @KunalKripalani Onsite Optimisation What search results do your prospects see? Do they answer the search query that was entered? Does the landing page meet the prospect’s expectations? / Is there continuity between the snippet and the landing page? 6. Avoid keyword stuffing: Repeating a keyword or phase too often will mean bad juju from crawlers. How much is too much? It might be 10% of the content or it might be 3 instances. This is unclear. If you write in a fluent conversational style rather than make attempts at a hard sell, then you will probably end up with the right balance. 7. Domain Names: Pick a unique and memorable domain name that ideally contains your most popular keywords. 8. Domain Extension: If you are building a country specific site, ensure you pick up the relevant country extension like: .UK, .AU, .NZ and also ensure you define your geographic target in Google Webmaster Tools. Also secure your domain name under other TLDs like .net, .org etc. You can then redirect these to your .com. This is a common practice of big brands and it indicates to search engines that you too are a serious brand interested in protecting your reputation. 9. Page Names: Use human readable URLS. Dynamic query strings are not user or search engine friendly. It’s common for legacy CMS systems to run on dynamic page naming conventions. If this is you, it’s time to upgrade to a modern CMS that has been built with human-interaction in mind. Meta Tags 53% of UK online shoppers say retailers return generic, one-size-fits-all content in external searches, (Retail Bulletin, September 2009) This statistic is evidence that there is room for improvement. Meta data should be unique on every page of your website. 11. & 12. Meta Title and Meta description should be specific to the information found on that page. A good Ecommerce platform or CMS should have these features built in, together with good folder and URL naming conventions. 13. Meta Keywords do not influence your search engine rankings. This tag is wide open to abuse and is therefore ignored by crawlers. 14. Internal Linking: Refer back to your keyword glossary and use these for anchor text as you cross-pollinate your website. A good internal linking structure will gain Kryptonite.co.nz | @kunalkripalani
    • @KunalKripalani you big points. It’s evidence of a proper website rather than a brochure website with just a handful of pages – typical of sales and affiliate type pages. Think about why Wikipedia.org is so successful. You can view a list of internal links that have been crawled in Webmaster Tools or simply type: link: in front of the URL in question. Sitemaps Create HTML, XML, Video and KML sitemaps. The HTML version helps people navigate your website and the XML file helps crawlers better understand and index your website. Submit using Google Webmaster Tools. 15. The HTML sitemap: Helps your users navigate your website. 16. The XML sitemap: More indexed pages, means a higher chance that one of them will hit the first page. 17. The KML file is a geographic identifier to be used with Google Maps and local search directory listing.iii 18. The Video Site Map helps you improve your site's appearance in video search results Include new tags (content, player, thumbnail location, categories, family- friendly?). Your URL must be less than 60 characters to appear in Google Search and the video will only show up if it is family-friendly.iv 19. Images: Don’t underestimate the value of images in driving traffic to your site. Images are commonly display on the main SERP page of Google and images.google.com is also a heavily used search engine. Size your images so they load quickly and name them descriptively. "CoffeCup" is too generic. "BuyAStarbucksSanFranciscoCoffeeCup" is well targeted. Also pay attention to your ALT tags (the descriptive text that gets displayed if your image does not load or when someone hovers over an image.) A great image SEO resource is Photoshelter. 20. Folder Structure: Use your keywords to name your folders and page names wherever possible. Ensure you map out your main categories (your areas of specialisation) and use this as your top level folders. For example: Kryptonite.co.nz/Social-Media-Marketing makes it clear that social media marketing is one of my areas of my professional skill sets. Keep folder names and page titles as short as possible. If your 21. Domain Name Registration: For at least 2 years. Spam and affiliate sites typically have only one year registrations. 22. Domain Age: Domains newly registered (under 1 year) have lower authority. However, new sites typically get decent search rankings immediately after launch, but this can quickly fade if the search engines determine that your site is not meeting searcher needs, ie. Your ‘bounce rate’ is very high.. Kryptonite.co.nz | @kunalkripalani
    • @KunalKripalani 23. URL & File Structure: Dynamically generated URLs filled with question marks and ampersands are generally disliked by search engines. Use a clear directory structure and a URL that correctly describes the contents of the page. This serves 2 purposes: 1) Technically: Search Engine Crawlers 2) Usability: People can more easily navigate your site. 24. Clear Hierarchy: Categories and subcategories as described above, but also within particular pieces of content: Using header tags like <H1> is good for human navigation, but is indicated as an ineffective SEO tool.v This is a point for debate but the clear usability benefits make attention to header tags worth your time. 25. Server Location: Should match your geographic target market in order to maximise site speed and increase reliability (in case an international communications link goes down.) If you happen to be using an overseas web host, jump onto Google Webmaster Tools and the equivalents on Yahoo and Bing and manually change the geographic target. 26. Unique IP Address: Your website should ideally be hosted on its own, unique IP address. If you’re on a shared hosting plan (most people are) then the credibility of your website comes into question. 27. Robots.txt file: Use this to say what pages you do not want to be indexed. This is good to prevent crawling of similar pages that could be seen as duplicate content. Submit the file through Webmaster Central. 28. Security: If you collect information from visitors or are selling products, ensure you have SSL certification (HTTPS). It's best to also to obtain a Verisign, McAfee or THAWTE secure-site certification. Verisign secured sites are now identified on SERPs and act to distinguish your website from competitors. 29. National Pride: Examples include Made in the USA, 100% Australian, 100% NZ Owned and Operated As well as providing good link juice from an authority site, these symbols can also act to increase a prospects level of comfort when considering a transaction on your website. 30. Who Are You? About Us, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use and Contact Us. are standard pieces of information that you need to provide on your website. As well as being important to convey the professionalism and trustworthiness of your site, they also serve to improve your credibility with search engines. 31. Niche and Local Directories: Find directories and reference websites related to your business and list your site with them. Focus on credible websites (they appear within the first 100 results of Google for related keywords.) Some of them will be paid directory listings. The rule of thumb is to focus on quality not quantity in your link building efforts. If your content is good enough, your backlinks will grow organically. 32. Local Business Directories: Search the internet for “Starbucks in Auckland” and the first thing you see (at the top of the page) is a map with listings of branches across Kryptonite.co.nz | @kunalkripalani
    • @KunalKripalani Auckland. Is your business listed? Get yourself on Google’s Local Search Directory so your business pops up right at the top of SERPs together with a location map. Yahoo’s directory is a paid for service, but provides good link juice. 33. List with DMOZ. This is the 'Open Directory Project' that aims to catalog and categorise everything of value on the internet. Once approved, your site information gets propagated and indexed by pretty much every search engine around. The catch is that it can take months before you get listed and they you will not get told if and when it does finally happen. 34. Frames, Flash and Javascript: Search engines have historically had difficulty crawling content in these formats, but they are learning quickly. Frames are an archaic and user-unfriendly option in any case. Kryptonite.co.nz | @kunalkripalani
    • @KunalKripalani 35. Social Media for SEO Search Engine Optimisation is always changing and its latest evolution is inseparably connected to social media. Let's explore why and how we can integrate social media into a search marketing strategy: 1. Real Time Search: The latest press releases, blogs, tweets, YouTube videos, images and fan page updates are almost instantly indexed by the major search engines. But because it's real time search, the benefits quickly fade so it's important to do two things: 1. Quite simply, make regular updates that are relevant, unique and timely - discussing current and future events. Demonstrate thought leadership. 2. Repurpose your real time content into topic related pages on your website. Further re-purpose the content from articles to slideshows, to videos as is practical. This is your unique content and makes for valuable SEO mortar. It also means your content is not lost in social media archives. 2. Content Accesibility: Repurposing your content and making it accessible through Scribd,Youtube,Slideshare, Vimeo etc. increases the odds that your content will be seen and spread. These sites tend to rank highly on Google and so securing your brand names (user names) on them is as much about online reputation management as it is about content distribution. It also increases your chances of ranking on the first page on one of Google’s preset search filters: 3. The Google Honeymoon Period: When a new site launches, it ranks highly for the first few weeks and then SERP rankings can drop dramatically if Google thinks that it doesn't meet peoples’ needs for what it appears to offer. So measure your bounce rates. SM can help keep your content sticky & fresh by increasing content sharing and facilitating the crowdsourcing process. For bloggers, this means more comments and for the rest of us, (who by now all have Web 2.0 enabled websites) it means your audience contributing valuable content which in turn gets shared and attracting more contributors in a virtuous cycle. 4. The popularity of Social Bookmarks including Facebook "Likes" Facebook Like is similar to social bookmarks like Digg,Stumbleupon and Delicious, but offers greater viral spread through your Facebook friend network. It works because Facebook is a much stickier offering than stand alone social bookmark sites. Indications are strong that more and more websites will continue to integrate with Facebook using their Connect single-sign-on solution or simply through socializing their content by adding the Like button. This Facebook Open Graph will measure relevance based on content popularity. Welcome to the Semantic Web. The Levi's Store is a good example. Kryptonite.co.nz | @kunalkripalani
    • @KunalKripalani Here are 5 easy ways to use Social Media for SEO. Kryptonite.co.nz | @kunalkripalani
    • @KunalKripalani In closing... Remember that search engine algorithms continuously change and so you need to tweak your tactics over time. Further, there are quirks in the system that makes things trickier, as demonstrated by this Patent Extract: “It may be possible for search engine (125) to make exceptions for documents that are determined to be authoritative in some respect, such as government documents, web directories (e.g., Yahoo), and documents that have shown a relatively steady and high rank over time. For example, if an unusual spike in the number or rate of increase of links to an authoritative document occurs, then search engine 125 may consider such a document not to be spam and, thus, allow a relatively high or even no threshold for (growth of) its rank (over time).” - Google Patent Extract) Congratulations! Your website is now on its way to number 1. Kryptonite creates digital marketing strategies that integrate new and social media. Client Testimonials “Kunal's approach was refreshing. From the outset he was results oriented, and his ability to quickly understand our business (www.firstin.co.nz), allowed us to prioritise the improvement of the crucial components of our offer. The result: The implementation was quick, and Kunal's recommendations represent a significant part of the 250% growth we have experienced over the last 5 months. Kunal's involvement, was a great investment - he has implemented a new approach in how we relate to our customers, and it has paid off.” Mathew Duder, Director, Firstin.co.nz “Kunal is highly Internet savvy. He has an excellent understanding of web trends which is very valuable to many companies in today's market.” Daniel Robertson, CEO, Fishpond.co.nz / Fishpond.com.au kunal@kryptonite.co.nz Twitter @KunalKripalani Kryptonite.co.nz | @kunalkripalani
    • @KunalKripalani NZ: +649 889 3792 Kryptonite.co.nz | @kunalkripalani
    • @KunalKripalani References Kryptonite.co.nz | @kunalkripalani
    • i 95% of clicks come from page 1 of search engine results. ii Most of those clicks going to the Top 3 spots iii http://code.google.com/apis/kml/documentation/ iv http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=80471 v But is indicated as an ineffective SEO tool. vi Steps to B2b SEO Accountability Resources _______________________ http://www.seomoz.org/tools http://tools.seobook.com/ Top 5 SEO Ranking Factors Keyword Rank Tracker ♦ http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com/ ♦ http://www.wordtracker.com/ ♦ http://www.ranks.nl Keyword selection tools: ♦ http://tools.seobook.com/keyword-tools/seobook/ ♦ http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com/ ♦ http://www.keyworddiscovery.com/search.html ♦ https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal Market Data ♦ Gs.statcounter.com: Determine browser usage / social media market share in almost any geographic market: Graphs and Tables. ♦ http://www.bazaarvoice.com/resources/stats Online Marketing Statistics. ♦ https://www.google.com/adplanner Stay up-to-date http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/ http://www.invesp.com/blog-rank/SEO http://searchenginewatch.com http://www.junta42.com/community/top-42-content-marketing-blogs.aspx SEO 101 http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769 Selecting an SEO Provider http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35291