What is SEO 2011 & how to optimize my website (DIY SEO) – Part:I
Simply SEO means Search Engine Optimization. Now you should have clear idea about Search Engines and website optimization. Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex etc. are some of the pioneer search engines where people search for news, products, services, businesses, vendors, buyers, sellers, how to do things and alike. Website optimization means organizing your website in a way so that when people search for topics on your website in search engines, they find your website’s reference in the search results (SERP), preferably in top positions people tend not to browse more than first three search engine result page (SERP).
Now, before dive into complex details on what is SEO, how to do SEO for your website and how search engines work- you should have clear understanding of some vital factors related to your website technologies. However, don’t get panic and rest assured that SEO isn’t a rocket science and you can do-it-yourself (DIY) if you enough time, generally an hour per day to spend on your website’s SEO.
A. Checklist for website technologies in relation to DIY SEO:
- Self hosted (FTP) website like cPanel where you can upload your files and can make changes to your DNS- A record, MX record etc.
- Website with content management system (CMS) like Joomla, Drupal, WordPress, Zen Cart, A alfresco, osCommerce or other customized CMS like Shopify, WebCommerce etc.
- Simple website or e-commerce website, i.e. do you have online store, shopping cart, check out option built in your website to sell product online?
- Do you have access to modify any element of your website or limited access?
- Do you have basic understanding of HTML, CSS, Java Script, and PHP? Don’t panic, if you do not know what these jargons are, still you can do your own SEO!
- Does your website require login (user name/password) to see the pages? If so, I’m sorry, you can’t SEO your password protected pages. If you have a members only section on your website along with other publicly viewable pages, that’s okay. You be optimizing only the public pages of your website.
B. Checklist for doing SEO for your website:
(Following tools & stats are essential for your website’s SEO and you don’t have any of these, I will walk you through how to do this. This is simply a checklist you should be aware of.)
- A Google account and Yahoo, Bing too.
- Verify your website in Google webmaster tool. Preferably with Yahoo and Bing too.
- Install Google Analytics for your website. If you already have other web analytics like AWStats, that’s a plus; collect historical data as much as possible.
- If you are running any online advertising campaign like Google AdWords, collect detail stats on campaign keywords, impression, clicks, CTR, bounce rate, Quality Score, Destination URL, conversions: both 1-per click & many-per click, day part, device types, network types : search, content and display, CPC, CPA, CPM etc. Collect as much statistics as possible.
- Validate your website using W3C Markup Validation Service for HTML/XHTML & CSS.
- Check your website for broken/not-found/invalid-request type errors.
- Check to see if your web server responses with correct HTTP status code.
- Check your website’s average load time.
- Check your website’s browser compatibility in all major web browsers like Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome and Opera. Does your website loads correctly on every browser?
- Are your web pages indexed and cached by search engines, especially by Google, Yahoo and Bing? If not at all or only a page or two, skip the next part B(XI) and jump to B(XII)
- Write down your keywords (phrases you think people use in search query when searching on Google) and check your websites rank, does your website show up in first 100 results?
- Research your keywords for other related terms. Use Google AdWords Keyword Tool, Wordtracker, Google Related searches, Google trends, Google Wonder wheel etc. Avoid generic terms like ‘flowers’, ‘cars’ etc and do not target single word keywords unless your keyword is very specific and has very low competition. I will show you how to research and select keywords for your website in my next post.
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All the information in hand, I mean those you have and those you know you don’t have, it’s time to start SEO for your website. Nevertheless, if you do not have clear idea on how search engines index your website and how they ranks your website, you are still in dark and with the above mentioned information, you are in dark with SEO armory. Stay tuned and collect all the information I asked while I prepare your next lesson: How to Optimize My Website (DIY SEO) – Part II.