On our last post I went through what Search Engine Optimization is. Today I’m going to help you figure out what you can tangibly do to start your SEO efforts. If you haven’t read my prior post, I’d advise you to go through it if you don’t know what Search Engine Optimization theoretically is.
Step 1: Establish what people type in when they are searching for your industry of business
For example, when people are looking for Pizza Hut, Domino’s or Papa John’s they are likely to type in pizza. Create a list of 3 – 5 key terms that you think are appropriate for your business.
What I often find is that most businesses want to maximize too many words. For now though just pick 3 – 5 general terms. In the pizza case you could do pizza, pizza delivery, breadsticks
Step 2: Check if your website addresses the terms you wrote down
Does the pages of your website reference your chosen words. Can you find traces of the word pizza in your text and titles. If you have lots of images, do the file names of the images have the word pizza in them? If you do then you are on the right track.
If not, then you need to start identifying where you can start placing the word pizza throughout your site. Essentially what you will have done is a keyword audit of your website.
Step 3: Type the search terms into Google or Bing. See what comes up
What we are doing here is essentially a market/competitive analysis. We want to see where you rank in terms of SEO. Are you appearing in the first page and if you are, are you at the top of the page. If you are a small business you most likely are not on the first page.
When you type in your term you want to see who is popping up first. Check out their website, take note of who they are and make sure to keep track of their site. In the long haul, as you advance your SEO knowledge you will be dissecting their site.
Step 4: Check Social Media and Google Places
If your in a business where it triggers Google’s local search, it will provide you with Google Places listings right in the search. This will be the 1st thing users see. Check the Google reviews, how many do your competitors have? How many do you have? See what the average number of reviews are for the top three and make a mental note to try and grow your review count to about the same. Note that the magic number is 25, if you get 25 Google pretty much will anoint you automatic top listing.
Step 5: Check Where You Are
This essentially is gut check time. You need to see where you are and how you rank. Do a quick look on each page and see if you pop up. I’d advise after about 10 pages you don’t need to look anymore. This will help you establish how far behind you are. For those who would like to know the exact rank, I highly recommend using the SEO Book’s Firefox Rank Checker.
For now we will leave it there. Make sure to check back as I lay the next step to understanding your business in context of SEO.