Stage 1 - Initial Research

Welcome to this collection of six articles focusing on SEO Development. This article looks at the first stages of preparation for an SEO campaign.

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is the process of increasing traffic to a specific website. There are many different methods of acquiring more traffic to a website which will be covered within this collection of articles.

Search Engines can be seen as vast and efficient databases with records of millions and millions of websites. A search engine will receive a query from a user and within seconds will display the most relevant results according to the search phrase. These search phrases are made up of keywords which act like a filing system.

The most important element of an SEO campaign is undoubtedly keywords. A well planned out SEO campaign should always begin with keywords. You should see keywords as the foundations for your future campaign. If corners are cut within this initial stage, the project will never get properly off the ground and the potential of SEO will never be reached.

Factors of Importance to be attended to within these early stages are as follows:

Your Market Sector

It is imperative that a major part of the initial research focuses upon who your customers and audience are. It’s important to think about what your specific customers online habits will be. What types of sites would be of interest and what types of services and information would they require. This process requires you to adjust your mindset to that of your customer. If you can achieve this you will be able to accurately predict the type of language, design and branding to win over customers.

Market Specific Keywords

As with the previous process, you must keep your research focused on that of your ideal customer. Try to think of the kind of keywords and phrases that they would be likely to use. Which online services would they use to find what they’re looking for? Look at your key demographics and adjust possible search processes accordingly. If, for instance your target market is teenagers, it would be wise to focus on popular social media forums.

Compile a large list of all different possibilities. A good source of inspiration can be found by looking at what the competitors are doing. Check out competing websites and find out which keywords they are focusing on. This will give you a better idea of the current market situation.

Keyword Analysis

Now this stage gets more scientific and will require an in depth research into your current keyword list. By using online tools such as the ‘Google AdWords Keyword Tool’ you will be able to plug in your data and get back some constructive feedback. This keyword tool will help you determine which phrases are the most popular and what the levels of competition are like. This part of the research is very important and once complete, will leave you with a comprehensive list of the most viable words to use within your website.

Keyword Deployment

This final part of this SEO Development programme is the deployment of keywords. The best words from the keyword research should be sprinkled liberally throughout the website. Main areas of focus should include Meta data, page titles, alt tags, H1 tags and the main body content.

The next stage within this SEO Development collection will look at building the more technical foundations and structure of the website.