Attempting to implement an effective SEO on your website can be a fairly murky process for many webmasters. An even murkier question, “Where do you start?” If you’ve never implemented SEO on your website before, it can be a little overwhelming, and there is much you need to do.

Worse yet, what if you start off doing to wrong things-like implementing your optimization before you do research, only to find out six months down the road that your keyword targeting isn’t working). We don’t want that to happen, so I’ve developed an 8-step guide to help guide you as you work through your SEO campaign.

This guide will ensure that you cover your bases in an appropriate (and more importantly, organized) order. Below are the chapter headings, so feel free to jump around:

#1: Begin Gathering Benchmarking Data.

This should be the first step with every effective SEO campaign. If you think about it, how will you ever know if your SEO is working if you don’t measure some statistics at the beginning of the process? If you don’t measure key things up front, it’s sort of like flying blind.

Some of the things you should measure up front:

In addition, if you haven’t already done this you should set up conversions and/or goals within whatever analytics platform you use. This is super important, as ROI is the bottom line of all effective SEO campaigns.

#2: Identify & Overcome Crawlability Issues.

This is easily the most important step of the SEO campaign. If your website can’t be crawled properly, then it can’t be indexed, which means that chances of people finding you through a search query a zip, zilch, zero! You’ll need to review your website to identify and correct all of the potential crawlability pitfalls.

Some things to look for include:

Remember, if you’re site can’t be crawled it doesn’t matter how good the content is—or how pretty the design.

#3: Research.

It is very important to do your homework before proceeding any further with your SEO campaign. This doesn’t mean hitting the books, but it does mean a little bit of studying.

Things to look at:

Until you complete this step, you should go no further.

#4: Keyword Benchmarking.

Now that you’ve done your keyword research and hopefully decided on some keyword targeting, it’s time to do a little more benchmarking. You’ll need to utilize rank checking software to find and track your positions in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s).

Some good software to track your rankings:

And now to the meat!

#5: On-Site SEO.

Solid On-Site Optimization is at the heart of every effective SEO campaign, and is where a majority of SEO’s spend a bulk of their efforts. Basically, “On-Site” refers to any optimization or tweaks that happen ON your website. There are a ton of things involved with On-Site SEO, and each thing has its own set up best practices. However, it usually boils down to a few simple areas:

Now just remember, these may not be the only On-Site factors that will influence your optimization, but in my mind they’re some of the most important.

#6: New Content Identification & Targeting.

When working through the On-Site Optimization phase, chances are you’ll be able to identify opportunities for additional content that could be added to your website. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

Website expansion isn’t always the answer, but the way I see it—the more content on a site, the more chances to be indexed and found.

#7: Off-Site SEO.

Effective Off-Site Optimization can serve as the backbone of an optimization campaign, and is where a majority of SEO’s fall flat on their face. Basically, “Off-Site” refers to any optimization or tweaks that happen OFF of your website that can affect how you rank.

Off-Site Optimization is usually the hardest thing about running an SEO campaign, but can end of being one of the most rewarding things that you’ll do. There are several things involved with a good Off-Site campaign:

Remember, these are only a few of the opportunities that are at your disposal. This is easily the area where you can be the most creative (however creative an SEO can be), so you get it! Success in the Off-Site SEO arena is often determined by how much time and effort you put into it, and how much you want it!

#8: Review, Report, Tweak, Repeat.

This one is simple.

I will be continually updating this page as I feel the need to change or add content. It’s just the nature of the beast! I’ll be writing a set of Ultimate SEO Guides over the next couple of months that will be dedicated to providing you with best practices for every single aspect of an effective SEO Campaign.

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