This Post is intended for readers who are just in the initial stage of the search engine optimization process of a website. Based upon domain's age, their existing status and work done, some tasks may take a long time to set-up and finish. So here is the list of priorities you should be doing in a SEO process:
- Configure Google Search Console:
Very easy but a must go step: Simply go to google.com/webmasters and log in with your Gmail account. Now all you need to add your website and verify it with any of 5 methods provided. If you are using WordPress as your website's CMS, then you can use Meta Tag option and enter Meta Tag value under the Yoast Plugin configuration.
Now, this tool gives you clear insights about your website, how Google indexes your website and some critical errors it has. Go to each tool and see how things are coming up.
Initially, you can set your preferred version of URL - WWW or non-WWW.
Second, you can apply Target audience and can also check International targeting settings if you already have coded. There are a number of methods using which, you can signal search engines about your target country and audience.
Create an updated XML Sitemap and submit it to GWT for better indexing of website.
Now wait for some days until Google gathers and displays all sections data to you.
- Bing Webmaster Tools:
Similar to Google Search Console, proceed with setting up Bing Webmaster Property for your website. Navigate to Bing.com/toolbox/webmaster and configure your website over there. Again you will need to verify your website using one of 3 authentication methods.
The same initial configurations will also go here including Setting up target country and submitting XML Sitemap.
All data will show up after some days.
- Google Analytics Installation:
For monitoring visitors and several traffic segments, Sign up for Google analytics tracking and configure your website in google.com/analytics
Fill out the registration form over there and you will receive JS Tracking Code which you will be need to code on every instance of the website. The moment you place JS code on website, it will start tracking. You can optionally apply several Filter models to extract some of traffic data like website visits done from your staff or with-in the Company's own office. This way, you can see the actual traffic from your efforts.
Do not skip Goal set-up to track Contact form submissions or other events (Newsletter Subscription, PDF Download, Video Clicks etc.) which shows user engagement on website.
- Keywords Finalization:
These are the primary choices you will go with optimizing your website for. Based upon your Keyword selections, things will change accordingly like:
- Number of Landing Pages
- The Content architecture
- Headings to be used
- Semantic Search Terms to be applied
- Meta and Alt Tags etc.
Google search console and BWT will be used here to see what search terms are resulting in website impressions and clicks. SEMRush.com will also show you the top organic terms you are ranking for. Make use of these tools to come up with preliminary choices for in-depth keyword analysis.
- Link Audit:
If the website already has good amount of links, you are encouraged to look at their quality, the anchors used and auditing them. If they are using Pattern-based linking, pure commercial anchors and SPAM back-links, I do not need to mention that these are not good for good search performance. You should get rid of these links ASAP. Poor directories, Article Links from monetizing websites and Forum Signature links - these are treated as SPAM. You will not likely go with these links and should be removed immediately.
SEO is extensive, and you will be involved in various Task lines and Inbound marketing later- but these 5 steps are the ones that you should do in very early days. As a result, you can use these insights to analyze things in later days.