For achieving the best possible results in short time, right SEO planning is very important. Following and executing plan strictly is critical part of “right SEO approach”. There are no shortcuts so don’t try to take this path. On the other side, a good SEO practitioner have to be really flexible and quickly change priorities even on major SEO tasks, following guidelines from official sources, for this you will need to have some deep understanding of latest algorithms and years of experience.
Elements of SEO Planning
From my personal experience for more than a decade I can honestly tell you that everybody need to integrate SEO strategy into your/customer site planning process, if the website isn't develop yet that’s perfect, if not a lot of amendments have to be done.
If you already have some experience, the process isn't time consuming, but should look into every possible angle and this have to be done before even think about technology choice like web hosting or CMS for this particular project. In most cases this scenario isn't possible as a matter of fact, as an SEO professional in about 95% of the cases you will work on already established website.
No matter of when you start, there are actually several critical elements to any SEO plan that need to be considered before even starting.
Web Development Technology Choices Related to SEO
As a matter of fact technology choices have major impact with SEO. I am not going to cover static websites, but choosing custom platform or some of the major CMS can play major role in SEO. On the other hand platform can be based on different programming language – PHP, ASP, JSP, Ruby, Python, etc; working closely with web developer is important, some research about particular programming language is recommended, as there is quite possible that developer will build custom CMS and completely eliminate possibility of any SEO, for example there are some platforms that completely ignore meta data and there are others based on ASP which create tons of duplicate content and 302 redirections which most likely will kill possibility for high SERP in Google.
Starting with some of most popular CMS like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal can be excellent choice as there’re are great number of components, modules and plug-ins that can fit in any needs, as well as a lot mature SEO plug-ins and components which are regularly updated in unison with latest search engine algorithms.
Web hosting factors is also important – location, speed, IP, even hosting management software. It isn’t official; however from my experience I have seen that location and IP of particular hosting may give you an advantage in Google local results.
Nature of market is something that you can’t change, some niche have a lot of competitors others does not, however every competitor have strength and weakness, even in saturated niche every website can achieve high SERP, If analysis and work process is done properly. I want to put an accent on few points: do not look the number of competitors – look how strong they are; check if top 10 listings are consistent – contain only strong and old websites or it is mixed; look if there are blended results, as well look at paid ads, if there are many ads most likely this particular keywords have high conversion. On the next image we’ve picked one particularly saturated market and very competitive keyword “car insurance”, you can see mix of very strong websites, as well as a lot of paid ads. In this case it is better to pick up some long tail keywords for SEO campaign start-up.
SEO practitioners are problem solvers, so don’t give up on any keyword or market, there are always ways to achieve your goals.
Where to Find Strong and Authority Back-links?
Without a lot and without quality inbound links, a website can’t get into top 10. Link building is still one of the most important factors for high search engine rank in all major search engines. This is critical part of SEO brainstorming during the planning stage – identify from where to get quality links and don’t limit yourself just looking for high PR or just relevant websites. Relevancy is important, but even link directories are excellent source. Diversify your link building strategy and cover all possible sources.
Understanding strength and weaknesses of your competitors is very important. First of all a competitor may discover highly converting keywords, most likely highly ranked competitors are doing something right, competitors already have inbound links from highly authority websites.
Competitor analysis is major part of SEO analysis as well as business intelligence, copy the good factors and find how to outsmart them.
Web Content Resources
If I was writing this several years ago, I would just say – get a good article writer and you are done. Well, nowadays things are a bit different – content is not only text anymore – this includes videos, pictures, interaction, games, surveys, polls, forums, blogs, etc. Search engines and especially Google “like” quality, unique and “fresh” content. A good way to go is user generated content, so at some part a website can have user generated content. On the other hand content should be published constantly, a process that must never stop. As I mentioned before, videos and quality photographs most likely will keep visitors on the page longer and will reduce bounce rate.
Don’t try to copy the same titles and publications as your competitors, if this is possible, follow Google Trends to maximize the possibility of getting higher traffic for trendy topics.
There are many ways to promote particular brand through Internet marketing, SEO and social media marketing. Naturally brand building is very long process and depends on many factors , If it is not done yet, get web designer to create “gravatars” including company logo – this will be very useful for any website that support profile image, as well useful for forum link building and blog commenting.