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Search engine optimization is great in that it can create nearly instant results across some major platforms. Imagine, you can add a page of content to your site and have it up in the rankings in literally weeks at most across Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL and others…
Hold it. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
Let's dissect this a bit and integrate the age old proverb of “Haste Makes Waste”. With SEO, if you try too hard and go too quickly, you're going to regret it.
First Things First
You should never create a page for the purpose of ranking in the search engines for one specific term. Sound crazy? That may be the case, but effective SEO has to be available from the ground up. Posting new pages without first thinking things through will result in some serious long term issues.
You site can become a bear to navigate… There will be a dozen pages speaking to the same exact issue, all focusing slight variations on what should be there and available for content. In short — you're going to ruin your site if you're too aggressive.
How to Develop an SEO Plan
- Design with optimization in mind: Design your site's architecture such that text links are available as a form of navigation. When you post a new page of content, make sure it has the basics in place like complete META tags, page titles, etc. In other words, do the dirty work right out of the gates!
- Check everything twice: Imagine having a great page, optimized well, with strong content and backlinks in place — only to find it not appearing in the results. After months of effort, you go back and realize that you've coded something like the title tag incorrectly, or worse yet, had a misspelling sitting there in plane site in a major area of site content. It can be disastrous, but it can also be easily avoided. Spell check your work. Check the validity of all pages you launch… and make sure you've done your due diligence on gaining inbound links from the most appropriate sources.
- Use sitemaps and a Robots.txt: There are to major protocols that you should use actively to help your search needs. The first is to police where spiders can grab content from on your site — and it's called the robots.txt file. Next are sitemaps like Yahoo's Site Explorer and Google Sitemaps available in Google Webmaster Tools. Both of these services help to show where all of the pages are on your site while also offering up direct links and proprietary scoring to each individual page.
- Focus on your users: Google tries to hammer this point home in their guidelines, but it really is true after a certain point on your site. If you want to create a great online experience and have people coming back often — do your best to improve things. Ranking in the engines may help get you more visitors — but there is little good in more visitors who are uninspired to take action.