Search engine optimization (SEO) is the business of every serious webmaster. The process of optimizing a website for the search engines involves much more than properly constructed document headers and anchor tags. Websites are like trees: their roots are the growing collection of content presented through the branching universe of the World Wide Web. Or something. The point is that optimizing a website requires nurturing the site itself while also ensuring proper exposure to the requisite elements of the internet.
The process of optimizing your first website may seem daunting. There are many aspects to consider and many websites with which to deal. Search engine registration, keyword development, and an evolving link campaign are all required for any home-grown, roll-your-own website optimization. Further, for each site you intend to optimize, there is a plethora of related data — site links, usernames, passwords, email addresses, etc. — that needs to be collected, organized, and updated. Therefore, it is essential to properly record and consistently maintain a carefully crafted SEO log.
First and foremost, it is important to develop the basic framework of your SEO log before setting out to conquer the internet. Without a predefined system of collecting, recording, and organizing data, you will surely collapse under an increasingly convoluted maze of miscellaneous notes, links, and passwords. Even if you decide to use a single text.txt file for each SEO expidition, it is best to create and save it somewhere safe soon.
Everyone has their preferred format for organizing various data types. Here at Perishable Press, we used to employ the sturdy and highly flexible
Excel.xls format for SEO data organization. Soon, however, it became apparent that using Excel to organize SEO notes was indeed overkill, and we instead decided to use simple
.txt files for our SEO logs. The choice is yours, and will vary according to the scope, purpose, and intended audience of your SEO endeavours.
Moving right along, let’s consider a few fundamentally different approaches to the overall, or “meta”, organization of your SEO log(s). Let’s say that you eventually intend to optimize seven websites for the internet. As you go, you could organize incoming data by site, date, or SEO category. Unless you have an excellent memory, chronologically organizing SEO data will prove useless. Likewise, organizing data according to each particular aspect of the optimization process (emails, links, passwords, etc.) quickly becomes convoluted as the number of optimized sites increases.
In our experience, organizing SEO data according to website is the best method. This type of organization is often referred to as “modular” organization, and remains the optimal strategy for serious SEO loggers. With modular meta-organization for SEO data, each optimized website maintains its own file or section within a file. Such modularization of data enables webmasters to work efficiently while working with or updating all relevant SEO information for each particular website.
Light it, don’t hide it!
Begin the SEO log for each site by listing all available and/or relevant information, including the site name, URL, company name, contact name, site purpose, email addresses, FTP info, usernames, passwords, IP address(es), clients, and etc. This information will make for a solid heading for each site’s SEO data. You may also wish to include time and dates for various site-related events, such as creation date, SEO date, as well as any subsequent SEO log updates. In fact, you may even wish to include a log section to record major website/SEO events chronologically.
Within each site’s SEO log, begin with at least one solid, well-articulated, keyword-laden website description. Keep the description as concise as possible. Think about branding, optimization, and memorability. If you include an email address within the description, enlist a disposable, spam account, as you will be using this predefined description throughout the process of search engine optimization. A good description for each site not only will save you time and energy, it will help bring focus and cohesiveness to the SEO process.
The next section would be a good place to keep a working list of optimized keywords. The list may be divided into primary, secondary, and tertiary keywords. Having a predefined list of optimized keywords will prove priceless in terms of time and energy saved.
As you gather data throughout the SEO process, it will become entirely clear precisely which categorical sections are required in your log. For example, if your site is striving to dominate the latex puppet market, a category listing the top 100 latex puppet sites may be useful. You can then, at your leisure, nab these links and scope out your competition’s source code and keywords.
It may also be a good idea to gather lists of various categories of websites involved with the SEO process. Examples include lists of sites that link back to yours, sites that feature articles related to your site, forums and newsgroups that mention your site, businesses related to your site, as well as any explicit advertising done for the site. But wait, there’s more! You may also want to include sections for page ranking (Alexa, Google, et al), optimization links (link checkers, keyword analyzers, et al), and search engines with which your site has been registered.
Finally, include a section for miscellaneous notes and other random bits of data. Rather than trying to squeeze misfit chunks of data into some nonrepresentative category, dump ’em all into the random pile and work it out later.
Remember, regardless of how you optimize your site, it is critical to keep the associated information organized and easily accessible. Have fun!