Before Launching Your SEO Campaign
by Kalena Jordan
One of the most important aspects of a search engine optimization
campaign is also one of the most overlooked preparation!
As Im always explaining to my SEO101 students, there are
some important steps to take in advance of launching your campaign
that will make sure it has a better chance at succeeding.
Before You Start
Before you start any search engine optimization campaign, whether
its for your own site or that belonging to a client, you
need to answer the following important questions:
1) What is the overall motivation for optimizing this site?
What do I/they hope to achieve? (e.g. more sales, more subscribers,
more traffic, more publicity etc.)
2) What is my/their time-frame for this project?
3) What is my/their budget for this project?
4) Who will be responsible for this project? Will it be a joint
or solo effort? Will it be run entirely in-house or outsourced?
Answering these questions will help you to build a framework
for your campaign and establish limitations for the size and
scope of the campaign.
Next, you need to establish the project requirements, so you
can tailor the SEO campaign to you or your clients exact
You need to know things like:
1) What technology was used to build the site? (i.e. Flash,
2) What are the file extensions of the pages? (i.e. .htm, .php,
3) Does the site contain database driven content? If so, will
the URLs contain query strings? e.g. www.site.com/longpagename?source=123444fgge3212,
(containing ? symbols), or does the site use parameter
workarounds to remove the query strings? (the latter is search
4) Are there at least 250 words of text on the home page and
other pages to be optimized?
5) How does the navigation work? Does it use text links or graphical
6) Approximately how many pages does the site contain? How many
of these will be optimized?
7) What is the current link popularity of the site?
8) What is the approximate Google PageRank of the site? Would
it benefit from link building?
9) Do I have the ability to edit the source code directly? Or
will I need to hand-over the optimized code to a site admin
10) Do I have permission to alter the visible content of the
11) What are the products/services that the site promotes? (e.g.
widgets, mobile phones, hire cars etc.)
12) What are the sites geographical target markets? Are
they global? Country specific? State specific? Town specific?
13) What are the sites demographic target markets? (e.g.
young urban females, working mothers, single parents etc.)
14) What are 20 search keywords or phrases that I think my/my
clients target markets will use to find the site in the
15) Who are my/my clients major competitors online? What
are their URLs? What keywords are they targeting?
16) Who are the stake-holders of this site? How will I report
17) Do I have access to site traffic logs or statistics to enable
me to track visitor activity during the campaign? Specifically,
what visitor activity will I be tracking?
18) How do I plan on tracking my or my clients rankings
in the search engines?
19) Do I or my client have the ability and resources in place
to respond to increased traffic/business as a result of the
20) What are my/my clients expectations for the optimization
campaign? Are they realistic?
Answers to the first 10 questions above will determine how search
engine-compatible the site currently is and the complexity of
optimization required. For example, if the site pages currently
have little text on them, you know youll need to integrate
more text to make the site compatible with search engines and
to be able to include your target keywords. If the site currently
uses frames, you will need to rebuild the pages without frames
or create special No-Frames tags to make sure the site can be
indexed, and so on.
This initial analysis will help you to scope the time and costs
involved in advance. For those of you optimizing client sites,
obtaining accurate answers to these questions BEFORE quoting
is absolutely crucial. Otherwise you can find yourself in the
middle of a project that you have severely under-quoted for
and thats very frustrating.
The remainder of questions are to establish in advance the who,
what, where, when, why and how of the optimization campaign.
This will help you determine the most logical keywords and phrases
to target, as well as which search engines and directories to
submit the site to and which sites to pursue reciprocal links
Youre Now Prepared!
So now you are clear about your motivations for optimizing the
site, you know more about the target markets, you know how compatible
the existing site is with search engines and how much work is
involved in the search engine optimization process. Youre
ready to tackle the job!
Copyright © 2004 by Kalena Jordan. All rights reserved
under U.S. and international law.
About the Author
Article by Kalena Jordan, one of the first search engine optimization
experts in Australia and New Zealand, who is well known and
respected in the industry, particularly in the U.S. As well
as running her own SEO business Web Rank, Kalena manages Search
Engine College, an online training institution offering instructor-led
short courses and downloadable self-study courses in Search
Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing subjects.