Let’s talk about how to SEO a site before you build it…and make costly mistakes.

Here at Search Engine Academy, we see all manner of websites – good, bad, ugly and beyond words. It hurts my heart when I am asked to critique a website that I can tell is homemade and while I know it was done with the best intentions, it makes the stitching together of Frankenstein look like a work of art. No joke.

On rare occasions, I catch someone before they’ve plunked down money, effort or time to get a website rolling. Here are a few things of the many, many things to consider before you commit to a course of action on getting a website up and running. Or, how to SEO a site before you ever pick a template, web hosting or write the first words and verbs for a web page. These three things may not be the first tasks to do, but they are a good start. Keep in mind there are many, many more SEO strategies you can consider before you ever eyeball a web design.

Here’s the first thing I would do:

Analyze the Online Competition

If you’re starting a business, do you know who your competition is? It can’t hurt, and it sure would help! If you’re not sure who your competition online is, here are some things to complete before you begin building the website of your dreams:

If you’re a business that depends upon actual humans to visit you in a physical location, type in some of the keyword terms they would use and throw in some local terms like:

  • City
  • County
  • Zip Code
  • State
  • Region
  • Neighborhood name

See who’s on page one for the phrases. Do you see a pattern? Are one or two sites always popping up? Well, there’s who you need to overcome. Look at their site from a prospect’s point of view. Do you like it? Is it easy to navigate? Is it horrible to move around in? Do you have a benefit to offer that they’re not pointing out? Think about these questions and more as you navigate their site. If you’re not restricted to local areas, just plug in the keywords, leave off the geo-qualifiers and see who bubbles to the top.

Now that you know who you have to beat, let’s talk about you can:

Find Some High Performing Keywords

The first thing a website needs are the right keywords. What makes the right keywords? Consider these points:

  • High number of searches (demand)
  • Lower number of competing web pages (supply)
  • Seasonal variations, if any
  • Applies specifically to your business offering – not too generic, doesn’t have multiple meanings

There are ton of keyword research tools out there. Here are a few you can try:

  • Keyword Discovery
  • Google Trends
  • Word Tracker

Sort your keywords according to the number of searches, the number of competing web pages and how relevant each phrase is to your business offerings. Let’s say I want to offer business website design services.

While creating this post, I took ten minutes and found these keywords. They all have a very high number of searches, but a low number of competing web pages:

  • how to design a website
  • how to create a website
  • how to start a website
  • website for business
  • business to business website
  • how to make your own website
  • business to business websites
  • website for small business
  • create a business website
  • make a business website
  • how to make a business website
  • create business website
  • start a business website
  • build business website
  • how to build a business website
  • how to start a business website
  • creating business website
  • creating a business website
  • best business websites
  • making a business website
  • small business website designer
  • starting your own website
  • business websites design
  • setting up a business website

Here are 24 keyword phrases that have potential. Since you like these, and you came up with a large number, do this:

Visually Map One Keyword Phrase To A Web Page

Now, take your keywords and make a visual map, mapping one keyword phrase to a web page, like this:


how to seo a site - map keyword phrase to a url

The diagram isn’t beautiful, but use whatever works for you to get the big picture in your head to make a layout that is easy¬† to use and guides your prospect to the desired action you want them to take.

These are just three things that relate either directly or indirectly to SEO. Like I said at the beginning, there are tons more things to consider on how to SEO a site. I’ll try to cover more in future blog posts.

In the meantime, if you know someone who’s brainstorming a new website, why not share this information with them? You might just save that person a lot of heartache and grief. And as I always say…until next time, keep it between the ditches, umkay?

All the best to you,