Site links are essential in SEO. Crawlers and spiders look for the links into
and out of your site in order to traverse your site and collect data on each URL. However,
they also look for those links to be in-context, meaning the link must come from or lead
to a site that is relevant to the page that is being indexed. Broken links tend to be a large
problem when it comes to search engine ranking, so be sure to check that links are still
working during the assessment process.
Believe it or not, a site map will help your web site be more accurately linked.
But this is not the ordinary site map that you include to help users quickly navigate through
your site. This site map is an XML-based document, at the root of your HTML, that contains
information (URL, last updated, relevance to surrounding pages, and so on) about each
of the pages within a site. Using this XML site map will help to ensure that even the deep
pages within your site are indexed by search engines. If you don’t have a site map, you
should create one. If you do have one, make sure it’s accurate and up to date.
You can find an example SEO Assessment worksheet in Appendix D of this book. Use
this worksheet to create an accurate assessment of your web site.
Finishing the plan
With the site assessment out of the way, you should have a good idea of what areas need work and
what areas are in good shape. Don’t assume the areas that don’t currently need work will always be
perfect, however. That’s not how it works. At the least, changes to the pages will require changes to
the SEO efforts that you’re putting forth; at most they may require that you begin SEO efforts for
that page all over again.
You can now take the time to put together all of the information that you’ve gathered into a cohe-
sive picture of the SEO efforts you should be making. Your SEO plan is more than just a picture of
what’s there and what’s not, however. This is the document that you use to tie everything together:
current standing, marketing efforts, capital expenditures, time frames — all of it.
The document should look much like any other plan that you’ll create, for instance your business
plan. In this plan, you should have an area for background information, marketing information,
plans for growing the business, and plans for managing problems that may arise.
An SEO plan is very similar. You’ll have your current standings, the goals that you plan to hit, and
the marketing efforts that you plan to make for each page (or for the site as a whole). You’ll even
have the capital expenditures that you plan to encounter as you implement your SEO plan.
You’ll also want to include the strategies you plan to use. Those strategies can be efforts such as sub-
mitting your site or pages from your site to directories manually and planning the content you’ll use
to draw search crawlers, or they can be keyword marketing plans or pay-per-click programs you
plan to use. Also be sure to include a time line for the testing and implementation of those efforts as
well as for regular follow-ups.
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