Building a Foundation for Successful SEO
Before you even start a SEO campaign, you need to have certain fundamental elements in place. In this section of the white paper, we’re going to go over these important pre-requisites.
This may seem like common sense, but before you can start an SEO campaign, you need to have a website that is publicly accessible online. The primary building blocks of a website are: domain, hosting and content.
The domain of your website is like the address of your website. It’s what someone would type directly into a URL bar to get to your home page. Your actual website address is really going to be a string of numbers called an IP address, but since remembering a long string of numbers really isn’t convenient, early internet pioneers created what’s called the Domain Name System (DNS). This system is like an address book that matches the IP address where your website is hosted with a domain name (i.e. www.yourdomain.com).
There are a number of factors relating to your domain that are important to consider for SEO purposes. Among them are:
- Domain Age – Generally speaking, a domain that has been around longer will have an edge in ranking. Therefore, a business that has had a website longer would have an edge in ranking, if all other factors were the same.
- Length of Domain Registration – If you have purchased your domain registration for an extended period of time, it can signal to Google that you’re a real business that plans on sticking around. Therefore, it’s recommended that you register your domain for years in advance.
- Domain Name – It used to be that having keywords in your domain name could help you rank higher. But, as more and more marketers abused this, Google started to devalue this ranking factor in favor of people using branded domain names. It still plays some role in ranking, but not as much as it used to.
Where you host your website is important, because it can affect website performance, which in turn can affect SEO. You want to make sure you choose a host that will ensure your website is always up and running (i.e. limited down time), that has plenty of bandwidth so it doesn’t slow down or fail in high-traffic situations, and that delivers information fast so that your website loads quickly.
At LiveRez, we host our partners’ websites for them through RackSpace, one of the nation’s top data hosting solutions. It provides incredible reliability, lots of bandwidth and great speed.
While we’ll cover content in much more detail later, it’s important that your website has content on it that Google can access. This content will give cues to Google about what your site is about.
Tracking is particularly important for measuring how your SEO efforts are performing. If you don’t have a good baseline of data, it’s hard to tell if what you are doing is working. And, without data you won’t be able to identify the areas where you need to improve.
At minimum, you’ll need to set up tracking through Google Analytics and Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools). LiveRez has an integration with both, but you’ll need to set up your accounts and paste in your IDs into the LiveRez back office before you’ll be able to track the data.
If your website solution does not have an integration with Google Analytics, you’ll need to install the appropriate tracking code on all the pages on your website.
Google Analytics gives you visibility into who is coming to your website, how they got there and what they are doing on your website. It’s important for many more reasons than just SEO, but in terms of SEO it’s especially important in understanding how your website is converting the traffic it’s getting from search engines.
Google Search Console
Formerly known as Webmaster Tools, Google Search Console gives you important data on the health of your website and how you are performing in search (i.e what terms your website is ranking for and how much traffic those terms are generating for you). It’s also how Google will send you alerts or warnings about your website.
Part 2: Review
- Choose Your Domain Wisely
- Pick a Host that is Fast and Reliable
- Make Sure Your Website Has Content
- Institute Tracking Right Away