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Another day in paradise

So, you’ve started your new site and you want to be the first in Google for the services you provide. Well, that’s easy, but it takes months of hard work. Let’s start with the first steps. Baby steps. There are countless factors that can propel you up the Google scale. Most of them are common sense. Treat Google as an equal human and do not try to abuse it and to take advantage of it.

First of all your site needs to be out there, working, with no errors. It should be fast, mobile ready, responsive, have unique and updated content and have a nice design – not a required factor.

The site should have basic SEO features in place, such as correct and concise titles, consistent branding throughout the pages (clear logo, clear name, boilerplate, motto and so on), illustrative content (related images with related names, titles and alt attributes) and descriptive pages (correct heading structure, paragraphs, text elements – bold words, italic words, links), no keywords abuse and a clear page structure.

The site should have a clean menu, with all pages, subpages and articles within less than three clicks distance. If the site is more complex, a sitemap feature should be available as a separate page, listing the entire site structure.

The site should also be trustworthy and have all the required legal content – cookie consent, terms of service, terms of use, privacy and confidentiality and press (this should be a page with identity guidelines, logo usage, available logos and correct identification of the site’s owner).

This sums up the on-site SEO. We’ll move to off-site SEO, which requires daily actions, analysis and a correct interpretation of user actions.

The site should have associated social accounts – Twitter (as the owner of the page), Facebook page and Google+ business page. If the site has a company behind it, a full address should be mentioned. These three accounts should have the correct logo, description and links to the site. All of them will also verify the site when linking to it.

I recommend adding the site to Google Webmaster Tools, Bing Webmaster Tools and Alexa and submitting a sitemap to each of them. I currently use Yoast’s SEO plugin for sitemaps.

For data analysis, Google Analytics should be used.

The next phase is updating the social networks and being active online. Shared posts, tweets, comments on forums and blogs will add backlinks that Google will crawl and index at some point.

Let your friends know about your site and ask the to share it to their friends. Reach out to your audience by capturing emails and generating leads using newsletters – Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, Aweber and more.

Analyse, rinse and repeat. See what works best and focus on that. See what doesn’t work and remove it from your workflow. You need to be 100% effective and you cannot afford to lose any day. Some of your actions should be targeted for quick audience response, while other should be targeted for slower increase, such as long tail keywords.

Press releases usually work for quick links and quick Google crawling.

After doing this for at least a month, you should have an idea about how your site performs, what the audience wants and what to do next. There are different ways of analysing a site and improving the user experience. Surveys, polls, social interactions, social groups, street stickers, printed t-shirts, metro graffiti and more.

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