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Before You SEO: Three Steps to Help Your Website Earn Its Keep

by Olga Taylor  |  
June 20, 2011

In this article, you'll learn...

  • Three ways to improve your site's performance before SEO
  • How to identify your website's goals and take steps accordingly

As with so many other technologies in our tech-crazed world, search engine optimization (SEO) technologies are way ahead of our abilities to use them for a rational purpose.

As soon as we conceive of a new business, or hire a marketing whiz to take an old business "to the next level," we are consumed with keywords, search rankings, and social media, as if doing exactly what the rest of the world does has ever made anyone rich.

SEO consists of Web tools and content strategies designed to help your target audience find your site by using Internet search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

SEO has the power to dramatically increase Web traffic to your site. But for that very reason, a search-optimized site can actually hurt your business rather than help it grow profitably.

How can SEO hurt your business? Consider a site that is not user-friendly, is repulsive to visitors (or attractive to the wrong kind), isn't competitive, or is lacking a clear value proposition and the support required to respond to inquiries or follow up on leads. So, do you really want to drive traffic to such a site?

In short, SEO works best when it is the last, rather than the first, item on your website checklist.

Yes, there is no end to how much you can spend on market research and usability testing. And yes, many businesses, especially smaller B2B outfits, don't typically run the risk of seriously damaging a brand because of a cookie-cutter website.

Even so, three commonly overlooked steps can vastly improve your site's performance—before you SEO.

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Olga Taylor is a freelance writer and a former vice-president of marketing and business development for Quartesian LLC. Reach her via

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  • by Nick Stamoulis Wed Jun 22, 2011 via web

    I would have to argue that those three points are actually all part of on-site optimization, which is one half of SEO. A great link building campaign (off site SEO) won't do you any good if your site isn't optimized for the visitor. Determining your site's goals helps your better select appropriate keywords. Understanding your site's analytics can help you do the same and keyword stuffing is a very black hat SEO tactic that I tell all my clients to stay far away from.

  • by Vickie Siculiano Wed Jun 22, 2011 via iphone app

    Brilliant outline. I agree that SEO is best served when the table is set first and you're ready to serve your guests. Who needs to focus time on well researched keywords that end up resulting in major bounces?

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