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January 13, 2011

SEO New Year’s Resolutions

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I was recently reading a nice post on Search Engine Roundtable outlining a few choice items that experienced webmasters were adding to their search engine optimisation checklists for 2011.

Since it was a pretty nice checklist I thought I’d repost it here with some edits, explanations, removals and additions of my own.

Update copyright notice

The copyright notice is that little bit of text that usually appears on the bottom of most websites. Make sure you update it to read 2011. As you may notice from the Bruce Clay blog, we are yet to practice what we preach ;-)

Review 404 error logs & fix issues

Grab your latest server error logs from whatever error tracking package you may have installed and detailed look. If you don’t use any such packages, you can also refer to your server’s raw access logs, although this will process will be pretty tedious. Keep an eye out for any pages with regular visits that are resulting in a 404 error. You can redirect those pages somewhere else relevant or perhaps create a new page of content to fill the need.

And while you’re at it, be sure to have a thorough look at the Crawl Errors of Google Webmaster Tools for further insights into error pages.

Review keywords

Check though your analytics package and find which keywords are bringing you the most traffic. Ensure you are creating content often enough to maintain your rankings for them.

This process might also help you:

  • identify any holes in your content (i.e. areas on which you can expand)
  • come up with ideas for new content
  • give you an excuse to bring the old content and how-to’s you have up to date

Check the competition backlinks & identify ones to replicate

This is a real simple process which can have good results and it’s not so labour intensive as you might think—especially if you have access to such tools as Majestic SEO or SEO Spyglass. These are both paid options but can give you deep insights into where your competitors are getting links from and what you can do, in terms of content creation, to replicate those.

If you don’t feel the need to spring for subscriptions to those, you can always revert to the old faithfuls Google link: command and Yahoo Site Explorer to compare your links to your competitors.

Read more on SEO topics

It’s important to keep up to date on changes especially in an industry that move as quickly as SEO. Pick a few awesome blogs (like this one) and visit as often as you can. If you’re not using Google Reader, or another RSS reader, start. Get all your news in one place.

Find new/more ways of getting free quality links

Some ideas to help out in this department:

  • Write more quality content for your readers, not for the search engines
  • Interact with your audience, post on Twitter and Facebook but don’t just share links to your web pages
  • Build a really awesome link magnet, maybe something with ninjas

Keep one eye on the top competitors

Perhaps the most important point of all. Don’t rest on your laurels if you’re top in your space. Sooner or later your competition will become more SEO savvy and realise that working hard to get good rankings is a good investment.

Happy New Year to all and best of luck improving your rankings in 2011.

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