Since laying out the foundation of my site with plugins and mindmapping, I’ve been working hard on my site’s architecture and design. In other words, the little bit of planning I did through the mindmap is now being put into action. I’m putting together the puzzle “piece by piece” if you will.
Categories and Pages
After deciding on how I’d like my content to ultimately be organized, I headed to WordPress to start creating the basic pages and categories I will be using down the line. I know some people would advocate against creating this stuff before you actually cross the bridge, but I like having the pieces in place to fill out later on. I kind of consider this to be like the outline of a book.
When creating these pages, I’m not adding any content at all really…but I am putting the SEO meta data in place so I don’t have to do this later. So what meta data am I putting in for every page/category I create?
Title, Description, and Keywords
I’m pretty sure that Thesis is one of the only WordPress themes that lets you add SEO details to categories.
These are the three meta data I focus on for the categories I create. These categories are anything and everything a post can relate to. With all of the sites I develop, I like everything to be categorized extremely well. Here’s a look at some of the meta data I have for one of the categories I use here at Search and Perch:
Any post I write that relates to Conversion Optimization will be categorized within this category.
Pages get the same data…and a little bit more
The pages I’ve created on my site so far will be used to house posts of a certain category. “Why not just use the category pages?” you may be wondering. Well, I feel that category pages are somewhat limiting with the content you can add to them. I guess modifying templates should be easier now that I’m using Thesis 2, but I used pages for my site’s architecture last time and plan to use them again.
So what’s the extra meta data that I give pages?
Whatever page title I put in the Title box, I also put in the content of the page itself as an H3 tag. Why H3? Well, it goes back to a discussion I had with Alex Mangini awhile back. He (and others) seemed to think that H1-H2 tags should be reserved for homepage content, H3 for subpages on your site. Whether this is true or not, I’m sticking to it.
Descriptive URL Structure
Usually I will put a shortened version of my title in the post’s slug, which is the highlighted portion of the image above. Of course, you will first want to choose the page’s parent category before editing your slug. What do I mean by this?
Well, say I was creating a page that stored all of my posts on keyword research for PPC marketing. I have a very general parent category called internet marketing, with several sub categories. One of these sub-categories is PPC. Finally, PPC has its own sub-categories, one of them is keyword research.
So my keyword research page would have a structure like this: www.searchandperch.com/internet-marketing/ppc/keyword-research
See? I’ve created a hierarchy in my URL structure from my previous category creation. If you’re lost…let me know. I’d be happy to put together a video explaining this.
Content Creation Plan
I’m going to outsource the first 5 articles (at least). Even though this is a niche I am very interested in…I’d like to focus my personal efforts on the development of the site while someone else puts together the first posts. Here’s what I’ve done so far:
This is just an Evernote document I put together with as many posts that I can think of that relate to my niche. Sure, you can take a mechanic approach by finding your “secondary” keywords and writing posts about them…but I feel that this happens naturally anyway as one continues to build out the content of their site over time.
I come up with my topics by simply asking myself what questions I personally would have if in the market for my niche product. It’s not that hard. You can also browse around Google for topic ideas. I would even check out what kind of content your top competition is putting out there and then trying to do an even better job.
Hiring a Writer
I’ve turned to Elance to hire a writer. I’ve put out an RFP (Request for proposal) and already received a bunch of proposals. I will probably be making my selection sometime this weekend.
If the writer I hire puts together a solid article, I will re-hire him/her for the subsequent articles.
Keeping Track of Rank
It’s important to keep up with your rank on Google as you go along with this process, but you don’t want to get obsessed with it. I use a few tools when it comes to keeping up with my search engine rankings. Here are the ones I use:
Webmasters doesn’t give you your actual rank in live time, but it does give you an average rank based on a certain time period. So if you wanted to see your average rank for your keyword over the course of 30 days, Webmasters allows you to see this, as well as the number of approximate impressions you received on Google.
Disadvantage is that you can’t see where you rank at the exact moment, and it has no data for Bing or Yahoo.
Still, a great way to gauge your progress.
SEO Search Ranking
This is a paid app for the iPhone that I use to quickly check my rankings on the go. I find that it’s pretty accurate, and also pretty dang quick.
I believe you can check an unlimited number of keywords on an unlimited number of domains.
Disadvantages are that it only shows you your Google rankings, and it doesn’t show where you rank if you are not in the top 64 results.
The reason I like Market Samurai‘s rank checker is because I get a weekly update on my rankings via email. This is a good tool to use if you want to limit distractions through your constant rank-checking.
The “White Belt” (read: free) plan lets you get weekly reports for up to 50 keywords (across multiple domains).
Disadvantages are that the reports often don’t come on the days you request. Also, the data seems to frequently be inaccurate, especially for Bing/Yahoo numbers.
This is the last rank-checking tool I use at the moment. It is quick, and probably the most accurate of the 4 tools I use.
Ok That’s It For Now…
Phew! Long post. I could have crammed more into here, but I’ll save the rest for later so you don’t get too overwhelmed by all of the info. For now, just take your steps heading by heading.
In the next post I will break down what I’m doing in regards to email marketing for my latest niche site. Stay tuned!
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and questions. So please share in the comments section below!