Before you begin search engine optimization (SEO), you’ll want to make some baseline observations so that you can see if your effort is worth it. Here are some great tools to help you create a snapshot of your site before you make changes and then monthly after changes are made to see if things improve (and how quickly they do).
Fair warning: This isn’t sponsored by Google, they just have a lot of free tools 😉
- Google Webmaster Central: This little toolbox of usefulness is pretty cool. Find out what keywords are used most to find your site, how often Google “crawls” your site and submit a sitemap. http://www.google.com/webmasters/
(contact us if you need help setting this up for a site in the CMS)
- Google Analytics: Hmm – I don’t even know what to say about this little gem. It’s free, gives you a very in-depth look in to your visitors (time on site, location, browser + more) and presents everything in beautiful graphs. Oh yes, graphs and charts can be beautiful. http://www.google.com/analytics/
- Google Page Rank: This nifty little piece of the Google Toolbar tells you basically how important Google sees your site. A lot of things go in to this ranking such as links to your site from other sites, how often you update content, page titles, etc. Basically, your page rank should improve as you go through the SEO steps we talk about later.
- After you come up with your list of keywords to optimize your site for (more on this later), search for each keyword. Note if your site appears in the first 2 pages for each keyword, and if so, what position (i.e. when I search Oklahoma, the OU home page appears at #6 on the 1st page)
We’ll go in to more detail later about how to create a list of keywords, but here is an SEO how-to we’ve created for campus. Download tips and tricks for optimization (created specifically for OU)