INTRODUCTION: When you are starting with your first SEO project, you may feel as if you have been told to empty the ocean with a teaspoon, there is so much to know and so much to do. Well, don’t freak out, it is not as bad as it sounds. You simply have to look at it as a series of tasks to be done. The U.S. military works this way; they look at a goal (say “Force the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany”) and break it down to what needs to be done, how they can do it, what resources are needed, how to get those resources, and budgets for money and time. You need to do the same.
There is one other thing to remember: SEO is marketing. Now, in the old days all you needed was a sign and a Yellow Pages ad, and you were set. SEO is not like that; it is much less expensive in money (if you do it yourself) than the Yellow Pages, but it is much more time-consuming.
GOAL OF THE PROJECT: Get on the first page of Google, Bing, and Yahoo so you can increase sales and GET MORE MONEY!
ASSUMPTIONS: This article assumes:
3-1. This is a new business.
3-2. You have done your due diligence, including, among other things, researched your local regulatory requirements and fees, done your market research, defined your Unique Selling Proposition, written your business plan, done your keyword research, researched your time and money budgets, and secured financing (if needed).
3-3. You have a small budget and are doing this yourself.
3-4. You are in the United States. If you are in another country, then some of the steps may not apply, or additional steps may be required.
3-5. You have a Wintel PC. If you don’t, you will need to find the equivalent programs
INGREDIENTS: You will need:
4-1. A PC with an internet connection. This needs to be as powerful as you can afford; this is your primary business tool, and you need to be efficient. A slow PC is not efficient. Again, your internet connection needs to be as fast as you can afford. You don’t want to go back to the days of the World Wide Wait; you want your connection to be fast so you can get more done
4-2. Firefox, or some other internet browser.
4-3. Word, or some other word processer
4-4 Excel, or some other spreadsheet
4-5. Notepad, or some other text editor
4-6. Paint, or some other picture editor
4-7. Knowledge of how to use Google, Bing, and Yahoo to find what you need.
Your first step is to GET A NAME for your company. Sounds simple, right? Well, not exactly. You need to:
1-1. Write down about 25-30 names, preferably ones that feature your main keyword(s).
1-2. Ensure your name is NOT listed in
1-2-1. Google (ignore those outside your country).
1-2-2. Your local phone book.
1-2-3. The Fictitious Business Name listing for your city/county.
1-2-4. The Secretary of State’s office for your state, both the Corporation and LLC listings.
1-3. Basically, you want to ensure your name is available (NOT listed) in all these places. If the all your names are taken, try again, and again if need be, until you find a good name for your business.
Get a physical address. A P.O. Box or mail drop/license hanging service will serve. You will need this for billing and business registration purposes. Check the registration requirements at the federal, state, and local governments to ensure a P.O. box is acceptable.
Once you have a name, write down about 25-30 URLs with variations on that name. See which ones are available. Again, you want to include your major keywords, if possible.
Once you have chosen your URL, buy it through a domain registrar such as Yahoo or GoDaddy.
Research and choose a web hosting service. Personally, I use GoDaddy since they offer a template service with unlimited tech support. They are also rock-solid reliable; my site has been down for 20 minutes in 7 years!
Establish your e-mail addresses with Yahoo, Hotmail, and GMail. Why? You want these as logins for the analytics.
Get a fax number. An EFax account will work. It may be old-fashioned, but it is still a good thing to have.
Get a phone number. You will want something that Craigslist will recognize for phone verification. Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon cellphones work; MagicJack, MetroPCS, and Google Voice do not. Vonage SOMETIMES works, and sometimes does not.
Register your business with the federal (IRS), state, county, and city business licensing departments. This will eat up a large portion of your budget.