If you wait until after you launch your site to start working on search engine marketing, you’re going to be spending a lot of days watching the paint dry. It takes time for even the best designed, most highly optimized site to start pulling traffic and getting a little notice.
So, before the development of your site and during its construction and tweaking phases, there are a number of SEM steps you should take so you’re locked and loaded – ready to launch a marketing blast the day you go live.
You want that commercial web site to start kicking out cash ASAP. Up to that point it’s been all outgo and no income so, while you’re waiting for your site to be completed, take the following advise from your website hosting provider so you’re ready to market your site the day it launches.
First, What Not to Do With Your Site
Don’t start any marketing or SEO tactics until the site is completed, gone through beta testing, and is as viable and functional as you can make it at this point. If you market a half-completed site with lots of UNDER CONSTRUCTION pages, visitors are going to be annoyed and search engine bots will slam you for uploading inactive site pages. Don’t let any page of your site be Googled until it’s ready.
You can identify which pages you don’t want spidered in your site’s HTML code. Any way, if it appears on the navigation bar, there had better be something to read or see or do. Or, you run the risk of annoying potential, long-time customers and search engine bots that are always looking for ways to increase the relevance of search engine results pages. A blank page hinders a user’s search and you lose Google points.
Before (or While) Your Site Is Constructed
An archives section is a good place to start. Write up some general, informational articles on the topic of your site. These shouldn’t be sell pieces. Instead, they should provide the visitor with useful, unbiased information.
Build a Public Knowledge Base
Generate 10 pieces between 600 and 1200 words each. Provide each piece with a header that includes one (and only one) of your keywords. Upload these articles to the site’s archives. Keep adding new content every few days if possible.
You can also use articles from sites like helium.com and goarticles.com for free content of interest to a typical visitor. However, these syndicated articles won’t help your positioning with search engines. Bots know this content appears on 25 other sites so it isn’t green. But it is a service to your readers. So, build a big knowledge base of good information before and during site constructed.
While Your Site Is Being Constructed
Time to get really busy. This web hosting provider lists the steps needed to jump start the launch of your website:
Seed Your Blog
Add a number of posts to your blank blog. There’s nothing sadder than an empty blog. It’s up to you to pepper those pages with provocative, pithy content designed to elicit responses from visitors. WordPress is an excellent tool for blogging and the top Internet providers offer WordPress hosting.
Open and Fund an AdWords Account
Open an AdWords account. Google AdWords can be low cost but watch out for click fraud and track the placement of your blocks of blue. The minimum funding of your Google AdWords account is $5.00, which won’t get you very far if you’re paying 50 cents a click. Or how about a buck a click for certain keywords? Not at all unusual.
Develop a List of Second- and Third-Tier Keywords
Which gets us to another pre-launch step. You’ve, no doubt, developed a list of keywords that you want to appear in the site’s meta data and sprinkled throughout the site text every 200 words or so. Those keywords are fine for most SEO objectives. However, with AdWords, you bid for certain keywords and deeper pockets competitors will always outbid you.
So, develop a list of second and third tier keywords – keywords you can get for less. If it costs $1.00 for the keyword phrase “hand-knit sweaters,” it might only cost you a nickel for “sweaters hand knit.” You won’t drive as much traffic using a second or third tier keyword because fewer users will enter those keywords or keyword phrase. But, the PPC will be much less, thus stretching a microscopic SEM budget.
Build Links or a Weblet
Contact other site owners and do a little “links begging.” The only sites that’ll want to link to you will be low ranking sites and, with search engines, you’re known by the company you keep so don’t expect a PR7 site owner to be eager to hook into your PR0, in-the-process-of-being-built site. But it’s still good to make contacts for follow up as your PR rises through your SEM efforts.
A weblet is a collection of linked sites that offers products and services to the same demographic. So, if you sell sunglasses online, it’d be a good idea to link to a cruise site, a travel agency site, an eyewear site, a wellness site and so on. By gathering “partners in parallel,” you create a larger web presence without competing among each weblet member. Weblets build synergies of marketing, not competitive marketing.
Contact site owners via the “Contact Us” page of their websites. If there is no direct contact information on the site (which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a commercial website, but who knows, the site could be a DBA for another corporation) use Whois – the public directory of site owners. You may not find all of the product sites at first but as your weblet grows, more site owners will hop on board. It’s a great way to build links quickly and much of the spadework can be done before site launch.
Get a Couple of Newsletters Done
Newsletters are great for pulling opt-ins and for keeping your company’s name in front of potential buyers – people who traded their web addresses to you for good information. Have at least five issues stored on your hard drive. Select topics for beginners and vets within your product sector to broaden the newsletter’s appeal.
Create a Couple of Podcasts
Get a decent microphone, write up a few five-to 10 minute reports, record them and upload them to your site. Beta test as usual.
Create Payment Gateways
Open a merchant account, not always an easy thing to do – especially if you have a few credit hiccups on your credit report, or your selling certain services or products. For example, if you’re a stock picker who provides actual recommendations, you may have difficulty obtaining a merchant account.
Open and verify a PayPal account in the company name. This will take a couple of days so do it before you start seeing PayPal orders.
Connect Up to Your Order Fulfillment House
If you plan to outsource shipping to an order fulfillment house, your content management system (CMS) has to synch up with the fulfillment house CMS so an order is sent to both parties and you can track shipping activities with a click. This is a step that’s often overlooked and the result is a bunch of emails flying back and forth until you can synchronize both content management systems. A waste of time and effort after launch.
After Website Launch
You may fire when ready. But maybe not fire all at once.
You’ve created a bunch of content. Maybe upload five original articles to the archives and then upload a new one every few days. Makes your site look active, fresh and green.
Same with blog posts. Salt the blog with five or six provocative posts but keep a few pieces in abeyance and add over a period of a couple of weeks. All that new content, delivered regularly, impresses site visitors and bots.
Link into your weblet and hook up with other site owners who have taken you up on a links exchange offer.
Blast your AdWords. Push these even if you have to count the pennies in the penny jar. Despite concerns about click fraud, you still only pay per click so arrange for as many impressions as the budget will allow. Go with second-tier keywords. Use the Google Keyword generator to determine the most popular keywords used for the topic of your site. Select keywords and phrases from the 10th position and lower. You’ll pay less per click and you eliminate some heavyweight competition that doesn’t use second tier keywords.
Put all of your articles out for syndication the day you launch. Track the results as best you can. Cut and paste the first line of each article into the Google search box for the most detailed view of how this content has spread through viral means.
Finally, get up early each morning, pour that coffee and settle down to work in front of the computer. You can front load your launch for maximum SEM impact, but then there’s that follow through…
Welcome to the world of e-commerce.