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Good SEO Begins With Paper and Pencil

By: Eric Dytzel, Social Media Strategist, ACS Advertising

Everyone wants to be at the top of the search returns. Although no one can guarantee that you will, there are steps you can take to ensure a better than average shot of getting up there over time. Once upon a time you could game the system and pack your website with keywords and – voila – you were looking good on Google and the other search engines. Unfortunately, those days are long gone.

Today, you need to be smart and your website absolutely has to provide good quality information to those seeking what you have. Without a doubt, quality content is king on Google. But, even before you start writing stellar content, there is what I consider the most important step in the SEO process of all.

The first step in the SEO (search engine optimization) process should take place before you ever turn the computer on. In today’s modern and technological world, using a pencil and paper seems very out of date. Some might even call it “old school.” Like any building project, detailed planning results in a good foundation with which your project can grow. By taking time to map out your website, you can plan the flow of information for visitors; as well as the ever present search engine crawler.

A plan that is easy to follow for human visitors will also be easy to follow for the search engines. By pre-planning, you make your website scalable, allowing for the addition of fresh content, keeping both visitors and search engines coming back for more. Pre-planning also helps in the inter-page linking scheme for the lateral movement of visitors and search engine crawlers. The last thing you want to happen is for your visitors or the crawler to reach a dead end with nowhere to go (the back button doesn’t count as good planning).

And finally, a good plan allows you to easily build your website without having to stop to figure out where the next section should go and how it should link up to the other pages. Plan it, then build it without excessive stops and starts.

I realize this may seem very basic, but you would be surprised at how many designers just jump right on the computer and start with the index page. They begin to build with no plan and no direction. If you want your SEO to be effective, you have to start strong. You will climb your way to the search return mountain top with a website that has been planned and mapped for easy movement and easy growth. It will pay off in the long run.

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