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As I speak to different Chicago business owners and execs about search engine optimization campaigns that Design & Promote can provide them with and am often asked this question “what steps do we need to follow to be the most effective with inbound marketing”.step by step search engine optimization strategy

I understand some companies would like to handle SEO in house and feel that if they just had an instruction sheet that they could hand to their marketing manager or website guy or girl and everything would be peachy.
There are quite a few steps and many rules and best practices to follow to be successful at inbound marketing but here is a primer for you.

To learn more about search engine optimization or to get a free seo analysts of your website just give our office a call. 630-995-7109

On Page SEO

1. Add Statcounter and Google Analytics – You will want to benchmark where your site is before you start improvements and you will also want to take note of what keywords are already possibly ranking well.
2. Keyword Research – Search for high volume related keywords using the Google Keyword tool , select exact match on the left and check the ones that fit. Export these to a spreadsheet and do a Google search using allintitle: in front.  This search will give you the number of competitors online.  Do not pick keywords that have too much competition, better to be on the top of a small mountain than at the base of a large one.  Add town modifiers if you have a local business.  Time spent here will make or break your seo campaign. Check your competitor’s keywords and back links.
3. Change Page Titles – These should be up to 70 characters in length and contain keywords and be relative and different for each page of your site.
4. Change Page Descriptions –These should be up to 150 characters or less in length and have keywords, a call to action and be unique for each page.
5. Change Page Keywords – You should add no more than 10 keyword phrases separated by commas and be relative and different for each page.
6. Add Alt Image Tags – Add an alt description tag to every image that includes a keyword phrase. For a bonus change the name of images to match your keywords separated by dashes such as keyword1-keyword2.jpg.
7. Add Keywords To Page Content – Judiciously add keywords to all page content taking note of keywords used in title and keywords tags for each page. If you can include your keyword in a header or sub header font  all the better.
8. Landing Pages – Create landing pages that offer high value advanced information such as a white paper in trade for contact information using an email form. The goal here is to capture at least an email address that you can use to follow up or add to your newsletter.
9. Site Navigation – All navigation should include http://www. Not just /
10. Create Site Maps – Add an html and xml site map and submit to Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Off Page SEO

11. Record Existing Back Links – Use Yahoo Site Explorer to export a back link report and save for later comparison.
12. Universal Business Listing – Add your site including a description that include keywords from above $30
13. Blog Comments – Comment on blogs related to your website’s topic that are meaningful and try to include your keywords in the comment text and your name field.
14. Directory Submits – Locate free niche and local directories related to your website’s topic and submit your site to these.
15. Press Releases – Write a press release where the title and content contains your keywords and provides anchor text links within the body of the release, submit to many online press release sites including the $12 option at  I suggest reading their instructions before submitting. One press release per month is optimal.
Social Media.
16. Linkedin – Add your link in your Linkedin profile and update your profile to include a pretty large description including keywords. Add connections and join groups related to your main topic. Connect to your customers and not your peers. Add recommendations to your best customers and business partners. Update your status regularly and sometimes include links to your site or other related resources.
17. Facebook – Create a Facebook page and add links to your website pages, add friends and suggest to friends. Update your status regularly and sometimes include links to your site or other related resources.
18. Social Media Bookmarks – Create an account in Digg, Stumbleupon and as many other sites that time affords and add links to your pages that include your keywords in the title and description.

Extra Credit

  • WordPress Blog – Add a WordPress blog to your site and write one post a week taking note to include your keywords in the title and content. Use All In 1 SEO, Google XML Sitemap and ShareThis plugins. Change the Permalinks to Post-Name and add sites to ping list.  Link RSS feed to Linkedin, Facebook & other social media sites.
  • Article Writing – Create informative articles and submit to http://www.ezinearticles and
  • Hub Pages – Create a Hub Page about your topic and use anchor text back links to your site.
  • Squidoo Lens – Create a Lens about your topic and use anchor text back links to your site.
  • YouTube Video – Create a video with a title and credit screen that contains your contact info including website and add to and other video sites.  Make sure you include a title and description that includes your keywords.
  • 301 Redirect – Direct all visitors to www not without by using special code otherwise you will have 2 sets of back links not one.
  • Auto Responders – Create a drip marketing email campaign using contact forms.

Reporting  & Notes

  • These items are arranged in order of importance and should be followed step by step for best results.
  • Keep track of your keyword ranking, back links and traffic counts weekly or monthly and adjust accordingly.
  • You can’t improve what you can’t measure.
  • The top 3 website that come up for each search get 70% of all the clicks.
  • 90% of people do not go past page 1 in the search engines, they just search again using a different phrase.
  • Over 80% of people use Google for  online searches so Yahoo 6%, Bing 4%, and the other search engines don’t matter much.
  • Many visitors and no sales means you need a better call to action on your site.
  • Until you get more back links than the website in any position you will never top them.
  • Link exchanges give away as much power as you gain so the net result is usually not much more than 0.

I hope this helps you understand the many steps it takes to succeed in inbound marketing