Day 115 - SEO Create A List Of Pages To Optimise - why you should create a list and how to manage it
In 107 - SEO Brainstorm Keywords And Phrases we came up with a 1st cut list of keywords and phrases to use in our website search engine optimisation (SEO). Then in 108 - SEO Don't Reinvent The Wheel we refined that list by using a useful tool that lets us inspect competitor websites so that we can refine our list of keywords and phrases then finally in 109 - SEO Check Keyword Popularity we were able to analyse the keywords and phrases in a tool that allows us to see approximately how many times each month our keyword or phrases are searched for in Google search. All this information will help us to target which keywords and phrases will be the most useful to us and which we should discard because there are simply not enough people using them. It is such a common mistake in SEO - to optime your webpages for words and phrases YOU THINK will be popular when in fact other equally relevant phrases and keywords are being searched for 10 times, 100 times, 1000 times or more every month and you are simply missing out on that opportunity by not being found!
Today I want to concentrate on identifying a list of what we want to optimise. Yes I know you are probably thinking 'the entire website' right now but it isn't quiet that simple. Firstly there are pages that you don't want to include in Google search, then there is your home page, about pages, product pages, gallery pages, workshop pages, FAQ pages, contact pages, event pages and much more besides. You start off with single page website which quickly becomes a 5 page website then you add new products, product ranges, blog pages and more and before you know it you have a 100 page website! It is easy to miss pages, hard to remember what you have done SEO for, what you haven't, what is priority, what should be excluded (yes you should exclude some!) and so on. Today I hope to help you manage that.
I am a stickler for lists for this sort of thing. I don't trust myself to remember without one, I like one to work through so I can see what I have done and what is remaining and really SEO is going to take some time to do well and will need one to monitor progress. I favour a spreadsheet because I am comfortable with one but I know not everyone is so a Word document or similar with a table containing rows and columns will work equally well.
The starting point is to get a list of all your products on your website. To make SEO work for you you really need to list each product on its own separate web page. The reason for that will become obvious later and many of you have probably gone for the easy life right now and combined several products on the same website page. You will need to change that later and I will explain why later. For now start by exporting a list of your website products from your website shop. Most shops will have a way of doing this, perhaps directly to a spreadsheet or a TXT or CSV file which you can then import into your spreadsheet or document.
The chances are that you have a number of variants for each of your products - it could be a framed or unframed image, different types of frame, different colours, different sizes and so on. We don't want to see all the variants here we just want to see a line for each product as we will only have 1 website page for each product. In Excel that is easy, just remove all columns apart from the item column then choose 'data', 'advanced filter' then tick 'unique records only'. This will give you a list of unique products which you can now copy to your 'Pages To Be Optimised' spreadsheet.
The chances are at this stage your list might not be in any specific order. If you think about how your website shop is laid out, however, you should have a range page for each of your product types that then has links off it to all the products in that product type. Under Lucy's print shop she has a range page (landing page) called 'Cat Art' which introduces the product range and this lists clickable thumbnails to the pages for all products in that range.
She would probably then arrange her spreadsheet something like the following with each product clearly listed below each range. With large numbers it might also help to identify things quicker if they are listed alphabetically.
Next she needs to add additional pages from her website to the list of product pages. She might like to identify high value 'landing pages' such as her homepage and product range pages in bold. This not only helps them stand out and group things here it identifies them to focus on during the SEO process as they should be targetted for high value words and phrases (more about that later). Lucy has many more website pages than this and I have only listed a few for illustration purposes. Be sure to list EVERY page on your website (checking your sitemap might help with this).
It is then important to create a number of columns in the spreadsheet. Here Lucy has created a column to identify which pages to exclude from Google search (these are pages that are for internal use only by people already on her website, they provide a little more information about something for customers such as frame types available, an explanation of what a limited edition is etc). These pages in themselves add value to customers that have already found the website but are not pages that Lucy would want people to find in Google search as people finding them knowing nothing about Lucy are unlikely to come to her products because of them and they will simply weaken other more important keywords and phrases that she is targeting.
Next Lucy has identified her top sellers. I recommend that you identify maybe 5 top sellers in each of your product ranges. This is so that you can tackle SEO for those pages first. They obviously sell well already so they are the pages that you should assign some of the best keywords and phrases you have identified first at. It also has the advantage that if you target these first you are more likely to see quicker results from your SEO efforts.
Next Lucy has created a column to identify if the product is already in her website and if it is already in her Etsy shop. When you list your products in multiple shops it is amazing how quickly they can get out of sync, you have listed in one and not in the other because you ran out of time one day and never went back to it. It is also surprising when you come across products you are exhibiting at shows and have forgotten to put online at all. These columns will help you identify that and plug those holes so that you have everything listed everywhere.
Finally there is a column for keywords and phrases. This is where you will record for each page what keywords and phrases you are currently targeting for that page in your SEO. What keywords and phrases and how to do it is all still to come. The important thing here is that you create a tool in the form of a spreadsheet where you will be able to record which pages you have optimised so far, which you haven't and what keywords and phrases you have targeted at each page. You will only be targeting between 3 and 5 words per page and you will be spreading all your keywords and phrases across all your different pages. Google will penalise you if it thinks 2 pages are targetted too similarly and only show one of the 2 pages in search results so this tool will help you to manage that better so that that doesn't happen and you therefore have more chances of being seen.
Next post I will start to show you how to work out which keywords and phrases to aim at which pages.
Have you compiled a list of which products you have listed on your online shops and how many different web pages you have? Were there any surprises? Was anything missing? Were there more pages than expected?