Business Requirements for SEO

28 Nov
2011

Business Requirements for SEO

There are many time where a company needs an official statement on what is needed in regards to the business requirements for seo and what resources will be needed in order to successfully complete the project.

Below is a good starting point as to what elements need to be thought of when creating a a project that includes search.

Content/On-Page Factors

  • Keyword in title tag (unique for each page, include keywords)
  • Keyword optimized H tags within html for headings – structure for use of H1 to H6 to provide a relevant hierarchy of content
  • Keyword in H1 on each page
  • Keyword in text
  • On relevant images include keywords in alt tags and in filenames
  • Avoiding duplicate content and use of the canonical tag where relevant

Content Management System

  • A strong web system that dynamically generates search engine friendly URLs for product and content pages e.g. www.yoursite.com/category-name/product-name instead of www.yoursite.com/productdetails.aspx?pid=037012&cid=144&language=en-GB
    Ability to specify / edit URLs for individual pages via CMS – important for campaign landing pages and micro sites
  • Core provision for meta content (title, description, keywords) that is auto generated when user loads new products and content pages and can also be edited easily from within the CMS
  • Have a custom tag library used to generate links
  • Support for linking of different theme/product pages and content pages to improve internal linking – should be delivered via the CMS
  • Append additional SEO information to links and make them unique via 301 redirects or canonical Urls
  • Don’t forget about social networks. Facebook, for example, uses the opengraph namespace and won’t show nice previews when links are being shared. So make sure SEO tag libraries have the og:title tags on the site

Server

  • 301 redirects to preserve search engine rankings
  • Dynamic XML sitemap that is submitted on a regular basis
  • HTML sitemap that is auto generated based on catalog and site structure
  • Social media content such as blogs are hosted on primary website domain using an SEO friendly blog engine (e.g. WordPress is better than Blogger) – blogs usually sit on a sub-domain such as blog.yoursite.com to ensure benefit from the search engine 

Design and Coding

  • Information architecture – as few clicks as possible
  • Consistency across the keyword DNA and the content strategy and indexation
  • CSS absolute positioning for text links on product list pages to ensure the first link for each product is keyword rich
  • Support for rich snippets within platform – encoding of data in RDF format e.g. customer ratings & reviews
  • Custom 404 error page and automated report to flag error pages so internal team can take action
  • Robots.txt that can be accessed and edit when required
  • Text links in navigation not images; if coders are using sIFR (flash replacements) push them for clarification on how this is being done to ensure it complies with accessibility standards
  • Ensuring flash objects are search engine friendly
  • Ensuring pdf content is readable e.g. captions for images, document meta data
  • Graceful degradation – when elements like JavaScript , flash are disabled in the browser, key content is still visible to search engine spiders/bots as well as to visitors
  • RSS feeds to support product and news announcements e.g. deal of the day
  • Page load time to meet agreed threshold but make sure it is defined how load speed is measured e.g. after all page elements have loaded – this is a factor in Google’s algorithm
  • Avoid the ‘copy and paste’ trap – using identical vendor descriptions

Think of these as a good starting point. I’m sure as the web evolves, this will need to be updated to reflect those changes.

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Paul
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Get his thoughts at his blog (www.ranksurge.com) or follow him on Twitter (@semconsulting) G+ (https://plus.google.com/+PaulBliss3)

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