Are You Using Web Analytics?
A proper SEO (Search Engine Optimization) plan should always start with installing a mechanism to track visitors, commonly called Analytics. Most search engines have free tools that can be used for this purpose, Google Analytics as an example. These web-based tracking programs work by placing a snippet of HTML code on each of the web pages you would like to track your visitors. This is important for a number of reasons:
Establish a benchmark: It is impossible to know or track your progress without knowing where you started. Indicators that should be tracked on are rankings, incoming traffic, and links. After several months you will know exactly how many visitors to your website it will take to make an online sale (or appointment). This is known as your CPA (cost per acquisition).You will also learn which keywords and phrases your visitors use that actually end up buying. With this information, you will be able to begin bidding on keywords without losing your shirt.
With this information in hand, you will further be able optimize your web pages for the very keywords your website buyers use to find you. The keywords and phrases should be used throughout all of your content: web pages, anchor text, alt text on images, blogs, etc. If you are using web based analytics provided by the search engine you will also be able to keep an eye on any potential problems they may have in indexing portions of your website. Any errors related to spidering specific pages are typically available in these reports.
While these tips will help get you started, search engine optimization is a full time job and should be performed by an expert. If you are a small business, consider starting the process by installing web analytics for your website. It will require some technical savvy, so if you are not comfortable accessing your site via FTP or updating the DNS entries on your domain, you may want to have a local SEO expert help you.