As part of my continual and diligent search for new search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, I recently ran across a post by Stoney deGeyter about splitting an SEO project into two passes.  “Nothing new here,” I recall thinking;  “that’s what we do in our practice all the time.”

Then I got to thinking further… and remembered, sadly, that not everyone who reads this blog subscribes to our SEO service!  So for those of you going it alone, it may be very helpful to check out this brief summary of Stoney’s piece and then I’ll point you to the original for your more in-depth review.

Stoney’s main point is not overly surprising:  a fair chunk of the benefit of a full-bore SEO project can be realized via a few fairly simple steps that can be applied to all of your site’s pages fairly speedily …in fact, in a matter of hours for the whole site;  whereas the full-blown process may well take months (or even years!).

No, it’s not the entire possible benefit of the complete project, by any means;  but it’s enough to move the needle and start bumping your site up on the search engine results pages.  That will make your boss happy, and should buy you the time it takes to do the systematic (OK; tedious) stuff that will get you the rest of the benefit.  And it keeps you from falling into that age-old trap of “letting the perfect become the enemy of the good.”

Doing it fast

You can do the “fast pass” even before doing your keyword discovery process… as long as you know your core terms, and which page(s) should be optimized for each core term.  Then the process is simply one of working those terms into the following areas of the appropriate page(s)…

  • Title Tag
  • Meta Description Tag
  • H1 Tag
  • First paragraph of text

…while preserving readability, of course.  You should be able to do this in no more than 10 to 15 minutes per page, and sometimes in as little as five.

Doing it best

Clearly I can’t cover the complete SEO process in this short post;  but there’s no real shortage of ink already spilled on the subject.  Nonetheless, Stoney calls out several items to pay special attention to…

  • Title & description tags –  You’ve already worked in your core term;  try to add the more important qualifiers that might entice additional click-through.
  • Headings –  Ensure proper hx use throughout the page, using proper hierarchy.  Work in keywords where appropriate, avoiding stuffing.
  • Content –  Take this last opportunity to ensure that each page’s copy serves its intended purpose and adheres to best practices for Web writing.
  • Internal linking –  Be alert for opportunities to link to other areas of your site from within your content.
  • Code –  Reduce the amount of code on the page by eliminating unnecessary tables, JavaScripts, CSS and whatever else might help to decrease the page’s load time.  Watch out for bad coding or malformed HTML that might hamper the search engines when indexing your content.

You can expect this “best” pass to take quite awhile …even forever, since you can return to it in the future and always find things to improve upon.  But as Stoney says, “If you’ve performed the quick optimization process first, you don’t have to worry about getting every page fully optimized immediately.  You’ll get benefit from the fast optimization, which will then be expanded upon as you continue to optimize each page on a much more thorough level as time permits.”

Oh, yeah;  I did promise to point you to his full post;  it’s “Do SEO fast before you do it best.”