I often start SEO from an existing website. Here are steps I always perform when starting the task.
- Start an Excel spreadsheet with 9 columns
Page/article, Current URL, Current Title,Current Description, New URL, New Title, New Description, and Notes
- Then I go to Google and in the search box itself you type: site:thedomain Then hit enter.
This will bring back the pages that Google has indexed. This will be critical to know so can later remove old URLs in Google’s Webmaster Tools, recrawl the site, and be up-to-date. This part can take a while so you have to consider this could double your time spent on the job, so be prepared to bill for it or you will be sorry.
- In Joomla you will need to set up the URL to be Search Engine Friendly. In the Administrator area go to Global Configuration >> Site >> Search Engine Friendly URLs ( turn this on), Use URL Rewriting ( turn this on). These changes will require you to change your htaccess.txt and change it to .htaccess. I don’t have it set to “yes” in my image below, but turning on “Add Suffix to URL” will give the page the “.html” at the end.
- I prefer to do a lot of the rest in the menu item. The “Browser Page Title” and the “Alias” is where item #2 from the above image will show.
- Staying in the Menu item I move over to the “Metadata” section to add my “Description”. This is part #3 in the upper image.
- Here I would rework my Excel spread sheet my making sure my new titles are less than “54” characters long and the description is less that 134 characters long. The name of the page should include the service or search term you want to use for that page. I use Wordcounter.net to determine how many characters I have in my new titles and descriptions.
- Next go into Google Webmaster Tools and remove the old URL’s that you won’t need anymore. Click the “Temporary Hide” button, put in the URL, and Google will do the rest.
- I don’t always add Sitemaps, but here is where you can do this in Google’s Webmaster Tools.
I hope this helps someone else out there…