Unlocking SEO Potential: The Crucial Pre-SEO Step You Can’t Skip

Unlocking SEO Potential: The Crucial Pre-SEO Step You Can't Skip

What is the first thing to do before doing SEO?

  • Understand the goals and objectives of the website.
  • Perform a website audit.
  • Analyze website performance.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become an essential part of digital marketing strategies. It involves optimizing websites to increase visibility and ranking on search engine results pages. However, before diving into the world of SEO, there is a crucial preliminary step that often gets overlooked. By taking the time to perform this step, you can unlock the full potential of your SEO efforts and set yourself up for success.

In this article, we will guide you through the important first step before doing SEO. We will explore the process of understanding your website’s goals and objectives, performing a website audit, analyzing website performance, identifying target keywords, analyzing competition, developing a content strategy, optimizing website structure and navigation, improving website speed and mobile-friendliness, implementing on-page SEO techniques, and setting up website analytics and tracking.

Unlocking SEO Potential: The Crucial Pre-SEO Step You Can't Skip

Understand the goals and objectives of the website

Before embarking on any SEO campaign, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of your website’s goals and objectives. This step is often overlooked, but it lays the foundation for all your SEO efforts. By defining your goals and objectives, you can align your SEO strategy with your overall business objectives and ensure that every action you take contributes to the success of your website.

To understand your website’s goals and objectives, start by asking yourself a few key questions:

  1. What is the purpose of your website?
  2. What are you trying to achieve with your website?
  3. Who is your target audience?
  4. What actions do you want your visitors to take on your website?

By answering these questions, you can identify the specific goals and objectives you want to achieve through your website. Whether it’s generating leads, increasing sales, or improving brand awareness, having a clear understanding of your goals will guide your SEO strategy and help you measure your success.

Unlocking SEO Potential: The Crucial Pre-SEO Step You Can't Skip

Perform a website audit

Once you have a clear understanding of your website’s goals and objectives, the next step is to perform a comprehensive website audit. A website audit involves evaluating your website’s performance, identifying areas for improvement, and fixing any issues that may be hindering your SEO efforts.

During a website audit, you should assess various aspects of your website, including:

  • Site architecture and navigation: Evaluate the structure and organization of your website to ensure it is intuitive and user-friendly. Consider implementing internal linking strategies to improve navigation and user experience.
  • On-page elements: Review your meta tags, headings, and content to ensure they are optimized for relevant keywords. Make sure your title tags and meta descriptions accurately describe the content of each page and include your target keywords naturally.
  • Technical SEO: Check for any technical issues that may impact your website’s performance, such as broken links, duplicate content, or slow page load times. Addressing these issues will improve your website’s crawlability and user experience.
  • Mobile-friendliness: With the increasing use of mobile devices, it is crucial to have a mobile-friendly website. Test your website’s responsiveness on different devices and optimize it for mobile users.

By performing a website audit, you can identify and address any issues that may be holding your website back from achieving its full SEO potential. This step sets the stage for the subsequent actions you will take to optimize your website for search engines.


Analyze website performance

Analyzing website performance metrics is an essential part of the pre-SEO process. By understanding how your website is performing, you can identify areas of improvement and track the impact of your SEO efforts.

There are several key metrics you should pay attention to when analyzing website performance:

  • Traffic: Monitor the amount of traffic your website receives and identify which sources are driving the most visitors. This information can help you identify opportunities to optimize your website for specific channels and target audiences.
  • Bounce rate: Bounce rate measures the percentage of visitors who leave your website without navigating to any other pages. A high bounce rate could indicate a poor user experience, irrelevant content, or slow page load times. Analyze your bounce rate to identify areas for improvement.
  • Conversion rate: Your website’s conversion rate measures the percentage of visitors who take a desired action, such as making a purchase, filling out a form, or subscribing to a newsletter. By tracking your conversion rate, you can measure the effectiveness of your SEO efforts in driving desired actions.

To analyze website performance, you can use various tools such as Google Analytics, which provides valuable insights into your website’s traffic, user behavior, and conversion metrics. Additionally, setting up Google Search Console allows you to monitor your website’s performance in search results and identify any issues that may be affecting your rankings.

By regularly analyzing website performance metrics, you can identify areas for improvement, track the success of your SEO efforts, and make data-driven decisions to optimize your website further.

Unlocking SEO Potential: The Crucial Pre-SEO Step You Can't Skip

Identify target keywords

Keywords play a crucial role in SEO. They are the words or phrases that users enter into search engines when looking for information, products, or services. Identifying the right target keywords is essential for optimizing your website’s content and attracting relevant organic traffic.

To identify target keywords, start by brainstorming a list of words and phrases that are relevant to your business, products, or services. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and think about what they would search for when looking for information related to your industry.

Once you have a list of potential keywords, you can use keyword research tools to evaluate their search volume, competition level, and relevance. Tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush provide valuable insights into keyword metrics, allowing you to identify high-converting keywords with a reasonable level of competition.

When incorporating keywords into your website’s content, it’s important to use them naturally and avoid keyword stuffing. Google has become increasingly sophisticated in understanding user intent, so focusing on creating high-quality, informative content that naturally incorporates relevant keywords will yield better results.

Analyze competition

Analyzing your competition is a crucial step in developing an effective SEO strategy. By studying the websites of your competitors, you can gain valuable insights into their strategies, identify opportunities for improvement, and benchmark your performance against theirs.

When analyzing competitor websites, consider the following factors:

  • Content: Examine the type and quality of content your competitors are producing. Look for gaps or opportunities where you can provide more valuable and comprehensive content to attract and engage your target audience.
  • Backlinks: Backlinks are an important ranking factor in SEO. Analyze the backlink profiles of your competitors to identify potential link building opportunities. Look for high-quality websites that are linking to your competitors and consider reaching out to them to request a link.
  • Social media presence: Assess your competitors’ social media presence and engagement. Identify which platforms they are active on and analyze their content strategies. This analysis can help you identify the most effective social media channels for your business and develop a strategy to engage your target audience.

By analyzing your competition, you can gain valuable insights and leverage their successes and failures to improve your own SEO strategy. Remember, competition analysis is not about copying your competitors’ strategies but rather understanding the landscape and finding ways to differentiate yourself.

Develop a content strategy

Content is at the core of any successful SEO strategy. Creating high-quality, informative, and engaging content is key to attracting organic traffic, building authority, and driving conversions.

To develop a comprehensive content strategy, consider the following steps:

  1. Define your target audience: Understand the demographics, interests, and pain points of your target audience. This knowledge will help you create content that resonates with them and addresses their specific needs.
  2. Conduct keyword research: Use the target keywords you identified earlier to guide your content creation. Look for long-tail keywords with a reasonable search volume and low competition. These keywords often indicate specific user intent and provide an opportunity to rank higher in search results.
  3. Plan your content calendar: Create a content calendar to organize and schedule your content creation efforts. This calendar should include topics, keywords, publishing dates, and promotion strategies.
  4. Create high-quality content: When creating content, focus on providing value to your audience. Write informative blog posts, create engaging videos, or develop comprehensive guides that address your audience’s pain points and provide practical solutions.
  5. Optimize your content: Incorporate your target keywords naturally into your content, headings, and meta tags. Ensure that your content is well-structured, easy to read, and optimized for search engines.

By developing a content strategy, you can create a consistent stream of high-quality content that attracts organic traffic, engages your audience, and positions your website as a trusted source of information.

Optimize website structure and navigation

A well-structured and user-friendly website is crucial for both user experience and SEO. When visitors can easily navigate your website and find the information they are looking for, they are more likely to stay longer and engage with your content.

To optimize your website’s structure and navigation, consider the following tips:

  • Create a logical hierarchy: Organize your website’s pages into logical categories and subcategories. This hierarchy should reflect the structure of your content and make it easy for users to navigate your website.
  • Implement internal linking: Internal linking refers to linking to other relevant pages within your website. Internal links help search engines understand the structure and hierarchy of your website and distribute authority and relevance across your pages.
  • Use descriptive URLs: Ensure that your URLs are descriptive and contain relevant keywords. This makes it easier for search engines and users to understand the content of each page.
  • Improve website speed: Website speed is a crucial ranking factor in SEO. Optimize your website’s load times by compressing images, minifying code, and leveraging browser caching. Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights can help you identify areas for improvement.

A well-optimized website structure and navigation not only improve user experience but also make it easier for search engines to crawl and index your website, resulting in better rankings and organic traffic.

Case Study: The Power of Website Performance Analysis

Imagine you are a small business owner named Sarah who recently launched an e-commerce website to sell handmade jewelry. After a few months, you noticed that your website was not attracting as much traffic as you had hoped, and your sales were not meeting your expectations.

Curious to find out why, you decided to analyze your website’s performance metrics. You discovered that your website had a high bounce rate, indicating that visitors were leaving your site shortly after arriving. Additionally, your conversion rate was significantly lower than industry averages.

Determined to improve your website’s performance, you took a deep dive into the data and identified several issues. Firstly, your website took a long time to load, causing visitors to become impatient and leave. Secondly, your website was not mobile-friendly, resulting in a poor user experience for mobile users.

Armed with this knowledge, you decided to take action. You optimized your website’s loading speed by compressing images, minifying code, and leveraging browser caching. Additionally, you implemented a responsive design to ensure that your website looked and functioned seamlessly on all devices.

The results were astounding. Within a month, your bounce rate decreased by 50%, and your conversion rate increased by 30%. Not only did more visitors stay on your website, but they also started making purchases.

Analyzing your website’s performance metrics allowed you to identify and address the issues that were hindering your SEO efforts. By improving your website’s speed and mobile-friendliness, you were able to create a better user experience and enhance your chances of ranking higher in search engine results.

Sarah’s story demonstrates the power of website performance analysis in unlocking the SEO potential of your website. By understanding and optimizing key metrics, you can improve user engagement, increase conversions, and ultimately achieve your SEO goals.

Improve website speed and mobile-friendliness

Website speed and mobile-friendliness are critical factors in SEO. With the increasing use of mobile devices, search engines prioritize websites that provide a seamless experience across all devices.

To improve website speed and mobile-friendliness, consider the following tips:

  • Optimize images: Compress and optimize images on your website to reduce file sizes without compromising quality. Use image formats that are suitable for the web, such as JPEG or PNG.
  • Minify code: Minify HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files to reduce their file sizes. Removing unnecessary characters and white spaces can significantly improve load times.
  • Enable browser caching: Leverage browser caching to store static files on your visitors’ devices, reducing the need to fetch them from the server every time they visit your website.
  • Implement responsive design: Ensure that your website is responsive and adapts to different screen sizes and devices. Responsive design improves user experience and helps your website rank higher in mobile search results.

By improving website speed and mobile-friendliness, you provide a better user experience and increase the chances of ranking higher in search results.


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Xavier Berkness

Xavier Berkness is the President of PERC, a renowned Digital Marketing Company. With an impressive career spanning over two decades since 1996, Xavier has earned a reputation as a leader in the field of digital marketing. He has leveraged his deep understanding and expertise in building websites to author a highly-regarded book, 'Mastering On-Page Optimization - The Secret Sauce of an SEO System.' Xavier's impactful contributions to the industry have been recognized in a Star Tribune feature, where he was hailed as a 'Mover and Shaker.' Outside the professional realm, Xavier is a nature lover who cherishes time spent near the ocean. He continues to fuel his passion for digital marketing, relentlessly seeking new knowledge and strategies every day. His combination of professional prowess and personal charm make Xavier a trusted authority in the digital marketing industry.