Many believe that Search Engine Optimization is a process that begins after a website has been established – this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, SEO is the first thing that should cross your mind before you do anything with a website…even before you decide on a URL.
Before you begin developing you website you should conduct some keyword research. A keyword is a word that is utilized by web surfers to find what they are looking for on a search engine. If, for instance, you wanted to buy a new car and wanted to research cars you might simply type ‘cars’ in the query box of a search engine (Google, Yahoo!, Ask, etc.). ‘Cars’ is your keyword.
Before deciding on a website name it is a good idea to research a) your competition and b) popular keywords or keyword phrases (more than one word search terms) in your industry. To do this you’ll want to utilize one of the many keyword suggestion tools that are available online. I recommend either Wordtracker or Trellian. Both tools offer free keyword research; however, to receive more detailed results, you’ll have to subscribe. If you are only going to use the free service, use Wordtracker’s service because it provides more results than does Trellian’s.
Conduct your keyword search, entering words that are relevant to the service or product your site will be offering.
NOTE: Optimize for a keyword phrase, not a single keyword.
Develop your website URL around a popular keyword phrase. If you are selling chocolate candy, www.chocolatecandy.com would be an appropriate URL. If you need to separate words in your URL use a ‘-‘ and not a ‘_’.
Once you’ve decided on and created a URL, you can begin to further develop your site.