1. Keyword research, is a hugely important factor to make the rest of the work easier, simply cause their are keywords with 10k exact searches vs keywords with the same amount of searches but some are just way and way harder. When I do keyword research I start with looking at the average pagerank of the sites on page 1, and specifically at the top 3. After that I look at the number of indexed pages each of these sites has, huge sites profit a lot from internal linking so despite their low page PR they might have a lot of authority that puts them high up on the list. Amazon is a great example of that. Now that I know the average PR and the number of indexed pages I start to look at onpage seo factors like: is the keyword mentioned in the title, in the url and in the description. The fewer it is mentioned, the lower the PR and the least amount of indexed pages, the easier it is to rank a keyword. You can't stare blind at one of these factors as it's the combination of those 3. When I want to make my kw research even more reliable I'll start to look at the amount and type of backlinks that these sites have and I look specifically how often the keyword-anchor txt is used. So to sum it all up:
- Average PR of the sites on page 1
- Number of indexed pages
- Domain age of the sites
- Keyword in Title / Url / Description (optionally H1 tag)
- Number of backlinks to the page with keyword as anchor txt
2. Onpage SEO, what I find important is not to overdo this, there are tools/plugins like SeoPressor where people chase a 100% score but imo that is wrong and called over optimizing and Google might punish you for that. Therefore the onpage seo what I do contains of the following:
- Keyword in title
- Keyword in url (preferrably)
- Keyword in meta description
- Keyword within H1 tag
- Link out to a non competitive authority site like Wikipedia
- In case of a brand new site I might purchase an aged domain and 301 redirect it to the new site (there is some discussion about it whether this works, it did work for me, just make sure it's still indexed before you purchase it with the site:domain.com string in Google)
Additionally I try to interlink several pages with eachother, I do this by using the keyword as anchor txt and point it back to the page that I want to rank. I try to create an internal linking scheme with posts that are the most relevant to each other. Simply cause a backlink is a backlink, whether it comes from another domain or from another page of your own website. Obvious most external backlinks will carry more value but lately I builded a new page on my PR3 site for a low/medium competitive keyword, I linked to that page from my homepage and from another page that has a lot of backlinks already and I'm now at page 1 / position 9 for that keyword, without building a single external backlink to that brand new page, within a week time.
3. Offpage SEO / Linkbuilding
Will be updated soon!