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SEO: 2 Things You Simply MUST DO First

After my last article, several people asked me what I consider to be the most important, high-priority things to do.

Here’s what I believe… If you do nothing else with your website, your SEO and for that matter,, you simply MUST DO two things:

  1. Get Analytics running on all your web pages.
  2. Add robots.txt and sitemap.xml files to your site.

By just doing these two things, you’ll be ahead of the majority of websites… and maybe, your competitors!

In fact, speaking of your site and your competitors, why not use and find out right now?

Here’s all you have to do:

  1. In the search box on, enter the website url.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and notice the Analytics results bar.
  3. If Analytics are not found, you’ve got some work to do
  4. Now, scroll to the top of the page and click the Domain link
  5. Notice Search engine specific files.
  6. Were your Robots.txt and Sitemap.xml files found? If not, get busy!
  7. And how did your competitors do?

1. Why Analytics?

When we conducted our 1 Million Site research, about one-third of websites we analyzed had no apparent analytics running on the page.

While it’s not surprising that Google Analytics runs on the lion’s share of web pages (it is free), it IS surprising, is that even though it is free, there are still 36% of sites without ANY analytics.

Of course, that’s to your advantage.

If you have a website, no matter how small or big, you’ve made an investment. Your time is worth more than $0.00 (or it should be).

Analytics establish a baseline for comparison. If you don’t have analytics running on every page, you have no way to determine if your investment is paying off.

For instance…

  • Knowing your most popular web pages and the search terms visitors used to get to those pages
  • You added a new page, did anyone visit?
  • People are coming to your site, but how do they navigate? What’s the most common path?
  • How long do people stay on your pages and what percent abandon your site and go someplace else?
  • What percent are new vs. repeat visitors?
  • …and so forth

2. Why Robots.txt and Sitemap.xml?

Ever wonder why so few people visit your web site? It might be your fault.

Even with the world’s greatest content, beautiful graphics and killer headlines, if Google can’t find your web page (the purpose of a Sitemap.xml file) or you’ve unintentionally blocked search engine access to certain web pages (by excluding pages with your robots.txt file) you’re not going to show up when a customer searches on “your keywords.”

According to our research, only 30% of websites provide a sitemap for search engines to utilize.

The Sitemap.xml file is like a table-of-contents for all the pages on your website. Every page you include WILL get indexed by Google.

The Robots.txt file tells search engines which web folders to exclude from indexing. It’s not uncommon for websites to muff it and block access to pages that should be indexed. It’s like getting all dressed up with nowhere to go. Your content is ready, but no one’s ever going to see it.

Do these two things and you will get better results. Promise.

And if you want to learn more about SEO, check out this SEO Resource Kit.

Good Selling!

Filed under: Marketing, SEO, Small Business