If you have a website – and especially if you have a blog – then a SEO Checklist and optimizing your web pages for the search engines is probably at the back of your mind. But if you know anything about SEO (search engine optimization), then you also know there are a lot of pieces and parts you need to snap into place in order to get good rankings.
Good news: this SEO checklist makes it easy to make sure you have all the major factors in order. Check it out…
Install Google Analytics or a similar tool. You need to know where your traffic is coming from and how it’s navigating around your site. This tool will allow you to make data driven business decisions moving forward. This is one of the most valuable tools a business can deploy and pay close attention to. The data you are able to retrieve and analyze can help make or break a business. It is that important.
Use a keyword tool (such as the Google Keyword Planner or your favorite tool). This will help you select the best words around which to optimize your content. We, here at Page1Ranks.com, prefer using the Google Keyword Planner as a starting point to keyword research. This tool is free of charge and is easy to learn and get started with.
Check your domain for keywords (and if you’re buying a domain, try to include a keyword when it’s natural to do so). Keep in mind you can also buy a brandable name, and then optimize for that name. Page1Ranks.com and other leading authorities in search engine optimization believe that having your niche keywords in your domain is extremely beneficial for ranking purposes. Just do a search in your niche and you will likely find many of the sites ranking at the top have at least a partial match or exact match keywords in the url. It is most certainly possible to rank your business without your keywords in the name, but may be easier if you do have at least some keywords in your domain name.
Use established domains. Don’t keep switching domain names, as longer-established names are given a higher preference in the search engines. This is especially true if the domain has had a link building campaign performed, or natural link building has occurred. Aged domains with quality, relevant links are powerful, to say the least.
Create meta-descriptions. Write a meta description that includes your keywords and brand. Include a phone number, Call to Action if you like. Try to model what the top-ranking sites are doing in your niche. This will let you know what google, Bing or other search engines are giving favor to.
Consider page names and links. Include keywords when possible.
Include keywords in your navigation menus. This also includes using keywords as your category titles on your blog.
Include keywords in other internal links. (Such as when you link to another page from within an article.)
Insert keywords into content at a rate of 1% to 2%. So for every 100 words of content, your keywords should appear once or twice. There are many who will agree, there are many who will disagree with this content ratio. Page1Ranks.com believes in not keyword stuffing content, but writing quality content that benefits the reader of the information. Quality written content, from sites that have authority, combined with other details written in this report, will eventually get Google favor.
Check your site for broken links, poor HTML coding, broken scripts, etc. These will likely lower your ranking in the search engines.
Be sure your site is mobile friendly. Search engines like Google give higher preference to sites with responsive themes and other mobile friendly features (such as links that are spread far apart for easy tapping).
Check that your site loads fast. And if it doesn’t, then optimize images, clean up the code, and make sure you don’t have unnecessary scripts and other features running when someone lands on the page.
Get inbound links naturally using viral content, authority content, etc. many businesses will not need to buy links to rank their websites. Natural linking over time occurs and will help move your site up the SERP’s eventually. We always caution our clients not to purchase links. Doing so can get you penalized in the search engines. Should you decide purchasing links is OK for your business, be sure it is done with the penalty understanding. However, we also hear about people getting links from the authority sites like a local Chamber of Commerce. It costs money to belong to organizations like these. One of the main benefits is a good link, back to your site, from a quality, relevant website. So, just beware that buying links can get you into trouble if not properly done. Unfortunately, many of the top- ranking websites are deploying practices Google does not like or want. So, as far as buying links. Darned if you do. Darned if you don’t.
Write for humans first, bots second. It does you no good to create content for bots if the humans who visit aren’t engaged, so prioritize your human visitors. As we mentioned before, Page1Ranks.com believes in quality written content that benefits the reader. Content is King.
Keep abreast of SEO changes. You might follow sites like SearchEngineWatch.com. The SEO world is constantly changing. If you do not keep up on SEO, your site will eventually be taken over by your competition, who likely is paying someone to perform SEO for them, or they have invested tons of time and money keeping up with SEO practices.
SEO is an often-changing landscape, but the above checklist includes the “tried and true” factors that are likely to stand the test of time. Bottom line: quality links from relevant websites, anchor text ratio, proper page titles, proper url structure are paramount. Be sure to include your keywords on your web pages without spamming/stuffing, write for humans first, and make sure you have clean code and a fast-loading site. Page1Ranks.com has been helping its clients with this methodology for years and it has stood the test of time. Starting with a SEO Checklist is a step in the right direction.
Running your website through our audit tool is the first step in fixing any website issues that may be preventing your website from getting the organic traffic it deserves.
We hope you are able to use this search engine optimization checklist and hope your Google rankings improve as a direct result of this information.