If you are new to SEO, or even if you are working to keep up on the ever-changing search algorithms you need to master for online success, an SEO checklist can come in handy. If you plan to have an internet presence of any kind, after all, ensuring your website meets certain specifications is essential.
Your SEO partner can also assist you in making basic online marketing decisions, but it’s good to understand the basics when working on your SEO strategy. From copywriting to keyword research, here are the basic elements of a thorough SEO plan.
SEO Checklist #1: Site Structure Above All Else
First on your SEO checklist should be the architecture of your site. Proper site mapping is essential to ensuring search engines can find (and recommend) your website to users. In addition, verify that you use an “https” protocol, as Google has begun penalizing sites that do not.
SEO Checklist #2: User Experience is Essential
Another step on your SEO checklist is having a great user experience on your website. This refers to things like load time, ease of use, and a mobile-responsive page design.
When someone navigates to your site, they should be able to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. Sites should be visually appealing and simple to navigate. Google uses an intuitive algorithm to decide whether or not you are providing such an experience and ranks your site accordingly.
SEO Checklist #3: Don’t Forget Metadata
Also critical to your ranking in search is your use of behind-the-scenes data, called metadata. Elements like title tags, H2s, and image alt text should be optimized for the keywords you’d like to rank for. This means that, if you’re a real estate agent from Houston, Texas, you should be including keywords like “Houston real estate agent” in your metadata. While you’re at it, update your site photography and be sure it’s top-notch.
SEO Checklist #4: Great Content Matters
You’ve likely heard the saying that “content is king,” and in the age of digital marketing, this is increasingly accurate. Compelling content that answers the search queries users may ask is a large part of what helps you rank in search, so make it count.
A great way to do this is to start with both competitor and keyword research. What are high-ranking competitor sites writing about, both on their blog and other site pages? In addition, which keywords are they using? Employing keyword research tools (many of which are even free) can be a tremendous part of your SEO strategy.
Content marketing means telling a story and helping potential customers understand why they could benefit from your product or service. It’s different from traditional advertising in that it doesn’t offer an immediate attempt at a hard sell. Instead, it provides value to the consumer and is a critical step in the sales funnel. The idea is that sales may eventually follow from great information that is strategically provided to the right users.
Content length is also important to consider. Depending on which type of query you think users will employ to find your site, the content on your site should change. For transactional searches, when a user is looking to buy something new, you don’t need to offer too much information. Informational searches, which aim to provide knowledge to the user, can be longer, and probably shouldn’t be fewer than 500 words. Searches classified as navigational, which help users locate you or plan a trip that involves your business, can be fairly short, just providing the essentials. This is another area where an SEO expert can help guide you depending on your industry and strategy.
SEO Checklist #5: Local Optimization and Google My Business
Make local work for you. Research local competition, use hyper-focused keywords, and know who will be looking for you on a small scale to boost your SEO where it matters most. Another way to achieve this is to create and polish a Google My Business (GMB) listing.
For each search term like “pizza shops near me,” Google will display a small number of appropriate business listing results. If you provide a thorough Google My Business Listing, yours could be among them, gaining you important attention in search results. In addition, a Google My Business listing is helpful in getting your business displayed on Google Maps and in Knowledge Graph panels.
Start by claiming your business. Then, be sure you provide thorough information, including:
- Your business’s physical location
- Opening and closing hours
- Website link
- Contact information
- A business description that is optimized for search
- Any relevant photos
- Categories your company could be classified within
At this time, Google only displays three businesses within each category for each location. It’s extremely important to be thorough in your GMB listing to ensure you are among those top three companies.
SEO Checklist Importance
It stands to reason that ranking well enough to appear in search when potential customers are looking for a business like yours means the difference between losing and closing sales. Failure to properly follow a best practice SEO checklist may mean your website is less visible, hurting your ranking. While SEO can be complicated and time-consuming, having a checklist (and following it) should help.
Need more assistance? Our expert SEO firm offers SEO copywriting, link building, keyword research, and other SEO-based services. Contact Galileo Tech Media today and take the stress out of SEO. Contact us today to learn more!