As a small business owner, you’re probably overwhelmed by what SEO is and how to use it.
Whether you’re working with a website design agency or are going it alone, you need to know what you’re doing.
That’s why we created an SEO checklist.
In it we cover everything from keyword research to URL optimisation and other important SEO factors that determine your website’s ranking and traffic.
Let’s start with the basics…
Research, Research, Research!
There are four areas you need to research before you do ANYTHING with SEO:
- Your Market
- Your Niche
- Your Competition
- Relevant Keywords
Your market research reveals what’s going on in YOUR industry in the present. Your niche research covers your industry and targets a narrower, more qualified audience.
Check out Google search results for what you think are good keywords. If the results on the top three pages turn up irrelevant content to your niche, then keep researching. Prioritising local keyword searches is also helpful.
Your competitor research reveals what your competition is doing and if they’re producing results. Keep track of how they are using SEO, what they do with social media, and anything else they do with an excel spreadsheet.
Keyword research should be done after your competitor research to reveal precisely what’s working in your niche, and what isn’t. Take the SEO strategies of your top competitors and use them as a guide. Implement your Google Keyword Planner to gather a list of keywords to use with your SEO plan.
On-Page SEO Must-Haves
On-page SEO is anything on your website that affects SEO. The following items are CRUICAL to Search Engine Ranking:
- Meta Descriptions
- Internal Linking
- External Linking
- Image optimisation
- Title Tags
- Optimised URLs
Besides the technical features of on-page SEO, there’s also content optimisation. The three most important factors for your content are:
Quality and Originality
Content is King, but is your king weak or strong?
As we mentioned earlier, relevant, targeted, and competitive keywords are crucial to the development of your SEO. However, they have to be placed inside of relevant, high quality content to be effective.
Google’s recent Panda algorithm update demands content that’s well-written, structured and informational.
That leads us to third factor…long-form content.
According to the update, sites with multiple low-volume pages will rank lower than those with fewer pages but longer-form content. What’s that mean for you? It means you need to post content that is both lengthy and informative!
Off-Page SEO Must-Haves
Off-page SEO literally refers to anything that effects your site’s ranking that is located elsewhere.
For example, while social media websites don’t have a direct impact on your “link juice,” they do bring more awareness to your brand and result in relevant blog backlinks.
Here’s a comprehensive checklist of what your website must have in regards to off-page SEO:
- Healthy Links (from authoritative and trusted sites only! Use Open Site Explorer to see where your site stacks up with inbound links.)
- Social Media Branding
- Local Business Listings & Directories
- Business Reviews
- External Commenting
- Image and Video Sharing
- Anchor Text
To maximize this checklist, get your site some healthy links by commenting on other relevant blogs, adding your site to legitimate local business directories like “Google My Business”, and list your business on Yelp.
Other points to consider include revamping your social media profiles to sync with your website profiles, analyzing your link juice, and share videos and images with proper image title tag optimisation.
Wrapping it Up
No matter what your business is or what industry you’re in, your website needs to show off how amazing you are. The only way it can do that is if people can find it.
As a SEO company in Manchester, we specialise in helping our clients not only build beautiful websites but also in helping them rank on search engines. Shoot us a message if you have any questions or comments about our checklist or how we can help you build a better online presence.