SEO

SEO Checklist 2019: Simple but Effective to Grow Business

04 Jan
SEO Checklist

These days, many business owners know that SEO is an important element of digital marketing strategy. But the term is confusing to many people, not to mention the different tricks of trade. Besides, hiring a reliable consultant to implement the right SEO strategies may not be in your budget. Don’t get overwhelmed yet. Though developing a mastery of SEO seems like a full-time job, there are painless, small things that startups like yours can do to optimize their sites. Here are simple but useful tips and strategies to grow your business.

These days, many business owners know that SEO is an important element of digital marketing strategy. But the term is confusing to many people, not to mention the different tricks of trade. Besides, hiring a reliable consultant to implement the right SEO strategies may not be in your budget. Don’t get overwhelmed yet. Though developing a mastery of SEO seems like a full-time job, there are painless, small things that startups like yours can do to optimize their sites. Here are simple but useful tips and strategies to grow your business.

1. Create a sitemap

A well-designed sitemap serves as a roadmap of a website. It leads Google and other search engines to all the right web pages within your site. XML sitemaps are good for SEO as they allow search engines to quickly find the right pages on your website even if internal linking isn’t done correctly.

2. Create and add robots.text file to your website

Probably you have heard that mishandling a single small file referred to as robots.text file could be a downfall of your site. That’s the truth; if you get it wrong, you could end up instructing Google and other search engine robots to stop crawling your website. That means your web pages will not show in the search engine results.

Note that the robots.text files provide clear instructions to web robots regarding the pages that should not be crawled. For example, if you don’t want images on your website to be listed on search engines, you can use the robots.text file to block them.

3. Install Google Analytics

One of the most essential online marketing tools is Google Analytics. It allows a marketer to measure the performance of each marketing campaign in real time, perform a comprehensive comparison of your current data to previous periods, and more. Indeed, the tool offers you all the details and insights you need to maximize the returns on associated with your marketing campaigns and make the right business growth decisions.

4. Set up Google Search Console

Also known as Google Webmaster Tool, Google Search Console was launched over a decade ago with a primary objective of helping site owner to create SEO-friendly sites. It is a free tool that is vastly used by website owners and digital marketers globally to achieve better search results and monitor all the essential functions of their sites.

Search Engine Optimization is an important element of any digital marketing strategy. When done correctly, SEO can boost the unique value of your site by ranking it higher in SERPs – Search Engine Results Pages.

5. Find a primary keyword to target

Primary Keyword is a word that defines the whole content. Through this one word, Google will identify your website/post, and your targeted audience will also search with the same keyword. So, it is very important to find the best primary Keyword for your content.

Once you will begin researching your keyword, you might find hundred that you will think as a perfect for your site. But, you have to make sure the word you chose for the primary keyword brings the best result, and for this, you can use different tools, which is available on the internet.

6. Find long-tail keyword variations

Long-tail keywords are the secret to getting tons of search traffic. If done correctly, it can drive high-converting traffic to your website in the least amount of effort. You can collect these keywords from Google, however, it can be little time-consuming. For that, you can use a professional keyword research tool that will help you find thousands of long-tail keywords in a blink of eyes.

Another great alternative to finding long-tail keywords in your niche id to look for the keywords your competitors are using currently to rank.

  • Below are the few more tips that you can take into consideration to find long-tail keywords in your niche:
  • Try to understand your customer mind. Think about how your targeted audience is searching for the products or services you are offering- words, language, and phrase they are using.
  • Communicate with your customers and understand their way of searching for products online. This is probably the best way you can find the words, language, and phrase your customers uses.
  • Be active in different online communities forums (Facebook groups, Quora, Reddit, Twitter) and analyze what your targeted audience is asking and how they phrase them.

7. Use short, descriptive URLs

URLs are like the first impression of your site or, we can say of your business. This is the first thing that your targeted audience will see while connecting with your websites.

Don't take it lightly, if not done right you can end up with endless redirect loops and that is not appreciative. The best URL structure involves a mixed blend of usability and accessibility factors, along with some good old-fashioned SEO.

Below are some of the points you should take into consideration while creating a URL for your site:

  • Include Keywords
  • Avoid unnecessary words & characters
  • Easy to read
  • Consistent
  • Static
  • Future-proof
  • Comprehensive
  • Don't forget to create an XML sitemap

8. Write a compelling title tag and description

Title tags and description are the factors that can increase your click-through rates and entice people to click in your link. Basically, Title tags and description tells search engines & users what your site is about, which is very important. Moreover, it also helps search engines to understand the content on a page.

Well composed and compelling description can draw more users to click on your website from the search engine results.

9. Use one H1 on your page (and include your keyword in it)

Search engines pay close attention to headers and subheads of the content page, particularly the

tag. H1 tags help to increase the search engine ranking.

The H1 tag is the most important header on the page and works as the title for the page content. You should definitely include your keywords in the title, however, be informed that H1 is not the same as the title tag. For better result structure your page content using H2 to H6 and also use your keywords throughout the page.

10. Create Awesome Product Video

As the world is becoming more digitized people are also preferring more video content of every product or service. According to recent data, 82% of the people conduct online research prior to making a purchase and 64% of people buy the product after watching the video. It helps them take a decision about the product.

An awesome product video can drive more attention of the targeted audience and also gain their trust. Moreover, creating a video for your product gives you an opportunity to relay your message behind the product and show all features to your customers in a compelling & creative way which, increases the chance of sell.

11. Use Infographic

Nowadays, text alone isn't enough to gain the consistent attention of the targeted audience. The more interactive blog will be, higher chances of getting consistent traffic on the site. And, infographics will enhance the content of your site and make it more rich & informative.

As infographics are new in the game many people don't know about it. Infographics help to clearly present information to the visitors

Below are the benefits of having infographics in the blog:

  • Visual Power
  • Increases Brand Awareness
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • More Concise Information
  • Shareability

12. Add Product Reviews

Adding reviews for products or service has become an essential part of online business and advertisements. It helps in building trust & loyalty of the customers and also increases the sales.

Savvy shoppers will never purchase a product without checking its review. The more reviews you have, the more convinced shoppers will be about the product.  Moreover, customer feedback help pages to be found on search engines via unique keywords.

Therefore ask your customer to put a review on the product or service they used, and if they share it in the social media, it will help to gain more exposure.

13. Link to relevant internal and external resources

Adding relevant internal & external link will improve the visibility and rank of your website. Internal links will help your viewer to engage with your website longer. It also increases the chance of having consistent customers.

Whereas attaching reliable and informative links increase the credibility of your website. So, make sure you are linking high-quality external sites. An external link is more valuable if it links to popular and appropriate pages that are highly ranked and related to the content on your web page.

14. Optimize your images with descriptive “alt” tags

Optimizing images with descriptive "alt" tags allows search engines to understand them. It is one of the search engine optimization tactic that helps in driving traffic to the website. If the image fails to load on a user's screen in that case alt text appears.

This text also helps screen-reading tools describe images to visually impaired readers and allows search engines to better rank your website.

Whether or not you perform SEO for your content, optimizing your website's image alt text is a way to create a better user experience for your visitors.

15. Add schema markup to enhance SERP visibility (where relevant)

Schema markup is the latest evolution in SEO that helps in the boost of the website in the search engine result pages (SERPs). It is one of the most powerful, but still least utilized forms of SEO.

Schema markup is code (semantic vocabulary) that you include in your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users. It helps to create a rich description (commonly known as a rich snippet), which appears in search results.

16. Write a kick-ass intro

No doubt, a good intro is another very important part of the website. For users, it decides either they are going to spend the next minute on your site or not. So, it is very important to make a kick-ass intro for your product or service. If possible include visual elements or infographics in your intro. This will help your intro to stand-out in the crowd.

Below is the list of few things you should take into consideration while creating an awesome intro for your website:

  • Be Concise
  • Be Relevant
  • Be Humorous
  • Be Professional
  • Be Enticing

17. Focus on readability

Readability decides whether a user is going to come back on your site or not. Therefore, it is very important to create understandable content. You don't need to go overboard and include new & more fancy words in the content, just make it simple so that one can understand it in one read.

Make sure while using synonyms the meaning of words matches with the message you want to convey. So many time this synonyms gives another meaning that can degrade the quality and impression of the webpage in front of your targeted audience.

18. Use short sentences and paragraphs

Short sentences and short paragraphs is another important factor that will increase your website's chance to rank good in Google.  The structure of the text on your content is important for SEO.

Below are the reasons to use short sentences and paragraphs:

  • Most internet users scan, not read
  • Short attention span
  • Short paragraphs encourage to read
  • Drives a point
  • Less chance of committing errors

19. Create the best piece of content on the topic

It is very important to give value to your targeted audience through your blog/service information/product information to make them come back again and again. You have to be informative and to the point in your content. Storytelling might work in a few cases/topics but, if you will create content out of the topic, it will rather have a bad impression on your website.

To make reliable and scalable results, think before you write and ask yourself a question, are you going to come back after reading this? if yes then you are good to go or, try to improve your content.

20. Identity (and FIX) any crawl errors

Crawling is basically a process where search engine tries to visit every page of your website via a bot, and crawl error occurs when they fail at it.  It is very important to make sure that every link on your website leads to an actual page as it does affect badly on your overall SEO. It should be part of your maintenance schedule to check for crawl errors now and then.

Here are the few simple ways to maintain and fix your website’s crawl errors:

  • Replacing not working external links with working links
  • Updating invalid URLs with valid ones
  • Maintaining security subscriptions to prevent malware attacks

21. Make sure your site loads FAST

Fast loading site plays a very important role for both great user experience as well as ranking higher on the search engine. If your websites take forever to load, you can lose your customer as the longer you make them wait, the more interest they lose in you.

Additionally, Google also uses site speed as one of the ranking factors in their algorithm. Site speed shows how quickly a website responds to the web request. The fast site makes user happy and creates a better user experience, which ultimately helps in getting consistent traffic.

22. Fix outbound broken links

Broken links decrease the traffic of the site as users might not want to continue to explore the other pages of your site. And, when users spend less time on your site, the search engine will assume that your website is not providing a good user experience to the visitors that eventually leads to the lower rank.

Nobody wants broken links on their website and it will also hurt your SEO efforts. Therefore, it is best to fix them up.

23. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly

A mobile-friendly website means designing, developing, and optimizing the website for users on mobile devices.

Now, you may be thinking, why it's the matter of talk?

Let us inform you, according to recent data accessing the internet through a mobile device is increasing than desktop, which makes it very important to build your site as a mobile friendly. 

If your website is not mobile friendly you may lose half of your targeted audience. So make sure your site is mobile friendly

Here are 10 simple things you can do to optimize your site for mobile users:

  • Don’t Block Javascript, CSS, or Image Files
  • Optimize Image Size
  • Don’t Use Flash
  • Use Standard Fonts
  • Use Media Queries
  • Use Frameworks like Bootstrap
  • Don’t Disable the Submit Button
  • Use a Responsive Theme on CMS
  • Use Percentages
  • Focus on Simple Designs

24. Switch to HTTPs

HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) adds a layer of protection to your website. HTTPS ensures to users that they can access and its safe to put their information in the site.

The best way we can put it is as: HTTPS works by creating a confidential wall between you and the website you’re trying to use.

HTTPS uses a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate to encrypt the data shared between the user and receiver. So if anyone tries to look at what’s happening in the site, it’ll come across as scrambled. This is remarkably important not just when handling sensitive information like credit cards, but for general viewing safety.

25. Update Google AMP Pages

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is an open- source coding standard for publishers, and its main goal is to load the sites quickly on mobile devices.

AMP has been speculated to have two benefits for SEO: one it will make the site load fast and another it will also help in ranking factor.

Here are the benefits of having AMP: Accelerated Mobile Pages:

  • It helps in SEO boost because these pages show up on the Google News carousel.
  • Load site quickly
  • Reduce bounce rate

26. Fix duplicate content issues

Duplicate content is one of the main reasons that will decrease your ranking on the search engine. When search engine come across duplicate content, they chose to display the original version of the content. This will always put your website's rank low. Moreover, duplicate content also dilutes the value of your link. Therefore, it is very crucial to always have original content on the website.

27. Replicate your competitor’s links

Replicating your competitor's links will help you know what and how they are they doing well. This will help you to make a more beneficial strategy to make your product or service better than them. You can go deep in search for everything about their website and create a better opportunity for yourself.

Here are 6 ways you can use your competitors for SEO advantage:

  • Inspire by their content
  • Link mirroring
  • Brand differentiation
  • Weaknesses to improve
  • Strategies to avoid
  • Guest posting and relationship building

28. Monitor and reclaim any lost links

Reclaiming lost link will ensure that your website is not losing any important link due to broken links, moved pages or faulty URL canonicalization. Basically, reclamation is the process of finding and fixing or replacing broken links of your website. It helps to find defective pages, duplicate content issues, site navigation, and internal linking.

The following are 5 strategies you can use to claim links:

  • Google Alerts for Brand Mentions
  • Redirection for Missing Pages
  • Change Requests for Old Domains
  • Updated Links for Lost Offsite Content
  • Credit for Content

29. Pursue unlinked mentions

Unlinked brand mentions are online mentions of your product/service or anything directly related to your brand. Basically, this will help you gain exposure for free.

Below are the 9 Rules of the Unlinked Road:

  • Use new web explorer and google to find fresh brand mentions
  • Have a thorough understanding of advanced search commands
  • Avoid press releases
  • Be efficient at evaluating a site
  • Use a SERP overlay
  • Craft a GOOD pitch
  • Set up a Google alert when you find a search command that works well
  • Find common references of your brand name
  • Be on the lookout for affiliate links

30. Let the right people know about your content

Targeting right people for your product or service is very important for increasing your ranking in the search engine. As the right people will for sure come back to your website which, will help you to have consistent traffic on your site.

In most of the situation, people do create the best websites but they forget to target the right audience and that leads to overall lose in the competitive business world. Therefore, branding to the right group of people at the right time and place, using the right format, language, and device is crucial in SEO.