Every marketer needs an SEO checklist. Before getting into the specifics of an SEO checklist, let’s take a look at some SEO basics.
- What is SEO?
- Why is SEO essential to your business?
- What is on-page SEO?
This article addresses these questions and gives you a good SEO checklist to increase your marketing success.
What Is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is fundamental to having an online presence and ensuring your business’s online success. SEO increases the quality and quantity of your website traffic from search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Why Is SEO Essential for Your Business?
Before answering this question, let’s look at a few SEO statistics.
- 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
- 53% of all website traffic comes from organic search.
- 93% of global traffic comes from Google Search, Google Images, and Google Maps.
- 76% of people who search on their smartphones for something nearby visit a business within a day.
- 52% of all website traffic comes from mobile phones.
Here are some reasons why SEO is necessary for businesses.
Increases Organic Traffic
The goal of an online business or e-commerce is to attract people to your website through organic traffic. The more people visit your website, the more willing they are to buy your products. SEO is the most effective tool to attract and gain customers.
Improves Brand Authority
People tend to trust websites toward the top of the search engine results page (SERP). They are also more likely to purchase from the first results to answer their query. New customers tend to search specific keywords, so make sure your website appears at the top of search results for those keywords.
Reach Your Target Audience
You can use SEO to target your audience using specific keywords. Using certain keywords will attract potential customers. Building brand awareness can help you capture ideal customers who rely on your products or services. These customers are more likely to come back to your website to make a purchase.
Increase Offline Sales
People often check websites before physically visiting a shop. They also use Google to compare prices, learn more about local businesses, check inventory, and read reviews. Therefore, SEO can increase your offline sales as well.
Improve Local SEO
Local SEO is optimizing your website content for location-specific searches. Search engines look at the user’s location to determine what to display in the search results. Local search is one of the most effective strategies to grow your business in a specific area.
SEO is an affordable way to grow your business and online presence. As people visit your website, you can analyze your customers’ behavior and adjust your promotions based on that data. Also, you can see what your competitors are doing, what keywords they are targeting, and their strategies. All of this will help you stand out from your competitors as well.
On-Page SEO Checklist
What is on-page SEO?
On-page SEO has to do with the elements of your website. On-page SEO is vital because it tells search engines whether or not your website is relevant to the searcher’s query.
Here are a few on-page SEO tactics to help improve your website.
Google rates websites for their expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T). Google is looking for high-quality, relevant content. Having such content on your site makes your website rank higher on Google.
Title tags are another essential part of on-page SEO. They are the clickable title of a webpage on the SERP. Title tags are also referred to as page titles, website titles, or HTML titles. Missing tags, duplicate tags, and poorly written title tags can all affect your SEO results.
Meta descriptions summarize the content on your website, and they help Google understand what your page has to offer. A good meta description includes a focus keyword, a call to action (CTA), 155 characters, and a descriptive preview of your page. Well-written meta descriptions make your page stand out on the SERP.
Great headlines can help you stand out and spark interest in the SERP. Headlines should entice people to click on your page to read the rest of the content.
Use header tags to identify and differentiate your headings and subheadings from other types of texts, such as paragraph text, within your content. Header tags can make your content easier to read and more enjoyable to readers. They can also provide keyword-rich content for search engines.
A keyword is a short word or phrase that helps describe the content on your website. You can use keyword tracking tools to help you know how well your keywords are ranking on Google. Some of these tools include:
- Google Keyword Planner
- SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool
- Moz Keyword Explorer
Keywords tell search engines what is on each page of your website and help them rank you appropriately.
Optimize your images, so they don’t slow down your website. Attractive photos will make your website more appealing to visitors. Optimizing your images can give you additional ranking opportunities, a better user experience, and faster page load times.
You should make sure you’re writing solid SEO content. It can’t just be keywords or just writing something for the sake of writing. Write your SEO content for people, and make sure it’s high-quality and relevant.
Regularly audit the existing content on your website. An audit identifies whether or not your content is still accurate and determines what type of content is working for you. It is beneficial because it helps you evaluate if your current content achieves its goals and gains a return on investment (ROI).
Your on-page SEO should also focus on making sure your content interests readers and keeps them engaged. You want to keep them coming back for more. To increase user engagement, focus on technical SEO like page speed, user experience, and content.
Technical SEO Checklist
What is technical SEO?
Technical SEO is a part of on-page SEO, but it focuses on improving the technical aspects of your website to increase the ranking of its pages in Google and other search engines.
Here are a few technical SEO tactics to help improve your website.
We’re not very patient when we come across a slow website. Your website should load in less than two to three seconds. If your website is slow to load, people will become impatient and move to a faster loading website. Also, a slow website will appear lower on the SERP. So, the quicker, the better!
Search engines crawl your website and follow links to discover the most critical content on your website. Using internal links will help Google know more about your website.
Robot.txt is a file that tells search engines what your website should look like and how it works. Robot.txt tells search engines how they can crawl your content.
You can use meta robot tags to allow a search engine to crawl a page, but keep it out of the SERP. You can also use meta robot tags to have a search engine crawl a page but not follow the page’s links.
Eliminate 404 errors as much as possible. A 404 error is when a page cannot be found. These errors can happen for multiple reasons, such as moving a page, a page directory, or your website altogether. Ideally, you would redirect the page that replaces the old page. Also, forgetting to use 301 redirects and mistyping a URL will cause search engines not to find the web page.
Duplicate content on multiple pages on your site can confuse search engines. Google will not know how to rank the page. Different URLs can show the same content, which is confusing to search engines and visitors.
People expect privacy when they visit websites. An SSL (Secure Socket Layer) Certificate authenticates a website’s identity and enables an encrypted connection. An SSL is a security protocol that creates an encrypted link between a web server and a web browser. SSL certificates keep sensitive data such as names, addresses, credit card numbers, or other financial details secure.
HTTPS websites require an SSL Certificate. HTTPS is a secure version of HTTP and tells visitors that the website is encrypted by SSL. HTTP sites without an SSL Certificate are “not secure,” which informs visitors that the website may not be trustworthy.
An XML sitemap is simply a list of all the pages on your website. It serves as a roadmap to search engines on your site. You want to ensure that search engines don’t miss important content on your site. Posts, pages, tags, images, and other content on your website make up an XML sitemap.
Structured data helps search engines understand your website, content, and business better. This data can tell search engines the products you sell and other content on your website. Using structured data will help you stand out in the search results.
International Websites Use Hreflang
You should use hreflang tags if you target more than one country where people speak the same language. Search engines need help understanding which languages or countries you’re trying to reach.
A mobile-friendly website is essential today. Most searches happen on mobile, so if your website is not mobile-friendly, people will lose interest in your website and move on to a different one.
SEO Design Chicago Knows Search Engine Optimization
Hopefully, this SEO checklist gets you started and on your way to growing your business. If search engine optimization overwhelms you, SEO Design Chicago offers SEO services to help you with all your SEO needs.
- What is SEO?
- Why is SEO essential for your business?
- What is on-page SEO?
- What is technical SEO?
- How do you optimize your website for on-page SEO?