A Basic SEO Checklist to Prepare Your Website for Growth
Any business that has an online presence will strive to gain more traffic that will increase brand popularity and reach. If you want your business to garner lasting success, it’s important that you take steps to grow your website and reach a wider audience. Among the most effective methods, you can use to boost site […]
May 31, 2021 | 9 min. read
Any business that has an online presence will strive to gain more traffic that will increase brand popularity and reach. If you want your business to garner lasting success, it’s important that you take steps to grow your website and reach a wider audience. Among the most effective methods, you can use to boost site visibility is to perform ample amounts of search engine optimization. SEO is a very common and highly useful marketing practice that involves optimizing your website for search engines like Google and Bing.
By making the right optimizations, you can improve the rankings for every web page on your site. When a user enters a keyword or term into a search engine, you want your website to be towards the top of results. Around 50 percent of users automatically select the first link that appears on search results, which is why it’s essential that you improve your rankings. Once these improvements have been made, your website should start benefiting from an increase in visibility, which will assuredly result in increased traffic to your website.
While search engine optimization is easy to perform, there are many different techniques that you can select from, which can be confusing if you’ve never used SEO in your marketing efforts before now. Before you start to optimize your website for search engines, it’s highly recommended that you create an SEO checklist to guide you along the way. This checklist is a collection of SEO best practices that can help you avoid mistakes and perform fantastic optimization that will improve your website visibility significantly.
SEO is an important component of marketing because of how many benefits it can provide compared to other forms of marketing. Along with increasing site visibility and traffic, the right optimization can enhance the user experience and improve the relationship between your brand and your customers. With an SEO checklist in hand, you should be able to efficiently optimize your website, which will give you more time to spend on improving other facets of your website and the user experience. This article serves as a guide on the steps necessary to build a simple SEO checklist.
1. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a completely free tool provided by Google that you can use to analyze your website performance and determine how effective your optimization currently is. When used correctly, Google Analytics can tell you where your website is lacking and what improvements you can make. Once you’ve installed this tool, you can track every visitor who enters your website and see how they interact with site pages.
This tool can also give you information about how users reached your website, which may have occurred through search engine results, backlinks, or paid ads. With this information, you should be able to identify how effective your marketing is. User behavior is a key element of Google Analytics that will allow you to determine which areas of your website are engaging and which ones require attention. If users leave your website after reaching a specific page, this may indicate that the page is poorly designed.
Regardless of what the analysis shows you, it’s important that you use the data provided to you with Google Analytics to make substantive improvements. It’s also highly recommended that you connect your Google Search Console to your Google Analytics account. While Google Analytics gives you information on the overall performance of your website, the Google Search Console gives you the tools needed to optimize your website. Once you connect Google Analytics with Google Search Console, the Google Search Console tool will use the information from Google Analytics to better optimize your website.
2. Google Search Console
As mentioned previously, Google Search Console is a beneficial tool that website owners can use to further optimize their website. Google Search Console can use the information from Google Analytics to provide you with more informed recommendations on how to improve your website. Once you have installed this tool, it can help you determine which websites are linking to your website and if there are any technical errors on your site that could be worsening your search ranking.
This specific tool is also great for grading the mobile usability of your website. In the modern world, it’s important that you reach as many customers as possible by making sure that your website is mobile-friendly. With the information provided through Google Search Console, you can identify if your website is usable on smartphones or if more improvements are needed. Keep in mind that this tool can list the top keyword queries on Google, which can pay dividends when optimizing your website.
3. Create and Submit a Sitemap
When you want to perform premium optimization for your website, it’s highly recommended that you create and submit a sitemap. Sitemaps are able to tell search engines how to find your content, which is an integral aspect of improving your rankings on search engines like Google and Bing. Even if you’ve properly optimized your website for search engines, Google and Bing may not improve your rankings if they are unable to quickly index your pages.
By telling search engines how to find your site content, these engines can more readily crawl and index your site pages. The best part about creating a sitemap for your website is that doing so is simple and straightforward. In fact, the majority of content management systems perform this task automatically, which means that your work is done. If your CMS of choice is WordPress, Yoast is a great tool to use when you want to create a sitemap. Some other tools that provide automatic sitemaps include Mindnode, Dynomapper, and PowerMapper. Once the sitemap has been created, you can submit it through the Google Search Console or the Bing Sitemaps Tool.
4. Content Optimization & Maintenance
Another critical component of SEO involves content optimization. Search engines like Google are able to identify if your site content is valuable and well-written. Performing content optimization allows you to provide value to the end user, improve the user experience, improve your link structure, and make it easier for customers to get to valuable content. Optimization will also make your content easier to access, which is essential for the user experience.
If you want to effectively optimize the content on your website, it’s important that you include the right SEO elements. The primary components of content optimization that should be included on every page extend to meta tags, social meta tags, and Schema markup. If you’ve never used Schema before, this tool allows search engines to better understand the content you place on your website.
It’s also important that you stay on top of the content formats that are most appealing to your primary audience. At the moment, case studies, multimedia, and content written by experts are more appealing to users than ever. Keep in mind that you should keep users engaged even when they aren’t reading content on your website, which can be done with marketing techniques like email marketing.
Another key facet of content optimization is to make sure that you outfit your website with a contact form. Users invariably have questions about content they read and products they want to purchase. Including a contact form on your website provides users with a simple method of communicating with your business.
5. Mobile & User Experience (UX) Optimization
If you want to reach a wide audience and make sure that they remain engaged once they reach your website, you should perform mobile and user experience optimization. Search engines like Google will notice if your website is poorly designed. The majority of modern users primarily browse the internet on smartphones and tablets, which means that it’s important you have a mobile-friendly website. In 2020 alone, more than 68 percent of all users browsed the internet on a smartphone as opposed to a desktop computer.
Along with making sure that your website is responsive, it’s also essential that you improve load times and avoid clutter with your on-page content. These techniques can go a long way towards ensuring that mobile users have a good experience when they reach your website. Improving site speed and performance will also help you enhance your entire UX design.
6. Webmaster Tools & SEO Plugins
There are some additional webmaster tools and SEO plugins that you should consider using when building your website for SEO success. Along with Google Analytics and Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools allow you to collect data and generate reports that may help you better optimize your website. Tools like PageSpeed Insights can help you identify your current site performance as well as the things you can to improve performance.
As touched upon previously, Yoast SEO is a highly effective tool that can be paired with any WordPress website. This plugin is easy to download and can be used to analyze all of the content that’s placed on your website. If you have yet to build a website, there are many reputable content management systems that you can choose from, which include everything from Wix and Squarespace to WordPress and WooCommerce.
The CMS that you select depends mainly on the type of website you’d like to build. If you’re looking to create an online storefront where you can sell products or services, WooCommerce and Shopify are likely your best bets. For all other types of websites, WordPress is a strong CMS that gives you all the tools you need to build a website that’s unique, functional, and visually appealing. Once you have created a website and are ready to perform SEO, consider installing tools like Ahrefs or Semrush, both of which are designed to help website owners improve their SEO efforts and highlight areas that require extra work.
Now that you have an SEO checklist that you can reference while performing SEO, you should be ready to integrate numerous SEO techniques into your website design and site content. Once these improvements have been made, your website should quickly benefit from increased visibility, more traffic, higher conversions, and better engagement among current customers.
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