Search engines are constantly improving their algorithms to maintain a super high level of relevance by ranking websites based on keyword content relevance, robustness, and link building, among other factors.
With that, you must build your website around search engine optimisation (SEO) to make sure that it’s geared up for a successful content marketing plan. However, with the frequent changes and updates in Google’s search algorithms, keeping up with the competition requires both time-tested and latest SEO strategies.
To help you launch your page on top of the first page of search engines, we’ve compiled a comprehensive SEO checklist of proven steps that will contribute to optimising your website.
SEO Fundamentals Checklist
Before diving deeper into more complicated lists, let’s deal with the fundamental steps for every SEO strategy. These are the lists of necessary measures to begin optimising your website efficiently.
Setup Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a great and powerful free SEO tool that allows you to monitor your performance in Google Search. Among its plethora of capabilities include:
- Access to valuable search query data
- Submit XML sitemaps
- Identify and fix website crawl errors
- Ability to test rich snippets
If you want to set foot on Google’s first page, Google Search Console will be your first step.
Setup Google Analytics
The most efficient way to monitor online traffic on your website is through Google Analytics. Furthermore, it helps you see how visitors and customers find and use your site. Google Analytics also packs a lot of helpful SEO services, including:
- View your traffic from Google in readable graphs
- Determine what page in your website brings in the most traffic
- Measure your progress and see if your traffic is increasing (by how much)
- Identify external pages that drive traffic to your site
- Monitor your average bounce rates and time on site
Most of the time, Google Analytics is integrated with Google Search Console to provide valuable SEO information. With these tools, you can determine if your strategy is making a difference or if you have to make prompt decisions to rank your website better.
Configure Bing Webmaster Tools
Now, Google isn’t the only search engine out there that provides its own tools for SEO. Bing, the search engine owned by Microsoft, also has Bing Webmaster Tools to help you improve your site for its SERP.
While Bing isn’t as popular as Google, the traffic that it contributes to all searches is still considerable. Besides, with a few knowledge and understanding of SEO, you can set up your page smoothly and seamlessly. It also has a built-in keyword research tool so that you can keep an eye on the most profitable keywords currently.
Install Yoast SEO (for WordPress)
WordPress is inarguably the best content management system (CMS) out there. Hence, if you’re using this platform for your site, installing the Yoast SEO plugin is the first option.
With Yoast, you can easily optimise your WordPress site, so that search engines can better understand the context of each page. Also, Yoast SEO is capable of fixing technical SEO hotspots such as robots.txt and XML sitemaps.
Keyword Research Checklist
Keyword research has remained as one of the most important aspects of SEO, and most likely will always be. This checklist will discuss how you can quickly identify customer-relevant keywords and improve your search engine rankings.
Find Strong Keywords using Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is the official keyword research tool from Google. This app is originally designed for AdWords, but it offers a wide range of application that also suits SEO.
Using Google Keyword Planner, you can quickly get a list of short and long-tailed keywords and focus on low-competition keywords.
Venture Into Social Communities
Online forums such as Reddit and Quora, as well as social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, are excellent sources for first-hand keyword suggestions.
You can easily identify trendy hot topics and use those topics as key terms to target. Rinse and repeat this strategy to always keep up with trending topics.
Additionally, if your business has already built up a significant social account with an active following, then asking your community on what they’d like to see more of will also help with topic idea generation.
Discover “Question Keywords” Using AnswerThePublic
Long-tailed keywords are more potent and much less competitive than single or two-worded keywords. Besides, question keywords are useful for driving traffic to blog posts and informative articles.
That’s where AnswerThePublic shines. This keyword tool visualises search queries and autocompletes searches and keywords in a graphical presentation. That way, you’ll be able to answer the questions through your content.
On-Page SEO Checklist
After finding the right keywords, it’s time to optimise your on-page SEO using these techniques.
Target Keywords in Your URL
URLs act as an access point and is what brings users to your website. But most importantly, it needs to be crawled and indexed by search engines. Also, a keyword-rich URL is proven to improve organic traffic and click-through rate (CTR).
For example, we have optimised our services pages to read https://www.redsearch.com.au/seo-services/, and just by looking at the URL, you’ll immediately know at a glance the context of this page. This way, Google crawlers will be able to rank this page on the target keyword and potentially increase traffic by putting it above their SERPs.
Use Concise URLs
Put simply, the shorter and the more concise your URL is, the more likely it will rank better.
An analysis conducted by Backlinko showed that among 1 million Google search results revealed URLs within the top five spots are shorter than those below the top positions.
Also, avoid the outdated practice of long alphanumerical strings for URLs. Keep it simple for your audience and web crawlers.
Include Keywords on Title Tags
Using keywords is one thing, knowing where to place them is another. Besides, putting keywords on your title tag is a time-tested SEO strategy that works. This helps people find your page as well as search engines to index it.
Additionally, try to start your title tags with the keywords themselves. While this has little to do with improving your rank, every small step is necessary to get to your long-term goal. While you’re at it, think about embedding title tag modifiers to your tags as this helps you rank better on long-tail keywords.
Place Keywords in the First 150 Words of Your Copy & Heading Tags
Search engines keep a closer look at the first 100-150 words in your content so take advantage of this spot by placing strategic keywords in a way that it introduces your content well.
For blog posts and articles, segmenting your topics and placing keywords on H1, H2, and H3 header tags is the way to go. Reading a lengthy text in subsets and outlines is more engaging than a long block of paragraphs.
Also, it shows search engine crawlers how you organise information on your page, improving the structure and providing further clarity of your content.
Technical SEO Checklist
Optimising technical SEO isn’t that hard ‒ all you need are the right set of tools and the following steps.
Eliminate Crawl Errors
A crawl error causes trouble for search engines in finding your site. And if search engines can’t find your page, nobody else will.
Fortunately, you can identify crawl errors by looking at Google Search Console’s coverage report. If you find out that Google struggles to access important web pages, you want to fix the problem as soon as possible.
Make Your Webpage Mobile-Friendly
Mobile-First Index is another ranking factor set by Google to rank websites depending on their mobile capabilities. If your site isn’t optimised for smaller devices, it will have a hard time getting on top of the list.
To check whether your website is compatible for mobile devices, simply type in its URL on Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Fix Broken Links
Broken links can hurt your SEO strategy, especially if they were lying around for a while. Hence, have your website checked using an SEO checker and site analysis tool to determine any broken links and fix them.
Improve Site Loading Speed and Security
If a website is sluggish and doesn’t have the proper security certification, it will undoubtedly rank lower on search engines. Improve your website’s loading speed by optimising images and content and pop it in a site speed checker.
Moreover, Google confirms that they use HTTPS as a ranking signal. So if your page isn’t migrated from HTTP, then it’s time that you move it a step further.
Inarguably, better content equals better ranking. That’s why content is the be-all-end-all of modern SEO strategy. These steps will help you determine the content that will benefit your ranks.
The Skyscraper Technique
Reach for the skies by building your content around the “Skyscraper Technique”. This three-step process is a proven and time-tested formula for creating better content.
- First, determine a popular topic within your niche
- Then, ensure your page holds significantly more content and value compared to the website who is ranking #1 for your chosen key term
- Finally, promote that content using your page and social channels.
Websites have reported an increase in organic traffic using this process. Besides, its innovative approach encourages better content to thrive and beat the competition.
Cover In-Depth Topics on Your Page
Pages that rank best in Google are those who cover an entire topic in-depth. While top tips and short pieces of content can be relevant, people tend to spend more time on pages that include everything about the subject.
Just remember to segment the subtopics and avoid writing a massive block of words to make the content more engaging.
Utilise Schema Markup and Backlinks
Schema markup is a piece of information that helps Google and other search engines understand in what content is your page relevant. However, implementing schema can be tricky.
To help you with that, Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool makes using schema easier than hardcoding it manually.
On the other hand, link building is among Google’s top 3 ranking signals, making it key to any SEO strategy. You can build your brand’ reputation by providing anchor texts and backlinks with authoritative pages or pages within your own site.
Whatever your niche is, you can leverage search engine optimisation and apply the list of proven steps above to drive organic traffic to your website. Additionally, digital marketing trends may be fleeting, but the core of SEO will always focus on the above elements.
Learning and implementing the above steps effectively is just half the battle. At Red Search, we provide pro-active SEO solutions to ensure that your business is always at the top of its game.
Call us on 1300 101 712 and speak with our experts.