Here’s a question for you: If your website doesn’t appear on the first page of Google search results, does it even exist?
Of the billions of websites online right now, there are only around 200 million that are active. When you search for a website on Google, only 10 of these 200 million appear on the first page. So how do you get your website to that coveted first-page position?
That comes from mastering the art of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. Bag beginner’s stuff and start ranking with our basic SEO checklist.
SEO Basics: What Is SEO?
Google ranks its search results by trawling the web and gathering data from websites to determine their relevancy to searches. SEO is the process of making your website as easy as possible for Google’s algorithms to understand so that they know exactly what your website is offering.
It also involves making small, but significant changes to your site, so that it stands out in a sea of competitors. Basically, with SEO, you’re telling Google what you’re offering, and you’re telling them that you are the best option for those who are searching for it.
Why Is SEO important?
These days, it’s essential that your business operates effectively online. This is because the times are changing (and have been for a while) and the next generation of consumers are primed for the online experience.
However, building your business online became even more important in the COVID-19 era. As consumers were confined to their homes, doing business online became the only option. So if you hadn’t considered SEO before then, it’s unlikely that your business was able to compete. Basically, if you want to keep with the times, mastering SEO should be your top priority.
Build a Website Right: A Basic SEO Checklist
So, now that you know the importance of SEO, you might be wondering what it takes to build a fully optimized website. Although no one knows exactly how Google’s algorithms work, there are a few SEO certainties you have to know. We’re making the process that much easier with our basic SEO checklist.
1. Get the Right Keywords
Keyword research is probably the most essential step in SEO mastery. Keywords are what Google uses to determine your website’s relevancy to searchers. Think of keywords as the words you’ll type to search for a particular business online.
For example, if you’re a hardware store some of the basic keywords you might use are “hardware”, “tools”, “fix”, “DIY”, “hardware shop near me”…we could go on. But this gives you a basic idea of what keywords are when it comes to your particular website.
Keywords can be determined simply by brainstorming what your target customer might be searching for. But it’s also important to do a bit of online research. There are also tons of free keyword finders online.
2. Check Out the Competition
Taking note of what your competition is doing is a great idea in general. You can’t beat ’em unless you know ’em right? But this is also essential for SEO. Checking out competitors’ websites will alert you to any keywords you might have missed. It’ll also show you how your competition is using these keywords to their advantage when it comes to higher rankings.
Do a Google search of your competitors, see who’s ranking highest, and really get a feel for their page. See where they’ve used certain keywords and how they’ve incorporated them into their content (more on that later).
3. Take Care of the Backend
Before you say anything, we’re talking about coding here. Search Engine Optimisation doesn’t only happen on the visible parts of the website. Keywords will have to be incorporated into your code as well. This includes making sure your pages are indexed correctly, have the right title tags, and have good meta descriptions.
This might sound a bit intimidating, so if you’re struggling you might want to hire a professional who knows their way around the backend of a website.
4. Link That Content
Another SEO essential is making sure your website offers relevant and useful content. Most websites that rank highly on Google have blogs with long and short-form content that’s relevant to the business.
Let’s get back to our hardware store example. You might include a blog post titled “The Top DIY Trends for This Summer”. This post will contain the relevant keywords subtly pointing consumers to the tools they need for these projects and improving your SEO.
Another essential part of SEO is linking. Google wants to know that your website is trusted. Trust is built by linking to other reputable websites, and internally to your own site. So, in your DIY trends article, you might point to a blog on another site about summer activities. Just make sure you aren’t linking to your competitors!
5. Check Your Functionality
No one likes to visit a site that’s difficult to navigate and doesn’t really work properly. So make sure that every page of your site works properly and that there aren’t any broken links or faulty pages.
It’s also important to get your site optimized for mobile browsing. A lot of people are browsing on their phones these days, and if your website takes too long to load and doesn’t function well on a small screen, that’s going to count against you.
6. Keep Improving
SEO isn’t a one-time thing. You have to constantly be updating your pages, producing content, and making sure that you’re staying on top of keywords. There are so many tools that you can use to gather data on your website and use this data to improve, including Google’s very own SEO monitoring system.
This basic SEO checklist is by no means all-encompassing, but it’ll start you off just right. If you’re looking for a professional SEO service that can do all of this for you, we offer a variety of SEO packages for every type of website.
If you’re ready to take control of your SEO and get ranking, get in touch today.