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September 13, 2021

SEO Checklist For Business Websites

SEO is no longer a nice-to-have.  It’s a must-have.

More and more businesses are vying for attention in the highly competitive digital space and if they don’t have SEO, they run the risk of disappearing into the ether.   SEO is the best and most cost-effective way to ensure a strong web presence for your brand and put your business front and centre of the search engines and customers.

SEO improves the overall searchability and visibility of your website and helps you to understand your customers and reach them in the moments that matter.  In short, business websites need SEO to survive and thrive.

This checklist highlights the key things that you should be doing to be SEO-savvy.

1. Set up Google Analytics

It’s essential to keep a close eye on whether your SEO efforts are paying dividends and where you need to make tweaks and improvements.  To do this, you need to install a variety of different monitoring and analytics tools.  Google Analytics is a must.  It is free and very easy to use and it provides valuable information on where how your website is performing across all your digital marketing channels.  Data produced includes where traffic is coming from, customer demographics, repeat visitors etc.

2. Google Search Console

Google Search Console is another free resource which provides insights into your SEO performance.  You’ll find info on your search rankings, the search terms that you appear for, indexing coverage and so much more. This is also the perfect tool to tell Google about your website when you first launch. 

3. Sitemaps

Sitemaps are a critical element of SEO and are essential for search engine rankings.  They’re a type of file that gives search engines a blueprint of your website, helping them to discover, crawl and index the content faster and more efficiently.  Sitemaps also tell the search engines which pages you think are most important on your website.   In short, they help speed up content discovery. With most content management systems they are created by default and often live on your website at www.yourwebitedomainname/sitemap.xml 

4. Keyword research

Keyword research is at the heart of every SEO strategy.  Every business needs to understand what their customers are looking for and how they search for it.  Putting time and effort into your research, you’ll get valuable insight into the queries that your target audience is actually searching for.  You’ll discover keywords for each page that are relevant to what your business website offers and thereby enhance the likelihood of driving qualified traffic and improving your conversion rate.  

Searches are divided into three categories – transactional, informational and navigational – and it’s essential to determine the search intent when choosing keywords to target.

It’s pretty self-explanatory but basically transactional keywords are for searchers who are looking to take action such as buying something, downloading information etc.  Informational keywords inform searchers about your products and navigational keywords are aimed at people looking for your specific website.  

You’ll also need to research long and short tail keywords.  Long tail ones include two or more words and these are likely to be much more specific to your offering and will drive highly qualified traffic.

5. Metadata

Once you’ve fine-tuned your list of keywords, you need to incorporate them into your site’s metadata.  Metadata is essentially ‘data about data’ and includes things like title tags, meta descriptions, H1 tags and image alt text.

Remember, Google is looking for content that makes sense and which is appealing, engaging, useful and relevant.  They don’t like content that is just stuffed with keywords.  Use your target keyword logically in each of the metadata locations and present the content in a compelling way that encourages the searcher to click through.

6. Internal linking

You can boost your SEO by adding internal links between your website pages.  This enables search engines to better understand your site’s hierarchy and helps them understand which of your pages are most important and most authoritative.  Internal links also lead visitors to other pages on your website, increasing dwell time which is a key ranking factor.

7. Content, content, content

Content is truly the lifeblood of your website.  

If your content is poor, it will be impossible for Google or visitors to love your website.  Content needs to be creative, original, relevant, informative, useful, trustworthy and engaging.  And that takes time and effort – particularly as SEO needs a regular feed of fresh, new content.  By content, we mean the writing and structuring of content on your website, including actual words on your landing pages, blog posts, social media posts, videos, images, infographics, podcast, FAQs, tutorial guides, customer testimonials etc.

8. Technical SEO

Technical SEO underpins all your content efforts and is an important part of the SEO checklist.  Things like site speed, mobile friendliness, website security, broken links, redirects, 404s etc all affect the user experience which is a hugely important page ranking signal.

To ensure your business website is technically sound, you should first do a full audit of all the technical components.  Fix any broken links, identify pages that aren’t being indexed, optimise the loading speeds of your pages, get an HTTPS certificate etc.

9. Local SEO

If you’re a small business operating in a specific geographical location, local SEO is your friend.  Local SEO involves optimising your online presence to attract more business from relevant local searches on Google and other search engines.

In addition to targeting local keywords and service-in-location keywords (eg windscreen replacement in Perth), you should make full use of tools like Google My Business to boost your rankings.  Also investigate things like NAP citations, listings on local directories, link building, social media and reviews.

You’ve made an investment in your business website, but without SEO, you may be fighting a losing battle.  If you’re interested in getting hands-on tuition from an SEO expert and take your business website to the top of the search engine rankings, then it’s worth your while taking a look at The SEO School.

This online, self-managed course covers all the essentials of SEO and participants implement the key elements of SEO into their business websites as they progress through the modules.

 The SEO School was designed by Perth SEO specialist, Karen Dauncey who shares all her insider knowledge and skills gained over her 20 year career in the digital marketing industry.  Interested?  Visit https://theseoschool.com for more information or to book a course, or email Karen directly at karen@theseoschool.com.

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