Optimizing your site for search engines will help crawlers identify and understand the nature of your site and what information it contains. This enables your site to appear on relevant search results and determines how it will rank. Let’s just say this, the better optimized your site is and the better quality of content and links your site contains, the better opportunity your site will be ranked on organic search engine results.
Now if you are launching a new site, you have a number of things to take into account to rank above your competitors. If you pay attention to the following items on this checklist, your site has a better chance of climbing the ranks even if it is fairly new.
The All Important Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Checklist
The following SEO checklist will greatly improve your search results ranking. It will put you on the right path, and coupled with consistent inbound marketing best practices, you can dominate your competition in no time.
A. Site Speed
Does your site load quickly? Google and other search engines give precedence to sites that load quickly over sites that are slow to load. Sites that load too slowly are more likely to experience high bounce rates from users. If you want your audience to stay on your site, commit to an action and get value, you have to think of User Experience. Sufficed to say, if it loads too slow, your leads won’t grow.
B. Mobile Optimization
A growing number of people are turning to their mobile phones to conduct activities online. And why not? Smartphones are far more easily accessible and ubiquitous than desktops these days. This is precisely why search engines are taking notice and including mobile optimization as an important factor when it comes to search rankings.
If your site is not optimized for mobile devices, users will have a difficult time navigating through your site. Is the text big enough to read on mobile? Is the navigation clear and easily accessible? Is the content cut out to be digested easily and to the point? Are the calls-to-action clear, big and positioned well? Are the forms fillable? Are buttons big enough for mobile devices?
Your site must not simply exist on the internet for mobile users. It has be designed for mobile interaction with your users. You have two options here—design a mobile version of your site or optimize your site dynamically for mobile devices.
C. Keyword Optimization
Keywords and keyword phrases help users find your site. Make sure that your website is optimized for your industry-specific keyword phrases. Place keywords strategically on page titles and throughout your site naturally. A good way to do this is to analyze what keyword phrases are being used in your industry to search for the service or products you offer. Pay attention to keyword trends and find out what phrases are being used by your competitors.
Related Article: 5 Most Common SEO Mistakes Made by Small Businesses
Be mindful of using keywords, though. Do not resort to keyword stuffing. The most important piece of your site is quality content. If your audience stumble upon unnaturally occurring keywords throughout your site, they will be turned off completely. Not to mention this is also something that search engine crawlers are mindful of.
D. Content Quality
Your website content should have the following characteristics:
- Well-written and intuitively formatted so readers can digest the information well.
- Content cannot be duplicated throughout the site or found on other websites.
- Internal links that lead the readers to other parts of your site and high quality and relevant external links can improve the credibility of your content.
E. Indexed Pages
Your website needs to be indexed with the various search engines. Indexed pages are pages that search engine robots have crawled. Using Google Webmaster tools, you can also add the sitemap to your indexed pages. Google recently announced that a site map will help their bots to more accurately crawl and index your website, which in turn can result in better search engine rankings. For example, is the home page the most important page or should the contact page gain preference within search results?
F. Algorithm Overlay
Is your website optimized for the latest search engine algorithms? This is a question that should be answered early-on within your web development process. If your website doesn’t meet the latest algorithm standards, then your inbound marketing efforts can suffer. In other words, a search engine’s algorithm is the series of steps that it uses to populate website results within a user’s keyword search. Understanding the latest algorithms can help you to build a site with better search result performance.
Make sure that any broken or old links are properly redirected. Creating unique, keyword driven 404 error redirect pages can also help boost your SEO by keeping your audience from hopping onto another site if they arrive on a broken page or a page that no longer exists.
H. Internal Linking
Internal linking helps search engines and users better understand your website and navigate through the pages within. It also helps give greater preference to the most important pages. With this in mind, internal linking should help to reduce the number of times that a reader has to click throughout a site. For example, if a user has just read an interesting blog post, there should be an internal link that directs them to a) other similar posts or b) the contact page (if a call to action was used within the blog post).
I. Image Tags
Don’t forget about the importance of labeling your images (and we’re not talking about a simple caption). Search engines categorize images based on image tags. These tags will tell the search engine robots exactly what the image holds. For example, you might have a nifty infographic on you services page that engages users and succinctly showcases your company’s strengths. The image tags for this infographic should tell the search engine what services you are describing using keywords and keyword phrases. In short, no matter how big or small, each image should have at least one relevant image tag.
By following the SEO tips above you can improve your chances of ranking higher on search engines. Just keep in mind that ranking isn’t a one and done activity though. You will have to have an SEO strategy in place that takes into account new algorithm changes, keyword positions, and even SCHEMA. Inbound marketing activities can help you rank consistently and rise above your competitors. If you want to get found no matter how new your site may be, you should pay attention to the items above.