September 20, 2019

A simple SEO checklist

A vital part of setting up any website is to ensure that the fundamentals of SEO are in place. SEO is an essential yet cost-efficient way of driving traffic to your website. It needs to form part of your long-term website plans, all the way from implementation to ongoing daily housekeeping.

When done properly, SEO efforts can be your website’s primary source of traffic, saving your company thousands of pounds on paid advertising. Here we look at 10 of the essential tasks that you should complete on your website to get your SEO going in the right direction.

1. Set up Google Analytics 

Google Analytics is crucial for tracking your website’s performance. At a basic level, Google Analytics tells you how many visitors your website gets and how those visitors interact with your website. Google Analytics can tell you where your website visitors are coming from, how long they spend on each page and how long they spend overall on your website. Without Google Analytics, it is nearly impossible to measure your website’s success or failures.

2. Set up event, goal and e-commerce tracking in Google Analytics

If you’re running an e-commerce website, Google Analytics is a great way to track conversions and get a better understanding of which online channels are driving most of your sales.

Google Analytics is also ideal for tracking specific interactions with your site, known as goals or events. These are incredibly useful metrics to track as they allow you to better understand user behaviour on your site. 

3. Set up Google Search Console

Search Console is another important free Google tool for monitoring your site’s performance. Google Search Console can show you which keywords generate the most traffic and impressions for your site. It’s also useful for identifying any website errors (such as broken pages). 

Google Search Console is where you submit a sitemap, which is another crucial part of getting your site ranking. Submitting a sitemap facilitates crawling of your website, ultimately increasing your site’s visibility in the Google results pages. 

4. Ensure optimal keyword density on all content

Keyword density is the percentage used to determine how frequently your focus keyword appears in your content. Keyword density should be between one and three per cent.  To prevent Google from reading your content as spam, your keywords should appear as frequently as they would in natural language. Keyword density can be measured manually (count how many times your keyword appears / 100 words) or using various online tools. 

While it’s important that you include relevant keywords in your content, it’s important that you do not engage in ‘keyword stuffing’. Having too high a keyword density will actually hurt your ranking because Google will read your content as spam, ultimately deprioritising your content on the results pages. 

5. Use appropriate meta descriptions and title tags on all pages

Meta descriptions are the bit of descriptive text that appears below your title tag on the search engine results pages and provides a brief summary of the content on that page. They’re also important to ensure organic rankings. Similarly to title tags, meta descriptions are both an opportunity to convince users to click-through to your website and another opportunity to include your focus keyword. Meta descriptions should not exceed 160 characters.

Title tags are titles that you specify behind the scenes to show in the search engine results pages to tell users what the main topic of that page is. It’s important that you include your main keyword in your title tag and, where possible, include it at the beginning of your title. Title tags should not exceed 65 characters. Strong, incentivising title tags are a vital part of driving organic traffic to your website. 

6. Make sure all pages are properly optimised for search

From H tags to alt tags, it’s vital that you make sure all your pages are optimised for search. Failing to ensure your website is properly optimised at the individual page level can mean your website will never rank on the search engine results pages!

7. Check that all images are properly optimised for search 

Alt tags aren’t the only crucial component to make sure your images are properly optimised for search, there are a few other factors to consider! It’s really important that your images are optimised because properly optimised images tell Google exactly what is on the page, meaning relevant images can help you rank better. 

8. Ensure optimal overall site performance

Site speed is a key factor in determining a site’s performance and its rank. Not only will a poor site speed deter users, but it will also deter Google, ultimately preventing your site from ranking well on search engine results pages.  

9. Don’t neglect mobile: make sure your site performs well on mobile devices

Mobile performance is often overlooked, but it’s one of the key ranking factors for SEO! Mobile performance is something that needs to be considered at the design stage: how will your website look on a mobile device? It’s also important that you consider how your website behaves on mobile too. 

10. Check for broken links, broken pages and anything else that might not be working properly on your website 

This is important for user experience and for the Google bots crawling your site. There’s nothing like clicking on a broken link to make a user leave your site… and the same can be said for Google’s bots! Broken links and pages can’t be crawled by Google and won’t pass on any value to the page linking to it. Broken pages and links also lead to higher bounce rates, which further impact SEO. 

These 10 essential tasks are just scratching the surface! There are loads more factors to consider when implementing an effective SEO strategy. If you want to learn more and ensure your site performs to its full potential, then give us a call on 01603 252555 or fill in a contact form.

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