If you have a website and looking to get some search engine traffic, mastering SEO can be a time consuming process and is usually reserved for the technically savvy . But knowing the basics can go a long way.
So, although we offer SEO services, if you are feeling so inclined for a bit of DIY SEO, we have put together a SEO checklist to get you started.
I have also posted a video at the end of this post, where I go through this checklist using an example.
Here is your SEO checklist
Choosing the right keywords
Choosing the right keywords is easily one of the most important parts to your SEO strategy. And this means targeting the RIGHT keyword. When choosing the RIGHT keyword, you will need to factor in the following 3 factors:
- keyword search volume – choosing a keyword with each volume that will translate into traffic for your website
- keyword competition - choosing a keyword which is not too competitive
- keyword relevance – choosing a keyword which is relevant to your type of business
In reality, there is little point in ranking #1 for a term which no one searches for. The same goes for trying to rank for a term which is so competitive, that you will never get to the first page. That is why keyword research is so important and such an integral part of our seo services.
To illustrate this point with an example, if you have a website on weight loss, when starting out, it is advisable to not select the keyword “weight loss”, since it is highly unlikely that you will rank for that keyword. If we have a quick look at Google, you will see that there are 305 MILLION pages that you are competing against.
So, best to start off targeting a keyword with lower competition, get some traffic and THEN focus on keywords with larger volume.
Be sure to use your keyword on you site, however not too much as you do not want to be penalised for overuse of your keyword, also known as keyword stuffing.
Be sure to have at least 350 words in each article, especially if you are trying to optimize for a specific keyword. By having at least 350 words on each page, your website will not be penalised for having what is known as “thin content”.
Once you have chosen your keyword, be sure to place it in the title tag. The title tag is the single most important SEO element and is the first thing search engines see. Your title tag can be about 10 words. The cut-off in the search engines is about 70 characters (including spaces), so be sure that the most important information is in the first 70 characters as that is what searchers will see.
The next place to insert your keyword is in the description tag. This is the description of your site below the headline in the search engines. This is prime search engine real estate, so be sure to make this compelling to potential visitors. The cut-off length is 160 characters, so be sure to also include your keyword in the first 160 characters.
See the image below for use of the keyword “weight loss” in the title tag and description.
It is a good idea to make use of these heading tags, i.e. <h1>, <h2>, etc. They are a great way to make your content more readable and Google loves them.
Be sure to use the <h1> tag first, and then <h2>, since <h2> is a subset of the <h1> tag.
2. Site Accessibility & URL Structure
Each page on your site needs to be able to be accessed easily and there should be no crawl errors. A good way to check if there are any is to register an account with Google’s Webmaster Tools. It is free and is a great way to keep track of any crawl error, broken links or any issues you may be having on your site.
Having the right site structure is really important and this means a clear and defined site hierarchy. This makes it easy for search engines to crawl your site, but also makes it easy for visitors to find any information you are after. We adopt a silo strategy for a site’s structure, which we will write about in future blog posts. For more information on implementing the silo strategy, feel free to contact us.
Permalinks / URL Structure
A properly implemented site structure also means a proper URL structure. By this, I mean a URL structure which is descriptive. For example,
Not advisable: www.sydneyseoservices.com.au/ps-123
Having a clear URL structure makes it easier for search engines to understand what your site is about.
Your site should have a sitemap installed. This is essentially a list of all the URLs on your site. You should also have a XML sitemap installed which you submit to search engines. You can do this through your webmaster tools.
3. Use Images
Images are a great visual medium but can also give you a SEO boost. When using images, be sure to take advantage of the ALT text for the image and use your chosen keyword here.
Publishing good quality, relevant content is SO IMPORTANT. I really cannot emphasize this enough. Google, these days, have very sophisticated algorithms which can assess whether your website has good quality content and provides all the information needed to make your readers happy and satisfied.
Ideally, install a blog and publish regular unique content with the use of additional forms of media, such as videos and infographics.
It is also a good idea to try and have as much content as possible on your website. Search engines love content, so give them what they are looking for!
And finally, not publishing duplicate content may sound obvious, but it is surprising how many people do it and it is a really big faux pas. Please, do not do it.
5. Encourage Social Sharing
These days, social signals play a considerable role in search engine optimisation. So, be sure to make it easy for visitors to share your website through Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest and other social websites. Having these capabilities on your website will not only be favourable in the eyes of the search engines, but you will get additional traffic through referral sources.
Below is a video of a site review and critique of an existing website.
Here, I find an example of a website which can use some on page SEO improvement and you can watch me go through each element which needs to be improved.
Hello everyone, Ilana here from Sydney SEO Services. I recently published a blog post which I am showing here outlining a SEO checklist. So, essentially what I do here is I go through all the essential elements that every website should have in place to ensure that they have good on page SEO and I actually recommend every website has all these elements in place before embarking on any kind of off page SEO campaign. And I thought I would enhance this blog post by finding a website which could use some on page SEO improvement and I’m going to go through that example with you.
So, I very quickly, went through the Yellow Pages and I found this particular website which has a few areas which could use some improvement.
Ok, the most important element that I look at is the title tag and you can see in the top left hand corner their title tag is One Stop Roofing. Now, this is obviously their company name and that is great from a branding perspective to have their company name as their title tag, however this particular company is missing out on an opportunity to rank for additional keywords other than their brand name. Now, I haven’t actually performed any keyword research but the fact that they are a roofing company, it would be logical to think that they would like to rank for a particular keyword like “roof repairs” or “roof restoration” and then I would add in a location modifier like “roof restoration Sydney” or any other suburb. The title tag is definitely the most important element to any website and by not maximising the number of keywords they can have here, which is usually about 1-3, they are missing out on opportunities. So, in addition to their company name, I would add some other more descriptive terms about what this company does.
The second thing I notice using SEO quake, is that it is a PageRank 1 which is ok. It says that there are 79 pages indexed in Google, so if we go into Google, we can see here that this is the title tag and below here is the description. So, we can see that a description has not been placed in the back end of this website which is also a missed opportunity for this company. So, I would add in a description of what this company does for the purpose of not only ranking for additional keywords, but to entice visitors such as myself to click on this listing. Because, what is currently there does not really explain the service they are offering.
They also haven’t used any H1 tags or H2 tags which I would also change. Looking further through the website I can see that this is a drop down menu and when I hover over these tabs, I can see in the bottom left hand corner, the URL structure is somewhat descriptive but I would improve that further to be a lot more descriptive in terms of telling the search engines what that is all about.
Looking further with my little tool here, I can see that has been no social media engagement which these days is really important. So, I would encourage the use of at least Facebook and Google + buttons on the website to encourage people to ‘like’ it and engage in some kind of conversation about it.
You can also see here that there is no robots.txt file and sitemap installed which another area of improvement. Now, this is just a once off thing which you can do through Google Webmaster Tools. So, the company owner would have to create an account and upload that information there to Google.
Looking further through the site, I can see they use images however the images are not optimised with alt text. So, they are almost there, they just need to take another step further to optimise it.
Looking through all the results in Google, I can see that all of these listings are PDFs which I don’t really understand what information they are providing. So, I would probably change that and summarize that information in the PDF and make it into unique and relevant content on the website.
If you have any questions about any of the above, be sure to contact us and we would be happy to help.