Checklists just might be the greatest things since sliced bread. They’re calculated, informative, and straight to the point. With something that may seem to get complicated, like SEO, a checklist is critical to making sure you’ve got the basics covered, and your time and energy are being well spent.
There are hundreds of SEO tips, tricks, and techniques that promise to give you that SEO edge; it can be hard to sift through what is significant and what is secondary.
With experience and research, we’re here to share our SEO checklist with the 8 most important SEO rules to follow. And it really may be the greatest thing since sliced bread.
#1 Link Out to Relevant Content
If you understand the importance of these three words, you’re already ahead of many of your competitors: quality over quantity.
In order to build an authoritative blog or website that is ready for business, link-building is essential for creating quality content.
Linking-out will help users to see your site as a valuable resource. Including links to other credible sites that will help them better understand your message will put you in the subject-matter-expert-seat, you should crave. In addition, every person who views your site is valuable. If you link to another site, and they begin to see traffic coming from your website or blog, guess what...they now have an opportunity to check you out as well.
Tip: Be sure to check the date, credibility, and usability of the sites you choose to link-out to. There’s nothing worse than linking out to a 404 error page, an out of date article from 2002, or worse….Wikipedia.
#2. Stop Writing for Robots
Tell me how this reads:
You can use this SEO checklist to ensure that your SEO efforts are working. This SEO checklist will help you with everything you need to know about SEO, so without further ado: The SEO Checklist.
… okay, so this may be a little over the top, but a very common mistake most people make is stuffing their content with a specific keyword they are trying to rank for. In reality, saturating your content with a specific keyword does next to nothing for your rankings on Google. What it does do, is create an article that not only isn’t readable, but more than likely isn’t interesting.
Instead, write for the humans on the other side of the screen! It may sound obvious, but if you can keep this critical point in your mind while you create content, your customers (and business) will thank you for it!
Note: This doesn’t mean keywords aren’t important, or you shouldn’t bother with them in your content. It simply means that you don’t need to insert your keyword so many times that it hinders the content itself. Write content that is truly helpful, shareable and authoritative. After the content is written, SEO can then be implemented.
#3. Use Analytics
In 6 months, regardless of if you have more traffic or less traffic, if you don’t know how you got there, you’ll be kicking yourself for not having the analytics and tracking in place. This will allow you to either not repeat 6 months like you just had if you’ve had less traffic or stayed the same, or it will allow you to build off of the positive changes you’ve been making and tracking.
Google Analytics is a great tool for accessing what is working for traffic and what isn't. It can show you where your visitors are coming from, their demographic, if they’re staying on your website, and what content is getting the most clicks. These are the analytics you will need to tailor your marketing strategy to what works and to who it's working for.
#4. Watch Your URLs
You wouldn't want to use, "best-photos-of-cute-puppies" for your blog URL on a page devoted to content about an SEO checklist. What value would this be to your audience or your SEO?
The search engine you want to rank for needs the URL to understand what the page is about and how it can be found when someone searches for it.
Your URL should also not be strictly numbers such as "www.yourwebsite.com/138356". This doesn't bring any value to your content, your audience, or the search engine.
Create URLs that describe the content you are creating. With this blog, it may look like this: www.lonefircreative.com/blog/seo-checklist-eight-rules-to-follow.
#5. Optimize Your Images
The images you use in your content are a valuable piece of SEO real estate that often gets left behind. It’s one of the easiest places to include your keyword, and there are tons of ways to optimize your images for Google search.
Instead of saving your next image as speeding through and saving your next image as “IMG89820”, try something that is easily searchable. For example, for this image from a previous blog about using content to boost SEO, I would title it something like “Lone-Fir-blog-Working-Smart-Use-Online-Content-Writing-to-Boost-SEO” or “Orange-Typewriter-And-Megaphone-Producing-Content”
It will only take an extra minute, and you may find when it is found in images on Google, your website may be found too.
#6. Stay Consistent
Number six on our SEO Checklist is short and sweet: simply stay consistent. Creating a consistent schedule for releasing quality content to your users will actually boost your rankings. Google recognizes when businesses update content on their website, and the Google bot is more likely to rank a company higher on search engine results if it updates its website frequently. (You guessed it. A blog is a great way to update your website frequently, and generate leads while you’re at it!)
#7. Optimize Your Meta Descriptions
You’ve come this far, don’t let me lose you at “Meta Descriptions.” Some of you may have a grasp on meta descriptions and how to utilize them, but for those that don’t:
The meta description is read first when the search engine displays your website or blog as a result. It should be to the point, informative, and above all, inviting.
Image by Fahrenheit Marketing
Each page on your website should have a meta description that is unique. Without a unique meta description, your website or blog may be penalized by the search engine.
Note: It is okay to use keywords, but don’t "stuff" them. As we mentioned earlier, this will hurt your more than it will help you.
#8. Use Long-Tail Keywords, Too
Just as with anything else in the tech industry, keywords are evolving. In the past, key-words served as a one-word map to your website. As many of you may be thinking, most searches are conducted with more than just one word. More and more we’re seeing that the majority will use a phrase or a long-tail keyword to find what they are looking for.
Not only is it also easier to rank for long-tail keywords than it is for smaller, one-word keywords because there’s less competition, but it’s also a way to be so specific that users will feel like you are providing exactly what they’re searching for. (Win-Win)
Tip: Long-tail keywords will work wonders for smaller niche types of product!
Have Your Bread and Eat It Too
We’ve given you our version of the greatest thing since sliced bread, and now it’s your turn to put this SEO Checklist points into action! We'd love to know which points stood out to you.
The good news? You don’t have to do it alone. If you’re feeling like you like the sound of all of this, but aren’t exactly sure how to implement it, grab a time on my calendar and we’ll go through these SEO rules together. Going through our SEO checklist is fun, but putting it into action is where the real fun starts!