Website owners often think that SEO factors such as keywords, title tags and descriptions are the key to ranking well in Google.
While they are still important, the Google algorithm has evolved and the practice of optimising just these parts of a web page are long gone – the “GoogleBot” now delves deeper into the context of a page and how your site interlinks with other sites on the World Wide Web.
This checklist has been created to help site owners improve their page content in the eyes of the search engines. It also includes tips to improve vital external SEO factors as well.
#1 Keywords & Topics
Before any work starts on improving the SEO of your page content, spend a few minutes and write down the words and phrases your prospective customers might use to find your website. You may need to conduct research with your target audience to determine what they are looking for in your business.
Check that your written content has been created specifically for the target audience of the chosen topic or information. It needs to be relevant and consistent throughout the page – Google will pick up on your keywords and titles, checking these closely against the content you have written.
#3 Page Title
The main title of each page on your site needs be relevant to the content and act as a unique tag for search engines. It should be a maximum of 60 characters and, if possible, contain the keywords that are most pertinent to the page topic.
The same rules apply for any sub-headings you may have throughout your content.
#4 Body Copy
Without over-obsessing on the usage of key words, check through the content on each of your pages to ensure that there is a scattering of the words that you anticipate your target audience will be using in their searches. With that in mind, ensure that your content still reads fluidly and makes sense without too much “jargon”.
#5 Tag every Image
Search engines can’t “see” images on your website. As a result, they can’t be used for search algorithm purposes unless they have been tagged with an Alt Attribute. These attributes are the small text boxes that you often see when you float your cursor over an image on a web page.
The Alt text helps the search engines understand what an image is about. These tags are a perfect way to add more keywords into a “hidden” part of your web page content.
#6 Inbound Links
Inbound links, also known as backlinks, are a great way for your website to gain attention and credibility with Google and other search engines. When established and authoritative websites link to your small business site, you automatically “inherit” some of their importance in the eyes of Google.
How do you get these other sites to link to your site? Create great content that people naturally want to link to and let them know about it. You can also look to foster quality links through natural business connections and networking opportunities.
Reciprocal links are also a great way to help each other out – “You link to me and I’ll link back to you.”
#7 Social Media and Online Directories
For this step, head to Google and type in your business name. If your business has been around for a while, you’ll see several search results from directories such as Yellow Pages and TripAdvisor, etc. Click on each and register your website address – in some cases, you may need to create a login. Each one that you add your address to could potentially become a backlink to your site.
Check that your business’ social media platforms have the site address listed as well. This ensures that, if your target customer finds your social media first, they’ll still end up on your website.
While the list above is by no means comprehensive, by carrying out each of the steps shown, you will be placing your website in a good position to be found by Google and ranked accordingly. Tweaks to SEO are inevitable to improve your ranking over time and it is suggested that you check your search position every week to determine what SEO changes need to be made.