Figuring out where to begin with search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO, can be overwhelming, especially for beginners. If you don’t fully grasp the way search engine optimization works, just understand that your SEO efforts are of vital importance to your business. As a matter of fact, getting really good with SEO could be one of the biggest investments you make in your business. That’s because, according to imFORZA, nearly 93% of online experiences start with a search engine query.
These numbers should be taken seriously. Even with the best products or services, your business can easily fall behind sub-par competitors due to lackluster SEO efforts. To get started right, use this SEO checklist to ensure you’re meeting the most basic SEO requirements.
These are SEO must-haves, and they are where your SEO journey begins. Google Analytics helps you monitor your marketing campaign progress by providing data on your visitors, what they’re searching for and where they came from. Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster tools allow users to better optimize their sites.
If you use WordPress, there are several plugins you should install as well, such as the Google Analytics plugin and Yoast.
The Google Search Console shows you exactly how their search engine sees your website. You can use it to scan for duplicate content, find 404/500 errors, locate broken pages, and analyze site indexing. These are all issues that could hurt your search ranking. Through the platform, you can also see where you’re getting the most inbound links from, as well as the effectiveness of your outbound links.
Claim your business on all social networks and applicable directories. This includes the major social networks like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Google+, as well as Yelp and Foursquare. There are several benefits to claiming your business online: it increases SEO, helps you become discovered locally, and provides additional link backs.
Contrary to what many think, site speed can hurt your SEO. Slow speed affects the user experience, which in turn affects retention. You can use Google PageSpeed Insights to check your site speed, or another tool like GTMetrix. Both tools show you your current site speed and what you can do to increase it.
Use Google’s Keyword Planner as well as other keyword finder tools to get the most out of each. For instance, there are SEMRush and Moz Keyword Explorer, among others. Targeting the right keywords is crucial to your SEO campaign.
Keyword research reveals market demand. Your decisions in this area can make or break your website. These tools help by providing suggested keywords and showing you the monthly volume at which those keywords are searched.
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If your site is responsive, it will be easily browsed on any device. Google has stated on multiple occasions that it favors responsive design. Responsive designs not only help with SEO, but also enhance the user experience. If you’re using a platform like WordPress, there are hundreds of responsive themes to choose from. Other sites, like Shopify, also come equipped with responsive themes.
Plugins like Yoast help you manage your on-page SEO, and once you understand where and why keywords need certain placement, you’ll likely get into the habit of doing so naturally.
Link building is the process of getting links from other sites that point to yours. Also called off-page SEO, a robust link-building process is a worthy goal but one that is difficult to achieve. That’s because you have less control over the outcome.
However, hard work and a thorough understanding of the way link building works will increase your odds of success. Link building is critically important because search engines crawl the web in search of links and consider the number of link-backs you receive as an indication your site’s value.