23 basic SEO Checks to rank higher on Google
Gone is the time where ranking a website was as simple as creating a bunch of low-quality content pages, stuffing them with keywords and doing some artificial link building. Today, we live in a post Panda, post Penguin era – two of the major algorithm updates that helped Google remove millions of pages.
In order to help you effectively optimize your website for the major search engines, we’ve have created an extensive checklist for SEO. This SEO checklist and on-page optimization list will help you rank highly on SERPs.
1. Install Google Analytics:
The best way to know your audience is through your traffic statistics & this is exactly what Google Analytics provides for free. For SEO, you’ll be able to track things such as how much traffic you get from search engines, which blog/page are getting the most organic traffic, the bounce rate, page views along with many other important metrics.
2. Set Up Google Search Console & Bing Search Console (Webmaster):
Google Search Console previously known as Google Webmaster Tool is a free web service by Google for webmasters. It allows webmasters to check indexing status & optimize visibility of the website. It can be also used to get data about the site & organic performance in Google Search Engine.
Bing Search Console is as important as Google Search Console as it the second largest provider of search engine traffic & takes about 10% of market share for desktop search as it’s the default search engine for internet explorer & edge browser. Bing is not as significant as Google, but it’s not negligible especially in the US market.
3. Install The Free Version Of SEO Yoast Plugin:
Yoast SEO Plugin is one of the most popular WordPress plugin & it’s easy to understand. It’s the plugin you need if you’re running a personal blog or you’re a SEO professional managing a client’s website. The free version is complete & will help you to do everything to optimize your WordPress site.
4. Perform Keyword Research:
Keyword research is one of the most valuable, important & high return activities in the search marketing field. Ranking for the right keywords can make or break your website.
By researching your market’s keyword demand you can target 1 keyword per page & generally start with low volume keywords first.
Steps to choose the right keywords for your SEO strategy –
- Make a list of important, relevant topics based on what you know about your business
- Fill in those topic buckets with keywords
- Research related search terms
- Check for a mix of head terms and long-tail keywords in each bucket
- See how competitors are ranking for these keywords
- Use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to cut down your keyword list. And You’re Done.
5. Have You Looked At Competitors Link Profile?
One of the most easiest way to get started with link building is through competitor analysis link profile tracking. Tracking where they are getting their most authoritative back links will help you to understand their strategy, how they are anchoring the links on their pages, and provide insights as to where you can gain similar links.
6. Utilize Google Search Console for identifying crawl errors, duplicate content errors, missing titles and other technical errors:
Google Search Console is a free tool for website owners to get data about the search performance of their sites. You will be able to use it to find technical issues with your site such as crawl error, missing titles, duplicate content & find data about search rankings, visibility, and CTR.
7. Check Redirect problems
In SEO, the standard permanent redirect interpreted by search engines are 301 redirect. The 301 redirect passes almost all of the SEO value from the old page to the new one. A 302 is a temporary redirect & is considered a temporary redirect so the SEO value of the redirected page is not passed to the new destination.
8 Look for broken links, errors, and crawl problems:
The larger the site, the problem of broken links, error & crawl problem arises which in turn makes it harder for search engines to find your content, index it & drive traffic to your website. So it’s important to find & rectify such
broken links, sitemap errors & crawl problem so that the search engine can index your content easily & drive traffic to your website.
9. Try To Use Primary keyword Into Your Webpage URL:
A Uniform Resource Locator more commonly known as a “web address”, specifies the location of a web page on the internet. The URL also specifies how to retrieve that resource, also known as the “protocol”, such as HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, etc. Keywords in the URLs are used to rank better in SERP. However, one should avoid stuffing your URLs with Keywords as Google may penalize such websites. Also, research shows that shorter the URL tends to rank higher in SERP than the long ones.
10. Add Your Keyword To Your Title Tag:
Title tags are crucial as it makes people decide whether to visit your site when it shows up in the search results. The title tag should contain important keywords to help the search engine determine what the page is all about.
Including keywords in the title tag is important, but not enough to get you to rank high. Search engines now weigh in the clickthrough rate on the results as well when determining rankings, so an attractive and compelling title will help you get more people to click on your page.
11. Add Your Keyword To Your Meta-Description:
The meta description is a snippet of up to 200 to 300 characters, a tag in HTML, that summarizes a page’s content. Search engines show the meta description in search results mostly when the searched for phrase is contained in the description. The content of the meta description is not used by search engines as a ranking signal. But, including your keyword in it and writing a compelling meta description can help you achieve your CTR.
12. Add your keyword to your Heading tag:
Header tags have their own place on a page and have to be used in a proper order starting with your h1 then the h2 followed by h3, h4 & so on. The h1 tag should contain your targeted keywords, ones that closely relate to the page title and are relevant to your content. The h2 tag is a subheading and should contain similar keywords to that of your h1 tag.
13. Add Descriptive ALT Tags To Your Images:
Alternative text, also known as “alt attributes”, “alt descriptions,” and technically incorrectly as “alt tags,” are used within an HTML code to describe the appearance and function of an image on a page. Alt tags provide better image descriptions to search engine crawlers, helping them to index an image properly.
Try to be descriptive when you name your images.
14. Link To Other Pages On Your Site With SEO-Friendly Text:
Anchor text is a blue underlined visible text characters and words that hyperlinks display when linking to another document or location on the web.
Anchor text can provide both search engines and users relevant contextual information about the content of the link’s destination. By including internal links with text that is relevant to the page that you are linking to, and including your keywords, you are indicating what the content being linked is about.
15. Use Synonyms In Your Copy:
Synonyms are important in SEO. Synonym literally means “word with the same meaning”. Suppose you search for the word “pictures”, a related search results can be “photos”. When choosing keywords for your website, it is very important to consider its corresponding synonyms and how well it’ll fit into your web content. Synonyms are great, and using natural language that’s influenced by keyword research is highly encouraged.
16. Use Words Discovered Through Latent Semantic Indexing In Your Copy:
Latent semantic indexing, is a method used to determine context on your webpage. Including keywords that are particularly related to your primary keyword can help the search engine understand what the content of your page is all about.
17. Check Your Site’s Speed:
Website page speed has become one of the hottest and most discussed topics among publishers and site owners over the last few years. With the rise of mobile and backing from Google, there is a new era of page speed obsession taking place.
Search engines value sites that provide a good user experience whereas, a slow loading site will increase your bounce rate, as visitors lose patience and leave.
18. Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile Friendly:
It was found that 60% of Internet access is now mostly mobile. With the February 2015 announcement of the upcoming release of Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm, businesses with sites that are not mobile-optimized are warned to expect a significant impact on their search engine rankings, as mobile-friendliness will be more widely used as a ranking signal.
19. Create An XML Sitemap And Submit it to Google Search Console:
A Sitemap is an XML file that lists the URLs for a site. It allows webmasters to include additional information about each URL. when it was last updated, how often it changes, and how important it is in relation to other URLs in the site. This allows search engines to crawl the site more intelligently & find all the pages on your site that you want to be indexed.
20. Create a robots.txt file and submit it to Google Search Console:
The robots files, also known as the robots exclusion protocol or simply robots.txt, is a standard used by websites to communicate with web crawlers and other web robots. The standard specifies how to inform the web robot about which areas of the website should not be processed or scanned.
21. Claim Your Brand Name On As Many Social Networking Sites As Possible:
Top Reasons why your brand name need to be present on social networking sites:
- You can be found more easily
- Prevent brand identity theft
- Reach out to mobile device users
- Track and monitor online reviews
- For reputation management
22. Use an SEO Audit Tool to double-check everything:
Performing an SEO audit manually is time-consuming and complicated. There are SEO auditing tools such as SEMrush, my site auditor, SEOptimer, etc that can help you with the process. These will speed up the process, identifying errors and offer solutions.
23. Make sure you don’t have duplicate content:
Duplicate content means that similar content is being shown on multiple locations on the web, as a result, search engines don’t know which URL to show in the search results. This can hurt the ranking of a web page.
In such a case , use canonical tags or use Google Webmaster Tools to fix any duplicate content that might be indexing and penalizing your site.
Need a more comprehensive SEO Checklist for your business? Visit our Marketing Tools and get the Free SEO Checklist.