Search engine optimization (SEO) is an extremely important component of website management, and this is as true for a bootstrapped startup as it is for a multimillion dollar business. Many people put hours and hours into building an attractive website that has good content, yet are frustrated when they fail to rank on Google after months of trying.
There is no magic bullet that will guarantee that you rank, but certain things will greatly improve your ability to do so. We’ve developed this checklist as an easy way for new businesses to figure out how to get their website ranking in search results. You can also use it to compare what you are currently doing to what you should be doing.
There is one other thing that you need to know about SEO practices: they will mean absolutely nothing if you have a bad website with poor content. Your first step should be making an easy-to-navigate site that is full of helpful content. Once you have done this, you are ready to move on to the checklist.
The 2016 SEO Checklist for New Websites:
Make a master keyword list: This is something that almost everyone ignores and simply figures out as they go. Doing this in advance will allow you to create better content and will even save you time in the future. Simple create a list of every search term that you can imagine someone using to find your site (even if the content for that particular term isn’t created yet). When you have the base list, use Google’s Keyword Planner to find related search phrases and add them to the list. A spreadsheet that includes traffic volume for your list is also a great idea. Refer to this anytime you want to create new content or start a new ad campaign.
Install Google Search Console, Google Analytics and Bing Webmaster Tools: These free tools are invaluable when it comes to analyzing where your site is doing well and where there is room for improvements. Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools will help you make sure that the search engines can access and index your content, while also verifying that everything is setup for optimal performance. Use Analytics to find your best performing pages, then mimic what works on the rest of your content.
Optimize on-page SEO: There is a lot that goes into on-page SEO, and you need to make sure you get these basic things right. You may not think that something like title tags and descriptions are important, but these are ultimately the first things people see when they search your keywords. If you use WordPress, the Yoast SEO plugins make managing all of these details much easier.
Develop a link building strategy: This is another area where most people simply try to figure it out as they go, and their search rankings suffer as a result. You need a clear strategy that involves what sites to target, who you need to contact, what you want the anchor text to say and more. Use tools that allow you to analyze the backlinks of your competitors websites when completing this step, as this will give you a good idea of what is working for them.
Optimize your site for mobile users: You absolutely cannot expect your website to do well if it is not optimized for mobile traffic. Over half of all Google searches are performed from mobile devices, so failing to account for these users can automatically lose you over half of your potential search traffic. Having a mobile optimized site will also help you rank better.
Put your site through a speed test: Google offers this service for free, and the tool will even give you specific steps that you can take to improve your site’s speed based on the results. A fast site is better for many reasons, but they all come back to the fact that users don’t want to wait to access content. Google has indicated that this is a factor in their ranking algorithm, so it makes sense to make sure your site is fast from the beginning.
While SEO is something all businesses need to manage on an ongoing basis if they want their website to rank well, this checklist will put you on the fast track to ranking. Don’t be tempted to skip any of the steps that were mentioned, because they are all vital to a successful SEO strategy!
If you have tried to implement SEO practices but are still struggling to rank well, then you may want to check out our Accelerator Partnership. This program guarantees online marketing success for your business and will leave you wishing you had found it sooner. There are only a limited amount of spots available, so be sure to check it out today. Learn more about SEO consulting with Yael Consulting.