Jumping into the world of SEO can be a daunting task for those who don’t know what to expect. There are so many different variables that factor into a successful SEO campaign and one scenario is different from the next. Fortunately if you are not sure where to start there are some simple rules you can follow that will help point you the right direction.
We have created an easy to follow SEO Checklist For Beginners that will get you off to a good start with your SEO efforts regardless of your experience. Achieving a high rank in Google or other search engines are not attained overnight but by following these steps you are likely to see results sooner rather than later.
Title Tags: One of the first thing search engines will look for when analyzing your website. Try an include your major keywords in a non-spammy natural sounding kind of way. Google will usually display the first 50-60 characters of any title so keeping them shorter and precise is most effective.
Alt Tags: Search engines can’t read images therefor it is important to label all your website photos with alt tag texts. Alt tags will tell search engines what a particular image is about and it should contain keywords relevant to your search terms but also the image itself.
H1 Tags – All your major headers in text or paragraphs should have H1 tags with smaller sub-headers going down the list (h2, h3 ect.) Simply bolding your header or giving it a bigger font is not as effective and not what crawlers are looking for when learning about the content of a webpage.
Short Page Extensions: When naming your pages with an .html extension or format of your choice keep them short and informative. For example as a Calgary SEO Company you’ll notice our page is titled http://myrankseo.ca/calgary-seo/ as opposed to http://myrankseo.ca/calgary-seo-services-company. Your page extension should read naturally and efficiently.
Content Rich Home Page: The home page of your website should contain a minimum of 500 words of useful content but preferably closer to a 100o or over. Search engines will draw information through the quality of your home page text first so make sure it valuable and informative.
Keywords in First and Last Paragraph: Make sure you include the keywords you are looking to rank for in both the first paragraph of your home page as well as the last. Search engines will be scrolling through your home page text to identify what your website is all about and will look here first.
Google Plus Account: Out of all the social media outlets you want to take advantage of (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest) nothing will be for helpful to your SEO performance than Google+. Post your best content on your own Google+ page, Google+ community pages and anywhere else it might be relevant.
Keyword Meta Tags: Make sure your most important keywords are including in your keyword meta tag in order of first to last. Do your research on what keywords people are looking for most on your type of product or service through Google Adwarods free research tool.
Meta Description – your meta description should be kept relatively short with to the point information of what your business is and what it does. Meta tags are not the place for a sales pitch make your description simple and easy to understand for your users. Including your desired keywords is probably a good idea as well as long as it reads natural.
Blog or regularly updated section: Most websites today hoping to rank highly in search engines will feature a blog or a section of their website which posts new information regularly. Websites that are not active will often stall in search engines as Google especially is always looking for fresh content first.
Quality content: The term “content is king” is used to death but there is nothing more important than the amount of valuable content your website provides to your visitors. This will help with click through rates, how long someone stays on your website, and what reason they have to return to your site after seeing it once.
Install Google Analytics: Installing Google Analystic to your website is usually pretty easy and will provide you the most comprehensive information about your website’s performance. You will be able to more accurately track what is working for your website and what is not so you can make changes accordingly.
Sitemap: Any website should have a sitemap which explains to search engines your website architecture and what pages are meant to be found and indexed accordingly. What format you choose usually doesn’t matter as long as your sitemap is kept up to date with no errors.
Google Webmaster Tools – Google webmaster tools are free and will provide you loads of valuable information about your website. This includes what links are currently pointing to your website from external sites, what pages are most popular and the overall activity on your website as a whole.
Learn About Moz – Moz is a commonly used SEO tool which will help you accurately track the quality of the backlinks to your website. Moz will display the domain authority and page authority of each link along with weather or not it is considered spammy or unnatural by SEO standards.
Mobile Performance – Search engines have put a greater emphasis than ever before on providing a great mobile experience for their users. Websites which display poorly in cell phones or iphones will likely suffer in terms of overall SEO results as well.
Optimize For Speed – If your website is loading slowly or on a poor server your search engines rankings will likely take a hit. Make sure all images on your website are optimized properly for minimal file sizes and their aren’t any unnecessary plugins or added features.
Quality Backlinks – Its very to important to remember you are better off chasing one quality link as opposed to several links from questionable sources. Aquiring links is one of the toughest aspects of SEO so start small and try and learn where your competitors best links are coming from. Quality content is also a great way
Be Socially Active: If you get the opportunity to post quality content on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn take the opportunity to do so just don’t overdo it. Your website content that is shared on social media can have a strong impact on your search results.
Errors Or Duplicate Content: Do a thorough check of your website for broken links or any inactive pages of your website. Also make sure there are no pages with the exact same content (or even very similar content) found anywhere on your site. Duplicate content can result in a penalty or drop in your search engine rankings.