Managing your small business website and a blog are hard work. Your labor of love is sourced with passion and your unique ability to deliver the products or specialized information specific to your customers’ needs.
You work hard to invest your limited time and resources to ensure your website content and messaging communicate well. You take great care to build the business with hopes more customers will find you, enjoy their experience and share recommendations with others. But first, your potential customers must be able to find you.
Help customers find you.
When the top listing of a Google search generates a 48% click through rate (CTR) and position #3 only achieves 8% CTR, we should all be motivated to do all we can to optimize our websites’ content with the certain basic factors that all search engines use to rank our websites. A ranking that search engines use to determine where your website will appear on the search engine results page.
SEO Checklist | 7 Basic SEO Techniques to Help Customers Find Your Website
My personal process begins by reviewing the website analytics in order to determine where most of your website traffic is coming. A personal goal is to work to achieve a 40-50% organic search in website traffic. This basically means website visitors arrive to my website from a Google search or another search engine query like Bing. The users had entered a keyword, a question, or word phrase into the search field, and my website appeared within the search engine results page for the visitors to see and then click the link to access my website.
From here, I perform the following SEO checklist of 7 simple areas that have been effective to increase the organic website traffic for the websites that I manage. Please feel free to review these steps and just let me know if there is any additional information, details or assistance that I may provide.
- Select your targeted keywords and phrases.
a. review your Google Webmaster Tools to determine which keywords your “organic” visitors have used to access your websiteb. using the Google Keyword planner, plug in the website URLs of your most popular website pages. This will generate you a quick list of keywords and phrases that Google identifies being related to your website.b. using the Google Keyword planner, plug in the website URLs of your most popular website pages. This will generate you a quick list of keywords and phrases that Google identifies being related to your website.c. return to Google Keyword Planner and enter any other keywords and phrases based on the topics/categories that you write about on your website. Within the keyword planner, I typically activate the filter to only review those low competitive keywords and phrases, which typically have been more easily able for me to rank in the search engine.
d. analyze your competitors: i] enter your targeted keywords and phrases into a Google search to see which website “competitors” appear in the top 3-4 positions of the search engine page results. ii] access the Page Source for each of the competitive website addresses to determine which keywords/phrases, title descriptions they are using
e. return to Google Keyword Planner and enter your competitors keywords and phrases in order to determine which of those low competitive words and phrases you may also want to consider adding to your list.
- Optimize your website’s key landing pages
Referencing the top landing pages that are driving the most organic traffic, I begin to update the following elements with my selected keywords and phrases that I am most confident I can quickly rank higher and have my website appear within the top 4 positions of a search engine results page:a. Title tag – one of the most important factors in SEO ranking (OPTIMIZED: 10-64 characters)b. Meta description – though there is no true SEO advantage within the description, this area provides a huge user value since your website visitors will reference the description displayed within the search engine results page and then be enticed to click the link to access your website. (OPTIMIZED: 50-149 characters; Google displays 154 characters)
c. Anchor link text – add your keywords and phrases within the internal website links that are appropriate to the content of your web page’s content
d. Image Alt Tag – enter your keywords and phrases in the tags of any images that you have inserted on your landing page
e. H1 & H2 content headers – incorporate your keywords and phrases naturally into the content headers on your web page
- Inbound Authoritative Links
This is one of the most important steps. Search engines place a higher value on those website that have authentic and authoritative inbound website links.An initial step is to determine who in your circle of influence may have interest in linking to your website or blog. Is there a specific topic that you have written about that you could encourage your associate link from her site to your web page?You should also consider reviewing those inbound links to the competitive websites that you identified from the earlier step.www.opensiteexplorer.org is a great tool to determine the authority of a website. Simply enter the website address into the field, and the resource will provide you an authority score. My personal goal is to obtain inbound links from websites that have authority scores greater than 50. Once you identify those authoritative websites, you should consider how best to make contact with the owner of the website in order to encourage a link from his website to a specific area on your site where his readers may find great value.
- Internal Website Links
Internal website links add value in the way they encourage your website visitors to look further into your website for more information, reducing your website’s bounce rate. Within these internal website links, please consider adding your keywords and phrases as noted within the above anchor link text, which then links to the appropriate and optimized that you have on your website.
- Web Speed
40% of users will abandon the site if site speed is GREATER than 0.03 seconds. For every additional 0.01 second delay, 7% of users will abandon the siteDoing the math:If it takes 5 seconds for your website to load, 54% of the users will abandon their search.
- Social media is another key way to optimize your website. The quality of social signals you receive, such as likes, retweets, shares, pins and # of comments on your posts, etc signals to Google that you may be an authority on your topic. Additionally, the larger your digital footprint, the more positive impact social media will have on your discoverability with new audiences as well as SEO awareness. Try to claim your business name on the major social networks and then begin to offer significant content that your growing communities will want to share with their audiences. The goal will be to encourage inbound links from the various communities to your website where they may access your notable resources and information.Some of the majors to consider:
- SUBMIT A REQUEST for GOOGLE CRAWL using Webmaster Tools.
Though Google will eventually crawl a website in order to index the site; as a final step, I like to proactively submit the website back to Google to initiate a “crawl” in order to scour the updated site with the SEO fine tuned and ready to capture users’ attention. You can process this type of request using your Google Webmaster Tools.
The above seven areas that have been effective in my work to increase organic website traffic. Please feel free let me know if there is any additional information, details or assistance that I may provide.
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FREE RESOURCES to consider:
1. Do you have a WordPress website?
The YOAST plugin is a free SEO tool that I use, and I encourage others to consider. This great software integrate many of the basic SEO checklist described above and then helps to walk you through the actual details as you are updating your website. I really like the way the plugin displays the red, yellow green lights, so I may easily monitor and work to achieve the green status.
2. Quick Sprout
Quick Sprout is a free online dashboard that is a great starting point for you to get an overall idea how well your website is doing in regards to SEO. Quick Sprout performs an SEO analysis followed up by a list of recommendations that will help your website rank within the search engines. The Quick Sprout snapshot is simply an overall guide that I consider as a first glance, state-of-the-union condition of the website. From here, I focus my attention to the following five areas in order to optimize my clients’ websites within the search engine search queries.
I trust you will find great value in both of these resources.
What resources do you use to manage and monitor the search engine optimization of your website?