SEO Checklist For Business Owners

We get asked a lot of questions about SEO and how to drive website traffic. A lot of these are really valid questions, because for a lot of DIYers—SEO is something they can handle on their own. Of course, proper SEO takes time to research, plan and execute, but you can do it.

Here is a list of elements you should think about when you start to build a website or optimize your current website.

This information will help you get up and running quickly. If you get stuck and can't figure out how to do something—don't worry—just move on to something else. (There is a lot to do).

Robots and Search Crawlers

All the major search engines use advanced algorithims to "crawl" your website pages. What you're trying to do with this first part of SEO is tell the robots what your site is all about. Here's how you do it:

  • Create an XML sitemap and upload it to the root of your website.
  • Ensure your navigational structure can be accessed by search crawlers.
  • Ensure content is not buried inside rich media (Adobe Flash Player, JavaScript, Ajax).
  • Ensure a clean down-level experience to expose content when rich media is used.
  • Ensure a clean, keyword rich URL structure is being used.
  • Create a robots.txt file and place at the root of your domain.

Website Structure for SEO

When you structure your website, we recommend having a directory structure of not more than three levels deep. Your directories should be named after the main keywords of the content in that directory.

  • Ensure content is laid out in a logical hierarchy.
  • Ensure your best content is intelligently linked to with internal links.
  • Ensure a clean, keyword rich URL structure is in place.
  • Ensure URLs contain no extraneous parameters where possible (sessions, tracking, etc.).
  • Create both HTML & XML sitemaps for humans and search crawlers respectively.
  • Ensure JavaScript/Adobe Flash Player/rich media does not hide links from crawlers.

On-Page SEO

  • Your page titles should be unique, relevant and no more than 60 characters long.
  • Page descriptions should be unique, relevant, grammatically correct and 160 or fewer characters.
  • Use only one title and description per page on your site (don't use the same title and description across multiple pages).
  • You should only use one <H1> tag per page--content held in tag should include your targeted keywords.
  • <H1> tags are the most important, followed by <H2>, <H3>, and so on.
  • <ALT> tags should be available for all content-related images. They should contain content that explains the image and uses targeted keywords.
  • Ensure the keyword targeted by your page appears within the actual content of the page.
  • Use targeted keywords in anchor text when pointing links to other internal pages.

Website Content

Your website content must build credibility, authority and trust. It must also describe what you do in simple language that both humans and machines can understand.

  • Ensure content is built based on keyword research to match content to what users are searching for (targeting your prospects for better traffic quality).
  • Ensure a dedicated down-level experience exists to enhance discoverability of content held in rich media.
  • Ensure as much written content as possible is kept out of rich media and images (search crawlers cannot read images and rich media).
  • Produce deep, content rich pages; be build and earn trust by producing excellent content.
  • Set a schedule and produce new content frequently. Search engines love updated and relevant content.
  • Be sure content is unique—duplicate content is a red flag for search engines.
  • Use 301 redirects to transfer value to new pages when content is moved or deleted.
  • Use 404 error pages to help clean older web pages from search engine indexes

Links

Building links back to your website is a very important SEO task. Without strong inbound links, your on-page HTML changes will barely help you rank for keywords. Link building is very important, but it takes time, effort and dedication. Internal link building is a very important part of any internet marketing strategy.

  • Work hard to get incoming & outgoing links. Encourage your visitors to link to your website content.
  • Help the search engines uncover deeper content with strategic internal links.
  • Create a social media marketing plan to promote your business via social media channels.
  • Be sure to manage anchor text to help define content inside your website.
  • Do not buy links in an attempt to influence search rankings.

So there you have it, a starter kit to SEO. You need to do everything on this list.

Please note, I did not include everything about SEO in this article. My goal is to help business owners get the basics implemented. There are many higher-level SEO elements, but this list needs to be your starting point.

About Bullsprig: We are a company dedicated to helping professionals and businesses get the most out of their internet marketing efforts. We offer products for businesses and "do it yourselfers". Click here to learn more about Bullsprig.

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SEO for Business Owners

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