You should know that today’s post will be a long one.
Today I decided to cover all of the SEO that I can think of. I’m sure that I’ll forget a few of them, but you have to know that I’m just trying to keep this post up to date regularly. Anyways, Today’s post will be about how to improve your SEO and how to add some more action to your site.
We don’t have time to look at every aspect in detail, but if you’re stuck because you can’t find new ideas and you’re looking for inspiration hopefully you’ll find some new idea that you can try. Put in mind that the goal is always to make your site better for your users and also to add more action to it.
Who should use this:
Anyone can use it. If you have experience in online marketing, then you’ve probably done that before many times; and if u find a new idea then that’s a plus. If you’re new to SEO then you need to take this step by step, and you don’t have to do all the tips on this list to succeed, just look at the main things on this list and If you do them right you’ll reach.
SEO Checklist : Simple SEO tips
- HTML Page Titles
Do you have a title for every page on your website? Did you think about each title on every page and how you can make it attractive? Your page title can have target keywords, but the most important is that it attracts your targeted audience to open and read. Google limits the title length to be maximum 70 characters; if you don’t want to stick with this, you can use this snippet-optimizer.
- Meta Description
Your meta description is what appears under your page title in the search results on Google or Bing, and it could look at other places too. It’s very light from an algorithmic point of view so it won’t affect ranking directly, but it can have a great effect on click through rate that can affect the ranking. Each page should have one meta description, and it should be unique and limited in characters ( around 155 characters would be a good idea).
- Image Alt Tags
Do all of your images have alt tags? What about file names? None of these factors have a huge effect, but they can be beneficial, and it’s very easy to put alt tags as long as you keep doing it by a regular way.
If you haven’t been using them, you should start considering to use them from now on, and you can try to add them to the old content too. Use this tool to check if the image has an alt tag or not.
- Correct Use of H Tags
Misusing of H tags is pretty common, although they’re easy to use….All you have to do is to use your common sense as much as you can. For most of the pages there should be one main heading (H1), and then there is (H2), and (H3) and so on. For Sub-heading and Sub-Sub-Heading you can use CSS to make them look as you want. The tags also help Google and some other browsers to understand your page’s layout easier.
Crawlability can be complicated for some sites, but for most of the sites all that you have to do is making sure that your pages can be found, crawled, and indexed by Google. Its means that you need the internal links that are written in HTML (avoid flash or JS based navigation), and every page should be accessible within 3-5 clicks from the homepage. Once you do that make sure that you haven’t done anything silly (like blocking robots) using a badly written robots.txt/htaccess file or by adding rel “nofollow, noindex” Tags.
There are many ways to approach the sitemap. When it’s complicated the most you will find it written in XML with many other fields and then submitted to the search engine. All of this is fine but If your site is well structured the sitemap won’t be necessary. In my opinion, you should put an HTML sitemap on your website….this is just a page that lists all the other pages on your site. If you add this to your CMS system it will keep your site up to date always, and it will help search engines find every page on your website quickly, also, it will be very helpful for your users.
- SEO Friendly URLs
Do you know what is an SEO friendly URLs? It’s when the page’s URL is like that: (example.com/page-title) and not like that: (example.com/p?id=34). The SEO impact is not huge, but it makes a huge difference if you use it. URLs that are more understandable to people are more likely to be linked to and shared. If your CMS system doesn’t support SEO friendly URLs then, you’re missing a lot by not adding that ability.
Advanced On-Page SEO
- Page Loading Speed
Although page’s loading speed isn’t a huge factor, Google stated that it’s one of the few factors that affect the algorithm. Moreover, a faster-loading page can also improve user’s response to reducing bounce rates and increasing interaction and engagement. When you consider the number of mobile users nowadays you’ll know that page speed is getting more critical. User response is also a part of the algorithm, so reducing the page loading time has two benefits for your ranking. (Google has a tool for optimizing page speed)
Micro-data comes in two formats; there are Schema.org and RDFa. Micro-data is suitable for some sites than others, so it’s better if you explore it by yourself and figure out if you need it for your site or not. Mirco-data is used to add more organized data to web pages that will be understood better by search engines (for ex. You might add a brand, model number, price,….., etc to a product listing or dates and ratings to concerts or add an event’s information).
- Check for 404 Errors
As your website grows, it will be more likely that you will have 404 errors and broken links. It will be a good idea to scan your site for broken links and fix them. However, if you find 404 errors on your site, you have to update your .htaccess file with a 301 redirecting to the most relevant new page. (Use this tool to check for broken links)
- Cross Browser Testing
User experience is everything, and it can have an enormous impact on your ranking and traffic; so testing your pages on multiple devices would be a great idea. There is no need do test your page regularly but just ensure whenever you make a change that your website is working properly in the most popular browsers. (Don’t forget mobile browsers!)
- Htaccess File
There is a lot that you can do with your htaccess file, but perhaps the most important functions are to re-write your URLs (SEO friendly URLs) and to ensure that all of your URLs resolve to the right place. You should also be careful to ensure that your pages and CSS / JS files can be crawled on, but you can block access to private areas of the site if you wish, as well as (login pages, checkout pages, etc…)
There is often more than one way to find a web page, and a rel-canonical tag is one way to ensure that the correct URLs gets indexed (the alternative is an htaccess redirect). If your home page can be accessed at both example.com, www.example.com and example.com/home.html then a rel-canonical tag will tell Google, which URL is the correct one. You can also use rel-canonical when an old page is moved to a new location that is if for some reason you don’t want to 301 the entire page.
- Internal Links
Internal linking is critical for usability, and it also helps search engines to find their way around your site and to understand better which pages are related to which. A site map is great, but internal contextual links are the navigation items that the real users will use, and so they give a much better indication of relevance and context. You should make sure that you always add relevant links within pages and especially within blog posts. You should also regularly revisit old posts and add links to newer ones.
Data and Analytics
· Keyword Research
Every SEO campaign revolves around ranking for certain keyword phrases, and although keywords aren’t as important as they used to be, it is worthwhile knowing which keywords you are targeting and why. Google’s keyword planning tool is a helpful start, but you can also use tools like SEM Rush to get more ideas by seeing what your competitors are doing. Using Ad words is also a good way to gauge the true value of each phrase before you choose to SEO for it. Above all, when you choose keywords to target you should consider commercial intent and relevancy – “if someone searches for this phrase will be my site the best result for their query?”
· Google Search Console
There is a lot that you can do with Search Console, and you should take advantage of the wealth of information. Last but not least if anything goes wrong with your site, Google will tell you about it. You can use GWT to see how many pages of your site are indexed (and if there are any crawling issues), you can submit a sitemap, and you can see in what terms you are ranking for and what search results pages your site has shown up in. So if you find that a blog post has shown up in certain queries, it would be better if you improve that post so that you can increase those rankings further.
· Bing Webmaster Tools
It’s easy to forget that there are other search engines in the world, and sure, Google is by far the biggest, but Bing are worth considering too, and any traffic you get from Bing has the potential to link to you or share your site and help increase your Google rankings too. So if you haven’t already considered Bing, sign up for BWT.
· Page Title CTR
Your page titles are not all about getting the right keywords; they are also about getting clicks and traffic. Improving your titles and your click through rates can increase your traffic and your rankings. Using GWT you can see which queries your pages are appearing for, so you can tweak your titles for those exact queries. Alternatively, some people use Ad words to test page title and Meta description ideas – if you have the budget, this would be a great idea for you.
· Monitor for New Links
The days of link building for SEO are just about behind us now. Certainly building links for traffic is valuable, but if you can’t earn links, you will struggle to earn rankings. By using tools like open site explorer and GWT (and, in fact, BWT may be the most accurate for new links), you can see new links as they are found and you can get an insight into which pages and content on your site are most linkable. By understanding that parts of your site have earned links, you can focus your content marketing to earn even more links.
- Monitor For Bad Links
With all the penalties floating around these days, and with Google being on the war path against spamming guest posting, you do need to keep an eye on the potentially harmful links. One or two shouldn’t be a problem, but you should regularly check , and if you notice an increasing number of dodgy links appearing you may want to take action.
· Competitor Links
Once you’re done checking your links you can check your competitors’ links. Sites linking to your competitors have already shown a willingness to link out, so it is often possible to get them to link to you too. If your site is fairly new, it is also helpful to see which content on your competition’s website gets the most links, as this will give you ideas on how to write your content.
· Conversion Rate Optimization
A large part of what we do at Think Traffic is CRO and that’s for a simple reason is that it works. There are few ways to get a faster ROI increase by improving your website’s user interface. Any improvement to your site that reduces your bounce rates and/or increases your conversion rates is great for SEO, it increases the stickiness of your site and increases your chances of earning links as well as meaning that you make more money of course! Here’s a guide to what to test first.
· Analytics Analysis
There is too much that can be done with Analytics to fit into a short paragraph, the best reports to look at though are those who give you an insight into how people are using your site. Look for pages that load slowly, pages with high bounce rates (I also recommend heat maps for additional insight) and high exit rates and try to improve those figures. You can also view your traffic sources and see which traffic sources are most valuable. (for example: if a link sends you a lot of traffic, try to get that site to link to you again)
· Install “Block Analytics.”
Install a browser plug-in that blocks you from Analytics. Here is the one for Chrome. Once installed you can tell the plug-in to block Analytics for all sites that you are doing SEO on. Its ensures that your activity on those sites isn’t tracked and doesn’t skew your data.
· Competitor Analysis
We’ve already taken a look at your competitors’ links, but you can also look at how they are doing SEO. If you want to rank for a particular phrase, go and Google that phrase and analyze those sites that are already ranking on the first page. What are they doing differently than what you’re doing? Do their pages have content or functionality that is better than your site? It is an excellent way to get an insight into what Google thinks is relevant for that particular search. How can you make your page deserve to outrank these sites?
Content Marketing Strategy
· Set a Schedule
You may not think that anyone is watching (if your audience is fairly small) but starting a proper schedule right now is a good idea because you never know who might be paying attention. Setting a blogging schedule will also force you to be consistent and publish content regularly, which is an important part of content marketing. The best content marketers are the ones who keep at it and learn what works and what doesn’t.
· Idea Generation
Brainstorming ideas are tough, so it’s a good idea to write down ideas whenever they strike. Get into the habit of always looking out for ideas of things to blog about and when you feel inspired, brainstorm a few. I like to keep three lists: bare bones, needs work, good idea. Then I occasionally visit the first two lists to see if I can spin an idea into something better.
· Writing Lists
If you do it right, a list can become a fantastic resource that people will want to link to. Don’t make out of every post a list, and don’t ever write mediocre lists. But when you have the time, writing a comprehensive list (like this one) is a great way to attract links. And if it is a good content, it might continue to attract links for a long time.
· Other Types of Content
Think about the other types of content that could work for your niche. Videos are a great way to attract links because a lot of people are not willing to do them, so there is less competition in doing videos. So why not try to create a video or brainstorm content that is based on an image?
· Respond To Other Bloggers
Hopefully, you are regularly reading up what’s going on in your industry? Well, you shouldn’t forget to take part by commenting on the latest. If you agree or disagree with a blog post that you read somewhere, write your post on the topic and let the blogger know. Even if you disagree, be respectful, and the blogger might well link to you. It won’t work every time, but it’s a good way to get a discussion going.
· Linking Out
Its goes hand in hand with the previous post. Linking your content to other bloggers and resources is vital. Although linking out probably doesn’t impact rankings directly, studies show a strong correlation between content that links to other content and high rankings. Linking out where relevant makes your content more helpful and shows readers that you care about being helpful – which adds a lot of credibilities.
· Go in depth
ItThis is especially important in niches where a lot of content already exists. In-depth articles give the reader a lot more value than articles that only scratch the surface. They also take more work, which makes them less common.
· Proof Reading
How do you feel when you read something with bad grammar and lots of typos? You may not care, but badly written content can be hard to read and annoying to read. Proofreading your content doesn’t take much work, and it could save you from losing additional traffic.
· Re-generate Content
If you write three new blog posts every week, you will soon have a mountain of content, and it may get harder and harder to think of original content ideas. But why not occasionally revive an old post? Bring it up to date, add more detail, find the things you missed the first time around – and bring it back to your front page. Keep the URL the same so that it continues to get new links.
· Do Interviews
Some people love to have their egos rubbed and asked to interview a blogger or industry influencer is a great way to build relationships and to get content for your blog. Until you ask, you never know, and if a “tier 1″ person in your niche agrees to be interviewed it can give your site a lot of credibilities. Here’s an interview we did a while back with Neil Patel from KISSMetrics.
· Publish Guest Posts
Spammy guest posting is dead, but there is still a very real place for guest posting in your content strategy. Make it known that you are open to guest posts, but have guidelines and be super picky about every post that you publish – never publish a guest post if it’s not at least as good as something you would have written.
Social Media Strategy
Twitter is a very popular platform and sharing things on Twitter is super easy, which means that this platform has the potential to drive a lot of traffic, and you can get results faster than you would be SEO alone. It is non-optional in my opinion.
Google’s social network has a relatively lower traffic potential than Twitter and Facebook. But it has a very real potential to help with your SEO since Google can personalize search results for your followers; meaning that if someone gives you a +1 or circles you . they will be much more likely to see your other content in future.
Facebook doesn’t have an enormous direct SEO impact, but if it works for your niche, it can drive a lot of traffic. Even if you don’t use Facebook for your business, you should optimize your blog posts to get shared on Facebook.
It depends on your niche, Pinterest is very popular and is a very visual platform, so if your business or product is a visual one then getting on Pinterest can generate a lot of traffic.
Linked In is a much more professional network and is the only one of the major social networks used more by Men than by Women, so if your customers are professional types, or you are a b2b business, get on LinkedIn.
· Follow Influencers
Whatever networks you use, you should start by following the main influencers in your niche. Its has several benefits, but one of the biggest benefits or it is that it will help you see the latest developments in your industry sooner – you can use this insight to generate content ideas and write blog posts.
· Reply to Them
Social media is all about being sociable, so respond to people. Even if they don’t always respond, at first, they will eventually notice. Show that you respond in helpful or courteous ways. Don’t pester them constantly. Over time, you will build more of a presence, and they may eventually start following you.
· Set a Schedule
Just like with blogging, setting a schedule keeps you consistent and will let your audience know what to expect. Once you get into a habit, it should be fairly easy to remember to write Tweets and remain active.
· Use Buffer
The buffer is an awesome app that lets you queue up social media posts to be published according to your pre-set schedule. You say when you want posts to go out, and it automatically adds new posts to the next available slot.
· Optimize Your Schedule
Buffer also tracks clicks on links that you send, so over time, you can tweak your schedule and figure out what times of day are most effective for your Tweets, Facebook posts, etc… You can set your schedule accordingly for maximum impact.
· Customize Posts
A lot of people just share blog posts by Tweeting/Posting a title and link. Do this occasionally, but try to be more creative and use those characters to the maximum effect. Add a little comment of your own so that your posts are original and unique.
· IFTTT + Feedly
Set up a Feedly account and add all of your favorite blogs to your feed and a group. Then sign up for IFTTT, this simple automation service can (amongst other things) automatically email or text you when a new post appears on any of your favorite blogs. It is a great way to be truly up to date on your niche.
As you create your social profiles, you should be using a personal avatar, ideally an image of you. Setting up a Gravatar account will ensure that wherever you appear on the web, your picture appears to you. It is a vital step in building a personal brand.
Link Building / Traffic Generation
· Using Forums
Spammy forums aren’t a good way to build links for SEO, but being an active member of a relevant forum is a fantastic way to become better known by influencers and potential customers. Using a signature link and contributing helpful forum posts is an excellent way to build traffic.
· Blog Commenting
Again, it’s not for SEO; it’s for branding and traffic. Having your IFTTT set up can ensure that you are one of the first to read and comment on every relevant blog post in your niche. Provide detailed, insightful comments and you will get a little traffic and build your recognition.
· Q&A pages
Q&A pages are yet another great source of traffic. Sign up for Quora and follow topics that are relevant to your niche, then enable email updates for each topic and you will be emailed every time a new question is asked. You can include links in your answer, but only if it is relevant, so choose your questions well and give solid answers, linking to your blog and other blogs as relevant.
· Guest Posting
Guest posting is not dead, in fact, it is still an awesome way to build traffic and get the ball rolling, but only if you do it right. My advice is to assume that your link will be “NOFOLLOW”, and, therefore, the only benefit is traffic and branding. A good guest post can drive a surge of traffic to your blog, which can in return produce some natural links.
· Paid Traffic
Not everyone has the budget for this, but if you do, there are a few great ways to use paid traffic to get the ball rolling. Remember that buying those links won’t help your SEO, but if you are writing great content and following all the other tips above, using services such as Facebook Ads, Sponsored Tweets, and Stumble Upon paid traffic can get you a bit of initial traffic which can quickly kick start your natural traffic.
· Google Local
Do you operate as a local business? For some companies local listings aren’t relevant, but for many they are and in your local area there is probably less competition, so setting up a local listing is a good way to gain a little extra traffic.
· Resource Lists
Building links by looking for broken links is an excellent idea. The aim is to find resource lists on other blogs that have broken links. You use the (way back) machine to figure out what the link used to link to. Create a new, up to date version on your blog (if you don’t already have a suitable post) and then email the site owner (of the resource list) and tell them that they have a broken link, but you have created a new resource that they could link to instead.