Your SEO must be impeccable. Period. More and more businesses are starting to understand the benefits of selling online. That means more of your competition is now on the internet, trying to do the very same things you are trying to do. And that means you need to be doing it better.
The SEO landscape continues to change at a rapid pace, and it can be dizzying to keep up with. To be successful online it is critical that you keep the health of your website in tip-top shape. To help you out, we’ve put together this easy to follow SEO checklist.
9-Point On-Page SEO Checklist
1. User Driven Experience
Consider this question and answer it honestly: Who will be using your website the most? The answer is simple—your customers.
When you design (or redesign) your website, your primary stakeholder is the user.Add value to your users' lives, they will add value to yours. Click To Tweet
Imagine you are visiting a website but you can’t find the solution to the problem that brought you there in the first place… Why would you stick around? Or, better yet, why would your potential customers?
Google released their Panda algorithm update in early 2015. Since then, websites that provide a poor user experience can be penalized and your traffic can wind up looking like this:
This is Google’s way to encouraging website owners to provide high-quality, high-value content to their users. Why? Because by adding value to your users lives, they will add value to yours.
2. Mobile Friendly Design
As mobile devices continue to take the world by storm, the necessity of having a mobile-friendly website cannot be stressed enough. As of late 2013, mobile internet use blew past desktop internet use and it shows no sign of stopping.
This ties back into the first point. Since internet use is trending toward a mobile user base, having a mobile website offers a significantly better user experience to those visiting from mobile devices.
3. Short & Sweet URLs
Ever hear a radio or TV ad that tells you to visit a website for more info? I wouldd venture a guess it went something like this: “Our awesome product will solve your biggest and most pressing problems! For more info, visit www.oursite.com/problem-solved.”
Notice the URL they send you to. It’s short, easy to remember, and it’s great for SEO.
Search engines look at the page URL (amongst other things) to understand what your page is about. Make it human readable and including keywords you want to rank for.
By default, most CMSs (Content Management Systems) use a system of identification numbers when generating page URLs. In WordPress, this can be changed by hovering over the Settings option in the left sidebar, then selecting Permalinks. We typically choose the post name option, which will generate URLs like this: http://adcom8.com/post-name/.
4. Optimized Content That Speaks To Your User
Way back when (ok, less than five years ago) you could sprinkle a copious amount of keywords throughout your page and it would rank. It just worked.
However, with the progression of their algorithms, keyword stuffing no longer works. It’s no longer about keyword density.
Not only that, Google (and others) are becoming more concerned with the intangible signals being sent by the user. Things like time on page and bounce rate.
If your customers have a good experience on your website, search engines know this and will be more likely to send future traffic your way. That’s called SEO my friends.Search engines know if visitors have a good experience. This #SEOchecklist will make sure they do. Click To Tweet
It is about providing a solution to a problem. It is about providing exactly what people are looking when they need it most. Create content that puts your user first and solves the problem they are seeking a solution to. This is a fantastic way to improve your on-page signals and boost your SEO.
5. Add Internal & Outbound Links
Links continue to be a top ranking signal, and that is not going anywhere anytime soon.
From the beginning of the internet—aka the beginning of time—links have been the building blocks that make everything work. Why? Because they connect people to new ideas, information, and other people.
Adding internal links to your page will encourage users to dig deep into your content. It gives them a reason to stay on your site longer and also gives them the ability to do so. Outbound links—those that direct the user to a different website—can help you build relationships with other bloggers in your niche.
Both internal and outbound links do three important things:
- Help reinforce your brand as an authority.
- Give search engines context about the topic of the page.
- When users click them, they send those all-important signals to search engines saying that you provide high-quality content.
Don’t overdo it, though. Too many links, or linking to unrelated pages, is a good way to damage your SEO quick fast and in a hurry.
6. Optimized High-Quality Images
Search is going mobile, yes. But it is also going visual (think Pinterest and Google Image Search). Optimize your images so they load quickly and search engines can understand what each image is about. Let me explain.
Search engines cannot actually ‘see’ images (yet). Include a proper image title and alt tag so search engines know what we humans are seeing.
The most important part of image optimization is the Alt Text (or alt tag for you code-savvy types). This is Google’s primary source of information about what the image shows. By including your keywords here, you improve the chance of your image showing up in search results.
7. Boost Page Speed
Page speed is becoming ever more important, especially as the internet continues to trend toward mobile use. It is an indicator of quality and can boost (or bust) your user experience.
Not only does your content need to be great, your website infrastructure needs to be great too. Studies show that if your page takes more than three seconds to load, users will hit the back button before they ever see what you have to offer.
This sends negative signals back to Google saying that your site didn’t meet their needs and is, therefore, low quality (hey, I’m just the messenger). If you only do one thing from this checklist, optimizing your page speed should be it.
8. Display & Link Social Share Buttons
People love social media. Make your page highly shareable by including social sharing buttons and encouraging users to use them.
There is still some debate as to whether or not social media signals are truly a ranking factor. However, there is no denying that social media expands your brand presence online.
When someone shares your content, it is the ultimate vote of confidence. It means that person is staking their reputation on what you have created. Add social sharing buttons and ask people to share your page, and you are well on the way to creating a thriving social media following.
9. Increase The Time Users Spend On The Page (aka Dwell Time)
When someone visits your page and spends a significant amount of time there, it is a signal to search engines that the page is high quality. On the flip side of the same coin, if a user gets to your page and hits the back button right away it tells search engines that the user had a poor experience.
By improving the other eight points in this SEO checklist, your dwell time will improve along with it.
Each of these eight points is focused on delivering the best possible experience to your users. When you make their lives better, they will make your life better in return.
If you enjoyed this post, please share it! Have you put an SEO strategy to work for your business? Tell us about it in the comments!