The savviest online entrepreneurs understand that content can be a key driver for your business. A huge 49% of marketers report that organic search has the best ROI of any marketing channel, so getting your on-site SEO right is crucial.
But how do you do that? By following a simple yet effective SEO checklist.
As one of Brisbane’s leading digital agencies, continue reading to discover our basic SEO checklist that will see your viewer numbers, sales and conversions increase.
What Is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
Search engine optimisation is improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines. It targets unpaid traffic (organic) rather than direct or paid traffic.
Search engine optimisation is split into on-page and off-page.
On-page content lets Google and its users know what your page is about. It determines whether you’ll rank in search engine results, how you’ll rank and what terms you’ll rank for.
On-page refers to factors on your website that you can easily control, and it’s not all about content. Technical elements are also included in the equation, such as title tags, headings, URL structure, site speed, internal links, meta descriptions and more.
Why should you invest your resources here? The more on-page SEO you do, the more organic traffic you’ll get to your website and the more attention your business will get.
Off-page SEO is certainly a little harder to control. Nonetheless, your SEO efforts will still be rewarded.
There are four main off-page strategies that work well today, including digital PR, influencer collaborations, fixing broken links and making use of various social media platforms to share infographics and other likeable content.
On-Page SEO Checklist
Website design and build
Designing a website theme optimised for SEO from the start will save you a lot of time and energy later. This includes obtaining the right domain name, colour and branding, website layout and structure, and creating relevant pages.
Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools
Create a sitemap
A sitemap is a file that tells search engines about the pages on your website. You can create a sitemap manually or use free tools. If you’re using a CMS such as WordPress, then plugins will often create a sitemap for you. You can then submit your sitemap in Google Search Console, making it easier for Google to find, crawl and index your content.
Page loading speed
The speed at which your web pages load can have a crucial bearing on your website ranking. Pages that open too slowly can cause frustration for your audience and might move them away to your competitor's content. Image sizing can be a defining factor in your page loading speed, but it could also be a more serious issue, such as problems with your host and/or server.
Here are a few more reasons why your pages may be loading too slowly:
- Large amounts of HTML
- Redirect loops and chains
Keyword research gives you an idea of the phrases people are searching for to find businesses, products and services like yours. This information can then be used to inform your content strategy.
Historically, it was all about keyword density, but as keyword stuffing became an all too prominent part of SEO, it’s now more about including relevant information for your readers than putting all of your eggs in the keyword basket. However, keywords in web content still give an important message to Google that can help achieve ranking content.
As one of Google’s confirmed ranking factors, optimising your page title for your most valuable keyword is crucial. Your page title should also signal your relevance to your users to improve your click-through rate (CTR). You must understand the type of searches your potential customers make and ensure your page titles reflect those. Titles are important for both users and Google crawlers who will be looking for the best content to answer your customers’ questions.
Using well-defined headings in your website content is a crucial part of on-site SEO. Big blocks of rambling text are a no-no for Google. Breaking up each section with the right header tags means you will tick more on-site SEO boxes.
As a rule, you should always have one H1 tag (generally the title of your article, which also contains your most valuable keyword) and then subheadings should be utilised using a hierarchical structure.
In general, H2 and H3 are the most commonly used heading tags, as they are used for each new section of your page. It’s important to remember that your keyword should always be in the H1 (title) and in one H2.
Although there is no exact length that will guarantee readership or Google brownie points, content should be of a length to give the reader enough information about a topic.
Some experts say content should be around 1,000 words, whereas industry SEO gurus Yoast declared that 300 words or more are generally sufficient. The appropriate length for your content will depend on the type of content you are creating, the length of the content your competitors are creating, and the amount of information your content will provide.
It stands to reason to try to avoid as much duplicate content as possible. This is because it’s not only profoundly unengaging for readers but will be seen as a duplicate by Google crawlers. Google bots will see duplicate content as having no value to your readers, and although you won’t be penalised, it won’t help your on-site SEO efforts.
Adding rich content, such as videos, will not only help to give structure to your content but will also give a visual means for your audience to engage with it.
Readability covers an entire spectrum, but broadly, it covers grammar, style, syntax and the content’s structure.
As mentioned previously, huge blocks of text can be off-putting for readers and are less likely to tick Google’s crawler boxes. Good content should take the reader on a helpful, easy-to-understand journey from beginning to end with an introduction and conclusion.
Internal and external linking
Internal links hyperlink anchor text within your copy to other relevant pages or posts on your site. Ensure your links are relevant and provide further information that your users will appreciate. Try to include at least two internal links in every post.
External links point to other web pages and posts. Linking to sites with good page or domain authority that Google loves and trusts will help prove to users and search engines that your site is bursting with credible information. However, you must be careful with your choice of external links. You will lose credibility if you link to spammy sites.
The URL is the actual address of your page. There are fiery discussions over whether a long or short URL is best. However, the one thing that everyone agrees on is that using a clear structure that signals relevancy to both users and search engines is best. For example, using “/articles/post-name/” for your blog content and “/services/service-name/” for your services clearly highlights the different types of content on your site.
Measuring SEO Success
Once you’ve instigated a routine that ticks all of the boxes on this checklist, the work doesn’t end there. Without monitoring, you won’t know how well you are doing or whether you’re doing enough of the right things that are working.
So, here is what you can do to measure your SEO:
- Check rankings: Check and monitor your rankings in Google Search Console, along with the types of searches you appear for, the number of clicks, and the traffic growth.
- Monitor your organic traffic: Ranking well doesn’t mean much if it’s not bringing in more traffic to your site. Use Google Analytics and Google Search Console to measure your organic traffic and your website conversions.
- Monitor your competitors: Use SERP tools to monitor your competitors’ progress. Look at what is working for them and review what you might be able to compete with or what approaches you can adopt.
The Benefits of Effective On-Page SEO
So, what are the benefits of effective on-page SEO?
Improved search engine rankings
By optimising your site’s content and HTML source code, you make it easier for search engines to understand the relevance and quality of your pages. This can lead to higher rankings in SERPs for targeted keywords.
Increased organic traffic
Higher rankings mean your website appears more prominently in search results, leading to more clicks and organic traffic. This is crucial for reaching more potential customers without the need for paid advertising.
Compared to paid search strategies, on-page SEO is a cost-effective way to drive traffic. It requires an upfront investment of time and resources but can lead to sustained organic traffic without the ongoing costs associated with PPC.
Powerful SEO Strategies with Anchor
If you’re still hesitant to dive into the world of SEO, we can lend you a helping hand.
We get it; SEO is easy to learn but hard to master. And as a business owner, you’re probably already wearing too many hats. Luckily, we have senior digital marketers on board who have successfully been helping businesses outrank their competition for years.
We’re here to help you optimise correctly and cost-effectively. If you’d like to learn more about how we can boost your business through on-page SEO, drop us a line today.