Do you want to dominate search engine result pages in your niche, with pages of your website? Then read on. Haba Naija SEO team has compiled a comprehensive SEO checklist and tips to help you achieve better rankings.
The SEO checklist on this page is just the basic, the minimum you need to do. You can always do more to get a much better result. If you need help with any of the items on the SEO checklist, feel free to leave a comment or contact us.
Table of Contents
SEO & marketing research
Keywords research – SEO checklist for attracting the right traffic
If you approach keyword research with the scattergun approach, you risk not doing well in search results. However if you use our keyword research SEO checklist below, you can identify and focus on these keywords that will deliver the traffic your website needs.
Keyword research has been the foundation of SEO from the beginning. However, keyword research these days isn’t just about SEO, although it has long been strongly linked with optimization. Keyword research is also an essential part of all digital marketing. It acts as a guide for any good digital marketing strategy at every stage. Luckily for digital marketers, there are a variety of keyword research tools out there today, from GoogleKeyword Planner to dozens of other keyword planning tools.
Identify the keywords that are relevant to your your site or business
There are a million tools that purport to help you find the best keywords for your website or business. Some of these tools are useful, however, you are the best tool/person for this at a basic level. Let’s say you have a website, dedicated to podcasts about Wiliam Shakeper. Without a doubt you know a lot about your subject matter, you are also best placed to identify the keywords that are unique to your Shakespear podcast.
So, start your SEO checklist keyword by identifying the best keywords for your site, here is an example. Lets say your most popular or most recent podcast is a discussion about Macbeth and Othello. You can get started with these keywords/phrases: keywords/phrase:
- Shakespeare Podcast Macbeth
- Best Shakespeare Podcast
- No Fear Shakespeare Macbeth
- Shakespeare Podcast Othello
This is plenty of keywords to get you started. You do not need dozens and if not hundreds of irrelevant keywords SEO tools have a habit of suggesting.
Research keyword search volume for your keywords
Once you have identified the keywords you want to associate a page or site with. Next step is to research such keyword volume. To simplify keyword volume research in your SEO task, without the need for some fancy or expensive keywords research tools, just put the query into your favourite search engine and see how many results it returns.
Continuing with our “Shakespeare Podcast Macbeth” example, that query returned just under 400,000 results. Contrast that with “Shakespeare Podcast” which returned over 12 million results. Keyword research tools do have it’s place, but that is for a much advanced stage of your SEO journey.
Research search intent for keywords and your business segment
When you do a search in a search engine. Some keywords/phrases are suggested to you, like predictive texting. This is search intent. It shows keywords and questions people are looking for in a search engine. Spend some time using search intent to research the keywords and how people search for your product or service.
Include the keyword you are targeting in the first 100 words
This is arguably the most standard best practice you should be using in your content marketing strategies. Make sure the keyword you’re trying to rank for in search engines is in the very first 100 words of the post you’re about to publish.
Implement content clusters
A content cluster cluster is a set of content pieces(typically blog posts) related to a particular topic, and it’s also a great way to tell Google that your website is an authority on a specific subject. In return, you enjoy greater organic traffic and a higher position on the SERP. The first step is to discover a subject you need to focus on. Once you’ve accomplished that, you’ll want to create numerous pieces of content that are all related to that topic. Finally, you’ll want to make sure that every piece of content links back to at the least one other component in the cluster. By doing this, Google can understand how all content pieces are related and this will ultimately lead to better search engine rankings.
On your website
Increase visitors dwell time with images and or videos
When you manage to get visitors to your website, you want to keep them engaged and get them to spend more time on your website. If all you have to offer them are just pages of text and more text, they will not stay for long. On the other hand, if you have a video or a visually striking unique image, they will stay for longer or you will have a longer dwell time.
Add alt text to images
Optimised alt text is essential for Google to rank your images in Google Images. This is because alt text lets you tell Google what the image is showing. It can also contribute to your website’s accessibility for users and explain to them what to display when an image is corrupted. Alt text can help improve your website’s SEO performance by adding more relevancy signals to a webpage. This helps Google better understand the context of an image to determine how to rank the page.
Optimise your image
Google and Bing don’t like slow websites, and worse, people tend to exit websites that don’t load quickly. When people leave, it increases your website’s bounce rate and affects your SEO ranking.
Link to authoritative sites
Link building is a set of SEO strategies that aim to build a network of links to a page to drive traffic and strengthen its authority in search engines. The more links received from trustworthy and popular sites, the more relevant Google considers the site in its area of expertise.
Spruce up, repurpose and republish outdated contents
Republishing content is a win-win SEO strategy. It allows you to reach high positions in the SERPs and drive traffic with less effort than writing posts from scratch. Your target audience will also benefit from republishing content.
Prune less valuable content
A crucial part of any search engine optimization checklist is understanding when to take something offline. When a piece of content becomes so outdated that it’s irrelevant and you can’t update it, it’s time to take it down from your site.
Create XML Sitemap for Google and Bing
Creating and submitting an XML site map is considered an essential part of basic SEO checklist. The truth however is that once you get your website online and get a few links from strong websites pointing to it. Your biggest problem will not be getting Google or Bing to know the pages you have on your site, but keeping them away from part of your site you don’t want them to index. If you do want to create an XML site map, you can go ahead and do that. There are a number of tools you can use to create one.
Create and upload a robots.txt file
It is absolutely necessary to create a robots.txt file for your website. The function of a robots.txt file is to let search engine robots know which part of your website you want them to crawl and which side you do NOT want them to crawl. If, like this author, you have a site where you test things out before uploading them to your live site, it is absolutely essential that you upload a robots.txt file to that site, to prevent your contents appearing on two different sites.
Host your website on a fast server
All the hard work you put into creating your website. Investing time and money into basic and advanced SEO on the page will come to nothing if your site is on a slow web server. Sites that respond quickly to user queries are ranked better than slow sites. Your web hosting platform is not the only reason your site could be slow. Image size, platform used to create your website and other stuff could slow your site down. Use some of the many tools available online that can help you test and optimise your site speed.
Fix broken links
Broken links are a further threat to great SERP ranks. Owners of websites move and remove pages over time. You can get a broken link as a result. When there are too many of them, search engines penalise your website, thus it’s crucial to remove or correct the links. On top of that, most individuals find it annoying when they encounter faulty links. If there are many of them, visitors will stop coming.
Add schema markup where possible
What exactly is schema markup? It’s a system developed by many major search engines to show site owners why their content is important. The markup accomplishes this by helping the search engine in properly understanding the site and cataloguing the information. If keywords are the high-level category tools, schema markups help the search engine in digging deeper.
Design your site for cross platform compatibility
Though there is this new phrase called mobile-first design. Which means when you design a website, you should think of mobile device users first. I will go one step further and encourage you to ensure your website displays well on all devices for SEO ranking purposes. From a usability standpoint, there can be a case for putting computer users above mobile devices, if most of your traffic comes from computer users as it is the case with this charity eCards website.
Create short memorable urls with relevant keywords
One of the reasons short domain names are highly sought after is because they are easy to remember. You can easily tell someone to go to “temi.co.uk” and they will type that into their browser easily. Compare that with if the url is TemiJohnsonSheepShearingWebsite.co.uk . For the same reason, keep pages you create on your website short, use keywords you are targeting in the url. For example Temi.co.uk/christmas is a much shorter, better targeted page name than https://www.temi.co.uk/best-charity-christmas-cards-ecards-that-support-good-causes-2022/ .
Make internal linking the default in all your contents
Internal linking is under-utilised by most content creators. Internal link is absolutely vital for SEO reasons as it is a signal to search engines that the content being linked to is important. It is also a great way to navigate within a website. So ensure you link within your site to related and important contents.
Let search engines know about you and your site
Let Google know you own your site via Google Search Console
Most webmasters start their SEO by building links or doing on-page SEO. In reality the first thing you need to do is to get your site known to search engines by registering with them so that they know the site belongs to you. That way, you get technical information such as crawler error, stuff that does not display properly on your website and other important information. You even get regular updates about how your content is doing in Google search.
Let Bing know you are the webmaster of your site
Though Google is THE search engine, it is by no means the only game in town. Take the time to register your site with Bing and you will be rewarded. It is easy, quick and straightforward to register with Bing via Bing webmaster tools.
From other websites
Links, links and even more links
Getting other websites, especially those roughly similar in content to your site is very important for your SEO ranking. In addition to booking backlinks to your site, a link from the right kind of website will increase relevant traffic to your website.
Basics of SEO – When all is said and done!
I hope you find this blog post useful. If you implement most of the tips suggested, your site should compete easily, if not dominate search engine rankings for your niche completely. It is however not a perfect document. We may have missed something out, if you notice such an omission, please let us know.
You can reach out to us on social media or via contact Haba Naija page.