SEO Checklist For The Do It Yourselfer

SEO and digital marketing are part of an ever-changing industry, and learning can take years of experience and education. It can be intimidating for people outside of the field, but there are areas that can be easy for anyone to learn and apply to their own site. With that in mind here are ways that you can take control of your website’s success.

KEYWORD RESEARCH

This is the cornerstone of any SEO campaign and can be completed with ease. However, there are things to consider when conducting this research.

Tools – Other than Google Search Console, the best free tool available is the Google Keyword Planner. This tool will give you all of the important information about keywords, including search volume and related words and phrases. A great tool for starting the initial keyword research

Relevance – When conducting your initial keyword research, you should begin with the most relevant keywords to your business that reflect the services you offer. After narrowing that done, you can expand into long tail keywords (more than 1-2 words). Let’s say you own a cleaning business. One of your services may be “house cleaning”, which would have a rather high search volume and a very high competition score. If we expand that keyword to “weekly house cleaning service” we will see a much smaller search volume. This might affect your click-through rate though, as you will now be targeting a more specific audience.

Geo-Modified – Generally while searching, most of us will add a location based keyword, such as their city, which is definitely something we want to capture. This is done by targeting your geo-modified keywords. For example, changing “cleaning services” to “cleaning services in Toronto” will help to capture searches for this service in the place. This type of targeting is often great for building up your local rankings.

About Pixel to the left

IMPORTANT META TAGS

Meta Tags are used for summing up your website, including what it is about and the type of content that should be on the page. Below are the must-have meta tags that you should have. You will need a working knowledge of PHP and HTML to change these tags.

Meta Title – This is the title of the page, and shows at the of the browser and open tab. This is one of the most important tags for any page, and we will look at it further below.

Meta Description – Like the title tag, this is also a very important tag for SEO and will cover with more detail below.

Meta Author – This tag should contain your company’s name. It tells Google that this website and its content are the property of your company.

Meta Language – This tag declares the default language, which helps Google know where this website should be indexed.

Social Open Graph Tags – Open Graph tags were originally developed by Facebook, but they are now commonly used with the majority of social media platforms. The purpose of these tags is to connect your website to your businesses social pages, which helps to create your website’s authority and increase search engines trust of your website.

META TITLES AND META DESCRIPTIONS

Meta Titles – These tags should be within 50 – 60 characters. They should contain the purpose of the page, a targeted keyword, and if you have room, your location. This meta tag will not just be visible on the site itself, but will also be displayed in search results. In a lot of cases, this will be your first opportunity to attract visitors, so creating the right tag is very important.

Meta Descriptions – Like the title tag, the description is also displayed in the search results. Description tags should be no less than 50 and no more than 300 characters. These tags should contain a unique, brief introduction to your business and contain at least one targeted keyword. Be sure to only create descriptions and titles that are relevant to the content on the page, as misleading data lowers search engines, and visitors, trust level for your site.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT TEAM MEMBER TO CREATE YOUR CONTENT

One of the most common phrases in SEO is “Content is King”, and it’s true today as when it was first said. For your website to be successful it will be vitally important to focus on content. Not only is well-written content important for when your website is crawled, but it is a way for you to open a dialog with your website’s visitors.

Having the right person creating your content will add a level of credibility and trust. This can also dramatically increase the likelihood of your content being shared, creating organic backlinks and more traffic to the site.

content optimization

PAGE URLS

URLs can play an important role in SEO, and when done properly can be an important ranking factor. They should be clean, to the point, and avoid underscores. A poor URL would look like “www.abc.ca/service/post_id_12346788/”. This URL contains no real information about the content of the page and has cumbersome underscores. A better URL would be “www.abc.ca/services/cleaning-services/”. The dashes are more user-friendly than underscores, and the URL describes what is on the page, making it easier for search engines and visitors to know what to expect.

URLs can get tricky is if your website is already live, and can get messy fast. If you choose to change your URLs on a live site, be sure to set up proper redirects to avoid 404’s and lost traffic. You can start creating better URLs for blog pages and any new pages without worrying about redirects. If you have a new website in the works, we strongly recommend that you request clean URLs from your web developer.

SCHEMA MARKUP

Schema is essentially a way of marking up content to better explain it to search engines. This also creates rich cards and more optimized search results. Schema is a bit more advanced, and should only be attempted if you have experience with HTML and JavaScript. Using Google Tag Manager is a safe way to add Schema to your site. If you are not comfortable adding the Tag Manager script, a developer can help with. From there you can freely add Schema markup without having to alter any of your website’s code.

For a better look at schema visit https://schema.org/ and once again, I strongly recommend consulting your web developer before attempting to apply schema markup.

WATCH YOUR PAGE SPEED

Nowadays people expect your website to be fast, and a slow site can quite possibly cost you business. Here are some ways that you can decrease your websites load time

  • Compress your images.
  • If you are using background videos on your site, pay attention to the file size.
  • Host your videos on other platforms like youtube then embed them on your site rather than hosting them on your website. This way your website isn’t carrying the full weight of the videos.

Follow the above recommendations and you should see a substantial decrease in your load time.

SEO TOOLS

Last but not least, you will need to monitor the performance of your site. There are a lot of tools in an SEO’s toolbox but they often come with a big price tag. Spending money on these tools doesn’t really make financial sense for the do it yourself-er, and there are some quality free tools available that will get the job done:

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