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SEO Checklist For Small Business Websites

SEO Checklist For Small Business Websites

We all know that achieving search engine optimisation is vital for businesses and marketers, but it can seem like a difficult task. You need to please the Google algorithms while still ensuring that you are promoting your business. If you feel as though SEO is passing you by or you don’t know how to keep up, we are here to help. Blog posts are a great way to share information and reach out to people. You will also find that they are a great way to positively impact on your SEO and this guide will act as an SEO checklist for your blog posts.

Use 1-2 Long Tail Keywords

When you create a blog, it is important that you do not stuff a lot of keywords into one post. You will find that focusing on one or two keywords for each post makes sense. There are a number of reasons why you want to limit the amount of times you use a keyword but the most important reasons are:

  • Search engines can punish you if it looks as though you are stuffing keywords into your content
  • It helps you to retain focus in your post

You can use more than one keyword in a post but the goal of your post should be so focused that you can optimise for one or two keywords.

The use of long-tail keywords is effective because website visitors will search for long-tail words with the aim of buying or finding out something specific. This means that the traffic you bring in from using long-tail keywords will be the right sort of traffic.

Where should you include these keyword terms?

If you are going to include these keyword terms in your post, where should you place them to receive the best benefit? The following are the most effective places to use your keyword terms:

The title

The title of the post is the first place where readers and search engines will look to determine how relevant your content is, so this is the natural place to start. Your title should include your keyword (as close to the start as possible) and you should ensure that your keyword is under 70 characters.

The body

Your keyword should be mentioned in your post, but it has to be natural. In this regard, you should think about the reader as much as the search engine. You want to make the content read normal, so use your keyword but don’t just throw it in for the sake of using the term. Search engines penalise posts that overuse keywords so don’t go overboard.

The URL

Search engines also examine your URL to determine what your post is about and the URL should relate to the title. This means placing your keyword in the URL and if you have to minimise your URL, be sure to retain the keyword.

The Meta Description

Meta descriptions provide your reader and search engines with information about the content of your blog post, so you need to make sure that you provide them with information here. Using your long-tail term in your Meta will inform your audience and your search engine of what you have to say. You have a chance to be engaging and creative with your Meta so try and provide as much information as you can in the limited character space.

Using Responsive Design

In the modern day, you need to make sure that your blog can be read by anyone, regardless of how they access your site or the internet. The best way to think about this process is to place yourself into the mind-set of the person visiting your site. If you are accessing the site or blog post on a mobile device, such as a tablet or smartphone, you want to receive the same high standard of experience as someone accessing the page from a desktop.

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The best way to ensure that you provide a high standard of experience to every potential user is to opt for a responsive design. It is vital for the user, but it also provides SEO benefits. One of the reasons for this is down to the fact that a responsive design only requires a single URL, which means that any inbound links you have will be focused on the one page. This means that Google will have a stronger opinion about this page than they would if visitors were being sent to different URLs for the same content, depending on how they arrived at your site.

Optimise Your Meta

The Meta description is the extra text that appears with your search results that provides people with information about what the link will provide. The Meta description should have your long-tail keyword in it because it should be representative of what the blog post is about. You should find that words people search for, which are included in the Meta description, will appear bold. This makes your link stand out and it helps to convince people that your page has exactly what people are looking for.

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Use canonical tags

While you will find many SEO experts tell you that you shouldn’t have duplicate content on your blog or site, there will be times when you have to provide information in a range of different ways to allow users to navigate your site. If you have duplicate content but you are looking to ensure that both pages stay live, the use of canonical tags can help.

These tags inform search engines about which pages should be indexed. This allows you to provide information that will ensure you are not punished for having content on your site that is available elsewhere on your site. This also provides search engines with the chance to link to the dominant or appropriate resource.

In order to place canonical tags on your site, you should:

Choose the page that should be indexed and get the URL

Go to the pages that are duplicates and shouldn’t be indexed and place this code into your <head> section:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”INSERT INDEXED PAGE URL”/>

This should be straightforward but if you need further assistance, Google provides additional information on canonical tags.

Optimize your images

While the text content of your blog should provide assistance in appealing to search engines, you will find that text is not the only form of content you can use. Images can play a role in explaining your content but search engines do not trawl and search for images, they are on the lookout for images that use alt text.

Find out more here…

You can find out the alt text of an image by placing your cursor on top of the image and then you will see a small box popping up on your screen. This describes the image and this enables search engines to understand what the image is. This is a related search and a really good way to think about alt text is to consider it as an interpreter for search engines.

Do not use too many topic tags

Topic tags are a great way to organise your blog content but if you overuse topic tags, you may actually cause harm to your site. If your tags are too similar, you may find that search engines will punish you for containing duplicate content.

The way to think about this is if that you use the same or very similar tags for all of your content, search engines will consider that you are using this content a number of times throughout the site. You should try and find a wider range of topics tags, between 15 and 20, that are relevant, and then use these tags on your posts. Using a wider variety of tags will help to minimise the risk of punishment for duplicate content while also potentially drawing more people to your site.

Help your visitors by using better URL structure

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You should have a URL structure on your site that makes it easier for visitors to understand the content on your site and what your site is about. Search engines prefer URLs that allow them to understand the content on the page, and which enables users to understand the content on the page. The way that the URL is structured should provide a path, allowing users to navigate their way around the site.

Use internal links where you can

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If you are able to create inbound links around your site, you will go a long way to showing search engine that you provide consistent and relevant content. You should provide links to your content from all of your platforms, including social media, as this helps to retain visitors on your site and will also help to show that you are an expert and authority on a particular topic.

Use the Google Webmaster Tools

If you are keen to find out more about SEO and the ways that you can impact on how search engines view your site, you should check out Google’s Webmaster Tools, particularly the SEO area. This is a page that answers a lot of questions that people have on SEO and optimising their site so if you want to find out information direct from the source for search engines, this is going to be the place to check out.

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About James Nicholson

James Nicholson is the founder of Rocket Marketing Hub. He’s worked in Digital Marketing for over 10 years for companies like Utility Warehouse, NHS and hundreds more.

You can connect with James on Twitter and Facebook

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