SEO Checklist

The 2017 SEO Checklist

  • Install Google Analytics
  • Install Google Search Console
  • Focusing on the US? Might want to install Bing Webmaster Tools
  • Using WordPress? Get a WordPress Google Analytics plugin. Here’s oneHere’s another one
  • Using WordPress? Install the free version of Yoast SEO
  • Check Google’s Search Console for crawl errors, duplicate content errors, missing titles and other technical errors. 
  • Use Browseo.net to spot-check redirect problems (specifically, 302 errors that should be 301s). 
  • Use Screaming Frog to find broken links, errors, and crawl problems. 
  • Use Google Adwords Keyword Planner for keyword research, along with KWFinderKeywordTool.io and SEMRush. Be sure to consider searcher intent and difficulty, pick 1 keyword per page, and you’ll generally want to start with lower-volume keywords first. 
  • Have you looked at competitor link profiles? This is the easiest way to get started with link building. This way, you can see what kind of anchor text they’re using, as well as how and where they’ve been getting their links. Something like the AhrefsLink DiagnosisOpen Site Explorer, or Majestic
  • Try to get your primary keyword into your page URL (but there are very serious consequences to changing a URL that already has authority – don’t do this if your page already has links!). 
  • Add your keyword to your title tag. Is your title tag compelling? 
  • Add your keyword to your meta description. Is your meta description compelling? 
  • Add your keyword to your H1 tag. Make sure to only use one H1 tag, and make sure it shows up in the document before H2, H3 etc. 
  • Add crawl-able text to your page. Make sure to have at least 100 words on each URL (minimum – the more the better). You can still rank with less, and you don’t ever want to put unnecessary text on your site, but I recommend not creating a new page unless you have roughly ~100 words worth of content. 
  • Use synonyms in your copy. Remember: synonyms are great, and using natural language that’s influenced by keyword research (rather than just pure keywords) is highly encouraged.
  • Use words discovered through latent semantic indexing in your copy – you can determine what keywords to add at LSIGraph.com
  • Add descriptive ALT tags and filenames to your pages. Search engines “see” images by reading the ALT tag and looking at file names, among other factors. Try to be descriptive when you name your images. 
  • Link to other pages on your site with SEO-friendly text (use the primary keyword in anchor text). We recommend not using anchor text in your global navigation because it can look like over-optimization. Stick to in-content links instead. 
  • Make sure you don’t have duplicate content – use 301 redirects, canonical tags or use Google Webmaster Tools to fix any duplicate content that might be indexing and penalizing your site. 
  • Use PageSpeed tools,  Gift of SpeedGTMetrix and Pingdom to determine page speed – keep your site fast! 
  • Make sure your site is mobile friendly – use Google’s mobile friendly testing tool
  • Create an XML sitemap and submitted it to Google Search Console. Use XML-Sitemaps.com or Google XML Sitemaps WordPress Plugin – the Yoast SEO plugin also comes with this functionality by default. 
  • Create a robots.txt file and submit it to Google Search Console. 
  • Claim your brand name on as many social networking sites as possible for reputation management reasons. Namechk is a great resource to see if your name is taken on most major networks. 

SEO For WordPress

SEO for WordPress

If you’re like the rest of the Internet, odds are your website is built through WordPress. And for a pretty good reason: it’s flexible, with a myriad of templates and plugins. Plus, it’s fairly easy to use.

But perhaps more importantly, WordPress is a solid SEO (search engine optimization) platform.

Since almost half of the top sites out there — from BBC America to Flickr — use WordPress to power their content, Google pretty much has no choice but to ensure its search engine can effectively crawl and index millions of WordPress templates.

So as a small business owner, how can you fine-tune your local SEO strategy with WordPress?

  • Make it easy for customers (and the search engines) to connect your services to a location. This is low-hanging fruit, but you’d be surprised how many of your competitors don’t do this. Say, for instance, you’re a financial advisor with multiple offices across the Midwest. An Illinois customer may want to know if your team gives retirement advice at the Chicago location. So, the Chicago page should include a full list of services available there. Make it super obvious what you offer and where you offer it.  
  • Make the most of your SEO plugin. First, check your settings to confirm you’ve named your site and written a brief description. Then, be sure to check that your URLs are correct and that they match the URLs in your Google Webmaster Tools.  

Easy tweaks with big results. You’re welcome.

Rand Fishkin: Why Your Business Needs SEO Now

Know the top three reasons you need SEO?

Hint: it doesn’t matter if you own an auto repair shop, a law firm, or something in between. Moz.com co-founder Rand Fishkin gives us the SEO scoop.