This SEO Best practices checklist designed to put you on the right track for ranking higher, gaining more traffic, and winning more customers. Most SEO articles are prohibitively long. So we created this handy checklist that can be read in 10 minutes or less. While there are tons of technical considerations we haven't included in here, that is by design. This is a simple, actionable checklist that can be applied by anyone with an internet connection.
- The title tag should only be used on the headline for the site.
- The title tag should include the main keyword you are trying to rank for
- Preferably this keyword will be located at the beginning of the title. If this isn't possible, it is okay but try and get it as close as possible
- Use only one keyword per title
- The titles should be compelling and shareable
- Following the headline, it is a best practice to include your web properties name
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- The Title tag should be unique to your site. Do not write similar content and similar titles. This will result in cannibalizing your rankings and Google will ultimately penalize your website for this in the long run.
- Your URL should include the primary keyword phrase.
- The URL should be short
- Never include the same or a similar keyword phrase in a different URL
Headings; H1, H2, H3
- Using H1s, H2s and H3's should always be used in a hierarchy. This organizes the information in a way that helps Google bots more effortlessly crawl your site.
- H1s should include your main keyword and should be reserved for your headline.
- H2s should be reserved for long tail keywords when articles have multiple chapters or sections
- H3s are reserved for subtopics of H2s
- H4s are reserved for subtopics of H3’s and so forth
- Ensure to include internal links on each article to other relevant articles
- It is important not to go too crazy here. Think of including 1 internal link for every 200 words.
- The phrase that you link on is important. Never link on a phrase like "learn more here". If the article you are linking to is about VR Storytelling be sure to link on the phrase "VR Storytelling".
- Go back to old pages and link to new pages. This will give the new pages more authority in Google's eyes
- In meta descriptions, you will want to include the primary and secondary keyword in the body copy.
- The most important part of the meta description is that is impactful enough that the user wants to click-through, so don't keyword jam.
- When including images, it is important to note that original images will help the post rank better
- The Alt Text of the image refers to the description of the photo that helps those with disabilities. It is very important that you include this for the images. In the ALT text, you should include the primary and secondary keyword for the story. However, make sure you still accurately describe what is in the photo and the alt text is unique.
- The filenames of your media files need include the primary keyword of the story. Never upload an image with a non-descript filename.
- For SEO content, it is important to avoid having massive blocks of text.
- Organize the content in a way that is super easy to read
- Use bullets, lists and proper headlining
- If you find a relevant Youtube video, even if it is not your own, it is a good idea to link it in your article. This will keep people on your page longer and Google likes content that has multimedia components. You can always go back later and input a related original video.
- Drop that bounce rate
- Increase that time on page
- Unlike editorial content, SEO content needs to be driven by what people are searching for, not what is trending.
- Google Trends: Use google trends to identify keywords in your niche that have an upwards trajectory. Just because they have a low search volume now doesn't mean they always will
- KeywordFinder: Use keyword finder to identify keyword opportunities
- The lower the Allintitle the better. This means there is less content written on this subject and less competition
- Higher Search Volume/ LMS: This means more people are searching for this keyword
- Autocomplete: Type the keyword into Google to find out the phrases people are typing in
- Recommended: After searching a keyword or phrase, scroll to the bottom to see the blue font suggestions that google gives you
- Competitor Analysis: just as other industries watch what their competitors are doing, you also need to be looking at what competing sites are ranking for and take notes on the keywords and topics they are targeting.
- It is important that you do not create similar content that already exists on your site
- As you are in a niche content market, it is important that you are extra cognizant of this
- It is much better to go back and update only adding new sections, trying to never subtract content from an old article
- Only subtract if the information is incorrect
- Only change if the article isn't ranking
Technical SEO Considerations:
- Make sure your site has a fast loading speed and that your media is optimized to be the smallest size
- Make sure that your site is easy to view on Mobile. Google is Mobile-first
Planning SEO Content
It is a best practice to decide on the silos of content you are going after and to create a spreadsheet that includes data such as:
- The keyword phrase
- Search volume
- Any related Youtube Keywords
- It is a best practice to create Youtube videos related to highly valuable keywords. Once the Youtube video is created, link it in your article
- It is important to plan out keywords and publish content around them well in advance of related initiatives as it will take some time for Google to rank your article. Your full results may not be seen for up to six months.
Tracking Your Results
- It is extremely important that you track your results in Google Search Console
- When you are Ranking #1 you will need to defend that position over time by making the content richer
- This also allows you to see phrases that people are using to search for your content
- This lets you see if Google is crawling your pages.
- If you see "Errors" fix them immediately. These errors can compound overtime and create significant issues for your site if they are not addressed.
- Google ranks your content, the same way that academic papers are given authority by the number of times they are cited
- Due to that, you need to create backlinks to your content from reputable sites
- When you create a quality content piece, reach out to relevant sites and see if they will link your content in one of their relevant pieces of content
- This works best when you have created something that provides them significant value. If you feel like you are asking for a favor, you are doing it wrong.
- Guest posting is a great way to build backlinks
- Creating curated lists of the top experts or influencers in a given field is another great technique for building backlinks. Everyone likes to have something positive written about them and many websites will link back to the post if you simply ask
- Avoid link farms, as toxic links like those from unsavory or low-quality domains can lower your trust score. Focus on building links by building value.