If you are launching a new online venture, getting organic traffic to your website is likely to be one of your priorities. To achieve this, you need SEO. It’s a big topic, however, and it can be difficult to know where to start. It’s also all too easy to forget to do something, plus there might be an important factor that you are not aware of.
This checklist will help. It covers all the essential elements of SEO for small business, particularly when launching a new online venture.
Conduct Keyword Research
A lot of what you do with SEO centres on keywords. After all, keywords are the phrases that people type into Google’s search box. You want to appear as high up as possible on the results pages for those that are relevant to your new business.
To do that, you first need to know the most important keywords to target. This requires research which you can do using tools like the Keyword Planner, a feature of Google AdWords.
The things you should look out for when researching keywords include:
- Monthly search volume – generally, the higher the search volume, the better
- Buying intent – is this the sort of keyword that people use when they are ready to make a purchase or are there other intentions that are more likely? For example, does the keyword indicate the user is in the early stages of researching the product they may want to buy?
- Level of competition –will you be able to compete for the keyword or are you going up against bigger, longer established, and better-resourced competition?
- What longtail keyword opportunities exist and which ones are best – longtail keywords can often deliver better results, plus they usually have lower competition.
With your target list of keywords, you can properly structure the pages and content of your new website.
Complete Page Optimisation
You should optimise each page of your website for SEO. There are lots of elements to this, but here are the most important steps you should take:
Step 1 – identify the target keyword of the page
Step 2 – use the keyword in the H1 tag of the page
Step 3 – write the content for your page, ensuring the textis long enough. Static pages should have 200+ words, ideally closer to 350, while blogs should have 500+ words, ideally closer to 800-1,000.
Step 4 – ensure the target keyword is in the first paragraph of the text
Step 5 – include the keyword once or twice more elsewhere in the text
Step 6 – make sure the content of the page is easy to read by breaking up the text using lists, sub-headings, and short paragraphs
Step 7 – include relevant images on the page and make sure each has a descriptive Alt tag, ideally including the target keyword
Optimise Navigational Structure and Internal Links
You need to optimise the menus on your website, making sure they are easy to follow. Specifically, you should ensure you don’t have too many layers of sub-menus, particularly if your website is fairly straightforward with a standard number of pages.
You also need to make sure you have a good internal linking strategy in place. This includes ensuring each page on your website is linked to at least once whether that is in the main menu, in the footer menu, or somewhere else.
You should also create a sitemap for your website. This will help you see the navigational structure and ensure everything is included. Google will also need a copy of your sitemap.
Optimise Meta Data
This is one of the most ignored points in relation to SEO, even though it is very important. It involves optimising the page titles of every page and ensuring each page has a unique, relevant, and compelling meta description that includes the target keyword of the page.
Doing this takes time, particularly if you have a big website. It’s essential for good SEO practice, however.
Check for Responsive Design
It’s likely that many people will visit your website using their mobile phone. Therefore, you need to ensure you optimise your website for all devices. You can do this by checking if your site has an optimised responsive design.
Carry Out Website Speed Optimisation
Finally, but definitely not least, you need to make sure your website loads fast. You can check this using Google’s PageSpeed tool.
Google wants your website to load quickly because fast websites deliver better user experience and a faster internet uses fewer Google resources, saving it money.
If you want Google to like your website and show it in a high position on its search results pages, you need to make sure your pages load quickly.
Increasing Visibility in Google from the Start
By going through all the points in this checklist, you will increase your Google visibility. This will generate tangible SEO results, i.e. sales or leads to your new business.