[Article] Search Engine Optimisation Checklist

Being found on the first page of Google is essential to attracting new customers and increasing the reach of your business. There’s a great saying that if you want to hide something, put it on the second page of the Google search results and this couldn’t be more true because it’s rare people will look beyond the first page for, well, anything.


The art of creating a website that ranks highly on Google is done through the process of Search Engine Optimisation or SEO for short, and involves altering your website in such a way that Google thinks it’s relevant to particular search terms. For example, if someone were searching for ‘cat food’ and you sold cat food, your website would naturally rank highly for this term as the keywords within the website would be relevant to the search term. If, however, your website sold bike wheels and the user searched cat food, your website wouldn’t appear at all because the Google would deem the keywords and structure of the site not relevant to the search term.


So what factors does one have to alter to make the website more relevant? Well there are a few (listed below) and the answer involves splitting the factors into two subdivisions, on-site factors (those which you control on your own website) and off-site factors (those over which you have some control but more limited than on-site factors). On-site SEO factors are those that you change on the website itself. These are the easiest things to change because you have direct access to them and have complete control over the changes. Off-site factors are those which affect your website ranking that occur off site. For example, a higher number of links to your website from reputable sources is a good way to improve your ranking but is something you have little control over.


Below is a checklist of all the parameters that you need to consider when altering your website for the search term for which you want to be found:


On-site considerations

  1. Fresh and relevant content (little duplication)
  2. Regular website updates
  3. Easy to use navigation
  4. A low number of high quality adverts on the website
  5. Keyword density of 3-7% per page based on the target keywords with close proximity
  6. Keyword rich title tags of 65 characters
  7. Keyword rich header tags from H1 tags all the way through
  8. Keyword rich description of 165 characters or less
  9. A responsive web design optimized for tablets and mobiles
  10. Keyword rich URLs
  11. Quick download speed
  12. Strong interlinking throughout the site
  13. Keywords rich alt image tags
  14. Relevant content clusters and hubspots


Off-site considerations

  1. Installing and monitoring of the website with Google Analytics
  2. Installing and monitoring of the website with Google Toolmasters
  3. Submitting the website to the search engines (Google, Bing etc)
  4. Contact information across the website
  5. Having a high social media presence with links back to the sites and regular sharing
  6. A high number of good quality links back to the website
  7. Building trust through a professional design, working links, seal of approval (trustguard), testimonials an and ‘about us’ page
  8. Register the business on Yell and Google business.

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