With recent changes to Google’s search algorithm and other search engine optimization (SEO) concerns, it can be hard to know what to do for your SEO efforts. While SEO is made up of several moving parts, including a link strategy, your URL structure and other factors, your use of keywords is one of the most pieces.
Here’s how you can create your own SEO keyword checklist to keep your business current and compliant with the latest SEO strategies!
- Analyze your current business website. What keywords are you using? Does your website use meta data (title tags, descriptions)? How much text do you have on your website and does that text use keywords associated with your business type? Answering these questions can help you determine how much work you need to do to be more transparent for search engines.
- Analyze your competitors’ websites. Go through your biggest known competitors’ websites to see the content and keywords they’re using. You can also search the keywords you feel best represent your business to see who is using them. Check out the websites for each of the first five search results to see how they incorporate these keywords.
- Develop your own desired keywords. What phrases would you use to describe your business? What phrases would your customers use to describe your business? This will help guide you to understanding how you’d like potential clients to search for your business and find it.
- Use keyword research tools like Google AdWord’s Keyword Tool to shed some light on the popularity of the keywords you’re looking to use and how many times they’re searched monthly. These factors not only help you to identify keywords that others are using, but also to identify keywords that others are not using, leaving room for your use. Additionally, if you choose to do any form of search advertising in the future, you’ll know how costly those keywords would be.
- Now that you have a better understanding of what you’re currently doing in terms of SEO and where you can go in the future, it’s important to set your objectives before moving forward. What are you trying to measure by taking further action – website visits? Inquiries? Appointments? Bookings? Start recording these numbers before you start optimizing so you have a baseline and can see how your actions are affecting those objectives.
- Edit your page titles. Include keywords in your page titles in a natural way wherever possible. The keywords used in the titles help to establish the direction of the keywords you use on those pages.
- Write meta descriptions for all your pages. Your website should have an option for this, or at the very least a plug-in you can install. These descriptions are the text that shows up underneath your page title in search results, and they have an influence on click-throughs when used properly. Since search engines will highlight they keywords the user is searching on, it’s important that they’re included in the description for users to see.
- Incorporate keywords naturally in your website content. Re-write your website so that it uses keywords strategically throughout. Don’t keyword-stuff your pages or list keywords in an unnatural way, as that could make your website less user-friendly and nonsensical.
- Create and submit new sitemaps to the major search engines. Your website will be indexed faster, which means that you’ll see the results of your work much faster! You can do this both by HTML and XML sitemaps; HTML sitemaps are easy to create on your own website, while XML sitemaps need to be submitted using tools like Google Webmaster Tools or Bing Webmaster Tools.
- Search engines like fresh content, so remember to keep updating your website and maintaining the work you’ve put in. Creating a blog section for your website can help you create new content on a regular basis, not to mention share your voice and expertise with customers and potential clients!
- Keep an eye on the success of your work based on those objectives you set, and continue to test various keywords and content changes. As your business grows and changes, you’ll likely have some updates to make to keep all your information up-to-date – remember to use this checklist each time you make these types of changes and you’ll continue to see success!
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