Small Business Owners have several challenges. They have to deal with sales, operations, finance and people. Often times, they do not get the right advice when it comes to managing their marketing operations or managing their search engine optimization techniques.
We thought of putting together a SEO checklist for small business owners , something which will help them understand some of the intricacies involved in search engine rankings and also help them to manage relationships with their vendors a lot better (if a vendor is managing SEO for them)
In this 18 point SEO checklist for small business owners, we will discuss about on-page search engine optimization techniques or On page techniques, as it is called. While we detail a SEO checklist for small business owners, we will try and explain how search algorithms work and some of the ranking factors within it. This post will cover everything from metadata, to URL’s linking and optimizing your website. Every small business owner should know about this 18 point SEO checklist for small business owners.
What is On-Page SEO?
The practice of optimizing individual web pages to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. On-page refers to both the content and HTML source code of a page that can be optimized to improve the search ability among search engines. In the simplest terms, on-page SEO is search engine optimization that is conducted within your own website pages where the actual content of the page is optimized for ranking on search engines.
When Google bots visit your web pages, if your on-page is well defined, then it is much more easier for your page to get indexed quickly. Also if you optimize your page for specific keywords, it is possible to feature in organic search results, thus resulting in higher website traffic being generated at the website. [irp posts=”1667″ name=”Why SEO is Important for Business?”]
Also remember that SEO is done for web pages and all these web pages are part of an overall website. The more the web pages, you have optimized for SEO, the better is your chance to rank higher in terms of search engine rankings. You might also want to read Ways to generate leads using SEO
Here is a 18 point on-Page SEO Checklist for small business owners
- Get the technical elements right
Make sure that Google Analytics code is installed and working. You can also install this using the Google Tag manager. This can be used to insert several more codes as well like Re-marketing, Facebook Pixel and many more. Google Search Console installed and verified
- Get your tags right
Make sure that Title Tags are property defined and not more than 70 characters.
- Get your grammar right
Never try to optimize your post just from a SEO standpoint. Make sure that it reads well and it provides value to the reader. Make sure that you are using the right language and the correct grammar.
- Optimize for keywords
Define your focus keyword, Make sure that your focus keyword is in the title, meta description, first para of the content as well as in an H1/H2 tag towards the start of the content. Google now allows meta descriptions as long as 300 words. Make use of the additional limit and use text that will help generate curiosity about the article.
- Use the right social sharing buttons
These will help in increasing engagement and can help your content go viral. This can also bring in some inbound links
- Use of Internal Links
If a person has come to you blog, then try to increase the level of the engagement by offering him something else that is relevant. If a user spends larger amount of time at your web pages and ends up viewing multiple pages as a result, this will help in your SEO effort.
- Use of external links
It is nice to link to external authority websites, which will give better value to the reader. Use these external links sparingly, as too many links means that you are pushing the visitor away from your website.
- Minimize Page Load time
Your website should ideally load in 2-3 seconds. Try to keep away from heavy images at the site or a lot of jss code, that will increase the load time. If a user comes to your site, then page load time is very critical, as the user will lose patience, if it takes too long for the pages to load.
- Have an updated XML Sitemap
Having an updated XML sitemap helps Google bots to crawl your website. There are several tools and plugins available which will help in generation of an updated XML sitemap [irp posts=”1290″ name=”Ways to generate leads using SEO”]
- Smush your images
Make sure that you smush your images and lighter versions of these images are used at the site. Don’t use too many images on a page. Image size can affect page load time.
- Use Alt tags for images
Google bots cannot read images, so it is always a good practice to use Alt tags to define what image we are using at the page. Typically include the keywords that you are using for the page within the image alt tag definitions. This also helps in SEO.
- Have a Robots.txt file updated
Robots.txt file is one of the first files that will be visited while crawling. Make sure that you have an updated Robots.txt file at the website root folder. This will also have instructions on what pages to crawl and what not to crawl. For e.g. , you might have several data archive folders at the website as well, which you would not want the google bots to crawl. You can make this definition in the robots.txt file.
- Optimize your website for mobile platform
If you have used a theme at your website, typically it will have a mobile friendly version as well. If not, you might need to customize the mobile css at the website.
- Longer content will rank better
Studies show that longer content about 900 words or more has better chances of ranking than other content.
- Track your Bounce Rate and Dwell Time
Through your analytics account, do keep a watch on your bounce rate and dwell time. The longer you can keep visitors on the site, the better it is. If they are visiting multiple pages, all the more better. Tricks like similar posts encourage deeper engagement
It is a good idea to have one anyway, adds legitimacy to the website
- Check for 404s and other errors
make sure you check for 404s and other errors. If you are moving from old websites, then ensure that redirects are set for pages that are no longer going to be used.
- Check for malware/ security check
Through your Google Search console, do check for any malware at your website or if there are security warnings that are being flagged. Act on these warnings and make sure that your website stays clear of malware.
Small Business owners may not have the time to take care of all these things for every post, but having knowledge about this 18 point SEO checklist for small business owners will help a lot. Managing SEO is an ongoing effort but is worth the investments.
If you are ranking on the first page of a Google search, imagine the amount of traffic that this can provide to your business.
Atul is Founder & CEO at Xenia Consulting. He has over 22 years of experience in marketing, across corporates as well as SME,start-ups. Over the last 5 years, he has gained significant expertise and has helped several companies drive growth leveraging digital marketing