Creating Your Basic SEO Checklist Part 1
|November 11, 2012||Posted by D. Dixon under SEO|
Creating an SEO (search engine optimization) checklist is usually the last thing on people’s minds. But if you want to increase blog traffic, it’s the key to keeping your efforts on track
Creating my own little SEO checklist for my sites has become important since I decided to go full steam into blogging and social media. I realized I had to really come around on the “how tos”of getting more internet traffic if I wanted to do things right. After years of hating it then ignoring it, my love-hate relationship with SEO has come full circle.
Thanks to what I call the SEO (r)evolution, search engine optimization now seems more holistic, easier to grasp and not so biased towards the manipulators and tricksters. Getting more blog traffic is doable.
To start off on the right foot, having a basic SEO checklist is a must. Here are a few points to keep mind:
Do your keyword research
If you want your site to be visible, finding the right keywords should be at the top of your SEO checklist. Using the keyword tools like the one from Google is a great way to start. Here’s what you can do to start:
- Start with a broad search of your chosen keyword/phrase
- Using the advanced option to filter for low competition keywords with 1000 or more monthly searches.
- Sort through the ideas and find a small list of about 5-10 related phrases with good traffic
- Once you have that list, enter them in the keyword box and change your search from broad to Exact leaving the filters in place. This gives you an idea of how many people search for those exact phrases
- From that list choose 5 words/phrases that you can use to create your content, click on each them to check which sites are ranking on Google with that exact phrase.
You can choose one of those keywords as your main and keep the others for use in other content. Again, you can use the free Google Adwords or you can invest in Keyword Winner which is an external keyword tool that can help you get the most from your keyword research.
Pay attention to your meta tags
To make sure that your content is seen as relevant by search engines, here are the three tags you need to pay particular attention to:
- Title Tag – The main keyword must be in your page title which needs to be less than 70 characters
- Keyword Tag – While not that important these days as before, it shouldn’t be ignored.
- Description Tag – Short, concise description of your page containing your keywords that’s between 125 and 156 characters.
To keep track of these tags, I use the Yoast SEO plugin not only because it’s free but because the SEO checklist is so easy to follow.
Keep an eye on those links
Having internal and external links helps to tie your site together and create an informal sitemap for users and search engines but the key here is to have relevant links. There are a lot of places where you can buy links guaranteed to help you boost your page rank and get you more traffic…DON’T DO IT! Linking to irrelevant sites just to get on page 1 of search results will get you suspended or worse on Google and it’s not worth it.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the SEO checklist process as we talk about keyword density and social media’s key role!