An important aspect of implementing SEO is to make the website easy for the users as well as for the search engine bots to understand. Although Search Engine Optimization algorithms have evolved a lot, SEO experts might still feel difficult to know where to begin the SEO essentials.
Search Engine Optimization isn’t a big thing, but then it involves a huge amount of time and effort. If you want to see visible results and to make SEO successful, you must know to prioritize the SEO tasks effectively. To simplify, SEO is all about performing some specific tasks in a repeated sequence over a period of time.
Though it may seem easy, prioritizing SEO tasks is the most common thing that brands usually mess up with. Even if a single task goes out of order, then the brands must spend a lot of time and effort to get back in track and meet up their goals.
Therefore, what can be done for betterment? Creating a checklist! …
SEO Checklist for Better Ranking
Unlike other ad campaigns, SEO campaigns cannot be turned on and off as you like. SEO tasks must be monitored, maintained, and updated periodically for better ranking of your website.
Here is the SEO Checklist: 7 to-do tasks that must be performed on a daily basis:
- Monitor Google Analytics
- Monitor Search Console
- Error Monitoring - Issues and Bugs
- Optimize Your Website Content
- Spy Your Competitors
- Monitor Page Speed & Page Loading Time
- Check Site Compatibility
Google Analytics is a free analytics service that is offered by Google. It gives you a clear insight on how users find and use your website. This analytics tool helps you track the RoI (Return on Investment) of your online marketing strategy.
The analytics tool tracks and reports your website traffic and generates detailed statistics about each and every activity in the website. It provides you with a comprehensive picture of your target audience and their needs.
Here is a list of tasks that must be monitored regularly using Google Analytics:
If there is any dip in the visitors’ count or in the sessions recorded, then start monitoring the user behavior. This can be done based on the devices they use, geographical locations, and the landing page.
What are the Benefits of Using Google Search Console?
The key purpose of this Google Search Console (webmaster tool) is to find out the errors in your website. You must find out the errors in your site even before your users do, and for this, you must monitor your website. That’s exactly where Search Console
is going to help.
The simplest way to see your website through a crawler’s eyes is the Search Console. The search console provides you direct insights about your website from Google, as to how the search engine sees your site.
You can check for the broken links, identify errors, check for website indexing, etc. Below are some of the key features that highlight the benefits of using the Search Console:
- Structured Data - The search engine collects and displays nearly 10k pages and these pages contain structured data in the Search Console. Here you can find graphs, subsequent errors, and download the error report as well.
- HTML Improvements - The errors that are identified during the crawls of the website are gathered and displayed by Google. Here, the common errors are identified and flagged and this includes duplicate titles, missing title tags, and non-indexable content.
- Internal Links - You can look for web pages with the greatest number of links to them from the pages within your website through the Internal Links report.
- Search Analytics - This report delivers the overall insights on how your website is performing with regards to organic search engine traffic from Google. It is one of the most essential reports generated by Google Search Console.
- Keyword Identification - One must have the ability to identify the other keywords apart from your targeted keywords that the visitors use in order to locate your website. During the initial campaigns, it might be hard to find out the keywords. As time passes, you will be able to build a list of keywords based on Google suggestions.
If you still find errors and need improvements in the website, check with your technical team and fix it at the earliest.
3. Error Monitoring – Issues and Bugs
Crawl Errors occur when the search engine fails to reach a particular page on a website. To simplify, crawling is a process where a search engine bot visits each and every page of a website. The role of the search engine bot is to find links to your website from other websites and vice versa. These web-pages are then indexed for use in Google.
How to Identify Issues and Bugs?
Are all the pages on your website indexed? Then, it means that everything on your website is set up right and there are no issues. But what if there are some issues on the web pages?
You can make use of the Index Coverage Report to find out the list of issues and bugs that prevent the web page from being indexed. It also includes the list of web pages that have been already indexed.
The Index Coverage Report consists of 4 tabs, namely:
- Error – These are the pages with “error” status that have not been indexed
- Valid with warnings – Pages with “valid with warning” status might necessitate your attention; based on the specific result (i.e., indexed or non-indexed)
- Valid – Pages with “valid” status have been indexed
- Excluded – Pages with “excluded” status are not indexed
You can also use this report to fix the “warnings” - this tab consists of the list of warnings that might block your web page from getting indexed.
Tasks to be Performed in Error Monitoring
Check and monitor for the following list of errors and issues with the help of Google Search Console:
- Broken links – A link that no longer works due to reasons such as invalid URL, removal of landing page, etc.
- Crawl Error – Issues or errors that are encountered by the search engines as and when they try to access a page
- 404 Error – This error appears when the server fails to reach a particular webpage
- Mobile Usability Issues – List of pages with usability issues when viewed through a mobile device
- Duplicate Title/Meta Tags – Pages with the same title/meta tags as that of at least one other indexed page
- Short Title Tags – Pages with title tags less than 30 characters
- Missing Title/Meta Tags – Pages with no title tags
- Duplicate Content – Content that appears more than once in the website
- Indexing Issues – URLs that are submitted through the sitemap are not indexed
- Bad Redirects – Page redirects are kept to irrelevant pages
- Insecure pages – Pages that are not configured with https are insecure
Make use of the Google Search Console to monitor various errors that stop your web page from being indexed. Other than Google Search Console, you can also use the following SEO tools to handle the errors and issues:
Using HTTPS to Address SEO Issue Implementing the correct HTTPS setup would help you avoid several SEO issues. Following are the best SEO practices:
- Make sure that the HTTPS version of your website is configured in the Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools
- Make sure that all your internal links point to the HTTPS version of your website
- Make sure that all your XML Sitemaps includes the HTTPS version URL
- Make sure that all the canonical tags point to the HTTPS version URL
- And finally, make sure that all the external links point to the HTTPS version URL
This shall resolve various issues and bugs that stop your web pages from being indexed. In case of major issues, escalate to the technical team and try to fix it as soon as possible. Because users, as well as, Google look for error-free websites.
Remember, Google likes to crawl search-friendly as well as error-free websites!
4. Optimize Your Website Content
Content plays a prominent role in making a brand successful. Behind every successful brand is a wealth of valuable information that really connects well with the audience. You may wonder how content impacts the positioning of a website in search engine results?
A content that is promising and engaging will always top high in the search engine results. Also, make sure that the content is simple and precise.
Maximize keyword spread in your content for better search engine visibility of your website. The lexical terms play a prominent role in increasing the ranking of your website in the search engine results. Also, optimizing the relevant keywords on your website would help your site to rank for Google voice search queries.
Google’s algorithms are constantly evolving, and their main focus is to deliver useful and relevant results within a fraction of second to its users. The “useful and relevant” content that Google delivers is usually pieces of content that are present across the web.
Another key aspect to be considered while creating content is Google’s RankBrain, an artificial intelligence system that analyses search queries. It is the 3rd highest signal that is contributing to the search results.
The key purpose of the RankBrain is to help Google analyze and provide relevant results to the users’ long, ambiguous, and highly complex search terms. These search terms include new words, complex jargon, or different queries that search engine has never encountered.
Things to be Remembered Before You Develop a Great Content!
There are several things to be considered while creating content for your website. Here is the list of things to be remembered to optimize your website content effectively:
Therefore, it is important to provide more valuable and useful content than other sites. Make sure the content is updated periodically to make it more engaging. Make use of RankBrain to generate more new keywords and use those keywords to improve your search engine rankings.
- Create content for your target audience
- Avoid the usage of complex jargon
- Use lexical terms and relevant keywords
- Go for long-form contents - in the form of blogs and articles
- Make use of references from relevant websites, white papers, and case studies
- Is your content relevant and trustworthy?
- Does the content sound unique and natural?
- Is your website content up-to-date?
Remember users love simple and authoritative content. Even Google likes to crawl unique content!
5. Eyeing on the Competitors
There is a famous saying “Keep your friends close; keep your enemies closer”. Similarly, it doesn’t matter in which industry you’re in, it’s better to have a close watch on your business competitors.
If you’re into a business, it is important that you start eyeing your rivalries - if not all, at least the major ones. This would help you beat the competition, secure better ranking, and gain more audience.
Start observing your competitors right away - the services they offer, how they market their products, the way they use the Internet to market their products, and much more.
Below is a list of things that you must observe closely about your competitors:
- Check for general aspects such as:
- Is there any new product launch?
- Is there any price change - spike/dip in product price?
- Have they introduced any new feature or specification to an existing product?
- From the SEO point of view:
- Is any new keyword performing well?
- Check for SERP changes - are they positioning above us?
- Have they revamped their website? (make it clear)
- Is the competitor's brand name mentioned somewhere?
- Check for your competitor’s backlinks
- Check for quality sites that link to their website
Living in a competitive world, it’s important that you eye your competitors, and analyze their strengths and weaknesses to gain better insights. You can even gather multiple sets of data from various sources to get a wider picture of your competitor. But how? There are several tools out there in the market through which you can gather data easily. It would be one of the best things that you can do for yourself and your business. One good thing about these competitor analysis tools is that most of them come with a free trial version. Many tools that offer trial version include all the features that are present in the upgraded version. You can make a test run before you go for the final purchase of the tool. Before you make the final purchase, it is important that you check with a number of tools and find which tool suits your needs. Based on the data generated, you can compete with your competitors better and rank high.
Remember you must always stay ahead of your competitors!
6. Monitor Page Speed & Page Loading Time
Page Speed – Defined
Page Speed explains how optimized your web page is, and this is measured in terms of Page Speed score. This scoring is given in scale rating from 1 to 100. Having a website score of 100 means that the website is perfectly optimized.
Back then, Google announced that page speed would impact the ranking of your website in search engine results. Google has indicated page speed as one of the main factors used for ranking the pages.
Slower page speed would create a negative impact on the indexation. Page speed is directly related to the user experience. Bad user experience could result in a loss of revenue.
Pages with longer load time tend to have higher bounce rates and would impact your conversions as well.
Below are some of the factors based on which the page speed is determined:
- Field Data
- Lab Data
- First Contentful Paint
- First Meaningful Paint
- Speed Index
- First CPU Idle
- Time to Interactive
- Estimated Input Latency
Ways to Increase Your Page Speed
Here are some of the idle ways to increase page speed:
- Enable compression - to reduce the size of the files
- Reduce page redirects
- Maintain and enhance server response time
- Optimize images and all other graphics
Following is the list of tasks that must be performed regularly to monitor page speed:
- Compare and monitor the page speed on a daily basis
- Check whether the ranking score for the top-landing pages is above 80
- Make sure that each page loads within 3 seconds
To put it simple, an average web page speed should have a score of 80 and above - this means your website is optimized well. You can check your web page’s speed through various online tools. One among them is Google's PageSpeed Insights - through which you can check the speed of a web page. Thus, it is important to have a good website speed, as it is an important factor to enhance user experience. Having a high page speed would result in better webpage ranking.
Page Loading Time – Defined
Page Load Time is the actual time taken for a web page to download and display its entire content. In other words, it refers to the web performance metric that is directly related to the bottom line of business. The web page should load within a time span of 3-5 seconds and must be compatible with all devices including PCs, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and other devices.
Tips to Reduce Page Load Time
Here are some tips to reduce the page load time:
Though the page loading time isn’t a major contributor to your web page rankings, it still contributes to your conversion or bounce rates. Thus, it is important to decrease your page load time to increase your conversion rate.
- Avoid using Inline Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
- Avoid using IFrames
- Reduce or eliminate the use of third-party plugins
Remember visitors always look for fast loading web pages. Even Google loves it!
7. Check Website Compatibility
It is not only important to have a website for your business, but also to have a website that could be found through Google. When you think about SEO, it’s not only about content; it includes optimization of a website as well. Your website should be compatible with all devices, browsers, broadband network connections, and most importantly, with all screen resolutions.
Adaptive Designs When designing a website, ensure that your web pages appear correctly and fit across all the screens and devices of varying sizes. For this, you must define the relative width of a page while designing it.
You can also define the resolution of a web page by defining the minimum or maximum width property. However, remember that Internet Explorer does not support the minimum width value. Giving the maximum width value alone may result in the distortion of the web page.
Remember your website content should serve across all devices and resolutions!
Do you think the list ends here? Nope, not at all. There are still a lot more things to perform in SEO on a regular basis, but these 7 tasks top the list. The above tips and tasks would help you to steadily enhance your search engine rankings. Though it may seem to be a tedious process during the initial stages, doing these tasks regularly would reap you appreciable results.
Indeed, what people look for, is what Google wants!!!
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