Search Engine Optimization or SEO is an extensive domain where it often gets overwhelming, and you can get caught up in details or stuck in the technical jargon. The specifics matter when it comes to SEO; however, a great approach to SEO would be to have a comprehensive strategy in your arsenal to keep you on track.
Whether you own a small business or just setting up your new startup online, you will find that an SEO program reckons a complete list of elements and ongoing updates that helps in developing your website and overall marketing. If you are looking for an end-to-end approach to your SEO and want to learn some tips to improve your website’s ranking on Google and engage more traffic on your site, here is a checklist comprising of 7 best practices to ensure SEO success:
Configure Essential Search Engine Tools
One of the most effective tools for increasing traffic and online visibility of your website is Google Search Console which provides you with an ocean of data where you can fish out invaluable insights into your website’s performance and see how the ongoing digital marketing strategies are functioning. Apart from Google Search Console, you can also avail the wealth of essential data offered by Bing Webmaster Tools for browsing data and important insights.
With the help of these tools, you can identify the phrases and keywords searched by the users on the Search Engine Result Pages or SERPs that drive them to your site, find crawl errors, submit sitemaps and much more.
Capitalize on Google Analytics
You cannot expect your SEO programs to materialize if you do not possess the actual data at your disposal. With the correct data based on your niche and competitors, you can understand all the important nooks and crannies that will help you develop your SEO. One such data-oriented free analytics tool is Google Analytics. It lets you view data and get insights into the number of visitors on your site in a given timeframe, how they are engaging and who they are. Another great method of achieving comprehensive data is to pair Google Analytics with Google Search Console, which will allow you to import data from the latter.
Set-Up & Optimize an SEO Plugin
If you have chosen WordPress as your CMS, you can set up and optimize an SEO plugin to gear up with features and utilities that will help you further refine your website. In case you are using any other CMS apart from WordPress, you can get in touch with our Mellow professional, who can guide you with an efficient module or dedicated SEO plugin and proper optimization of your website.
Create & Submit a Sitemap
Search engines use the sitemap to decide which pages they should crawl and what the canonical versions of each site are. These are simply a compiled list of URLs that contain the blueprint of your website’s primary content, which will be crawled and indexed.
Google approves a set of sitemap formats, although XML remains the most common. You can access your site’s sitemap at https://www.domain.com/sitemap.xml. If you are using WordPress along with a dedicated SEO plugin, you will learn that creating a sitemap is specific functionality. Regardless, you can avail any sitemap generators online and generate an XML sitemap. Once you have your sitemap created, the next step is to submit it to Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Search Console.
Generate a Robots.txt File
Generally speaking, search engine crawlers are informed of the pages and files by the robot.txt file on your site that web crawlers are often unable to request from your website. Mostly, this is used to restrict specific elements of your website from being crawled and is not meant to be used as a tool to get a certain page de-indexed or prevent Google from showing it. Check if you have a robot.txt file on your site, as you can find them at https://www.domain.com/robots.txt.
In case your site is missing a robot.txt file, you need to generate one. You can use various WordPress SEO plugins to create and edit a robot.txt file.
Monitor Search Console for Manual Actions
In rare scenarios, you might experience that your website has been negatively impacted after a manual action was set in motion. Manual actions are commonly formed due to manipulation or violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, which comprise structured data issues, user-generated spam, hidden text, unnatural links, thin content, etc.
Even though most websites remain unaffected by a manual action, it is important to monitor these in Google Search Console’s “Manual Actions” tab.
Check Whether Google Can Actually Index Your Site
An integral part of your SEO strategy should be making sure that your website is actually getting indexed by Google. As a matter of fact, you will be surprised to know how often websites get de-indexed due to no-index tags left out accidentally by developers while transmitting codes to a live environment from a staging one. Hence, to avoid such catastrophic scenarios, it is critically important to set up a Site Audit Tool for your project, and once you run the audit, you can check the Crawlability reports easily.
Hopefully, the abovementioned tips can get you started with improving your site’s SEO optimization. You can share this checklist with beginners who want to learn the basics of SEO marketing or with colleagues and professionals who want to outrank their competitors in their respective niches. For more such informative tips, keep an eye on our Mellow Blogs as we constantly work on improving your SEO campaign.