While launching a new website, a lot of things need consideration. In order to improve the ranking in search engines, on page optimization plan should be well laid out. To optimize the website in order increase the website traffic, proper SEO guidelines are needed to be followed to get the best results out of the time and efforts invested.
We are providing over 40 things which should be in your SEO checklist for the year 2016. Whether you are starting off with a brand new website or optimizing your current website, this checklist will act as a blueprint.
Before moving on to the checklist directly, it would be better to look at the top 3 considerations for planning out the SEO strategy in 2016:
- Mobile is the new King
With smartphones getting lot of attention nowadays, going mobile should be considered as a priority. Mobile searches are ahead of desktop searches. This makes it mandatory to design the website emphasizing more on mobile than desktops. No, not mobile friendly, your website should be fully responsive across devices.
- Content and Social Media go hand-in-hand
Plan your content strategy and social media simultaneously. As search engines are ranking social media pages in top results, the time will come when your social media content and website content would not be different anymore. Yes, keywords used in social media posts would be used to rank them in search engines, just like the websites.
- Interactive videos are IN
Including interactive media like creative videos should be on your mind while devising a marketing strategy. Besides normal textual content, creative videos are getting more traction from the users. It doesn’t matter whether its B2B or B2C.
Now that we have seen the trends, let’s look into the SEO Checklist for 2016.
SEO Checklist for the year 2016
The first thing to be kept in mind is that on-page optimization comes with diminishing returns. What this means is that if you are fixing the easy things at an early stage, then it will be significantly beneficial. On the contrary, if you delve into more complex and hard things, it will not be that much of use.
The problem lies in the fact that most of you would start checking your SEO efforts by tallying every single thing. At the end, you will get frustrated with the fact that you missed out one or two of them every time. This leads to the belief that your site ranking is stuck in a low rank loop.
You can’t handle each and every thing on your own. To keep yourself away from this frustration, do as much as you can. For the rest of them, feel free to seek professional help.
Alright, without much delay, we will be sharing the SEO checklist for 2016. If you have cracked all of them, great! If some are missing in your case, that’s okay too! It is possible that some of these might not fit your situation.
- Google Analytics
It is very much essential to set up Google Analytics and add a tracking code to your website. Remember, it is very important to set it up to measure website traffic and several other metrics. Google Analytics also has some alternatives like Clicky, Kissmetrics etc.
- Google Webmaster Tools
Setting up your Google Webmaster tools will help you in sorting out important things like search queries, crawl errors, security issues and more. You would be able to keep a tab on your site’s ranking n the search engines based on specific search queries.
- Bing Webmaster Tools
Like Google Webmaster tools, Bing Webmaster tools will give the information about your site’s performance on Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
Having a Sitemap enables you to submit all the pages of your site to Google for indexing at once, Make sure you have an XML sitemap ready to be submitted to the search engines.
- Robots.txt file
Robots.txt file is used to tell the search engines which pages it does not need to crawl. It is useful to save the search engine’s precious bandwidth while crawling the website. It also helps search engines in indexing only the relevant pages and avoiding duplicate or irrelevant ones.
- WordPress SEO Plugins
If the site is based on WordPress, SEO plugins by Yoast or All in one SEO pack should be installed in order to boost the SEO efforts to full potential.
- Analyze and fix errors
Check for the 404/500 errors in Google Webmaster Tools and eliminate them from your website. Also, duplicate content, missing titles and several other technical errors detected by Google should be checked and fixed from time to time.
- Website Audit
Before beginning to optimize your existing website, make sure to run it through the Hubspot’s marketing grader. It will help in assessing the current position of the website. The results can be used in proper optimization of the website.
This will give you a snapshot of your SEO lead generation efforts. Following metrics would be important to you:
- Total unique visitors
- Visitor-to-lead conversion rate (in %)
- Lead-to-Customer Conversion rate (in %)
You might be thinking about how this information is useful in implementing the SEO in your website. This information will tell you whether your SEO efforts are benefiting your business or not. It is recommended to keep a track of these metrics on monthly basis and improvise the SEO strategy as needed.
- Finding Keywords
As the above steps are done to benchmark your current site and SEO strategy, it’s time to check out the keywords and how they are spread out on your website pages. Use Google keyword Planner to search for relevant keywords. Make sure to pick one keyword per page and start with low volume keywords first.
It is recommended to use your primary keyword (or something near to it) into the website’s page URL.
- Link Building
It is beneficial to review your competitors link profiles to get started with link building. The anchor text used by them and the source from which they are getting their links can also be determined using this technique.
Stay tuned for the next part which will deal with more tips to optimize your site and improve the web traffic.