An SEO checklist to help you enhance your business’s technical, off-page, and on-page SEO

An SEO checklist to help you enhance your business’s technical, off-page, and on-page SEO

June 27, 2024

 

Written by: Ryan Walsh
Date: 26/06/2024

Create a picture: Google logo, on a laptop, and some one working in seo agency on improving the seo

This comprehensive guide can be used as a strategic asset that can help business owners, marketers, and website bloggers to improve their SEO performance.

Search engine giants like Google, part of the Alphabet family, employ many ranking factors (over 200) within their algorithm to determine your business’s position in the search results (SERPs).

Understanding these ranking factors is not just important; it’s crucial, as it can mean the difference between a business being on page 1 of Google or being ranked on page 8!

Therefore, this SEO audit is akin to an MOT tester’s meticulous inspection of your car. It provides a profound understanding of the process and makes you feel more informed and prepared to improve your business’s search engine optimisation.

Therefore, just as an MOT tester evaluates a car’s road-worthy condition, it’s important to check your business’s SEO from time to time and to work through a check-list. This will help you spot areas that could use improvement.

While strategies can be used to elevate your business’s search engine optimisation to new heights, it’s equally important to be mindful of the pitfalls of implementing low-quality SEO. These pitfalls can lead to a decline in your search engine optimisation, causing your business to plummet down Google’s ranks faster than a lead balloon.

Being cautious and attentive to these pitfalls is essential and a critical factor in maintaining your business’s organic SEO performance.

As we all know, we are well into June 2024 at the time of writing. After Google released some hefty updates, we thought we would write a comprehensive article to help your business improve its technical SEO, off-page SEO, and on-page SEO.

 

Indexation

First things first, make sure your website can get indexed by Googlebot.

So, if your website can’t get indexed, it’s like sending a team of salespeople to a brand-new housing estate where no one has moved in yet. You’re not going to make any sales, and you’re going to be banging on doors where no one is home!

Therefore, this is the same as your company website. If you want your business to appear in Google’s results, it needs to be crawled and indexed by Googlebot to appear on Google’s organic results. That’s why we use the analogy: if your website can’t be indexed, it’s like a salesperson knocking on a row of new houses when no one is home.

You could apply, let’s say, 100 hours of quality SEO to improve the company’s onsite SEO, which will never materialise into any organic visitors visiting the website unless Googlebot can index the website.

So, first things first, the first step is ensuring your website can get indexed. We use Google Search Console for this. We set up each business so that they have their own Google Search Console account.

Then, we submit the homepage for indexation. It can take a few days for Googlebot to crawl and index that entire website, yet after that period, you will start to get organic SEO data.

So, getting your website indexed is as simple as setting up a Google Search Console and submitting it for crawling and indexing.

 

How to set up a Google Search Console account:

Google Search Console, or GSC for short, is a free SEO tool that’s offered by Google https://search.google.com/search-console offers.
What is Google Search Console (GSC)?

Google Search Console (GSC) is a free tool that may initially seem confusing if you’re unfamiliar with SEO tools and how to use them. Yet, when you start using it regularly, you will find its an absolute piece of cake to use, and many businesses will rely on GSC for information on how their businesses organic SEO is improving.

Many business owners use this tool daily to track where their business ranks in Google’s organic results.

This tool gives you valuable information such as the number of clicks the website is getting, where your website’s ranking for particular keywords, and the backlinks leading to your website. The list of links that your website has can also be put into an Excel spreadsheet.
Google Search Console is suitable for all businesses, from small companies through to large businesses. Because Google offers this tool free of charge, we recommend obtaining a Google Search Console account for your business.

 

What does your SEO agency use Google Search Console for?

Keywords

You can use your Google Search Console account to see which keywords the business ranks for in Google’s SERPs.
For example, a construction company will appear for hundreds of variants of descriptions of its services.
These can be as wide-ranging as loft conversions right through to, let’s say, building garden decking.

 

Indexation and asking Googlebot to crawl and index a page

Google Search Console can help speed up the indexation of pages or new blog posts.
When you submit a new article or blog post, it can take a while for Googlebot to find the newly published work.

Therefore, you can help Google’s algorithm index that page by telling Google in your GSC account that you added a new page or made edits to it and now want the page re-crawled.

This page can then get indexed and crawled much faster, rather than waiting for the Google bot to discover it, which could take several weeks if you didn’t submit the page for indexing manually.

 

Can help to flag some technical site errors

You may get a technical site error, such as an indexation problem, appearing in your Google Search Console account. Therefore, this might flag the website owner to many 404 pages that recently appeared so that you can resolve this issue with your web designers/SEO consultants.

 

Next to set up a Google Analytics Account

Next, we recommend setting up a Google Analytics account. This is simple and only takes a few minutes. Again, having this account is crucial if you want to improve your organic or local SEO.

Your Google Analytics account can allow you to see how many organic visitors your website has received and how many shoppers are on your website at any time.

 

You can use Google Analytics to measure the following:

-Websites bounce rate
– Number of organic visitors
– How long average shopper is spending on your company’s website

For example, you launch a brand-new product and heavily promote it on social media. You might want to monitor in real-time the number of shoppers on your website and the number of sales made; this is possible through a Google Analytics account.

Why we believe your business should have a Google Analytics account set up

 

How are our visitors coming to your website?

– Via organic SEO?
– Direct to your company website?
– Via Google AdWords?
– Via social media?

A Google Analytics account lets you see how shoppers find your businesses. For example, are those shoppers coming to your website directly via organic SEO or Google Adwords? Are they coming via social media?

This, therefore, can be useful to a business as it can help them appreciate where customers are coming from.

 

What does your SEO company use Google Analytics for?

– See how many organic visitors the website is receiving
– What the bounce rate is for each page
– How long the average shopper is spending on the website

 

Why is it essential to monitor bounce rates and time-on-site using Google Analytics?

We always use this example: imagine you have a shop; let’s say it’s all on a well-known high street in a famous city within the United Kingdom.

Now, if shoppers are not spending very long in the shop, for example, leaving within just a few seconds, you, as the business owners, will be curious why this is occurring.

  • Is it because you have the wrong stock in the shop?
  • Is it because the prices are just too high?
  • Is it because there is too long a wait for the changing rooms?

These are questions businesses will have to ask; otherwise, the company will suffer and eventually go bust unless it fixes its problems.

This is similar to an online business, such as an e-commerce website, where the bounce rate is very high, and shoppers spend just a few seconds on the website before leaving the company’s website.

If a high bounce rate is sustained for a significant length of time, the business’s organic SEO could suffer, as it will move down Google’s ranks instead of up.

It could be relatively straightforward to fix, such as the main menu being complicated to use and, therefore, needing to be redesigned, which could decrease the bounce rate. But it could be something more complex, such as the whole design of the e-commerce website beingn’t that simple to use, so it could be challenging to sort products by whether they are in stock, for example.

Therefore, sometimes, new functionality, such as telling whether items of stock are currently available or not, could be the answer to decreasing a website’s bounce rate.

Decreasing a business’s bounce rate often requires a highly experienced SEO consultant to cast their eyes over the sight and look for ways they can improve the site. Usually, an SEO report will only take you so far. Usually, it needs a marketing agency to put itself in the customer’s shoes and improve the website design and SEO.

 

What is a Robots.txt file?

A robots.txt is simply a plain text document that tells the bots, such as Googlebot, what you want on your website to get indexed and what not to index. Therefore, you can help preserve your crawl budget if you tell Googlebot precisely what you want to be indexed and what you don’t want to be indexed.

For example, you don’t want Googlebot regularly crawling and indexing the WordPress login page because your customers will not want to use that page.

Therefore, you can use robots.txt, which prevents you from indexing pages which are not helpful to the customer.

 

You must check if any Google Manual Actions are applied to the website.

You may have heard of “Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines, ” which are frequently mentioned on many SEO blogs.
That’s for a good reason; Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines stipulate how Google (Alphabet) wants a business to implement SEO.

Now, on the other side of the coin, businesses will always want to flout the rules, cut corners, and try to fool Google’s algorithms; however, as a highly experienced SEO agency, we would state that there is absolutely no way today to cheat Google’s algorithms, and we would never recommend doing so. Instead, only use the very best white hat search engine optimisation methods.

Google’s algorithms are now so complex, sophisticated, and brilliant that they can detect spam SEO methods from a mile away; therefore, if an SEO agency doesn’t follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, then shortly, the business will receive a manual action or an algorithmic Google penalty could be applied directly to that website.

 

Investing time and energy into creating high-quality blog posts and content marketing is essential.

Writing rather long articles or evergreen content marketing can take up a lot of time and effort. Often, a lot of research needs to go into each article, not to mention proofreading and adding SEO elements such as internal links.

 

Can you do a better job?

When improving your on-page SEO in 2024, you must contemplate factors such as alt text, title tags, and internal links and write high-quality content marketing.

But let’s talk about the actual marketing content, the text, for example. You must decipher whether you can write and publish better content marketing than your direct competitors.

Google’s algorithms want to offer the best possible answer to any query. Whether that’s how to change the oil for a particular car or how to remove a red wine stain from your favourite shirt, quite simply put, if you’re able to answer that question better than your direct competitors, you are more likely to rank higher than your competitors.

Your competitors, therefore, set the standard of SEO to beat, and then that SEO standard needs to be exceeded if you would like your business to rank higher on Google.

If you start writing high-quality, better-quality blog posts regularly, Google algorithms will pick this up on this SEO work. Over time, if the SEO work is high quality, your business will rank higher in organic SERPs because you will be seen as offering helpful and high-quality information.

 

Improve, refine and make better.

It would be best to consider your content marketing as live work. Many SEO companies who wrote a blog post in 2018 may have kept it the same throughout the years and not changed the article.

However, it would be much better if you updated that work from time to time, making it better, improving it, and updating the information.

For example, you might write an article offering relevant advice in 2018. You could then go back to that article and refine it, improve it, and make it better. This means that you are offering up-to-date information to your customers, and therefore, they are likely to find this information more helpful.

If somebody wants to find an answer to a question, such as employment law, reading an article written over ten years ago might not offer relevant information today. This is why content marketing should always be considered live and updated regularly.

 

Do add page titles

Take the time to write your page titles carefully. These can indicate precisely which product or service that page sells to Google’s algorithms. If the title is too long, what’s been sold on that page might not be clear.

 

Write a well-worded meta description for each page/blog post.

A well-written meta description can help to improve your business’s CTR; for those who don’t know what CTR means, it simply stands for “click-through rate”. Even when a marketing agency has worked tirelessly to get a business onto the first page of Google.co.uk, you’re still competing with well over ten firms to get the shopper’s attention and to click on your business.

So, even when a business ranks fourth in Google’s organic results, it still needs a well-written meta title and meta description to grab the shopper’s interest. Your business’s USP could be a USP, such as providing next-day delivery on shoes. This could be written into the meta description, and it can improve the company’s CTR.

 

Optimise your business alt text.

Optimising your business’s alt text is essential. It only takes a relatively short time, but it can bring about SEO benefits.
Googlebot will crawl and index the alt text, informing Google’s algorithms which product is being sold on that page. For example, if your business sells electronic kitchen blenders, and that’s what’s in the picture, label it as such and include the brand-name model, such as “Kenwood Kitchen Blender.”

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS)

Ensure your web designers ensure your website is using Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS).

 

Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals and Why it’s Important to Have a Fast Website
People who know little about SEO and web design might choose a hosting company based on the monthly price alone—for example, a company that offers low-cost hosting.

However, this is not a good way of selecting a website hosting company. Instead, you want super-fast hosting. This can cost considerably more, but how fast your company website is is a major ranking factor.

Google’s algorithms, therefore, want to see that your company website loads quickly. One way your business can achieve this is by purchasing fast website hosting.

 

Here’s why hosting can significantly impact a business’s SEO.

U.X

User experience

If your business offers a fast website, whether that’s a brochure website or an e-commerce website, it will provide a better user experience, therefore positively impacting your business’s organic SEO.

 

Bounce rates
Many of us will have been in a shop to purchase something, and you see people, in frustration, place the items they wanted to buy down on, say, the shelf and leave the shop, and that’s because they have been queuing too long.

This can be the same when a shopper has to wait long for a page or blog post to load on a company’s website. They may leave the website because it is too slow, increasing the bounce rate.

You will want a low bounce rate—this is important if you want to improve your business’s organic SEO.
One primary way a business achieves this is by ensuring that your website is supersonic fast. This is important for websites, whether they’re brochures or e-commerce websites.

 

Therefore, why is it essential to have fast website hosting?

Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

Why must a company website be responsive and work on smartphones/tablets?

We recommend using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see if your company website works on smartphones and tablets. This tool can offer recommendations on how to improve the design of your company website’s mobile version.

Do take the time to add structured data (Schema mark-up) to your website

Googlebot will want to crawl and index your business’s NAP information, such as your company’s name, address, and phone number (NAP).

Yet, unless you use Schema markup, a form of structured language, search engines may struggle to locate your business’s NAP information.

Yet Schema markup makes it straightforward for search engines to see that the text is your company’s NAP information.

Quality backlinks

Last but most definitely not least are links.

Many SEO consultants still regard backlinks as one of the most important ranking factors, and Google’s algorithms agree.

This is why any business should regularly check the quality of its links.

Your backlinks need to be the following.
– Very high-quality and built using only white hat methods of SEO
– Need to be relevant backlinks; so, for example, if you’re a solicitor, the links need to come from websites to do with offering legal advice
– The anchor text must be written in a white hat way
– You need the link velocity to be slow, so don’t build a mass of links all in one go
– You need links coming from many different businesses
– Again, all the links must be very high quality

Call us for further help and advice.

If your business needs help to improve its local or national SEO, call our company today.

 

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