You’ve just produced a great piece of content and you want EVERYONE to see it. How do you make sure it rises to the top of search rankings?
On-page search engine optimization (SEO) does not have to be complicated. Breaking it down into an actionable checklist can make everyone feel empowered to contribute.
The first step is making sure everyone on your team understands their role in the process:
- Content Creator/Writer: The ultimate keeper of contextual knowledge! While SEO is important, creating relevant and useful content trumps all else. Without them, the page would not exist. SEO is an opportunity to conduct additional research around what end users are looking for and it ultimately helps their creation rise to the top of searches. The higher the ranking, the more eyeballs!
- Developer: The “builder” of it all. Developers often offer another perspective to SEO – especially when it comes to technical matters and errors. Looping them into the conversation is important because they have insight into the site’s back-end and can offer creative solutions like writing scripts that populate dynamic metadata.
- Marketer: The conductor. With algorithms changing and new platforms for measuring success popping up every day, it’s a marketer’s job to be educated and educate others. Understanding how search engines analyze content can ultimately help drive additional traffic and higher engagement.
Once your team understands their roles, use this easy-to-follow checklist to ensure your pages are following up-to-date best practices.
What is the primary purpose and goal of the page?
Is the page replacing a current page? If so, make sure to follow proper redirect or non-follow procedures. (SEO 101: What’s a redirect?)
Do your research on the topic! Use a tool to evaluate which high volume and high value keywords relate to the topic of your page. What kind of language are competitors using to tell a similar story or sell related products? (Some of our favorite tools are SEM Rush, AdWords Keyword Planner and Moz’s Keyword Explorer.)
Determine the top three keywords for the page.
Make your URL search engine-friendly by including the primary keyword in the page’s URL.
If you are using a content management system (CMS), ensure the “SEO Tools” section is activated so your content writer can include the proper information.
Include the primary keyword in your page title. The page title should be between 50-60 characters.
Include your top keywords in the meta description. The meta description should be between 155-160 characters. (Be natural with your language. Keyword stuffing is NOT recommended!)
Include a keyword in the H1 tag. If your H1 tag is an image, create an image alt text tag that includes the primary keyword.
Wrap your subheadings in <H2> tags. <H2> tags help break up content into skimmable sections, giving readers (and search engines) a better grasp of your key themes.
Does the page have at least 400-500 words? This ensures search engines and users have enough content to understand the intent of the page. Drop a keyword in the first 100 words of the page. Latent semantic indexing (LSI) or “semantically related” synonyms can also be used in the body copy to avoid overly repetitive language.
Make sure images should have descriptive file names and appropriate alt text.
Think about your linking strategy. Should the page have internal links that point to relevant information in other sections of your site? What about external sources or supporting information?
Get social! Add social sharing tools to the page to help encourage engagement.
Don’t forget analytics. Make sure you have set up your preferred analytics code and verify it is working properly.
Run an SEO audit to verify response time, check for duplicate content and identify any technical errors. Google Webmaster Tools is a great place to start.
For more information on how to identify SEO opportunities and set a strategic plan, contact us.