I Made This SEO Checklist and It Worked

Think of the internet as a dusty, old record shop

When you need to buy something you probably hit up ol’ Google and search for what you need. Right? And chances are whatever it is you’re looking for is right there on the first page of results. Have you ever wondered how things appear on the first page? If so, then keep reading. If not, then please carry on with your internet journey.

Great, you’re still here! Let’s continue. In order to rank on the first page of Google, you need a badass SEO strategy. What is SEO you ask? SEO stands for search engine optimization and it should be every company’s gluten-free bread and butter.

A great SEO strategy, when implemented, can have amazing results for your website. Think about it, if you have a flower shop in Burbank, California but your website isn’t optimized whatsoever how are people supposed to find you? The internet is not like driving around the neighborhood. They won’t randomly google an URL and buy some flowers. You need to be on the first page when David from Spin Class decides to send his wife some flowers for her big job promotion. David doesn’t have time to drive around to find a flower shop. He wants to type “flowers Burbank” into Google and see some shops near him. Bonus points if they deliver.

If you’re the flower shop and you SEO the heck out of your website you will be right there for David to see and you’ll have some business on your hands. But if you don’t SEO your website you will not get David’s business. Instead, he’ll have to go 1–800-SUPER-AMAZING-REAL-LIFE-FLOWERS to get his wife’s bouquet.

This is what I picture David to look like.

So how do you “SEO” your website you ask? Well if you peruse through the internet you’ll find thousands if not millions of websites claiming to have the “Ultimate SEO Guide” and “5 steps to SEO Wizardry” or something like that. But I’m here to share what has worked for me.

First, before we start go make sure you have Google Analytics implemented right now. Second, after that go make sure you’ve added your website to Google Search Console. Great? Let’s proceed.

Page Titles are Cool

How are people supposed to know what your website is about if your page is titled Betty’s Tacos — Home Page? I mean I suppose they could deduct that you sell tacos but that’s about it. You need to include your targeted keywords in your title tag.

Instead, try:
Betty’s Tacos —Fresh, Catered Authentic Mexican Tacos Serving The San Diego Area

Bam! Right there you know what Betty does. That title alone would probably appear in Google if you searched “catered tacos San Diego.”

Meta Descriptions are So Fetch

Yep, I am really trying to make fetch happen. Another thing I want to make happen is meta descriptions on your pages. The meta description is the short paragraph of text placed before the body tag of a webpage that describes the page’s content. Meta descriptions are those little summaries you see under a url in a Google search. More or less they tell you what the page is about. They will also appear anywhere your link is shared such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.

A good meta description is between 130–160 characters. It should include a call-to-action and it should match the content on the page. DO NOT repeat meta descriptions across your website. You will get dinged and Google will find you and put your website in a little box in a tower where even Shrek won’t find you.

Shrek and Donkey, two stalwart friends, off on a whirlwind big-city adventure.

Your meta description should include the keywords you want to target and it should be unique. Include an action in the description, such as get a demo or learn more. Do not just copy and paste a sentence from the page’s content. That’s just lazy.

So instead of :

Dairy Farmer’s Cupcakes — Pricing and Delivery
Pricing and delivery for our cupcakes.

Try something stronger:

Dairy Farmer’s Cupcakes — Pricing and Delivery
Dairy Farmer’s cupcakes are available for delivery across the entire Boston, Massachusetts area. We offer customized pricing per dozen or per cupcake. Learn more.

Here are more examples of some amazing meta descriptions.

Include Keywords In Your Content (Please)

It should go without saying but you should absolutely include your keywords within your content. Imagine your website as a pizza and your content is the cheese and tomato sauce of your website. It is extremely important that your content is one-of-a-kind and relevant. Your content is what holds it all together and it should include natural instances of the keywords you want to target.

If your keywords are “software testing” please do not write something like this:

We offer software testing. We test any and all software. We can program and test software for your business. Our team can test any software you design. We are available for software testing right now. Book a meeting so we can talk about software testing.

We get it. You test software. But you just keyword stuffed the heck out of your page and Google will see it.

Do not write keyword stuffed content.

Once you’ve written some really great content, don’t repeat the content throughout the site. When you’re announcing a new product or feature make sure each written instance is unique. You should have uniquely written content for each blog, press release, review, etc. If you have the same content repeating over multiple pages you will get dinged by Google and suffer the consequences of no search visibility.

Link Juicin’

Doesn’t it sound like an energy drink? Link juice.

Link juice is one of the best SEO slang terms we have been blessed with. It ultimately refers to the act of adding backlinks within your content to other relative and reputable websites. It gives your content a vote of confidence and makes you seem as reputable as those you linked to. Link juice helps with domain authority and can improve search presence.

If you were a content writer for Lyft’s blog you would not link content from someone’s Tumblr page. Nope nope nope.

Not a reputable source for content. Sorry?

Link juice works best when:

  • Backlinks are relative content to your website and audience.
  • Those linked pages have a high PageRank.
  • The linked page is indexable by search engines.

Link juice fails when:

  • The content you link isn’t relevant to your site or audience.
  • You trade links for money. DON’T DO THIS.
  • You linked to a site that has low domain authority.

Remember search engines see backlinks as votes by the other websites that your page is valuable and worth ranking. It isn’t the number of sites you have linking to you or vice versa that helps. It is the reputation and quality of those links that help you.

Remember quality over quantity when it comes to link juice.

Other Things To Remember

Use Tools

All of this is helpful in aiding your SEO initiative but you need to use tools to monitor your efforts. Otherwise, how do you know this worked?

I’ve personally had successful experiences with SEMRush and Moz. I also love SEOquake in tandem with SEMRush.

SEOquake Chrome Extension in the wild

Here are more tools that are worth checking out –

Check for broken links:
Check My Links Chrome Extension, LinkMiner Chrome Extension

Word counters:
Word Count Tool, Word Count Chrome Extension

Google Analytics:
Page Analytics Chrome Extension

Miscellaneous:
Marie Haynes’ Disavow Blacklist

Quick Url Opener

There’s more but I didn’t want to type all of them out.

Like I said earlier, this is what has worked for me in the past. At my previous company, I was able to rank for some of our highly sought after keywords using these methods and surprisingly so it didn’t take that long to do it.

Here’s an example of one so you know I’m not full of it.

This was as of October 20, 2017. I can’t be responsible for any search rankings after that date ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

SEO can be a fickle beast and the algorithms for search rankings are ever-changing. But this is a good starting point regardless of the next update.

As always, I believe in you. Now go win the internet.

_____________________________________________________ A

I’m Allyssa. I am a hybrid designer who likes to front-end code, who loves marketing ops and marketing automation, growth hacking and content marketing. You can find me on Twitter usually tweeting about sports, music and whatever podcast I’m listening to. If you want to chat over email you can jet over to my website to send me a message.

You can view my portfolio over here or over at Behance.