SEO Checklist: 12 Simple Steps to Rocket Your SEO to the Top

If you're looking into search engine optimization (SEO) for your website, you've likely run across some sources that have made it seem like a dense and tedious process. But it doesn't have to be that complicated.

By taking a few simple steps, you can increase your website traffic with relative ease. Here's a 12-step technical SEO checklist for small and midsized businesses (SMBs) across all industries.

And if you're ready to get started with custom SEO services, New York Web Design and Marketing has over 20 years of experience with SEO - we're happy to give you a hand.

Dive into SEO keywords

When it comes to SEO, keywords are the name of the game, so it's no surprise that they deserve their own section on any SEO checklist. Here's what you need to do to harness their full potential.

1. Find valuable keywords

Keywords are common terms people search in Google, which you can sprinkle throughout your content to get your site into the top search results.

The first step is, unsurprisingly, finding some keywords to use. You can do this in a few different ways — type phrases related to your business into the Google search bar and look at the suggestions, or use tools like Google Keyword Planner or Keywords Everywhere.

2. Narrow your keyword list

Once you have a selection of keywords, figure out which of them are actually usable. Short, one-word keywords have an incredible amount of competition, so it's not good to aim only for those. You want to have a handful of long-tail keywords as well.

If you sell dairy products in Kansas, consider targeting keywords like "cottage cheese in ks" instead of just "cheese."

3. Understand user intent

When you have some keywords, it's time to put them to use. But before you do, make sure you understand why users search for them. Knowing that will inform the content you create for them.

Get the right SEO tools

Before you delve further into the SEO process, you'll want to set yourself up with some tools to help you along the way.

4. Install Yoast SEO

If you use WordPress to build pages on your site, Yoast is a must-have tool. It allows you to perform basic optimization tasks and helps with technical procedures like creating robots.txt files.

If you don't use WordPress, some website builders like Squarespace have these features built in.

5. Create a sitemap

As soon as you have Yoast installed, use it to create a sitemap and a robots.txt file. These are essentially files that tell Google how to navigate your website. Adding a robots.txt file to a page, for example, could be used to tell Google not to crawl that page.

6. Set up Google tools to evaluate your SEO

Various Google tools can help you learn important information about your SEO. The most valuable tools are Google Search Console and Google Analytics, which allow you to see things like site traffic and which pages drive the most leads.

Get started with SEO strategies

With the bulk of your research completed, you can move on to creating web content to target your audience and rank at the top of search results.

7. Incorporate your target keywords

For each keyword you choose, you'll want to create a piece of content to target the keyword. When you do, make sure to insert the keyword in several locations. The title tag, introductory paragraph, headings, body, and even URL are all good spots to add target keywords.

8. Use synonyms and related keywords

Even though the focus of a given piece centers on a single keyword, that doesn't mean you can't include others as well. Come up with some related keywords using tools like Keywords Everywhere and scatter them throughout the piece.

9. Write SEO-optimized titles and meta descriptions

A piece of content might rank high in search results, but if it doesn't look appealing, users still won't click on it. To make sure they do, give each piece an eye-catching title tag and meta description that will encourage searchers to click and visit your site.

Optimize your SEO content

Nearly everything discussed so far has been working toward helping you get the right content on your website. But the design of the website itself is just as important.

10. Maximize readability

What good is web content if users can't read it? To make sure your content is readable, break it up into small chunks, and use plenty of headings. You can also use the readability test tool.

11. Improve page loading speed

No one is likely to wait thirty seconds for a page to pull up all the way when they could just choose a different search result instead. In fact, half of web searchers won't even wait three seconds for a page to load without ditching it for another search result. Optimize your site's loading speed to ensure that doesn't happen to you.

12. Optimize images

It's great to have images on your page, but only if Google can register what they are. Be sure that all your images have alt text - text assigned to an image that can be read by Google and screen readers - to describe what they are so that they can benefit your SEO.

Get started with SEO services from New York Web Design and Marketing

While you can do all of these things on your own, it's hard to get everything exactly right without some experience in SEO.

But don't worry, if you're uncertain about your ability to make it all work, New York Web Design and Marketing has you covered. We offer top-quality SEO services that you can customize for your business. Give us a call at 646-502-8446 to get started with us today!