Marketing Essentials’ SEO Checklist

Posted by Leah Green on September 18, 2023 at 2:44 PM     SEO
Marketing Essentials’ SEO Checklist

If you have a business, people are searching for it online. But how do you make sure you come up first in the results - whether people are searching for you by name or by product/service? 

That’s where SEO comes in. There are a variety of tactics you can use to enhance your website's visibility and elevate its ranking on search engines. 

To help you get started, we've created a detailed SEO checklist utilizing various strategies and techniques. By implementing these tried-and-true methods, we can help you achieve higher search engine rankings and drive more organic traffic to your website.

How does SEO Work? 

SEO is a marketing tactic that is used to improve a website's rank and user experience and increase visibility on different search engines. SEO isn’t an exact science - it’s ever-changing and evolves frequently. Multiple factors can influence website traffic such as search engine algorithms, market trends, and competition. 

Let’s say you own an ice cream shop and you want your business to get found in search results. You want to make sure that your website is showing up for keywords like “ice cream shops near me” or “where's the closest ice cream shop?” 

For a website to show its value to Google and other search engines, it must demonstrate  E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.)  In the SEO world, it’s imperative that a website takes all these concepts into consideration. 

Marketing Essentials SEO Checklist

There’s a lot to consider when creating or optimizing a website for SEO, so we created the checklist below specifically for business owners who want to begin optimizing their own site and seeing better results from SEO. SEO Checklist

Marketing Essentials’ SEO Checklist, Explained: 

SEO Tools

There are a variety of tools that can help make SEO practices easier to start implementing. They can do everything from keyword research for your website to figuring out which directories are ranking above your website ranking, or even showing you where your competitors are ranking.

Below is a list of tools we consider essential to have in your toolbox when working on your SEO. 

  1. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) - This is the newest version of Google Analytics and is a powerful hub for learning everything you want to know about your site’s data and performance. For example, you can see what traffic your website is getting and where it’s coming from. GA4 can also break down the type of traffic, whether it’s organic, paid or from social media, so you can see where your marketing is performing and where your most valuable channels are.

  2.  Google Search Console (GSC) - GSC is one of the best tools for gathering information on keywords, allowing you to monitor and optimize website pages for search performance. This tool can also show you which pages are ranking for which keywords and gives you the ability to optimize content with that information.

  3.  Keyword Research/Tracking & Website Audit Tool- This tool allows you to do keyword research and track the position of your website on said keyword. Normally, with this tool, you can perform a website audit and look into the deeper issues happening within the website. There are a variety of platforms available to help you with these tasks, ranging from free options to enterprise-level solutions.

  4. Local Research & Reputation Management Tool - This tool is used for off-page and local SEO. It tracks search rankings and assists you in building directory citations. You can track your reviews across the interweb and answer any questions users might have. Depending on the capabilities of the tool you’re using for keyword tracking and site auditing (noted above), this may be the same one or a separate platform.

SEO Tactics

With the right tools in place, you’re now ready to begin tactics to help boost your SEO. These tactics usually fall into the three main buckets below - on-page, off-page, and technical. Within each of these categories is a variety of adjustments you can make to improve your SEO.

  1. On-Page SEO - This includes any type of content or optimizations that can be made on your website pages. Most on-page elements work together toward one goal, which is to optimize pages for the website to rank higher in search results. 

    1. Top keywords - Review which keywords you want your website pages to rank for. In other words, when a user searches for a particular word, you want your website to populate in the search results. Which words or terms are these? 

    2. Page headers, title tags, and meta descriptions - Use your keyword research to optimize on-page elements that can appear in search engine results. This can help your pages to rank for terms you previously identified. 

    3. Valuable, high-quality content - Google rewards websites that have quality content on their pages. They want to give their users the best information that fits their search intent. That means writing original, in-depth content that will answer users’ questions and give them what they need.

    4. Authentic images and video - Using real images instead of stock images adds a layer of trust to your website and brand. Additionally, video can help boost your search results and provide a more personal, interactive experience for your users.

    5. Internal and external links - Linking is a great way to enhance your website pages. Internal linking lets users navigate through your site and gain more information on certain topics. External links to an outside resource can deepen the user’s understanding of the subject on your website. 

  2. Off-Page SEO - Off-page optimization covers various strategies, such as directory listings and reputation management. These tactics aim to boost search rankings by establishing connections between your website and external sources. Within off-page SEO, there’s a specialized subcategory known as local SEO. This subcategory focuses on improving your rank in specific geographical areas, making it particularly relevant if your business wants to attract local customers.

    1. Reputation Management and Online Reviews - More users than ever look at product and service reviews before they commit. Taking the time to answer questions or reply to product/service reviews enhances brand awareness and may improve your business’ reputation.

    2. Social Media Activity - Engaging with potential customers on social media channels allows your business to raise awareness about your brand. 

    3. Indexable pages - Search engines prefer updated content. If your new pages or blogs are unindexed, they won’t show up in search results.  One way to tell this is If your website pages are not gaining traffic or ultimately producing leads - they might not be indexed by search engines. 

    4. Directory Citations- Search engine citation listings are a sign of trust. If all of your NAP (name, address, phone number) information is the same across the web, then it’s easier for Google to identify your business as a trusted source of information.
      1. Invest in Local SEO - Google Business Profiles are often viewed by potential customers before they reach your actual website. Optimizing your profile can greatly increase website traffic.

    5. Backlinks & Published Articles - Backlinks are mentions or links to your business from another website. Search engines view the quality and quantity of your backlinks as authoritative signals. This instills confidence in the search engine that other websites want to use your information. 

  3. Technical SEO - Technical SEO delves into the core aspects of your website, addressing backend components, code optimization, interlinking strategies, mobile responsiveness, and website speed. These elements are vital for SEO success.

    1. Mobile-Friendliness - How easily can all elements on the website render properly on a mobile device? Google and other search engines are mobile-first indexing, so ensure your website is built to work on both desktop and mobile browsers.

    2. Site Speed - If your website pages take a while (more than about 2 seconds) to load, it causes a frustrating user experience. Search engines may not show your website in search results if this issue persists. Page speed is a direct ranking factor and can hurt website traffic if not optimized. 

    3. Website Security & Safe Browsing- Users need a safe and secure browsing experience. If your website isn’t secure, this could allow hackers to access sensitive user information, and your site rankings could take a hit. A valid SSL certificate on your website is critical for creating a safe user experience. It's even more important if your website handles sensitive user information, like payment information. 

    4. Find & Fix Crawl Errors- Using an audit tool will greatly help you find internal or external issues with your website. This includes broken links, 404 errors, missing pages from your site map, and many other technical issues. 

    5. Core Web Vitals - Auditing your core website vitals and fixing the issues can improve your search results. These metrics help search engines understand your website performance.  Core Web Vitals represent essential metrics that gauge real-world user experience by assessing the loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability of web pages.

See How SEO Can Make a Difference

There’s a lot to consider regarding an SEO strategy for your website. But done right, it can make a definite impact on your traffic, leads and growth. 

Check out one of our SEO case studies to see the difference a dedicated SEO team and strategy can make.

View SEO Case Study