A Blogger’s Basic SEO Checklist
While the instant and occasionally viral amounts of traffic that social networks can bring to your content marketing methods are enticing, organic search traffic often brings in the highest quality leads.
When you’re running a content marketing campaign, you’re already going to be giving yourself a huge advantage over your competitors in Google due to the regular, high-quality content your site will be publishing.
But why stop there?
With a few simple SEO tricks, you’re going to be able to make your content work smarter and harder to get you to the top of Google.
Tip 1: Canonicalization
Google hates duplicate content, so it’s super important to ensure your site doesn’t have any. Visit your website by using the following patterns:
They should all redirect to a single version of your site. For example, if you type in http://www.thecontentpanel.com into your address bar it will automatically redirect to http://thecontentpanel.com – without the www bit.
If this doesn’t happen to your website you have a severe canonicalization issue. Google views them as entirely separate (and duplicate) websites – and issues them a penalty which hinders their rankings. If you use WordPress then there are many simple plugins which automatically solve these issues for you – we love Yoast SEO (it’s free) and we highly recommend it.
Tip 2: Meta Descriptions
Whenever you Google something you’ll have obviously noticed that a little bit of text is displayed underneath each link detailing what the website is about – this is a Meta Description.
Years ago meta descriptions had a huge amount of SEO importance, but these days that’s no longer the case. However, despite this they still play a big part in driving traffic to your website – they’re the teaser that makes people pick your site out of the 10 results on the page.
Increasing your CTR (click through rate) from Google’s search results with a custom, catchy, and intriguing meta description is a super quick way to squeeze a little more traffic out of your existing rankings. Again, if you install Yoast then you’ll be able to do this with a few clicks.
Tip 3: Internal Linking
Linking between different pieces of content on your website is called internal linking, and it’s super important. Not only does it give your visitors an avenue to consuming more of your content – it also helps your posts rank higher in Google.
Don’t go over the top with this, only link to another post where it’s relevant – two links in a 600-word piece of content is more than enough. Try and link inside the main text of the article instead of at the end too, this gives the link more topical relevance in the eyes of Google.
Tip 4: Speed
Over the years Google has used its dominance to try and make the internet a better place for web users. One of the ways it has done this is by rewarding speedy websites that load fast in their search results. It’s one of the easiest, and quickest ways to increase your position in their search engine (if you’ve currently got issues).
Go to https://developers.google.com/speed/ and input several of your websites URL’s – Google themselves will tell you anything they think you’re doing wrong. Again there are plugins that can take care of some of these issues for you, but it’s often best to let your webmaster handle the changes instead as they can get technical.
Don’t worry about getting a perfect 100/100 score, anything above 80 is considered to be more than acceptable.
Tip 5: Mobile Friendly
In a similar fashion to website speed, Google is also rewarding websites that are mobile friendly. Check how your website looks when viewed on a mobile device/tablet. If you need to pinch and zoom to navigate your site (or things look weird) then you’re almost certainly being penalized by Google.
Getting your website to display nicely on mobile devices is something that should be a top priority if you have issues. With more and more people using their phones and tablets as their primary way of browsing the web – you’re losing visitors as well as rankings if your site isn’t up to scratch.
The Final Word
So there you have it, 5 SEO tips that will give you an even bigger advantage over your competitors in the battleground of Google’s search results. This is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to SEO, we’ll be adding a part 2 to this article in the near future.
But in the meantime, this should be more than enough to get you started on your way to the top of the search results.