In many ways, organic search rankings are the lifeblood of the online business world. However, SEO can be overwhelming for your business.
Between local considerations, seeding the right content in the right places, and various other on-page and off-page factors, it’s tough to know where to begin even when it comes to basic SEO essentials.
What makes things even more difficult is that you can’t just start anywhere and chip away at your work. If you want to see the most success, it’s important to prioritize the SEO tasks correctly.
Prioritizing SEO tasks is actually one of the things we see companies’ mess up most often. If you do certain SEO tasks out of order, you’re going to spend a lot of time and use up most of your resources to finally meet your goals.
Top SEO Tasks for Your Small Business.
1. Identify and remove duplicate content.
Since duplicate content is not the most orthodox SEO practice, if it’s the case, you should start cleaning your site, so you don’t get penalized by Google.
A quick way to identify that is by accessing tools like Copyscape to check your site. Nothing kills a website faster than duplicate content issues.
It’s confusing for Google bots so you won’t get any good visibility, and even if readers did somehow make it to your website, duplicate content is seen as spammy.
Get rid of this immediately so you can start with a clean slate.
2. Make sure you have a responsive design.
In the past, this may not have been such a priority, but mobile compatibility is crucial.
According to Google, more searches now take place on mobile than on desktop, so you have to make sure your site looks good on the small screen.
The biggest and most basic way to do this is through a responsive design. As you may have noticed, all of your top priorities for SEO have to do with on-page tasks.
Keep this in mind if more ideas pop-up in the future. You don’t want to be sending traffic to an unfinished or poorly optimized website because that traffic will immediately click away (and likely never return), so this is a crucial step to understand.
3. Setup Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.
Although you may not use it right away, getting set up with these tools is crucial to being indexed quickly and accurately.
It can help solidify your website as real. Make sure you’re being indexed.
You have to double-check that Google is indexing your site, meaning they’re crawling your website and you’re therefore showing up in SERPs.
To check this, visit your Google Webmaster Tools account and click the ‘Google Index’ tab to see the total number of pages Google has indexed.
Make sure it seems right!
4. Start creating quality content frequently.
Content “authority” has been this ambiguous component of SEO since the beginning. Obviously, Google wants to present users with the most credible and authoritative content based on their search queries.
Plain and simple, you should ALWAYS be working to create authoritative content, always! Once you have a good content team and schedule in place, you can start to really bring your content to the next level.
This involves creating personas to better understand your audience, writing on keywords/ topics that are trending, and getting more advanced with infographics, interviews, video, and more.
Make it easy for the average user to consume, reference credible data/information to support your claims, provide clear takeaways, and so on.
These common strategies of creating authoritative content have been true since the beginning of the internet.
5. Creating longer content
The most important thing about creating content is that it provides the best possible information based on certain queries, and more importantly, user intent.
Maybe you can do this in 500 words; maybe it takes 5,000. Ultimately, it’s up to you to use your best judgment as a site owner.
Long-form content gets an average of 77.2% more links than short articles. Therefore, long-form content appears to be ideal for backlink acquisition. This leads to improved organic search results too.
Keep in mind, content pieces with higher word counts have greater potential to target more relevant queries and get to the root of search intent.
So, that being said, you are often better off creating longer content. Eliminate the fluff and ensure you are answering pressing questions with meaningful and credible insight.
6. Targeting LSI keywords, but not for ranking
Latent Semantic Indexing keywords do not directly impact your search rankings.
However, taking your time to meticulously choose LSI keywords can help in covering necessary information related to the keywords and phrases you originally targeted.
In turn, this will help you get rankings for those relevant search terms and avoid keyword stuffing penalties. If you are not using LSI keywords, it will be harder for Google to pinpoint the SEO correlations and overlap between the content on your website.
So, instead of trying to use the same keywords and phrases repeatedly throughout your content, incorporating LSI keywords is critical for helping Google bots understand your messaging and its relevance to user intent.
The goal is to incorporate them in a natural, conversational way. If used properly, LSI keywords will help website visitors find the answers they need as well as help Google better understand your content.
7. Keywords in the domain name are marginal for ranking
The days of exact match domains working SEO magic are long gone.
These days, the URL of a domain plays a marginal role in Google’s ranking factors.
Now, this doesn’t always mean that using keywords in your domain is a terrible thing. Exact match domains can potentially play a role in how your webpage ranks. But it is dicey.
The key is to tailor the domain around user intent. Incorporating keywords into your domain name can provide clues as to what your site is all about, as well as guide users to the answers they need.
8. Employ Custom Competitor Research
You can spend hours in tedious research or you can use tools to help you get insights on how your competitors are running their campaigns and how you can beat them all the way through.
You can go even deeper and get custom competitor data to build your strategies upon.
Using the standard tool, you can see what competitor keywords are generating the most organic traffic from Google and what queries they are advertising for, as well as get a full view of their ads history
Bonus Tip: Optimize Images with Descriptive ALT Tags
Another important SEO task you should validate is including the alt description in your image to make your content even more relevant.
If you’ve never thought about adding images, please try and add at least one in your content to make it more readable and explicit.
This checklist above includes the most important SEO tasks. I assure you that there are other numerous SEO tasks you should check, but these are the ones you should focus on first.
You should track and evaluate your SEO work to make sure you see some results.
Always try to improve and strive to clean the site of bad links, broken pages, crawl errors, bad implementation techniques.
Metrics are important even though nobody likes to keep track of them.