Your 2017 SEO Check List

A checklist of the major SEO mistakes

You know you need to start working on content marketing for your business website, but you’re concerned. You’ve never done SEO and there are so many pieces of content online that you worry that you’ll never come up on Google Search.

One thing is for sure; if you never start, you’ll never give your site a chance to be indexed by Google and that means that you’re not giving search engines a chance to serve your content on search.

2017 SEO Check List

Optimizing Your Site Around Only One Keyword

Let’s say you are a car dealership in Queens. Back in the day, your SEO guy may have worked hard to get the words Car Dealership Queens into every spot imaginable on your website. This (Keyword Stuffing) simply does not work. First of all, it does not read well to your website visitors and will result on them leaving your page, but search engines such as Google are too smart to be fooled by a simple tactic like this.

What to do?? 

Do keyword research, then create pages and write articles around those multiple keywords. You need to think big here. If you are this car dealership, maybe you want a whole section on auto repair. If you create this content, and Google serves it to people who may be fed up with their cars, you may be able to convert them to buyers.

You Neglect Older Content

Remember that blog post from 3 years ago? It is still indexed by Google and comes up on search, but when people click through they’re seeing outdated information.

What to Do?

Sign into Google Analytics to see what pages, blogs, and articles are coming up on search. Start off by doing some keyword research and spruce up the content so it is fresh and useful. Then submit it to Google so it is newly indexed.

You’re not Mobile Optimized

People are growing more attached to their mobile devices. This means that they are using mobile more and more each year. If your website is not responsive and optimized for mobile, you’re going to miss out on tons of traffic. Google gives less weight to websites that don’t look good on mobile, and your visitors will bounce because of site experience.

What to Do?

Make sure that your website and its content looks good on mobile. If needed, redo your website and make sure you pick a responsive theme. Keep the visibility of images and readability of your site in mind when working on the new mobile friendly design.

Your Site is Slow

People are impatient. They don’t want to wait more than a few seconds to get to the content they need. If your site is slow they will bounce out.

What to Do?

There are multiple tools you can use to analyze your site speed. Usual culprits are usually images and JavaScript.

  • Google PageSpeed Insights
  • Pingdom
  • WebPageTest

You’re Not Linking Out to Other Pages, Blogs & Services

You created an article that is serping well. Google is giving it traffic, but you get only one page view and people bounce off your page. This could be because you’re not letting your visitors know that you have way more to show them.

What to Do?

Make sure that any time you create a page or blog, that you think of what other related pages or blogs you can interlink. This can increase time on page and pages viewed.

You’re Not Adding External Links

You’re a bit shy about giving other websites links because you think it will hurt your SEO. You could not be more wrong. External links give your users ways to get to helpful content. They may also give you more weight as a reliable source (both to search engines and website visitors).

What to Do?

Go ahead, link out to other websites. Just make sure that you vet them to make sure that the content is good, and that the site is safe and not spammy.

Your Readability Sucks

Huge blocks of text are hard to read and overwhelming. They increase your bounce rate, especially on mobile.

What to do?

Break up your content into short bits to make them easier to read. Then break them up with headline tags so that your visitors can easily find the information they are looking for. These headlines should include some of the keywords you want to serp for. Search engines will love this.

You Don’t Optimize Images

While Google’s image recognition is getting better and better, we’re not yet at a time when it can figure out exactly what is on the image.

What to Do?

Make sure that your images have file names that contain your target keywords, but make sure they are relevant to the image and the post.

You’ve Got Duplicate Content

Google and other search engines do not like plagiarism, even if it comes from your own site. If you use duplicate content from other sites, and even from other pages on your site, you will be penalized and your search ranking will drop.

What to Do?

Make sure that any content you publish is not duplicate or too similar to other content you already have on site. This is especially important  when it comes to title tags and meta descriptions. Take time to make things unique.

You’ve Been Pushing Quantity, Not Quality

You’ve got tons of content out there, but it’s not too good. This is not going to help you. Outside of how this harms your SEO rankings, low quality content will not convert your visitors into customers.

What to Do?

You need a strategy. First you need to understand who your target audience is. You need to write with them in mind. Then you need to conduct keyword research and do some spy work to see what the competion is doing. Is there a piece of content they haven’t written? maybe a subject they haven’t covered? This is your opportunity to create great content that converts.

You’re Not Thinking About Your URLs

If you are letting your blogging platform auto fill your URL’s from your article titles, you’re doing yourself a disservice. These URLs probably won’t help your rankings at all, especially if they are too long.

What to Do?

Make sure that your URLs include your desired keywords. Keep the URLs short. Finally, make sure that the structure of your URls is consistent throughout the site, it will make it easier for search engines to crawl.

You’re not paying attention to broken links

Broken links are dead ends to web crawlers. It makes it incredibly hard for them to crawl your site.

What to Do?

Run a site evaluation to find all broken links and links that redirect. Update these links so they go to pages you want to give more weight to. It will make it easier for search engines to crawl your site.

Your Redirects Aren’t Executed Properly

What to Do?

Make sure you are properly using 301 & 302 redirects.

You’re Putting Too Much Emphasis on Meta Keywords

Both Google and Bing aren’t fans of Meta Keywords. Google doesn’t use them at all, and Bing sees them as spam.

What to Do?

If you do end up using the meta keywords field, don’t go crazy – stick to using five max.

You’re Not Taking Advantage of Analytics

Just like baseball, SEO is no fun if you don’t keep score.

What to Do?

Sign up for Google Analytics & Bing Webmaster Tools. Take a class or two so that you can properly understand what their metrics mean and so you can implement a strategy according to their results.

You’re Not Letting Search Engines Crawl Your Site

This is a biggie. If you don’t let search engines crawl your site, you have no chance of being indexed and of your results being served to people searching on line.

What to Do?

Make sure that you’re not blocking search engined in your robots.txt file or with a “noindex” meta tag.

You’re Not Thinking Local

Local SEO is powerful, especially for local businesses and brands.

What to Do?

Make sure that you claim your business listings on all possible sites including Google My Business, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. Then use tools such as Moz Local to get some citations.

You’re Using Too Many PDF’s

PDF’s are great. You can use them as white papers and your visitors can easily download them. The issue is that they aren’t the best for search or analytics.

What to Do?

Instead of PDF’s, change up your content so it is in HTML format.

You’re Only Thinking Google

Yes, Google is king, but other search engines (and social media websites) can drive great traffic to your site.

What to Do?

Make sure you keep Bing and Yahoo in mind when creating content.  Share your content to Social Media to give it a higher chance of being shared by others.

You’re Not Working on Backlinks

Link building can be a great strategy, as long as you’re getting quality links. Search engines will associate your site with the sites that link to it, so getting a link in a bad neighborhood can harm you as much as not having links.

What to Do?

Reach out to quality websites and influencers and work on building relationships so that you can earn backlinks to your content.

You Have Too Many Categories and Tags

Every category and tag on your blog is a new page on your website. This gives search engines like Google more to crawl and dilutes the juice to your best content.

What to Do?

Get rid of tags and categories that have little to no content, and rework the content so that you can utilize it under other tags.