The items on the checklist below are all crucial for successful optimization. Some of them only take a few minutes, while others can take hours or require professional assistance.
1. The technical part
For a new website, content is crucial. But before publishing a single word, some technical aspects need to be taken care of:
- Install Google Analytics and link the Search Console to it. This will help you track all your sources of traffic and understand the performance of your keywords.
- Create a robots.txt file and then upload it to your site’s root directory.
- Do the same for the sitemap.xml file. Additionally, submit this file to Google Webmaster Tool and request indexing.
2. The research
Some of the tools we use to come up with the perfect keywords (both long- and short-tail, as well as LSI keywords) for our customers are:
- Google search – Yes, the plain, simple, free one. It’s amazing how many SEO copywriters forget about the basics. The suggestions that accompany every search will give you a better idea about what your customers look for.
- AdWords Keyword Planner – Even if you don’t plan to invest in AdWords, you can use this tool to get even more suggestions and learn about search volumes.
- LSI Graph – Perfect for finding the LSI keywords that can bring you ROI-oriented traffic (the only kind you should be aiming for!).
- Open Site Explorer and To understand what you’re up against. You can also use the first one to “steal” some of your competitors’ backlinks in the future.
- To check the difficulty of the keywords you are planning to rank for.
3. The on-site optimization
- Make sure each of your pages has a unique title tag. Use your main keywords in these tags.
- Ensure that each of your webpages has a unique meta description. Again, use your main keywords here.
- Each of your URLs should also contain your keywords.
- Use ALT tags for your images to help Googlebots understand what they are crawling. Add your keywords in the ALT tags.
4. The content
- Get to know your buyer persona(s). What tone of voice do they respond to? What type of content do they prefer – blog posts, webinars, white papers, podcasts, videos?
- Each webpage should have at least 350 words. For landing or sales pages, I usually advise more than 1,000 words.
- Choose one primary keyword (preferably a long-tail one) and at least five LSI keywords for each page.
- Set up a blog and (if needed) a news section. When you make your website public, you should have at least three blog posts.
- Create a content calendar – how often are you going to publish new posts and what are you going to write about?