Welcome to Day 4 of the 5-Day SEO Challenge! Today I’m going to break down some must-dos in the world of SEO. I’ll be providing you with an SEO checklist for beginners that you can download, and I’ll also be addressing each item individually so you actually know what it means.
We’re removing the mystery from search engine optimization!
About The SEO Challenge
The SEO Challenge was intended to give beginners a sort of crash-course into building their SEO strategy. We’re going kinda fast, so by all means, if there’s something you aren’t clear on, go back and watch the video one more time, or check out the written transcript on my website for notes.
The SEO Checklist (For Beginners)
Let me just preface this by saying: there’s a lot going on in the world of SEO, and this by no mean’s an exhaustive checklist. Rather, this is intended to give small business owners and lifestyle brands an easy to follow starting point.
And if you’re looking for more in-depth information, we cover all of these items and lots more in more extensive detail in the SEO & Grow! course. Be sure to check out the course if you’re looking to learn more!
Nab The PDF Checklist
Download the free 8-page SEO checklist for beginners so you can always have a copy on hand.
Google Analytics is a tool that lets you track your website’s traffic. We went over how to sign up for Google Analytics and how to install it on your website in SEO Challenge – Day #2. If you haven’t set Google Analytics up yet, definitely make this a priority so you can start collecting data now! Data should lead your overall SEO strategy, and it also allows you to find out whether or not your efforts are working.
B) I have Google Search Console installed
Google Search Console is another helpful tool from Google. We covered this one in Day #2 of the SEO challenge, too, so if you don’t have it set up yet – make sure you go back to that day’s lesson and get it taken care of!
Google Search Console will help you understand how your website appears to users in search engines, and you can also use it to identify problems with your website. Which leads us to…
C) I’ve fixed Google Search Console errors
Within Google Search Console, you can see if the tool has identified any errors or warnings. Not all errors and warnings are necessarily dire — but make sure you get the really problematic ones taken care of, because they could be costing you traffic to your website!
D) My website uses HTTPS
If you visit your website, in your browser’s URL bar, what do you see? Up until relatively recently, most of the web ran on a regular http connection, as in, http://www.yoursite.com.
There’s also https. The “s” at the end stands for secure, and it’s the encrypted version of http which makes the transfer of data more secure.
Not too long ago, https was generally only used by websites if private information needed to be captured: passwords, credit card numbers, that sort of thing. Http used to be fine for most other situations.
However, these days, we’re working towards a more secure web — and Google themselves are really driving this movement. It is commonly believed that https websites perform better in search engines.
So – what do you see in the URL bar when you visit your website?
Do you see a lock icon? If so — assuming you don’t have any mixed content errors (which we won’t get into here…because this is a checklist for beginners!) you should be good to go!
If you don’t see a lock icon, make it a priority to switch.
E) My content is as long as it can be
Typically, long-form content performs better in keywords. There’s some debate about how long long-form content actually is, but I’d consider anywhere from 1500+ words and over to be long-form.
Now, I know it’s difficult to hit that many words on every single page or post. However, do make an effort to start making your content longer. Don’t add words just to hit a word count, though: just make sure everything you’re creating is in-depth and fully explores the topic.
F) I’m including links to other relevant content on my website
Links are what tell search engines how everything is connected. You want to make it easy for search engines like Google to understand how all of your content is related, and you can do this by including relevant internal links on your pages.
For example, let’s say you have two articles on your website: one article is about your famous fried chicken recipe and the other article shows readers how to make your grandma’s tried-and-true biscuits.
Because both of these topics are related, you would want them to link to one another. Something simple like:
Looking for a fantastic side to pair with our famous fried chicken? Give grandma’s favorite biscuits a try!
Where “grandma’s favorite biscuits” is a hyperlink to that respective article.
G) I’m including links to other websites, where possible
Similar to internal links, linking to other people’s websites can help build a strong web, too. So get in the habit of hyperlinking if you mention something that has a website.
H) I’m using headings
Headings may not play as big a role in SEO as they did previously, however, you should still be using h2, h3, h4, h5, and h6 headings to break up your content. This promotes better readability, which both search engines and real life users love!
Also note that essays and writing with long paragraphs is something that you can leave behind when writing website content.
I) My content is relevant
We kinda mentioned this when we talked about links — but what we’re trying to do is create lots of content that is all connected to one another. Not only is this just a smart way to create content, it also will help establish you as more of an authority.
J) My content falls into 3-8 main categories
I’m old enough to remember reading an actual, physical newspaper. If I recall correctly, my home town’s news tribune had different sections: local news, national news, global news, the sports section, the classified ads, and (my favorite), the arts & entertainment section which had the comics and puzzles.
Each story the newspaper printed fell into one of these sections. Similarly, your website content should be categorized too.
K) My images aren’t too big and are compressed
Neither people nor Google appreciate slow loading websites, and the most common culprit of a slow loading website is too many giant, unoptimized images!
If you’re uploading images without resizing for web first, there’s likely lots of room for improvement. If you’re using a Mac computer or are a Photoshop user, I have another video lesson that will show you how to easily resize and compress your images.
Check it out here: How To Resize & Optimize Images For Web
L) My alt text properly describes my image – no keyword stuffing!
If you remember back to day 1 of the SEO Challenge, I briefly mentioned keyword stuffing. It’s when people try to cram in a massive load of keywords into a small space.
It looks like this:
Titles often get keyword stuffed, and so does alt text on images. This is a massive problem because the original and main purpose of alt text is to describe what’s in our image to people using screen readers, since they are unable to visually see our image.
All alt text needs to properly describe your image — not be jam-packed with a bunch of random keywords that don’t help screen reader users whatsoever.
M) My image has a smart, descriptive file name
Try to get in the habit of renaming your image files so they have more descriptive file names.
I know it’s easy to upload a photo with its original file name — usually something like IMG_123.jpg or something like that — but take the 10 seconds out of your day it takes to rename a file. It’s worth it!
Wrapping Things Up
I hope you found this video and the checklist helpful! Like I mentioned at the beginning of this video, this is by no means an exhaustive must-do SEO list: we’d be here a lot longer if we covered everything!
Want To Learn More SEO Stuff?
There’s a course for that!
In SEO & Grow! we dive into these items more in-depth and cover a lot more topics.
In addition to the regular course content, there’s also platform specific content, too. So there’s about 45 minutes worth of video lessons for Squarespace, along with 45 minutes of video lessons for WordPress users. I know these platforms can be a bit overwhelming to navigate, so I really wanted to make things super easy for you to implement your SEO strategy on your website!
Remember to download your SEO Checklist!
Just a reminder that if you didn’t already download it, you can grab a PDF copy of the SEO checklist for beginners we talked about today so you can keep it on hand and reference it any time you want!
Tomorrow is Day 5 (congrats, you made it!!). We’ll be wrapping up the challenge tomorrow.
Ready? Check out Day #5 – SEO Magic Or Just Hard Work?
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