2022’s Basic SEO Checklist for Small Business Websites
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Today, in the era of digitalization (and population that is digitally literate), it is imperative that small and medium-sized businesses think of their own presences on the internet as something of an opportunity rather than a chore. Creating efficient websites that garner attention and bring in more traffic can prove to be a highly lucrative source of sales.
With that said, only 49% of the companies surveyed by The Manifest in this study admitted to investing in SEO activities; as many as 18% never planned on any SEO at all. Merely setting up a website isn’t quite enough – there is a need to optimize it for maximum visibility and preference through the best SEO practices. Any good SEO company would vouch for an improvement in sales when the website is optimized to be “visible” and simple for search engines to understand. Let’s go over some SEO essentials as a checklist according to the latest trends of 2022 – especially for small and medium sized businesses.
SEO Checklist for SMB
To ensure that your website isn’t just sitting on its haunches doing nothing, check whether the following SEO essentials are in order and working well.
Small businesses would do well to leverage all the free-for-use tools available to them, and Google Analytics is one such tool for tracking and analyzing their web traffic-related data efficiently. Your business can get access to important web data like user flows, real-time reports, advertising insights and reports, and many more. Viewing and understanding this data is also easy with the tool’s interface that provides visualization tools, allows for data manipulation and insight derivation on a custom basis.
Creating Google Sitemap
Think of it this way: much like a book consists of various chapters, tables, indices, figures, etc., it also has an index to help you navigate to a place quickly. In a much similar way, sitemaps function as indices for Google’s crawlers and indexer tools. By submitting a sitemap to Google, you are making it simpler for the search engine to crawl and index all the URLs on your website, thus helping it to produce relevant results to users from your website better.
Setup Crawling and Indexing Controls
Not all pages on your website contain information that would always be relevant to some or the other search query, for example, privacy pages. It is more efficient to leave the search engine crawlers and indexers out of such pages that don’t add any value to user search. Create a Robots.txt file and add the list of pages on your website that you would like to leave out of the ambit of crawlers and indexers. It can be accessed from your website control panel and File Manager.
Use Google Keyword Planner
The most important item on the checklist is ensuring whether you have done research on your keywords or not. Selecting the right keywords and creating content around them happens in three distinct steps:
- Keyword research (use Google Keyword Planner tool)
- Selecting the right keywords for your business (lesser competition, higher volume)
- Create a keyword roadmap to guide your content and the number / type of posts required to build on the selected keywords
It is absolutely essential to pick the keywords that align perfectly with your business.
Check Technical SEO
There is nothing more woeful for your users than experiencing slow-loading pages, broken links, unfriendly URLs, etc. on your website. This is the reason why technical SEO must be looked at carefully before launching your site. Perform the following checks:
- Is your website using HTTPS? This protocol combines HTTP with a security layer that brings the users confidence that your website is safe to visit
- Is your website loading quickly? Ideally, aiming for a load time of 5 seconds or less gets you a good score on most search engines
- How quickly are the elements on your website loading? If the media and other elements on your website are taking longer to load, the purpose is defeated
On-page SEO helps search engines make sense of the content on your website. Using the right keywords, posting content that is highly informative and relevant for the industry, using formats and templates that make search engines categorize your content properly and present the relevant parts to users helps get your website better rankings on search results. Use meta titles and descriptions, headings, subheadings, captions on images and keywords inserted naturally in the text flow to improve your on-page SEO score.
The heart and soul of any SEO strategy is how well and fully a piece of content has been created. Does your content address a direct user query? Does it offer anything informative to the user? Content SEO has three objectives:
- Delivering quality information to make the webpage authoritative
- Delivering a call to action to incite a response of engagement from the user
- Help the website rank higher
Design your content in a way that makes it easy for your users to glean from it, and for the search engines to present it to users. Ensure to maintain the relevance of this content.
These days, users are quite onboard with going local for seeking solutions. It is thus imperative for businesses to make themselves known on the local maps as well – by using location tags and keywords that contain the name of their city, locality and even lane/street names. Optimizing for local searches helps get businesses traffic from the place they are located at, which adds to their consumer pool.
It isn’t just enough to optimize your content on the web page – to ensure that your website gets recognized by other resources as well, you need to build a network of backlinks that lead to your content. You can engage in the following activities to streamline your off-page SEO:
- Guest posts
- Sharing content on social media, forums and relevant threads
For small businesses, following this checklist of SEO practices will pay off a great deal in the long term in creating websites that function as siphons for traffic. Growth can really be registered in terms of sales and conversions if the SEO strategy is sound.