Helping people find your small businesses online is a priority for most small business owners. We call this Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Here’s a recommended list of things to do to boost your Search Engine ratings.
A couple things to keep in mind before plowing through this list:
- SEO optimization works best when you establish a baseline of web traffic and making strategic adjustments over time. Incremental steps through a checklist like what follows is ok!
- SEO optimization works in conjunction with a website that convert browsers into buyers. If your website isn’t effective, then growing the traffic to your site isn’t going to help.
- We now offer a full SEO service (available for our current clients only) or this service is part of our Pro package.
This list is what our team bases our setup process and and ongoing marketing packages on. These are designed for Genesis WordPress theme. Most of the settings options are available in your WordPress dashboard.
With that said, here we go!
Audit Current Site
- Gain access to Google Analytics info for baseline traffic report if possible
- Gather local listing properties info (Yelp, yellow pages, etc.)
- Check Mobile readiness
- Audit and adjust lead generation info – current call to action, navigation and home page information.
- Update Site Title (usually business name)
- Update Tagline (this is what show up in organic search results)
- Update Email Address
- Adjust Timezone to match location
- Make sure Search Engine visibility checkbox is unchecked
- Select Post name for URL structure
- Adjust all background images to 1600-1200 px
- Change image name to include keyword (business name, service offered, etc.)
- Make sure the Alt Text or Title Text includes your favorite keywords, business name or relevant description
- Ad a caption to your image if appropriate
- We use WP Smush plugin to help optimize images.
- Visit Google Analytics to create an account.
- Click on the gear that is the Admin icon. Click on the drop down under accounts or properties to add a new site.
- Enter in website information.
- Generate tracking ID.
- Copy Script and in your WordPress dashboard paste script in Genesis>Theme Settings in the header script box
- Identify top 3 primary keyword and additional 3-5 keywords using Google Keyword planner. Moz has a helpful beginners guide.
- Incorporate primary keyword(s) in URL structure if possible.
- Visit Google My Business
- Click start now
- Login with your gmail account
- Navigate to All Locations
- To add new location click the + in the bottom right of screen
- Enter accurate business information (street address, phone, industry)
- Make sure you check the “I also serve customers at my business address”
- You will be asked to verify (usually by mail)
Continue filling out Google+ profile
- update “info” section if needed
- Make sure industry is as specific as possible
- add as many pictures as possible
- add cover photo
- add profile photo (logo or owner headshot)
Google Search Console
- Submit URL’s to Search Console
- Add property to your Google Search Console – Login to search console and add a new property. This requires proving ownership of your site.
- Choose the HTML tag method. It should look something like this…<meta name=”google-site-verification” content=”DgyuD_yvlon5_We-nBwhOKVy-r7qBQQVG8iWN4ppr7s” />.
- Copy the Meta Tag from within the Google search console.
- From within wordpress dashboard (Genesis theme) add Meta Tag to header script by navigating to Genesis>Theme settings and pasting Meta Tag in Header Script box.
- In Google Console, be sure and replicate this process for any subdomain (www, https, http, etc.)
Bing Search Console
- Add property to Bing Console – Similar process to Google. Copy meta tag and add to Header Script box in Genesis Theme settings.
- Add a sitemap if needed (our websites are configured to submit sitemaps automagically).
- If you’re a client of ours…to view the sitemap on your dashboard navigate to Jetpack>settings>traffic and scroll down. You will see two site maps generated (one is for images).
- Adjust Blog Post Meta settings – If you go to Dashboard > Posts and click on a post you’ve written, right below your text you’ll see a section that says SEO Settings. From there you can add helpful Meta descriptions. Keep to less than 155 characters or less. This content is often what show up behind your website URL in google search. There are different opinions about how much influence this has in SEO ranking, but adding in keywords and relevant sentences certainly helps.
- Review blog post titles and text and see if the keywords for your business are there. Ideally your Blog titles and Page titles have a keywords in them and any text has keywords in the first two sentences. SEO engines like relevant information. Don’t bury your keywords!
- Limit titles to less than 65 characters – otherwise they get cut off in search results.
- Does each page have an <h1> tag with a keyword in it?
- Use keyword synonyms in copy.
- Use Answerthepublic.com to find what people are searching for and edit copy or adjust content marketing plan accordingly to answer the questions people are searching for.
- Internal links optimized with solid anchor text in copy.
Technical Google Search Console Optimization
- Check Google Search Console for 404/500 errors. Dig into why those errors are there and fix. Usually an abandoned page that needs to be deleted or redirected.
- Check site page load speed
- Check Browseo.com for any additional errors. Often 302 redirects.
- Research competitors links (SEO toolbox)
- Claim all the profiles of relevant networks and social media to begin to own all the search results of your brand.
- For local storefront businesses who are depending on localized search we highly recommend claiming and verifying ownership of your Yelp page and make sure all your information is up to date on those pages.
Matt McComas (Center Street Digital – Owner)