Search engine optimization (SEO) is important for any website looking to attract new visitors and increase its visibility. Your website’s success in search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing hinges on your ability to optimize the content. This includes your page titles, descriptions, images, and much more. If you’re launching a new website or updating an old one, then this SEO checklist will help you get started with SEO right away. Updating your site with useful information that also appeals to search engines is easier than you think! To begin optimizing your website with the checklist below, first, download a copy of it here.

Start with your website name and brand

Your website name and brand are important for branding your website and gaining authority on the internet. Keep in mind that the name of your website will be the main thing people see when they search for you online. If your name is irrelevant to your business or doesn’t describe your business, you might have a harder time attracting the right audience. When choosing a name for your website, keep the following in mind:

  • What is the name trying to say?
  • How does the name sound when read out loud?
  • How will the name look when paired with keywords?
  • How easy is the name to remember and spell?
  • Does the name have any negative connotations?

After you’ve decided on a name, make sure to register your website’s name as a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This will help ensure you own the name and that no one else can use it. Doing so will also help increase your website’s credibility by showing that you’re serious about your business.

Website Audit and SEO Strategy

A website audit is an essential step in your SEO strategy. Before you can begin optimizing your website, you must identify its strengths and weaknesses. What’s the current condition of your website? What do you need to fix? Begin your website audit by answering the following questions:

  • What is your website’s current state?
  • What is the focus of your website?
  • How does it differ from other websites in your niche?
  • What is the current condition of your website?
  • What are the strengths of your website?
  • What are the weaknesses of your website?
  • What can you do to improve your website?

Define your target audience

Before you can begin writing content for your website, you must first define your target audience. This is important because it will help you decide what to write and how to write it. You don’t want to publish articles that are relevant to everyone; you want them to be relevant to your specific audience! Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Who are the people who visit my website?
  • What do they want?
  • What are their biggest challenges?
  • What are they looking to do on my website?
  • How do I engage with them?

After you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to get more specific:

  • What is the gender of your target audience?
  • What is the age range of your target audience?
  • What is their occupation?
  • What is their education level?
  • Where do they live?
  • What language do they speak?
  • Are there any other cultural aspects that are important to your audience?

Make your site easy to navigate

Your website’s navigation plays an important role in how easy your website is to navigate. Your visitors will navigate your website like a map, so it must make sense. When it comes to your website navigation, there are two main things you want to keep in mind:

  • How are you organizing the content on your website?
  • What is the user experience like?
  • How do users navigate your website?

You want to make it easy for your visitors to find what they’re looking for on your website. That means creating an easy-to-read navigation menu with logical placements. Your navigation menu should:

  • Be easy to find and visible.
  • Be placed above the fold (or at the very top of your website).
  • Be consistent across your website and social media platforms.
  • Be short, but contain the main topics and subtopics of your website.
  • Be clear, direct, and descriptive.

Add quality content

The best way to drive organic search traffic to your website is by publishing high-quality content that attracts new visitors. There are many different ways to do this, including:

  • Posting relevant and engaging blog posts.
  • Writing quality and helpful articles.
  • Adding multimedia content (like images, graphs, and charts).
  • Creating original content that solves problems.
  • Engaging in relevant social media discussions.
  • Participating in conversations on relevant forums.
  • Responding to comments on your website.

Writing great content for your website

It’s important to write for your audience and keep your readers in mind when creating your website content. Before you sit down to write, keep these questions in mind:

  • Who are the people who visit my website?
  • What do they want?
  • What are their biggest challenges?
  • What are they looking to do on my website?

You want to create a positive and welcoming experience for visitors. Your tone of voice should be friendly, but also authoritative. You must address your readers as “you.” Avoid using “I” as much as possible. Your website is a great opportunity to establish yourself as an expert in your field. It’s also a great place to solve your readers’ problems and answer their questions.

Update your website description and SEO keywords

Your website description (also known as “metadata”) and keywords are important for your website’s search engine ranking. These are the first things people will see when they visit your website via a search engine. The website description is also the description that will show up in search engine results, so it must be accurate and compelling. When you create/update your website description, remember to include keywords that are relevant to your website. These will help people find your website when they’re searching for a solution to a problem they have. You can update your website description and keywords in your website’s CMS (like WordPress, Squarespace, or Wix). Your website’s CMS will likely have a section dedicated to metadata.

Make your website user-friendly

Your website is a reflection of your business, so it must be pleasing to the eye and easy to use. Visitors will look at your website and make judgements based on its design and usability. The following are easy ways to make your website more user-friendly:

  • Keep your design clean and simple.
  • Make sure your website loads quickly.
  • Use appropriate colours based on your audience.
  • Be consistent with your design, colours, and fonts.
  • Create a navigational menu that makes sense.
  • Use bulleted lists to break up content.
  • Keep your website design consistent across all platforms.

Decide on a platform

Before building or updating your website, you must decide on a content management system (CMS). You have a few options when it comes to CMS platforms, but the most popular ones are:

  • Custom-built websites.
  • A website builder platform (like Wix, Squarespace, or Shopify).
  • A custom-built CMS (like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla).
  • A hosted CMS (like Hubspot or MailChimp).

While there’s no right or wrong decision, keep in mind that a custom-built CMS is more expensive (and time-consuming) than a hosted or pre-built solution.

Add tracking and analytics code

Once your website is ready to go live, you can set tracking and analytics codes. This code will help you better understand your website traffic, including:

  • Where your visitors are coming from.
  • How long they stay on your website.
  • What pages do they visit?