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The Ultimate SEO Checklist For Boosting Organic Traffic: 6 Highlights

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The Ultimate SEO Checklist For Boosting Organic Traffic: 6 Highlights

Refine Your SEO Strategy

Once you’ve established your keywords, it’s time to refine your strategy:

  • Create a keyword map.
  • Analyze the intent of pages that rank.
  • Identify questions that are being asked.
  • Understand how difficult it is to rank for your target keywords.

Checklist Section 3: Check For Errors & Perfect Your Technical SEO [12 Tasks]

Technical SEO is one area where a checklist is particularly helpful.

Technical errors are common. It’s good to check in on how your website functions regularly, especially after changes.

Perform Initial Technical SEO Checks

Your goal here is to ensure that search engines can crawl and index your site properly. It also helps you ensure that your site works well for users and you’re meeting Google’s UX goals.

  • Make sure you are using HTTPS.
  • Check for duplicate versions of your site in Google’s index.
  • Find and fix crawl errors.

These first two are easy checks that every site should implement. Every site should use HTTPS encryption, and Google should only be crawling one version of your domain.

Fix Any Usability Issues

Google Search Console makes it easy to find crawl errors through the Coverage report.

  • Improve your site speed.
  • Fix broken internal and outbound links.
  • Find and fix HTTP links on HTTPS pages.
  • Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly.
  • Use an SEO-friendly URL structure.
  • Check the page depth of your site.

Long loading times, broken links, static layouts, and confusing navigation are all poor user experience. Search engines take them into account, but more importantly, poor user experience puts roadblocks in front of users.

Make It Easy For Google To Crawl Your Site

Structured data helps your pages stand out in results, and they provide users with immediate value while they’re searching.

Then, focus on page depth. A good rule of thumb for page depth is that pages shouldn’t be more than three clicks deep.

Finally, for this section, evaluate your redirects regularly. Redirect errors can cause issues for visitors and search engine crawlers.

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  • Add structured data.
  • Check temporary 302 redirects.
  • Find and fix redirect chains and loops.

Checklist Section 4: Make Sure Your Content Meets The Right Needs With On-page SEO [6 Tasks]

Everyone knows content is king, and everyone is producing it.

Well, maybe not everyone. But everyone who you care to compete with is.

That being said, the phrase “content is king” can be a little bit misleading. Content for content’s sake isn’t the answer.

Effective content that provides good information and good experience can propel you to success. Mediocre content isn’t just wasted effort – it’s an opportunity for your competitors. They’re doing competitor research, too, and if they see weak content, they’ll take the opportunity to make something better.

Create The Right Content & Optimize It With SEO In Mind

  • Find and fix duplicate, missing, and truncated title tags.
  • Find and fix duplicate and missing meta descriptions.
  • Find and fix multiple H1 tags.
  • Improve title tags, meta tags, and page content.

Title tags, meta descriptions, and heading tags should be specific and unique. You want to tell search engines and users what your page is about and what it offers clearly and succinctly.

You’ve got enough competition out there, don’t make your pages compete with one another by having duplicate elements.

You can use Google Search Console to identify keyword opportunities on pages that you might have missed. Focus on queries and topics that you provide value for.

Use your keyword analysis, your research about your audience, and the questions they ask to make your content match their needs and intent as closely as possible. What value do your pages offer? How effectively do you communicate that value?

On-page SEO is a whole topic on its own.

Checklist Section 5: Assess Your Content Strategy [6 Tasks]

On-page SEO and content go hand in hand. But your content plan should be bigger than individual pages alone.

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Remove Any Existing Content That Isn’t Performing Well

When you’re checking your content, make sure you’re considering how each page interacts with other pages on your site and whether it fits well.

  • Run a content audit and prune content.

It doesn’t get talked about much, but pruning ineffective content is vital to SEO success. Duplicate content, thin content, or content that doesn’t provide value for the reader is bloat that you don’t need. And your competitors will thank you for the opportunity to beat you in search.

How: You can use Semrush’s Content Audit tool to discover which pages you should think about updating or deleting.

Clean Up Content That Passes The Test

Once you know which pieces of content are propelling your site forward, your next step is to:

  • Ensure images use alt tags.
  • Improve internal linking.
  • Find and fix keyword cannibalization issues.
  • Find and fix orphaned site pages.
  • Ensure your site’s content is up to date.

You should regularly evaluate your internal linking to make sure everything has a home. And look back at your content as you create new pages to make sure they’re not in competition for keywords and the information is up-to-date.

Checklist Section 6: Create Your Off-Page SEO Campaign [5 Tasks]

And finally, it’s time to look beyond your website. Just as your pages have a place within your site’s structure, your site has a place on the web.

Acquiring links is one of the most difficult parts of SEO. This checklist gives you a place to start.

Analyze Your Competitor’s Backlink Profiles

The checklist covers all the key points:

  • Analyze your competitors’ link profiles.
  • Conduct a link intersect analysis.

If you’re not sure where to start, your competitors can tell you. Semrush’s Backlink Analytics tool can help you analyze your competitors’ inbound links as well as the outbound links of relevant websites. Then, you’ll have a baseline to build your plan.

  • Turn unlinked mentions into links.
  • Find new link building opportunities.
  • Set up and optimize your Google Business Profile.

Semrush also provides tools that make discovering new linking opportunities easier. The Brand Monitoring tool and the Link Building tool can identify easy wins and good targets for your link building campaigns.

And if you’re a business with a location serving local customers, you can’t afford to neglect your Google Business Profile.

Start Using The Complete SEO Checklist

On its own, the checklist is a fantastic reminder tool. Keep it on hand and use it regularly.

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If you’re new to SEO or you’ve gotten a little rusty, spend some time reading about each best practice.

The timing is up to you. Some of the early checks you might only need to do once, but many should be repeating tasks.

There’s a lot more to growing your organic traffic than following a checklist, but everyone needs a process. With a guide and the right tools at your disposal, you’re well on your way to better organic performance.

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B2B PPC Experts Give Their Take On Google Search On Announcements

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B2B PPC Experts Give Their Take On Google Search On Announcements

Google hosted its 3rd annual Search On event on September 28th.

The event announced numerous Search updates revolving around these key areas:

  • Visualization
  • Personalization
  • Sustainability

After the event, Google’s Ad Liason, Ginny Marvin, hosted a roundtable of PPC experts specifically in the B2B industry to give their thoughts on the announcements, as well as how they may affect B2B. I was able to participate in the roundtable and gained valuable feedback from the industry.

The roundtable of experts comprised of Brad Geddes, Melissa Mackey, Michelle Morgan, Greg Finn, Steph Bin, Michael Henderson, Andrea Cruz Lopez, and myself (Brooke Osmundson).

The Struggle With Images

Some of the updates in Search include browsable search results, larger image assets, and business messages for conversational search.

Brad Geddes, Co-Founder of Adalysis, mentioned “Desktop was never mentioned once.” Others echoed the same sentiment, that many of their B2B clients rely on desktop searches and traffic. With images showing mainly on mobile devices, their B2B clients won’t benefit as much.

Another great point came up about the context of images. While images are great for a user experience, the question reiterated by multiple roundtable members:

  • How is a B2B product or B2B service supposed to portray what they do in an image?

Images in search are certainly valuable for verticals such as apparel, automotive, and general eCommerce businesses. But for B2B, they may be left at a disadvantage.

More Uses Cases, Please

Ginny asked the group what they’d like to change or add to an event like Search On.

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The overall consensus: both Search On and Google Marketing Live (GML) have become more consumer-focused.

Greg Finn said that the Search On event was about what he expected, but Google Marketing Live feels too broad now and that Google isn’t speaking to advertisers anymore.

Marvin acknowledged and then revealed that Google received feedback that after this year’s GML, the vision felt like it was geared towards a high-level investor.

The group gave a few potential solutions to help fill the current gap of what was announced, and then later how advertisers can take action.

  • 30-minute follow-up session on how these relate to advertisers
  • Focus less on verticals
  • Provide more use cases

Michelle Morgan and Melissa Mackey said that “even just screenshots of a B2B SaaS example” would help them immensely. Providing tangible action items on how to bring this information to clients is key.

Google Product Managers Weigh In

The second half of the roundtable included input from multiple Google Search Product Managers. I started off with a more broad question to Google:

  • It seems that Google is becoming a one-stop shop for a user to gather information and make purchases. How should advertisers prepare for this? Will we expect to see lower traffic, higher CPCs to compete for that coveted space?

Cecilia Wong, Global Product Lead of Search Formats, Google, mentioned that while they can’t comment directly on the overall direction, they do focus on Search. Their recommendation:

  • Manage assets and images and optimize for best user experience
  • For B2B, align your images as a sneak peek of what users can expect on the landing page

However, image assets have tight restrictions on what’s allowed. I followed up by asking if they would be loosening asset restrictions for B2B to use creativity in its image assets.

Google could not comment directly but acknowledged that looser restrictions on image content is a need for B2B advertisers.

Is Value-Based Bidding Worth The Hassle?

The topic of value-based bidding came up after Carlo Buchmann, Product Manager of Smart Bidding, said that they want advertisers to embrace and move towards value-based bidding. While the feedback seemed grim, it opened up for candid conversation.

Melissa Mackey said that while she’s talked to her clients about values-based bidding, none of her clients want to pull the trigger. For B2B, it’s difficult to assess the value on different conversion points.

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Further, she stated that clients become fixated on their pipeline information and can end up making it too complicated. To sum up, they’re struggling to translate the value number input to what a sale is actually worth.

Geddes mentioned that some of his more sophisticated clients have moved back to manual bidding because Google doesn’t take all the values and signals to pass back and forth.

Finn closed the conversation with his experience. He emphasized that Google has not brought forth anything about best practices for value-based bidding. By having only one value, it seems like CPA bidding. And when a client has multiple value inputs, Google tends to optimize towards the lower-value conversions – ultimately affecting lead quality.

The Google Search Product Managers closed by providing additional resources to dig into overall best practices to leverage search in the world of automation.

Closing Thoughts

Google made it clear that the future of search is visual. For B2B companies, it may require extra creativity to succeed and compete with the visualization updates.

However, the PPC roundtable experts weighed in that if Google wants advertisers to adopt these features, they need to support advertisers more – especially B2B marketers. With limited time and resources, advertisers big and small are trying to do more with less.

Marketers are relying on Google to make these Search updates relevant to not only the user but the advertisers. Having clearer guides, use cases, and conversations is a great step to bringing back the Google and advertiser collaboration.

A special thank you to Ginny Marvin of Google for making space to hear B2B advertiser feedback, as well as all the PPC experts for weighing in.

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Featured image: Shutterstock/T-K-M

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