7 Step SEO Checklist - Day 22

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization is one of those topics that not too many people know how it works and so seems like some type of magical ranking system. While it is important, I think it is talked about far too much because it you are just doing everything correctly then good SEO should work itself out. It used to be different years ago when you could just stuff your site with invisible meta tags stuffed with searchable keywords to sky-rocket up the google search page, but those days are long gone.

Google is constantly changing and improving their search algorithm to deter those companies from promising first page results overnight for your company. It’s not good business for them and so it’s in their best interest to not allow any shortcuts to the first page of google. Instead of cheating the system, the best approach is just be conscious of creating valuable content that your readers will actually want to use. With SEO it’s a long term investment for your website.

Keywords

It’s important to know what keywords people in your industry are searching for in order to successfully check off the 7 steps below. If you don’t already know, start searching online though forums and search to see what people are talking about and searching for. Two main ways you can do this is start by just searching things in Google search and see what the autocomplete suggests.

Google Search

Get creative with your searches, as you can see some people search for some weird s**t but it’s super helpful in figuring out what people are interested in and that usually correlates well with what people will spend money on.

Reddit Search

Another great resource if you don’t already visit it several times a day like myself is reddit. There is a subreddit for for almost everything. If you are not familiar with reddit it is the 6th most visited website in the world right behind wikipedia and is basically like a forum for everything under the sun. Find subreddits in your own niche and start answering questions and getting involved.

The Checklist

1) HTML Tags

  • Are you using h1, h2, h3, h4 & p tags correctly?

    • Correctly titled h1 tags should contain the keywords from above
    • You don’t want to over use h1, h2 tags (only a 1-4 per page)

2) Meta Tags

  • This is easy..use them
  • Don’t just copy and paste the same stuff for each page, make them unique

    <title>DamnGoodBrew</title>
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">
    <meta name="keywords" content="cold brew, coffee, iced coffee">
    <meta name="description" content="This is an example of a meta description.">

3) URLs

  • Are your URLs short, clean and easy to read
  • Do they correctly match the content on your website?
  • Make sure there are no broken links

Example

http://damngoodbrew.co/blog/how-to-make-cold-brew

It should be clear what the user is about to read from the URL before the rest of the page even loads.

4) Images

  • Size - They shouldn’t be too large

    • There’s no set standard but the image shouldn’t be 2000px wide if the max width of the website is 960px
    • It’s still a large image but at 500kb no image should exceed that file size
  • Alt tags - Use them to describe what is going on in the image for google

Example

<img alt="Picture of a girl pouring cold brew coffee in a glass." src="./img/coffee.jpg">

5) Mobile Optimization

Most web traffic is coming from mobile phones today while most development is on desktop, make sure the site works just as well if not better on mobile as it does on desktop screens. You can do this a few ways but with DamnGoodBrew we are leveraging both mobile breakpoints with CSS media queries and Flexbox.

6) HTTP vs. HTTPS

Recently Google announced that it would rank websites with a secure connection (https) higher. the default for websites is plain http connection but it is becoming increasingly important to purchase a SSL certificate to verify the security of your domain.

http://damngoodbrew.co
https://damngoodbrew.co

7) Blog & Content

While the previous 6 points were important coding improvements to your website, the most important overall aspect of high ranking in google is simply the content you create throughout your website. It’s important to create unique content that’s not copy and pasted from other sources or even other sections of your website. The Google search algorithm will go through and read your website just as a human would and determine if the content matches up with what people are searching for and interested in. A huge boost in searchability is also creating blog posts that are shareable, creating backlinks back to your website from say facebook, youtube or other blogs. These are huge as it means other people find the content valuable enough to share it and in turn rank your website higher in search.

TLDR; There is no cheating the system, implementing all of these steps takes time as does climbing in Google search but it will pay off in the end if you are creating valuable content for your readers.

Conclusion

Check out the video below for a more in-depth overview for the Zero to Startup in 30 Days Challenge.

7 Step SEO Checklist

Coming Tomorrow -----> jQuery vs. Javascript

Want To Learn How To Turn Your Ideas Into Code?


Written by Tim Moreton who lives and works
in Philadelphia building useful things.