SEO Checklist - Your 5 factor guide to optimising your website

03/03/2022
7 min read

Understand the 5 factors of SEO using this simple checklist

If you have read our SEO Overview, you'll understand just how important it is to ensure that your website is properly optimised.

It is critical that you ensure your website is clear, relevant, fast and easy to understand for both users and search engines.

This will ensure that your website performs well in search results and provides an excellent user experience, with the aim of gaining more organic traffic and higher conversion rates.

In this simple SEO checklist, we will take you through an overview of each of the core factors that contribute to your website optimisation.

 

What are the 5 Factors of SEO?

 

Factor 1

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the process of understanding what terms and phrases, relevant to our business, that people are searching for.

Once we know which terms our potential customers are searching, we can optimise our website and content to match these queries and provide the answers.

In doing so, we stand a better chance of Search Engines ranking and presenting our website in search results when a user searches for the term, query or phrase.

 

When doing Keyword Research, you should;

  • Brainstorm the topics and broad terms which are relevant to your business
  • Research the average search volumes for each of your terms to understand popularity and potential traffic
  • Consider how competitive each search term is and which websites are currently ranking
  • For each of your topics, identify more specific questions, phrases and queries which users are actively searching
  • Create list groups of topics and phrases which you will use to optimise your relevant website pages

There are fantastic tools available online which you can use to do keyword research, generate ideas, explore topics and formulate a winning keyword strategy.

To understand the complete process of keyword research, check out our article;

How to do Keyword Research for your website >>

 

Factor 2

Content and On-Page Optimisation

On-Page SEO is the practice of optimising your individual website pages to rank effectively in search engines for your chosen keywords.

The goal being to gain relevant organic traffic for the topics and keywords you are targeting.

It is a two-fold process which relates to the quality and relevance of your actual written content, and the technical implementation into your website.

 

To optimise a website page, you should;

  • Choose which of your chosen keywords, phrases or queries your page will target
  • Use your target keywords in the meta title element
  • Write a unique meta description, relevant to the page content and including your target keywords
  • Include your target keywords and phrases in the on-page title (h1)
  • Utilise secondary, long tail and variations of your keyword in secondary page headings
  • Use the correct HTML formatting for headings - i.e. H1, H2, H3 tags
  • Write informative, descriptive and interesting content that engages the user, is well-structured and easy to read
  • Check spelling and grammar
  • Include high quality images and graphics, compressed and optimised for web
  • Add Alt tags to your images
  • Include internal links to other important pages on your website
  • Use external links to informative, relevant pages on other websites
  • Ensure that all content is unique, and you do not duplicate content from other pages or other websites

As well as these individual page practices, you should also be sure that every page is mobile-friendly and has a quick load speed. These factors can be classed as Technical SEO, which will be addressed by your web developer.

On-Page SEO is an essential practice which you should implement for every page you create on your website. Take every step to become familiar and fluent with these techniques to increase the probability of your pages ranking in search engines for the relevant search terms.

We recommend reading the On-Page SEO Guide from Backlinko >>

 

Factor 3

Link Building & Off-Site SEO

This is the process of gaining links to our website, from other high quality, relevant websites.

These links act as signals to Google and other search engines that our website pages hold value and are relevant to users.

To understand more about link building, you should check out this beginners guide from Ahrefs >>

 

When Link Building, you should;

  • Identify the most important pages you want these links to point to, and the keywords you would like them to rank for.
  • From your industry research, identify relevant websites which would provide a valuable link back to your website
  • Begin building relationships through outreach with website owners in your niche or industry that will be able to provide valuable ongoing mutual support through link building and cross promotion.
  • Consider ways in which you can produce valuable content which site owners will naturally want to link to
  • Find local and high quality business directories to add your information to
  • Think about press releases which may gain backlinks through media and review websites
  • Be sure to share your content across social media platforms where website owners are likely to see your content and potentially link to it
  • Research mentions of your brand, products and services across the web and reach out to the website owners to turn these into links
  • Analyse competitor link profile to find opportunities to build your own from these sources

Link building is a significant part of SEO which can have major benefits. However, it can be a delicate process with many spammy shortcut tactics which can be damaging to your domain.

Before you start link building, be sure to fully understand the mechanics and implications of your strategy.

You can find out more about the strategies mentioned above on Search Engine Journal >>

 

Factor 4

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is the practice of ensuring your website can be efficiently crawled, understood and indexed by search engines.

It pertains to the ongoing improvement of technical, rendering, accessibility and structural aspects of your website

Many of these factors will be addressed by your website developer during the build process. Furthermore, your content management system should contain relevant settings allowing you to monitor and control the technical aspects of your website.

 

Key Technical SEO factors;

  • Domain is using HTTPS (has SSL Certificate)
  • Website should be accessible to search engines
  • Mobile-friendly and responsive website design
  • Website optimised for fast page-load speed
  • SEO friendly URL structure
  • Website has an HTML and XML Sitemap
  • Check page depth for important pages
  • You have a Robots.txt file - what's this?
  • 404 not found pages have 301 redirects
  • Find and fix broken internal / external hyperlinks
  • Add Structured Data where relevant
  • Canonical tags used to resolve any duplicate content issues

As we said, the majority of these aspects will be handled by your developer as part of the build of your website, but if you're feeling adventurous and want to know more, check out this Technical Seo Guide from Ahrefs >>

 

To monitor technical aspects of your website, you should;

  • This diagnostic tool is highly informative, providing insight into how your website is performing. Check out this useful guide on Google Search Console >>

  • This offers the same insights for their search engine. Read more information in the guide on Bing Webmaster Tools >>

  • This allows you to track and monitor website traffic levels, acquisition and behaviour on your website - Google Analytics >>

In most instances, your web developer will assist you with adding the relevant tracking codes to your website content management system and verifying them respectively.

 

Once your website is verified in your search consoles, you should;

  • Submit your sitemap to your search consoles
  • Ensure your website is crawled and indexed
  • Check page load speeds and actions to improve
  • Monitor mobile-friendly reports
  • Frequently check the diagnostic tools in these consoles for manual actions, guidance, and reports.

Hubspot provide a great article where you can learn more about how to use Google Search Console >>

 

Factor 5

Local SEO

Local SEO is the process of optimising your website and online presence to target a particular geographic area.

If you want to gain website traffic from an area demographic, you need to make sure Google and other search engines are aware that your business is relevant to that location.

 

Local SEO example

  • Try searching any service or product type in Google (adding "near me" or the location you are looking in).
  • You get a "map pack" set of results which show you businesses offering those services in your local / desired area.
  • These businesses have been identified by Google as relevant to that geographic location, and subsequently has listed them in the local results.

 

To optimise for local SEO, you should;

Any business with a physical location, or that targets a particular service area, should practice local SEO.

  • Search Engines must see relevant local and business information on your website. Be sure to add your exact NAP (Name, Address and Phone) number to your website.

    Aside from your trading business name, address and telephone number, you should also try to include opening hours, social media links, and consider a Google Map embed.

  • Indicate to search engines naturally within your page content the service area which is relevant to your business.

    Ensure that you follow the on-page optimisation techniques to include the relevant local keywords in your page content and metadata.

  • Try writing blogs or news articles that are relevant to your target local area.

    Include your local keywords and make each article target a unique topic. You can also add area specific testimonials and press releases among other things.

  • It is essential that you set up or claim your Google business listing so that you can properly optimise it, add accurate information and link to your website.

    You should search Google for your business name, and claim your listing if it already exists. If not, you can set one up on Google My Business >>

  • Google loves customer reviews. Be sure to encourage your genuine customers to leave reviews on your Google Business Profile.

  • Bing Places is another important search engine business listing which you should claim and complete.

    Create and optimise your Bing Places for Business >>

  • Be sure to optimise and add the exact same business details across all of your social media business profiles and any local / national directories you can list your business on.

  • Where ever you add your business information on the web, whether it is your website, social media or 3rd party listing websites, ALWAYS ensure your NAP and business information is accurate.

    Search engines use this information to connect the dots about your business, so makes things as clear and consistent for them for the best results.

Local SEO is an extremely important pillar of SEO for businesses that need geographical website traffic and business enquiries.

This important factor should not be overlooked and should be a key part of your overall SEO Strategy.

We recommend that you check out this great article from Neil Patel - The definitive guide to Local SEO >>

 

The 5 Factors of SEO

There we have it! Your 5 Factor SEO Checklist. You should always refer to this information when making strategic decisions about your overall and day-to-day SEO.

Obviously, this quick overview is designed to make you aware of the factors involved in SEO.

When you come to the point of creating and implementing your strategy, we highly recommend reading additional Web Rocket SEO Resources

You should always start with planning your SEO Strategy >>

Kieran Watman

Kieran Watman

Director at Watman & Worth Web

At Watman & Worth Web Ltd, we are constantly researching and learning more about the digital marketing world. I love putting together all of this information to help the businesses we work with to use the full potential of the online landscape to make their website thrive.

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