SEO Checklist for 2020
Today we have a guest post from Pete Kever, president of K6 Digital Marketing, who has been leading the SEO, search marketing, website development and digital marketing for its clients. He’s been at it since before Google.
The World Wide Web has reached its “thirtysomething” birthday and is the base of the world’s digital information infrastructure. Today, according to websitehostingrating.com, there are over 1.74 billion websites containing many trillions of documents. With so many websites clamoring to deliver information to their target audience, search engine optimization (SEO) is as important as ever.
SEO is the art and science of attempting to gain a listing of website content on page one of Google, the world’s most popular search engine. If your content is not on page one, your competitors are getting their messages in front of your potential customers instead of you.
SEO helps businesses put their messages in front of people right at the moment they are searching for it.
SEO is Important to Every Business
Trades marketers and manufacturers need to care about their search engine rank. According to a recent Google study:
- 71 percent of B2B researchers start their research with a generic search
- On average, B2B researchers do 12 searches prior to engaging on a specific brand’s site
- 89 percent of B2B researchers use the internet during the B2B research process
- Nearly half of all B2B researchers are millennials
- B2B researchers who are not in the C-suite influence purchase decisions
- 70 percent of B2B buyers and researchers are watching videos throughout their path to purchase
While there are a number of marketing strategies and services available to get the attention of online viewers, such as social media marketing, pay-per-click advertising, email marketing and digital banner ads, SEO still offers the most long-term value.
We have developed a checklist of important technical and creative SEO tactics.
Pick Relevant, Focused Keywords
Based on your products and services and on what people are actually searching for, select a list of keywords and phrases that will lead people to your site who most likely will buy. This list becomes your keyword roster and is monitored; over time your rankings should increase for the important terms. Online tools are available for conducting keyword research and for monitoring rankings–a popular one is SEMRush but there are others.
Be sure to choose a mixture of highly popular, but more difficult keywords and long-tail keyword phrases–specific terms that are not used as often, but are less competitive and that tend to bring qualified traffic.
Write Useful, Engaging, Unique Content
Once you know the terms that are actually being used to find your products and services, you need to build content containing those keywords and phrases throughout your site. Professional SEO writers are valuable here, as they understand tactics like semantic search and keyword iterations and can weave keywords into on-page copy for the search engines that also help drive action from users.
Your site needs content that is both sales- and value-based, as well as educational. The sales and value content is optimized for keywords and focused on pitching your products and services. The educational content builds your organization as a thought leader and is useful for providing helpful resources that eventually drive purchase decisions.
Educational content–such as a blog–is also great for social media sharing and building awareness.
Make Sure All HTML Tags Are Optimized
Some HTML tags are absolutely essential for any SEO campaign and MUST be utilized if you want SEO success. Title tags feature keywords from your roster and are useful to search engines in understanding the context of each page. The description meta tag gives more detail on the page’s content is usually a reader’s first encounter with your website in the listings on search results pages.
There are rules and best practices for character-count limits and what to include in these tags if you want to maximize their effectiveness. Search Engine Journal offers a good primer on these essential tags for your online presence.
Build Inbound Links
The more links from other sites that link to your website, the better. The logic here is that other sites respect your site and are referring their traffic to your site. Your website is thus a healthy and participating component of the Web.
Be aware: links that are deemed “toxic” by Google and other search engines can actually harm the SEO rankings of your site, and disavowing bad links is an aspect of SEO that needs to be followed. Google Analytics can help with this SEO task and many others!
Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile Friendly
Google has begun displaying mobile content more predominately and is thus very interested in ranking websites that work well on a mobile platform. Google has even created a “mobile friendly test” tool to get insight into whether individual pages on your site pass basic mobile checks.
Make Sure Your Site Is Fast and Responsive
Since Google’s business relies on being the “front door” to web content, they are constantly looking to rank websites that have short wait times, load correctly and respond well to users. Therefore, it is important to constantly be checking your site for slow-loading pages, images that are very large, broken links and more.
Stay Connected with Customers and Prospects via Social Media
Social media sites like LinkedIn and Instagram are powerful tools to connect with your customers and prospects, and to increase your brand awareness. Social media does not directly influence your search engine rank, but well-known brands tend to get more clicks and engagement than unknown entities.
These platforms are other digital destinations where searchers can find out about your business and often you can provide a link on these platforms to come to your website. Just as “all roads lead to Rome,” many roads can lead to your website. Social media platforms are also useful in promoting special campaigns and offers.
YouTube is owned by Google and indexed by Google with great regularity. More importantly, video content is highly popular–YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world behind Google. 68% of YouTube viewers have watched a video to help them decide upon a purchase. Having your company content on YouTube is a smart marketing strategy. Also, videos keep site visitors on your web pages longer.
Staying on top of SEO is an expense, but the long-term ROI is one of the highest among all forms of advertising and marketing. Once your website has been optimized and you continue to follow SEO best practices, you will see a payback over time, whether your goals are increased brand share, more leads, or more sales.
Make no mistake, whether you decide to pursue SEO or not, some of your competitors absolutely will.
Would you like to engage with Sonnhalter for SEO services for your industrial or manufacturing business? We’re here for you – please contact us to get the conversation started.