Whether you’re a business owner, marketer, web developer, or SEO professional, improving your site’s presence on Google Search is a top priority. That’s because search-friendly content helps provide valuable boosts to organic traffic, conversions, and potential revenue. You’ll find countless tips and SEO advice online, but it might seem challenging to know what your primary focus should be. This comprehensive SEO checklist will help point you in the right direction and give your website a Google-friendly new start in 2022.
If you’re interested in SEO from a business standpoint, chances are you’ve already looked into some of the basics of optimizing your site for search engines. It might seem overwhelming, but with the help of SEO professionals and Google’s business-friendly tools and features, you can make significant progress on your new year’s SEO goals.
If you operate a physical storefront, you need your information to show up properly on Google Search and Google Maps. Doing so increases your store’s overall visibility, helping you stand out as users search for businesses and services similar to yours in their local area. Best of all, this increases the likelihood that your store will appear in general searches as well. Google makes this process easy via the Google Business Profile Manager.
Next, you’ll need to get verified on Google, as this will give you more control over the information shown on your panel. Whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise, verifying your Google Business profile will provide actionable insights into what kinds of searches lead users to your business profile. Additionally, the verification process sends a message to searchers that they can trust your services, establishing legitimacy and differentiating you from competitors with similar, unverified pages.
Helping Google understand your site is one of the most crucial search engine optimizations you can make. After all, you’ve worked hard on your website, and you want the right people to find it. You can accomplish this by creating a concise description of your business. It all starts with accurate, descriptive titles for all of your pages. If you’re covering different topics or offering various products or services, separate that content onto different pages, with one topic per page. At the same time, remember to include information about your product or service offerings. While Google is smart, it still needs some help understanding what your business is about.
As “the language of search engines,” structured data (sometimes referred to as schema) is an easy way to help Google understand your content better. When implemented correctly, it can ultimately enhance your site’s visibility and ranking potential. Found in just about every type of content, from event listings to products, restaurants, and more, it also makes your pages eligible for special features. For example, websites hosting recipe ideas can use a review star system to encourage user interaction, improving click-through rates in the process. Likewise, educational sites can make use of carousels, datasets, and fact check features, guiding users to important information. With more information found on the Google Search Central database, business owners can learn valuable tips on the types of special features best suited for their websites.
Images and graphics are vital for web content. Not only do they make it easier to read by breaking up large blocks of text, but they also serve as cues for people as well, helping to orient them to content more quickly and efficiently. With the web designed to be accessible for everyone, focusing on the user with a combination of high-quality images, rich alt text, and image SEO best practices is an excellent way to optimize your website further.
User experience, often referred to as “page experience,” is Google’s measurement of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page beyond its informational value. Split into separate page experience signals, these Core Web Vitals measure a page’s loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability. At the same time, the mobile-friendliness of a page is taken into account, along with how safe that page is to browse. Rounding out the list, Google looks at whether that page is served over a secure HTTPS connection, along with the level of Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness that is translated directly via the page’s content and keywords. With Google beginning to use page experience as part of desktop ranking signals in February 2022 (they’ve been part of mobile since August 2021), businesses and marketers will need to dive deep into their site to ensure they’re hitting all the right marks.
Speaking of site analytics, it’s never too late to check how your site is doing in terms of clicks, impressions, and rankings. After all, what’s the point of completing these optimizations if no one can find your site? Thankfully, Google provides an easy solution via their Search Console. Whether you’re a newer business looking to gain a competitive edge or simply want to cement your site as a trusted source in the industry, Google Seach Console can provide helpful insights. You can leverage these insights to help plan your next content upgrade or landing page redesign.
If you’re a web developer, many of the above concepts will feel pretty familiar. Given that you’ll be in charge of markup and code for a website, you’ll be interested in monitoring and resolving common issues associated with how the site shows up on Google Search. As such, these are the extra SEO checklist items you need to know:
Given that developers play such a vital role in search engine optimization, it never hurts to brush up on the basics every now and then, especially when it comes to how your site and its content appear on Google Search. After all, one of the hallmarks of creating great content is making sure it’s search-friendly. If the relevant audience can’t find it or if Google Search has trouble understanding your page, you’re already losing out on valuable traffic and potential revenue. Therefore, one of your first search engine optimization tasks as a developer should be checking the mobile-friendliness of your website via Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. This will provide valuable insights into how Googlebot sees your site. From there, you’ll want to check your links, build and submit your sitemap, and verify that every page has a descriptive title and meta description.
Once you’ve done the legwork of making your website search-friendly, mobile-friendly, and optimized for UX, keep a close eye on your site’s performance via Google Search Console. Full of helpful tools and reports, Google Search Console is especially handy for web developers as it can help you manage how Google indexes, crawls, and serves your site. For starters, the Index Coverage report will show which pages have errors, warnings, or might be excluded from Search. In addition, it’ll show the number of impressions those pages accrued on Google Search, giving better insights into how those issues might have affected your organic traffic. Next, the URL Inspection tool will provide the current index status of your pages with options to test a live URL. At the same time, you can ask Google to crawl a specific page and view detailed information regarding that page’s loaded resources. Should you need to find or fix threats affecting your site, the Security Issues report will streamline that process, while the Core Web Vitals report will help you monitor your page experience scores with real-world usage data.
If your site offers different content based on a user’s country, region, or language, Google offers multilingual and multi-regional tips you can use to ensure you’re managing that content appropriately. From language and region-specific URLs to letting users swap the page language via hyperlinks, these tips will help you optimize Google Search results for your site far more efficiently.
You’re more than familiar with the above concepts if you’re an SEO professional. Given that your focus is on monitoring site traffic and optimizing rankings, you’ll still want to go down the list and check off the boxes, especially when it comes to making decisions about the appearance of your site in Search results. After all, you want those decisions to be as informed as possible. To that end, there are two site monitoring tips worth mentioning.
Like web developers, SEO professionals should have a solid grasp of all the tools Google Search Console can offer to monitor and optimize site performance. For starters, Google’s Manual Actions reports can help showcase whether your site has a manual action against it, causing some or all of your site not to appear in search results. Secondly, you can quickly remove content from your site via the Removals tool, giving you six months to decide if you’d rather update and allow that content to be seen or keep it permanently deleted. In addition, should you choose to move your website from one domain or subdomain to another, Google makes this process simpler via their Change of Address Tool. To top things off, you can review, debug, and fix any issues with structured data implementation via Rich Result Status Reports. In these reports, you’ll find details on any errors that might prevent your pages from showing as rich results, along with any warnings that might limit the site’s appearance.
Whether it’s articles, blogs, or SEO case studies, Google and dedicated sites host a ton of valuable resources to help you improve your SEO strategies. At the same time, many of these resources work as useful communication tools, giving talented SEO writers the chance to simplify complicated concepts into a language that anyone, no matter their SEO expertise, can understand. As you work to cultivate your own content, take note of how these resources are structured, as they might help you provide others with a better understanding of Search and the value of thoughtfully-implemented SEO.
No matter your SEO experience, the above recommendations will undoubtedly help you improve and optimize your SEO strategies moving into the new year. Should you find yourself needing a little extra help, turn to the search marketing experts at VELOX Media.
As a Google Premier Partner with over 10 years of experience, we’ve helped customize SEO strategies for a variety of businesses and enterprises, providing needle-moving revenue wins across multiple industries. Reach out today to learn how we can help you improve your presence on Google Search today.