Nowadays, the internet is flooded with different SEO approaches and ways to make keywords work for you. With all this chatter, it can be hard to know which direction to take to ensure your efforts aren’t wasted. Of course, the easiest way to achieve results is to let an SEO Agency do all the hard work for you, but if on your own SEO journey, you think you may have overlooked some methods, or you want a few ideas on activities to try to get you to that illusive number #1 spot, read on.
Is your website trackable and indexable?
The first step is to ensure that your website is trackable and indexable by search engines. Try an SEO tool like Semrush or Ahrefs to show you any possible issues that could negatively impact google’s ability to crawl your website. After doing this, repeat the same process, but this time change crawlability to indexability to see exactly what could be hurting your site’s ability to be indexed properly. Make sure you address these issues as soon as possible. If google can’t crawl and index your pages, it’s impossible to rank.
Is your page performing on a fundamental level?
It seems obvious, but your web page speed and user experience are among the top ranking factors; in fact, Google recently confirmed this. If your website is slow, or users are getting frustrated with the web experience and bouncing off, this will impact your ranking. Use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to see where you can make improvements. Also, keep in mind that in current times mobile-friendliness is a must, as more and more people are using their phones to search.
The good thing about optimising with these factors in mind is that any changes you make will have a site-wide impact, meaning you don’t have to go page by page –– this is another good reason this should be one of the first things to get on top of.
Have you prioritised low-hanging fruits?
Although the concept is somewhat similar, we aren’t talking about those easy-to-reach lemons hanging off the backyard tree. Low hanging fruits are keywords you already rank for, usually identified as ranking between spots 3-15. These keywords are essential to prioritise as they are already working for you to some degree and can be pushed up to that number one spot with a bit of effort.
To identify these keywords, again, we recommend using an SEO tool like Ahrefs or Semrush. Once you have your list of low-hanging fruit keywords, it’s simply a matter of making small changes to push you up that little bit further. These small changes could be anything from adding internal links to updating your meta tags. It’s important to remember that SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, and by taking the time to make these small changes, you will see a big impact in the long run.
Do you have pages with keyword cannibalisation?
This is a common issue and one that can easily be fixed. It occurs when you have two or more pages on your website targeting the same keyword, which ultimately confuses Google and dilutes any ranking potential for either page. The result? Both pages suffer in the SERPs.
To combat this, you can use Google Search Console to identify any pages that might be cannibalising keywords. Once you’ve found the pages, it’s simply a matter of either merging the content or changing the focus keyword for one of the pages. If you’re unsure which page to keep and which to ditch, a good rule of thumb is to keep the page with the most traffic and authority; remembering, Google would much prefer to see a few strong pages over more pages that are less valuable.
Is your content unique?
This is another crucial ranking factor and one that is often overlooked. Google wants to see truely unique content; they have even said that “creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any other factor”. So it’s essential to ensure that your content is informative and engaging, but most importantly, it needs to be different from any other content currently ranking while remaining relevant.
The best way to do this is to dive into your competitor’s content. Once you have a good understanding of what’s already out there and ranking, it’s time to start brainstorming ideas for your own content. Remember, Google wants to see something new and unique, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box and demonstrate what makes you unique. While this can tricky, it’s worth taking the time to get it right as, once you do, it will be an influential ranking factor for years to come.
Have you optimised your pages properly?
Another fairly basic one, but still an essential inclusion in any SEO checklist, is checking that your pages are correctly optimised. You need to ensure all of your pages have the keyword you want to target in the title and meta tags, H1, first sentence and throughout the content where relevant. This sounds like a really dull task, but it’s one of the most important things when creating content. On a fundamental level, this is how you tell Google what your page is about and without it, you will have a hard time ranking for anything.
When optimising your pages, it’s important not to stuff keywords in where they don’t make sense, as this will only serve to irritate both Google and your readers. Instead, focus on using them naturally and where they make the most sense. Good optimisations satisfy both the needs of Google and users.
Do you have good website authority?
Website authority is a measure of how trustworthy and credible your website is in the eyes of Google. The higher your authority, the more likely you are to rank for competitive keywords. One of the most telling indications is your total number of unique linking root domains. This is a strong ranking factor that you can’t overlook. The total number of referring domains must grow over time to keep Google viewing your site as increasingly more trustworthy.
One of the most effective ways to do this is to secure links from high-quality websites. This is easier said than done, but if you can manage to get links from websites with a high Domain Authority, it will go a long way in helping to increase your own website’s authority. If you’re working with a good SEO company, they should be able to help obtain these links.
Another great way to increase your authority (and traffic) is to be active on social media and create shareable content that encourages people to link to it.
Are your backlinks relevant?
Another fundamental activity we had to include in our SEO checklist is having a strong backlinking strategy, and within that strategy, there are three main components you need to concentrate on when acquiring backlinks if you want them to have a positive impact on your rankings.
Relevance – This is one of the most important factors but it is also not the only determining factor. While there are some instances where this isn’t the case, if your website is about cats and you get a link from a website about dogs, it’s not going to do much for you. Google wants to see links relevant to your website and content if they are to count them as a valuable ranking signal.
Authority – The second most important factor is authority. Google puts a lot of emphasis on the quality of websites that are linking to you. If you have links from high-authority websites, it will do wonders for your rankings. Conversely, if you have links from low-quality or spammy websites, it could actually hurt your rankings.
Traffic – The third factor is traffic. Google looks at the traffic that a website receives as an indication of its quality. If a website is linking to you and gets plenty of organic search traffic, Google somewhat trusts it; However, adversely, if the website linking to you doesn’t get much traffic, it will not have much of an impact.
SEO can be a complex and time-consuming process, but it is definitely worth it if you want to rank higher on search engine results pages. By following the tips in this SEO checklist, you should see a noticeable improvement in your rankings over time. Just remember to be patient, as it takes time for Google to take notice of your optimisations and make changes to your rankings.
If you want to see even better results, consider hiring an experienced SEO Agency that can help take your website to the next level. With their help, you can achieve even higher rankings and get more Just remember to be patient; Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is good SEO.
If you need any help or have any questions regarding any of the methods mentioned above, feel free to contact our team of experts at Whitehat Agency today! We’d be happy to help.