A simple guide to modern Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Why do you need to optimize?
So. you’ve decided to write an article. Great. Now what? Whether you are selling a product, leaving a review, passing you knowledge, experiences, or skills to others, or promoting your personal brand – you need an audience.
Content may be king, but reach is a peach.
- Have you researched your Keywords related to your content and do you understand impact of your top 2-3 keywords and phrases?
- From your keywords, pick one primary keyword to make your focus, and ensure that it appears in your title, top level heading, and body content
- Is your title tag less that 70 characters?
- Do you have a meta description? It should be approximately between 100-150 characters, and reflect the intent of your content
- Are your headings structured logically? (one H1, appropriate H2 -> H* levels)
- Is your content the appropriate length? Try not to be overly verbose, but be sure to provide enough content to be digestible.
- Don’t overwhelm your audience. Prefer multiple smaller articles if needed rather than a single monolithic article that nobody will read in one sitting.
- Are variations of your keyword present in sub-headings (if applicable)
- Do all images have appropriate captions/alt-text descriptions – this is useful for accessibility as well as SEO. Bonus!
- Are you using images that appropriately relate to your content?
- Do you have any links to other pages within your site?
- Do you have any external links? Are they linking to reputable web sites?
- Ensure you have the no-follow attribute set for external links where applicable. (If you are unsure what this means, you probably need to talk to your developer) Are all of your links appropriate for your body content? – SEO is about connections, you should ensure that what you are linking is relevant to your content strategy.
- Is your content unique? Is this cornerstone content for your site (primary focus)?
- Have you selected the appropriate category and tags (if applicable) for your content?
- Do you have correctly configured analytics and tracking (if desired)?
- Is your site mobile friendly? This is 2019, if not you lose, find a new template or contact a good developer for consultation.
- Does your site meet performance expectations?
As a content author, or an editor it your responsibility to ensure that the content you create is discoverable and available to the people you are trying to reach. Below is an updated guide for 2019 that highlights just a few of the best practices to follow before hitting that publish button.
The Secrets Search Engine Optimization experts don’t want you to know
SEO is tricky. And mostly magic. Nobody really know what goes on behind the scenes when your site is being indexed. My list above, like any checklist, should be considered a rough guide. You don’t need everything listed in every scenario. Follow your own heart and respect your brand.
The Short Version
- Focus on your content.
- Know your audience.
- Be your own voice.