This Simple SEO Checklist for Small Business Websites Will Help You Gain Higher Search Rankings!
Why You Need an SEO Checklist for Small Business Websites
Small business owners are among the hardest working people we know. No kidding, just think how many things they have to do every day just to keep their business running. Most small business owners have little or no time for internet marketing. And even those that handle their own online presence frequently don’t want or feel comfortable around search engine optimization. We understand. SEO can be one of the more daunting internet marketing tasks for most small business owners. But there are many things a small business owner can do to check how their business website is doing in search. We combined them into a Simple SEO Checklist for Small Business Websites.
Yes, SEO is Essential in 2018!
SEO is one of the things that many small business owners don’t really understand. As a result many small business owners rely on outside service providers to help them rank on Google and other search engines. Unfortunately many times that does not work out well. Relying on the fact that many small business owners don’t understand what is involved black hat SEO firms frequently take payment without doing much else than taking the client’s money.
If you don’t know already you can learn how to tell the difference between black hat SEO and white hat SEO here. But for those of you who either already do your own SEO, or for those of you simply wanting to check up on your SEO provider we created a simple SEO checklist for small business websites.
By running your business website through our SEO checklist for small business websites you can get detailed results of your website health, investigate underlying issues and problems, and fix and optimize your site’s performance. Keep in mind that each website is marketing a different product or service, and each website has a different target audience.
This is not intended to be a complete SEO manual, but rather a quick business reference for you. Here is what you should look for. You don’t have to follow this in any specific order; all items are equally important. Some things you only have to check once, or very infrequently. Other things you should keep a close eye on.
SEO Checklist for Small Business Websites
Here is What You Need to Check:
Have you installed Google Analytics on your small business website? Google analytics is important for understanding how people are using your site, and where they are coming from.
Google Webmaster Tools
Have you installed Google Webmaster Tools? Webmaster tools analyzes your website’s health and gives business owners an overview of crawl errors, low-ranking sites that are linking to your domain, indexing issues, and Google messages!
Are your pages indexed in Google? Open a Google search window and type in your website domain using site search. For instance, we would search for site:espresso.digital. Do you see a list of results for your small business website? And is your home page at the top of the list?
Does your brand show up in the Google search engine results pages (SERPs)? Another simple item on our SEO checklist for small business website you can easily check for yourself. Simply use quotation marks around your brand name to see if it shows up in the results. For instance, we would search for “Studio 5 Innovation”. Notice we are not using our domain name here! Check and see how many places your brand shows up!
This is a very important item on our SEO checklist for small business websites, yet many business owners don;t even know they have this file! You want to make sure your robots.txt files is not blocking any important content on your site from being indexed. Simply type /robots.txt at the end of your domain and you will see a list of pages that are stopping search engines like Google from indexing your site. For instance, we would type https://espresso.digital/robots.txt to look at our robots.txt file. Keep in mind that you may want to block a few pages, such as your admin pages.
Next on our SEO checklist for small business websites is to check and see if you submitted an XML sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools. Simple type in /sitemap.xml at the end of your domain name and a list of pages in your sitemap should be displayed. For instance, we would type https://espresso.digital/sitemap.xml to see our sitemap. You can also check for errors and alerts on your sitemap at Google Webmaster Tools.
If you are not aware of this, ever since The Google Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Update of April 21, 2015 having a mobile friendly, responsive website is an absolute must. You can check if your business website is indeed mobile-friendly by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool, simply type in your domain and check the results.
Next on our SEO checklist for small business websites is to see if your title tags are optimized and unique. Be sure to include your brand name in the title tag, and check to make sure your title tag fits into the 500px width allocated by Google so it is not cut off!
Moving right along our SEO checklist for small business websites you now need to check to see if your on-page content, your text and images, includes a primary keyword or long-tail key phrase several times throughout the page. Your primary keyword should be used in your meta tags, H-1 tags (headlines) and the body copy of your page. You should also include it in the file name, alt tag, and image description of any image on your site.
Title Tag Keywords
Do your title tags include your keywords describing your business, industry, product or service and location? Your page title is the first line of text a searcher sees in the SERPs and it is vitally important that a strong keyword or key phrase is used to help describe the page title.
Next on our SEO checklist for small business website is the content. It is absolutely imperative that every page on your site contains a minimum of 300 to 500 words of relevant, organic keyword rich, text. This helps provide search engines like Google and Bing with enough context regarding what your website is all about. If you are not sure what makes good content check out our 16 Strategies for Compelling Content Creation.
Formatting and Design
This may seem a little out-of-place in an SEO checklist for small business websites, but formatting and design play a big role in user experience (UX). Not only does your site need to be easy to crawl and index for bots and spiders, it also needs to appeal to your human visitors! Check to make sure your content is easy to read and understand. Use headings and images to break up your content into easy to scan sections.
The final item on our SEO checklist for small business websites is internal links. These may not seem to be all that important to most business owners, but they are very important to search engines. Internal links help search engines crawl your site more effectively by highlighting specific anchor-text that points users to relevant pages and posts.
Using the SEO Checklist for Small Business Websites
Now that you have our SEO checklist for small business websites you can take the next steps. If you already have an existing SEO strategy you may only need to make a few minor adjustments. Simply run through a few of the checks we listed and see where you are.
We always recommend starting with the low hanging fruit. Maybe you simply need to insert a few appropriate title or meta tags, and upload a sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools. Even simple things like adding another paragraph of text or an image or two can make a big difference!
On the other hand, if our SEO checklist for small business websites revealed more serious omissions and errors you may need to bring in some outside help. Now that you have an SEO checklist for small business websites you can even tell your existing SEO service provider where they are falling short.
Additional SEO Resources You May Want To Check
If you are new to SEO, or simply want a better understanding of how search engine optimization works and how you can apply it to your digital marketing strategy you may want to check out these posts from our ESPRESSO Shots Blog:
- 9 SEO Basics to Grow Your Small Business
- WordPress SEO Tips for Small Business Websites
- 15 Key Small Business Website Success Tips
- Key SEO Considerations for Website Redesign
- Web Designer’s SEO Guide – How to Improve Search Ranking
- Finding the Best SEO Service Provider – 6 Things to Consider
- A Guide for Creating SEO-Friendly Content
- 52 Local SEO Strategies Any Business Can Implement
- 11 Local SEO Tips to Get Your Business Noticed
If you are interested in doing your own SEO you can save a lot of time by using professional SEO tools. While there is an almost endless variety of free and premium tools available many of them are of questionable use. Part of our SEO tips is to use industry-standard tools like these:
- SEMRush – Advanced SEO Tool
- MozPro – A Leading SEO Tool
- Ahrefs – Competitor Research Tools and Backlinks Checker
- Google Analytics – The Industry Standard for Web Analytics
- SE Ranking – All-in-One SEO Software
Here at the highly caffeinated agency we use all of the above on a daily basis. We know and trust them, and so should you. If you have any questions or need some additional info please feel free to reach out to us!
We Can Help Your Business Get Found!
Here at ESPRESSO.digital, we offer a full range of SEO and related services, including mobile-first web design, WordPress web design, and search engine optimization. Contact us to learn more about our small business SEO services, and how our team can help you rank higher on Google and Bing.
Do you have anything to add to our SEO checklist for small business websites? Please leave your comments below so our audience can benefit as well, and grab our feed so you don’t miss our next post! And help your audience with their online marketing by sharing our SEO checklist for small business websites with them!
Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!