I was recently working on an SEO checklist to ensure we weren’t missing any important steps in getting higher search results for our clients. Instead of creating a list from scratch, I glanced through existing lists and made sure I wasn’t doubling up my efforts.
Much to my surprise, I found most lists already published (and commonly used) to be confusing, stuffed with opinion, and not really relevant to our purposes (our clients don’t typically have any interest in promotional activities that skirt the line between ethical and not).
From about 10 lists I found, I gathered only the points we would need and would make sense to the average person looking to ensure their SEO is up to snuff. I only found about 15 usable points in all of those lists, but from my research, I came to discover something much more valuable.
After collecting these 15 items and putting our current client’s new website to the test, I noticed a lot of these items were already done; not because we had an SEO expert on staff, but simply because SEO is something that comes pretty naturally with effective copywriting.
Keyword density in body text between 5-20%? Any decent copywriter pretty much does this without thinking twice. Singular and plurals of keywords and keyphrases? Once again, a copywriter with experience will automatically do this. Anchor text links created for internal pages using keywords and phrases? You get the point by…
So the next time you’re looking for a company that performs SEO services and hands over keyword filled copy, read it over. You’d be surprised to find that even you can’t understand what’s been written, which means your audience won’t have a clue either.
The best thing you can do for your website? Hire a copywriter.
Anyway, here’s that handy-dandy checklist (which you may not even need):
1. Keyword density in body text – 5-20% depending on topic. Use http://tools.seobook.com/general/keyword-density/ .
2. Keywords appear in H1, H2, and H3 tags.
3. Keyword prominence – Keywords and phrases should appear as close to the top of the page as possible.
4. Keywords in title tags – Should be close to the beginning and 10-60 characters in length.
5. Keywords in description meta tag – Less than 200 characters.
6. Keywords in keyword meta tag – Less than 10 words, and every word should appear in body text, or else you can be penalized. No repeating of words more than twice.
7. Keyword phrase order – The phrases directly match search queries.
8. Keywords appear in alt text.
9. Keywords are used in links to site pages (anchor text).
10. There are less than 100 links to external pages.
11. Incoming links are present.
12. Site map was created and submitted.
13. Make sure singulars and plurals are used in keywords and phrases.
14. Send website to directories for listing.
15. Set up Authority Labs website ranking and Google Analytics.