These 12 steps are based on Google’s advice to small business owners with websites they may not have time to invest in with SEO research but who want to make sure they don’t get penalized and make sure they do benefit from organic SEO.
301 permanent redirects
Use 301 permanent redirects to avoid pages appearing as duplicate content including with and without www. and with or without a / at the end of a URL. Duplicate content will be penalized in results, you should focus any link building at one URL ideally too.
Use Google Webmaster tools, validate and sign up for e-mail forwarding
Yes Google would want you to do this but it really is invaluable as once you set up Google webmaster tools and prove you own your site you can get a lot of information, not least alerts when Google find problems with your site; sign up for e-mail forwarding to get any alerts sent through directly.
Domain Background Check
Check who has used your domain before you purchased it and find out how they used it by checking for alerts and keywords in webmaster tools, if they were spammers or used Black Hat techniques to obtain links you could be penalized.
Fetch as Googlebot, make sure text is indexable
See your site as Google sees it, look for errors and most importantly make sure your text is indexable and that images have alt tags.
Add code for Analytics to your pages to see where people are coming from and where they are leaving your site, if you don’t have time to use this it is still useful for anyone who comes along in future to do SEO for you.
Great experience for different stakeholders
Consider the needs of each different user of your site and check that the navigation from each page will get people easily to where they want to be
Define your conversion: most wanted response
Each page should have a call to action, even if just navigation to other pages; always know you’re most wanted response and tailor each page.
Include relevant keywords naturally in your copy
If you don’t have time to do full keyword research then just be sensible and think about what people are likely to search for when looking for your products and mention these terms in your copy.
Unique title, meta descriptions, url,
Vital to good SEO, each page should have a unique title and meta description, which will be shown in Google search results, and also a unique URL which includes relevant words to describe the page.
Descriptive anchor text
The anchor text on a link, regardless of whether it is internal or external, should be descriptive so Googlebots know what the linked to page is about, though this also helps visitors.
Avoid guaranteed rankings, link schemes
Avoid anyone offering you guaranteed results and don’t sign up for link building schemes, some work short term but may get you penalized by Google once they get wise to the scheme: choose an SEO consultant who will work with you long term.
Get organic links and social media buzz
Creating great content and having great products should get you links organically and lead to likes, +1s and mentions: you may want to use Social Media to kick start this though.
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