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22 point SEO checklist for Marketing Managers

22-Point SEO Checklist for Marketing Managers

Looking to start fresh and hit the ground running with your SEO? Want to up the ante on existing efforts and look for more ROI? Already invested and active in SEO but want to double-check that you haven’t overlooked anything? Minty Digital are here to help! Our 22-Point SEO Checklist for Marketing Managers gives you everything you need to have for a broad and effective SEO strategy. 

1. Set up Google Analytics

Before you do anything, you need to connect your website to Google Analytics and start collecting some basic data.

Here’s how to get started.

  1. Go to www.google.com/analytics
  2. Create an account or sign in
  3. In your new (or existing) Analytics account, set up a ‘Property’, which refers to your website or app
  4. Set up a reporting view, using the filters to see which data is relevant to your business. You may want to see only traffic for Europe if that’s where your sales are, for example
  5. Google Analytics will give you a tracking code to embed into your website so that data will move efficiently into the portal

Google Analytics will show you:

  • How many web visitors you have
  • Where they come from
  • What device they’re using
  • How many pages they visit before leaving
  • Much more!

2. Set up Google Search Console

Once you’ve made your Google Analytics account, Google Search Console is next, it’s also nice and easy to do.

  1. Go to Google Search Console and log in using the same details as your Analytics account
  2. Click ‘Add a Property’ at the top of the page
  3. Enter your website’s URL
  4. Verify that you are the owner of the website
    1. Upload an HTML root file
    2. Verify via your hosting provider
    3. Verify via Google Tags
    4. Verify ownership via Google Analytics Tracking ID (which you might have already installed. If not, this is the best option)

Google Search Console will:

  • Spot problems with your site and inform you via email
  • Optimise your content for Google searches
  • Help you submit sitemaps and URLs
  • Educate and train you on managing your website

3. Take advantage of SEO plugins for WordPress

There are loads of amazing plugins for WordPress, but if you want to really keep on top of your SEO performance, try out these ones below. Some of them offer different data and functionalities so you may find that combining two or even three of them may give you the best results.

  • All In One SEO (AIOSEO) 
  • Yoast SEO
  • SEOPress
  • Rank Math
  • Schema
  • Redirection
  • WP Rocket
  • MonsterInsights

4. Create and submit a sitemap

A sitemap is a file that provides a package of pivotal information to Google about your website, including the pages, videos, links, and more, and how they are linked and navigate to each other. This helps Google to understand your website and share its contents with search engine users. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to Google Search Console
  2. Choose your website in the sidebar
  3. Click ‘Sitemaps’ under the ‘Index’ section
  4. Remove any old or irrelevant sitemaps
  5. Enter Sitemap_Index
  6. Submit your Sitemap

5. Create a robots.txt file

This type of file tells search engine crawlers which URLs to access for information. It helps to encourage the search engine to go to the right places, and should not be used to stop Google from looking at certain pages on your site.

The process should be handled by the right technical person:

  1. Create a robots.txt file
  2. Add rules to the robots.txt file
  3. Upload the file
  4. Test the file out

If you’re feeling techy, you can read the more advanced explanation here from the Google Developers team.

6. Indexable and crawlable websites are essential

You want your website to be indexable and crawlable, as we’ve covered in points 4 and 5, but there are also other ways to do this, including:

  • Strengthening internal links
  • Adding new content and keeping past content updated
  • Make sure all content is new and unique – duplications can be punished
  • Work to make your website as fast as possible – slow loading times are punished
  • Make sure of Google Search Console and the advice presented within

7. Ensure your website is designed for mobile users

With around 70% of the world’s population browsing the internet on a mobile device every day, it’s vital that you don’t lose out on potential customers because your website isn’t mobile-friendly.

Here’s what you need to do (or hire us to do!):

  1. Keep the design simple
  2. Prioritize loading speeds
  3. Avoid popups and ads
  4. Make the website responsive and logical
  5. Ensure key info is in the right place
  6. Ditch Flash
  7. Make the buttons bigger!
  8. Stress test the website regularly
  9. Offer a desktop viewer button
  10. Turn off AutoCorrect

8. Fix broken pages, links, and images

This point is pretty self-explanatory, but if a web visitor comes to your site and the links are broken, the images aren’t working, and pages won’t load (the dreaded ‘404 error, page not found’ problem), then you’re probably not going to turn that first-time visitor into a returning visitor. You might even upset your regular visitors and drive them towards a competitor. Uh oh!

Here are some tools:

Dead link checker from Ahrefs

Linkchecker from Power Mapper

Images and page checker from Internet Marketing Ninjas

9. Plan a keyword strategy with realistic expectations

This is something best explained over the phone with one of our charming and buttery-smooth Account Managers. Of course, this is a shameless plug, but thanks to our keyword strategy mastery, we are helping dozens of businesses to develop a stellar relationship with Google (and other search engines).

 

10. Use Ahrefs

This is one of our favourite SEO tools and it’s one of the best services that the industry has to offer. Ahrefs is primarily used as a tool to analyse a website’s link profile, SEO health, and keyword rankings, all of which are immediately important to your SEO efforts. Not only does Ahrefs help with your Google relationship, but it also offers features for YouTube and Amazon if you’re trying to rank videos and products. With a thematic social search feature, you can see what people love to share on social media at any given time.

 

11. Use SEMRush

Another one of our recommended tools is SEMRush, which gives us a deeper insight into our competitor’s SEO performance where they’re getting their traffic from. This is used to help inform future content marketing efforts, by seeing what works well for the most similar businesses and trying to turn some of their visitors into your visitors. 

12. Use ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign isn’t necessarily an SEO tool, but most SEO managers use it, or something similar, for the fact that your SEO efforts are going to generate website leads and you need to be able to manage them. If you’re really serious about your marketing and SEO efforts, you’ll want to be drowning in leads, so take advantage of this tool to turn them into customers.

Marketing managers are probably familiar with the service already, as it offers triggered campaigns, sales follow-ups, automated segmentation, great email content, and all sorts of automation tools.

You can sign up for a free trial here

13. Use Sitebulb for technical SEO analysis

No website is out of reach for Sitebulb, one of our favourite desktop software tools for SEO analysis. We take advantage of its powerful engine to crawl websites, render JavaScript, and get enterprise-level data visualisation. It might take a little while to get to grips with a tool of this power, but once you do, it can really help to define the direction and strategy of your SEO plan.

14. Some top Twitter accounts to follow

In this industry, there are a few dodgy characters who promote and follow Black Hat SEO. Now, we mention this because we want you to steer clear of it. Essentially, this is the dark arts of SEO, and often it breaks the terms and conditions that search engines set. If you want to do really good, legitimate, quality SEO work, you should follow the guidance of Twitter accounts like these:

Ahrefs

rustybrick

Google SearchLiaison

SE Journal

Aleyda Solis

SEMRush

And of course, Minty Digital

15. Create quality content that targets keywords whilst providing value 

Website visitors want quality content that appeals to their interests, stimulates their senses, and gives them some sort of feeling or incentive to share the content with others. You need to create valuable content that answers questions, provokes thought, captures and explores a concept, expands on interesting data, and more. You can do this not only through words, but with images, infographics, GIFs, videos, podcasts, and more. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

16. Make your site easy to navigate to keep people on it for longer

Have you ever landed on a website and can’t figure out how to get around it? This is a classic design flaw that encapsulates style over substance, and why we ensure that our customers are using logic and good UX throughout their sites. Other things you can do to improve navigation include:

  • Having a table of contents at the start of each article
  • Suggested reading at the end of an article to keep them on the site
  • Internal links on relevant keywords, or call to actions
  • Fast loading speeds so that they don’t get bored and wander off
  • Getting a UX/UI second opinion to ensure your website design isn’t biased

17. Simple URLs

/putting-a-super-long-targeted-keyword-in-the-url-isnt-really-going-to-help-your-case

In SEO, a lot of the most effective tools and processes are the ones that are the simplest. Especially when you’re new to SEO, you don’t want to go too deep or complicated. This is the case with URLs too.

Here’s an example. Imagine you’ve written an article such as ‘Top 10 Twitch Streamers in 2021, Ranked from Ninja to Rubius’, your URL can be as simple as /top-10-twitch-streamers-2021. The additional details aren’t necessary here.

18. Effective headlines

Nobody wants to click on dry and boring headlines, so if you want to jazz it up a bit, follow these tips:

  • Pick emotional, spiritual and intellectual words – ‘improve’ or ‘accelerate’ instead of ‘get better’
  • Apply your keyword research to headlines, but don’t stuff
  • Talk to your target audience, not to the Search Engine
  • Use numbers and dates if relevant
  • Powerful adjectives can help your efforts
  • 7-9 words are ideal

19. Compelling Meta descriptions

Writing Meta descriptions is an art often left to copywriters, but Marketing Managers can do a great job too. Simply follow these tips and you’ll do fine:

  • Less than 155 characters
  • Include a call to action, like ‘read more’, ‘discover’ or ‘learn why’
  • Include your primary keyword in the Meta text
  • Link the Meta description to the content being offered
  • Stand out from the other pages by using a bit of personality
  • Using the active voice ‘We sell SEO services’ instead of the passive ‘SEO services are being sold here’

20. Link to high-quality resources

Dishing out backlinks is good and all, but what you want to do is to link out to high-quality resources and really provide value. As your site grows in popularity, you can them approach the sites you’ve linked to and say ‘hey! We linked to you, can we get a link back?’ This leads us to the next point…

21. Get links back from other quality resources (backlink outreach)

Backlinking is a huge part of SEO strategy, ask any SEO expert. Like any method in this line of work, there’s a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it. Here are some of the best methods:

  • Creating infographics that other sites will want to link to
  • Building a guest post strategy (see point 22)
  • See what your competitors are doing 
  • Link to websites you’d like to be linked to
  • Ask for testimonials
  • Ask bloggers and influencers to link to you (they’ll want something in exchange)
  • Send emails to website owners! The worst they can say is no

22. Guest post strategy

A guest post or guest blogging strategy can bring amazing benefits. The goal is to write simple and evergreen articles for other websites, with the agreement that they will link back to your website. You, of course, can strategically choose the link, so that they go somewhere that informs them more about what they were just reading. This is a great way to drive traffic and sales, as well as brand awareness. The more inbound links you get, the better your SEO, although quality is better than quantity. 

There we have it, Marketing Managers! 22 points for your SEO efforts.

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