By Carrie-ann | Nov 17, 2016 | Search Engine Optimisation

Basic SEO Checklist for New Site Owners

Starting a website is a critical step to getting your business off the ground and catapulting it into the internet age. But all too often I encounter fledgling sites that are being held back because they don’t follow some of the fundamental rules of SEO. So sit back, grab a pen and follow this checklist to see if there are any SEO tips that you might have missed.

Make it Mobile-Friendly

Small businesses are particularly well-positioned to benefit from the fact that the majority of people now search and browse the web from their smartphones and tablets – far more so than with their desktop PCs and laptops. And with Google stating that about half of those who search for local businesses on a portable device then head to a bricks and mortar business within the following 24 hours, the market is rife with opportunities to turn online engagement to real world interactions.

But without a site that is mobile-friendly, search engine penalties will ensue and even the visitors that do filter through will not be satisfied with the experience.
Businesses building their first site at the moment are in a strong position to go with an adaptive approach to design; namely one that means the site will automatically be usable on a range of devices, from PCs to smartphones.

Craft Perfect Copy

Multimedia elements and interface design are important, but without text a site is a sitting duck for SEO failure. And so including relevant, interesting copy on every page and making sure that it contains not just important keywords but crucial information about your business and its products and services is critical to your chances of success.
While Google and its contemporaries are getting better at deciphering images and using these to inform search rank, it is still text that holds the greatest weight and will help new sites surface quickly on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Finally, remember that copy is not just placed on the page itself, but is effectively present in everything from the meta description to the URL of each page. So if you can be descriptive and engaging here, you will win SEO battles against your competition who may be suffering from generic page titles and bland, copy-pasted information.

Harness the Power of Image Optimisation

Images on a website are worth far more than the colourful pixels from which they are constructed; they are also digital files that can be optimised to help further improve search rank, which is one of the basic SEO tips that a so many beginners ignore (and even experienced webmasters seem to forget from time to time).
Where possible make sure that the name of the image file itself has keywords contained in it, rather than leaving it as some boring default file name using a number or other code which is entirely devoid of any form of description. Similarly, make sure that the alt text and title text for the image contain descriptive copy so that visitors (and the search engines) can better understand its content and purpose.

If you pay attention to these apparently small details, the whole site will come together and deliver stronger SEO performance as a result.