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The Essential SEO Checklist for Growing Your Business

In the fast-paced digital landscape, reinforcing a successful online presence is crucial for any business owner. Growing a brand and generating leads doesn’t happen overnight, but an essential strategy that should be used to achieve these goals is SEO. As a refresher, SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is a digital marketing tactic and process that is utilized to improve the elements on your website so that it can rank higher in organic search results.

Organic traffic is one of the key foundations for evaluating the reach that your business has, as it allows you to understand what parts of your website are working for you vs. against you. By applying successful SEO strategies, your business can translate your website’s free traffic into potential leads.

While SEO is a straightforward practice in the digital marketing industry, it consists of many interconnected elements that can quickly become convoluted and overwhelming to understand, especially for a business owner. To help grow your business in the digital landscape, we’ve compiled a simple 7 step checklist for business owners to assess and refer back to when refining their SEO strategies this year.

1. Review On-Page and Off-Page Efforts

Before diving straight into strategy, it is essential for business owners to understand the difference between on-page and off-page efforts, and how they can be used to refine your website’s SEO.


On-page refers to optimizing parts of your website that are in your control. To put it simply, these are the elements that you can change within the website itself, such as the content displayed and technical components.

SERPs (search engine results page) are indexed by the spiders of a search engine, which essentially “crawl” throughout your website and browse its elements to determine its search ranking. Your ranking on a SERP relies heavily on the fluidity of your website, i.e. a user’s experience. These results pages want to push the websites that are easiest to navigate to the top, while also focusing on the most relevant information pertaining to a user’s inquiry.

Business owners should make sure that every on-page element of their website is essential, as the more unnecessary code or elements that a website contains, the slower the speed of the site can potentially be, which in turn affects search rankings.

Interlinking, which refers to links directing to other links within a single website, is also an important strategy to utilize, as it aids search engines such as Google to understand the different pages and elements of your websites and index them properly.

Meta data, which refers to elements such as page titles, meta descriptions, and headings, also has a strong impact on your search rankings. If you have a blog on your website, double check that you’re using all the proper headings such as H1 and H2 so that spiders can have a better understanding of the theme to the page or content article, and also so that your website is easier to navigate.


Off-page, on the other hand, refers to increasing the authority of your website by earning backlinks from other websites. This is not to be confused with interlinking, as backlinks do not derive from your own website, essentially making them harder to control.

Backlinks show spiders that your website is reliable, which builds credibility. The more outside sources that direct to your website, the more reliable your website and business becomes, and the more likely search engines are to rank your website higher in search engine result pages.

One of the most common and easiest ways to earn backlinks is by having your clients or customers leave reviews about your business online, such as on Google Reviews. Having social media channels for your business is also an easy way to earn backlinks for your website.

Going a step further, backlinks can also be earned by publications writing about your business and the services or products you offer. Consider reaching out to these publications or even other websites to see if they’re willing to direct links on their page to your website.

2. Expand Your Keywords

Keywords are arguably the most important aspect of optimizing your website for search engines. If you don’t have the relevant keywords or phrases for promoting your business or the services and/or products you offer, then your website won’t be properly indexed, making you lose out on potential leads.

To clarify, keywords are the terms and inquiries that users are searching for online. Using the proper keywords not only helps to refine the information on your website for spiders, but can also translate organic traffic into leads. With an over-saturation of content that is only continuously growing, business owners should be intentional about the keywords that they’re using.

Expanding your keywords is also a good strategy for improving your website’s SEO. The most effective keywords and phrases to use are those that have low competition against other businesses but high relevance to users, which can be done by specifying your products or services as much as possible.

For example, if your business sells shoes, “red lace-up shoe for running” can be more effective keywords to use than simply just “shoe”. While you can still use them, you don’t want to solely rely on basic keywords, as certain businesses can have higher authority in search results and your products or services can get buried in the SERPs.

Apart from expanding these single keywords and phrases, add additional keywords to your list that are relevant to what your business is providing to draw more traffic to your website. Make sure to also refine your audience so that you’re not targeting outside of potential leads.

3. Update Links and Content

Having an updated website is also important for ranking in SERPs. When reviewing your current SEO efforts, double check that any information on your website is not outdated, as search engines want to provide the most relevant and current results for users and their inquiries.

For example, if your website is displaying a winter sale in the summer, this can severely and negatively impact your ranking, not to mention that it can also exhibit unprofessionalism within your business. Search engines want to amplify a user’s experience, and they will rank the websites that do so and are easier to navigate higher in results pages.

Broken links can also negatively affect the ranking of your website, as they impede and inconvenience a user’s ability to find what they’re searching for. Fortunately, broken links can be easy to fix with a simple look through. Double check that every link on your website works and directs to where it needs to go, and check that these pages themselves aren’t broken either.

4. Refine Technical SEO

As previously mentioned, a website’s “crawlability” is vital for how search engines identify and index information to determine search rankings. Refining the technical aspects of your website, which we’ve referred to as on-page efforts, is one of the most important methods any business owner could undertake as part of their search engine optimization.

In addition to site speed and user experience, sitemaps are another major element that should exist within your website to enhance your technical SEO. A sitemap is essentially a file that contains every element, file, and page of your website within the site itself. They exist to help a search engine’s spiders find these elements more efficiently and understand the relationships between them. 

Your website’s structure is also a significant element to reassess. Make sure that your website is designed to better enhance a user’s experience, which means that links are easy to access, information is easy to read and sort through, and that your website’s authority is being built through these efforts.

5. Link Building

Once again, link building is crucial for your website’s SEO. While link building may seem easy in theory, it can actually end up being the hardest task on your checklist. In that sense, the more work you put into building and earning backlinks, the greater credibility your website will receive, which can in turn positively impact search rankings.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to other businesses or publications to see if they can add your link to their websites. Part of owning a business is building those reliable relationships that can not only increase your brand’s visibility, but can also help with building your website and business’s authority.

It’s crucial for business owners to incorporate this step into their SEO strategy and continue their best efforts at building as many credible links as possible for their websites. Having backlinks from just anywhere won’t cut it, as this can actually negatively impact search rankings. Remember to be strategic and intentional.

6. Additional Optimization Opportunities

Beyond what we’ve already discussed, other additional optimization opportunities are at your disposal to further improve your website’s SEO and ranking. While these opportunities may not seem entirely necessary to incorporate at first, every method that can help with optimizing your website for search engines is essential for directing traffic to your site and translating those results into leads.

Optimize for Mobile

Though it may seem that desktop is the general go-to for structuring your website, more and more users are using mobile devices as their primary source for conducting inquiries. This is because smartphones have become a common everyday item, thanks to their portability, convenience, and ability to provide quick and easy answers.

Having a website that is not only mobile-friendly but also makes mobile design a principal consideration can end up ranking higher due to its prime user experience. Even if your website has all of its relevant information and technical aspects in check, if your website doesn’t translate well onto mobile, it won’t be properly indexed or ranked as high as it could be.

Voice Search Optimization

Voice search is also a growing source for user inquiries. Since users favor convenience and promptness in their search experiences, voice search is a simple and easy way to pull an answer from the internet without having to exert much effort on their part.

SERPs are in favor of websites that are reliable and authentic. Content on your website should be optimized to match the conversational language that users naturally employ when using voice search.

7. Evaluate Your SEO Tools to Meet Business Needs

SEO can easily become a complicated process to navigate. To assist with these efforts, SEO tools are available for evaluating analytics and performance in relation to the needs and goals of your business.

Two tools that are both popular and effective for assessing these measurements are Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a platform that can help you analyze your website’s traffic on Google Search. The tools and reports available helps business owners evaluate where their efforts are lacking and succeeding, allowing them to make adjustments on their websites where necessary.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics offers insights about the users that are visiting your website. Information such as search histories, geographical location, age brackets, interests, and more can be tracked by the platform to help business owners better understand the users that their business pertains to. From there on, they can adapt the content on their websites to increase relevancy and generate leads.

Optimize With Intention

SEO is the basis for developing any online digital presence. Business owners can find that optimizing their websites will only ever be in their best interest. When going over this checklist, make sure that you’re executing each step with careful consideration and intention.

On-page and off-page efforts are primary methods for improving your website’s technical SEO while simultaneously establishing authority outside of your domain. Elements such as keywords and backlinking are also essential to your search engine optimization strategy.

Additional SEO opportunities should be taken advantage of by business owners, as they can strongly influence search rankings. Additional SEO tools are also available to help assess your website’s search traffic and understand how your content can be shaped around these audiences.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to improve your SEO strategy, contact us today to schedule a consultation!

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