Whether you’re launching a brand-new website or are a seasoned site owner, you have to continuously monitor and improve your presence on Google and other search engines so that people have a good chance of landing on your site. This kind of traffic (called organic traffic) is important because it puts your website in front of people who are genuinely interested in what you do.
To get more organic traffic, there are a set of practices you can follow known as search engine optimization, or SEO.
The following SEO checklist will help you master the basics to earn more organic traffic. It’s a comprehensive list of everything you need to do to experience search engine success, from practical tricks to general best practices.
Your complete SEO checklist
1. Be relevant to your visitors
Before diving into SEO tricks, keep the primary goal of Google and other search engines in mind: to help people find what they’re looking for. As long as you provide useful content to your visitors, you’re on the right track.
2. Make your pages search engine-friendly
Once you create great content, make sure search engines can read and understand it correctly. Fortunately, there is a full suite of SEO tools built into your WordPress.com website if you’re a Business plan user.
These tools allow you to create meta titles and meta descriptions, which are search engine-ready titles and descriptions. Even though search engines are “clever” enough to understand your content, meta titles and descriptions give you an edge over other sites listed in Google searches. You can check out other SEO resources like Yoast for tips on writing great meta descriptions.
3. Let Google know you want to be found
No SEO checklist is complete without a mention of the robots.txt file. This file tells Google that you want your site indexed in its search results.
As a WordPress.com user, you don’t have to worry about making a robots.txt file or how to submit one to Google. All you have to do is make sure your site is public.
Visit your WordPress.com Privacy Settings and select Public. WordPress.com will send a message letting Google know that you want to be included in search results.
4. Make sure Google has your sitemap
Every website owner also needs to submit a sitemap to Google Search Console to show up in search results. The good news is that WordPress.com takes care of that for you as well. You don’t need to do a thing.
For an in-depth view of how much search traffic you’re attracting, connect your site to Google Search Console anyway. WordPress.com offers a step-by-step process for doing so.
5. Create a good site structure
Pay attention to the overall structure of your website, including how you link back to your pages.
Make sure the most significant pages on your site are located in your main navigation menu and that everything else is easy to find. Additionally, embed links to related posts within your content whenever possible. This will create a comfortable navigation experience for your users, which positively impacts your SEO.
6. Don’t over-optimize
A very common mistake is “over-optimizing” a website. This happens when a site owner adds too many common search terms to their content so that people searching for a specific keyword find your site.
It’s okay to include relevant search terms in your content, but do it in a natural way. Search engines are smart enough to understand when you’re trying to trick them, and doing so will hurt your SEO ranking instead of helping it.
7. Never stop improving
As you know, the internet is an ever-evolving place. SEO rules are constantly changing as well. Be sure to review your SEO practices regularly, and always be willing to improve and change your site over time.
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