When you have a website, whether for business or pleasure, getting a strong search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy in place is crucial for driving traffic to your pages.
The problem is, there are over 200 ranking factors that Google’s algorithm will take into consideration.
This means creating an SEO task list can be overwhelming, and executing your strategy can be even more so. This is particularly true if you’re on a budget and you’re worried you can’t invest in all the top-tier tools and services.
And as not all SEO tasks are equal in time, resources and effectiveness, it’s tricky to know where to start.
But the good news is, with some careful prioritising, you can get the best possible strategy in place and begin boosting traffic and rankings for your website.
If you’re not sure how to prioritise in this way, then this guide is for you. We can help you to maximise performance whilst also sticking to your budget.
How to rank your SEO priorities
Although we’re going to look at the top tasks you need to prioritise and those that you should forget about (for now, at least), it’s still helpful to know the best way to rank your professional SEO service.
In order to rank them accordingly, you need to weigh up two things. The first is the amount of effort and money required to complete each task. The second is the value of each task and the results it will yield.
You can then weigh these up against one another. This will help you to decide which tasks you should complete first.
These should be the highest-value tasks that require the least amount of effort and capital. This is going to be the optimal starting point.
You can then move on to higher effort but higher value tasks and, eventually, back to the lower effort but lower value jobs.
Keeping all of this in mind, we’re now going to look at which important tasks are high value for less effort or certainly for less money.
The tasks you should prioritise
When it comes to SEO, there are certain key tasks that you should complete. By prioritising these, you can see great results, and these tasks include:
You should start by conducting some keyword research. You need to determine what your audience is looking for and which keywords or phrases are best to include in your content if you want to target them.
This doesn’t have to take you long, and there are plenty of great free or budget-friendly tools out there that can help you. It is a good idea to do this research before writing or re-writing your content, as these keywords will need to be weaved seamlessly throughout.
Whether you’ve already created the content for your web pages or you’re planning on writing this soon, there are some simple ways you can optimise each page for the best results.
Now, on-page SEO is important because it helps search engines to crawl and analyse your website and identify if a user’s query is relevant to your site and refer them to your pages.
As a result, completing each of the following tasks can instantly increase your visibility and boost your rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs):
- Wherever possible, you should opt for longer content
- Use relevant keywords from your research, including in the website slug and any image attributes
- Write relevant and engaging meta titles and descriptions that also contain keywords
- Use headings and subheadings
- Include internal and outbound links
- Make sure your website and all content are optimised for mobile
- Ensure fast loading speeds
- Update your content regularly and check for broken links. You should then remove and replace these
Content is a key factor in how well your pages rank. Therefore, you need to ensure you have engaging content in the form of landing pages, blog posts and product descriptions. This is because quality content not only informs your target audience but it also encourages incoming links (more on this next). This then lends itself to a social media marketing strategy which can be a smart and cost-effective way to get yourself in front of potential customers. Check out this guide to building a sales funnel through social media marketing.
Naturally, you will want to populate your website with content anyway; otherwise, it will just be a blank and uninformative website. But whatever content you include, make sure it is carefully crafted and regularly updated.
Links are another key ranking factor for search engines, and link building is all about encouraging backlinks from high-quality, authoritative websites. There are some effective and budget-friendly ways you can do this.
You can do some outreach and ask other sites to link back to your content. You can also write blogs and articles, especially for other websites including links to your web pages. Of course, this takes time and resources, so you could also outsource this job to an affordable and trustworthy link building agency.
Crawlability and indexability
The crawlability of your website describes a search engine’s ability to access and crawl the content on your web pages. On the other hand, indexability is the search engine’s ability to analyse your web pages and index them accordingly.
If there are crawlabilty or indexability issues, this can stop search engines from being able to rank your pages or present them to your target audience.
There are some simple ways you can make your website easier to crawl and index. These are:
- Submitting a sitemap to Google
- Strengthening your internal links
- Regularly updating your content and creating new content
- Making sure you don’t have any duplicate content on your website
- Ensure quick loading speeds for your pages
The tasks you should set aside
Finally, if your budget is low or you only have a small website with a couple of pages, there are some parts of SEO that you should set aside; for now, anyway. You can always pick these back up as your budget and website grow.
These include in-depth technical and backlink audits. Although these can help you to spot any issues, they also involve large amounts of data analysis and more technical tools. This can be costly and can take up a lot of your time. In the early stages, you can forgo these audits, particularly if you don’t have a huge amount of content to actually analyse.
You should also avoid dedicating too much time to tools like Yoast, staying away from the traffic light system they use. Although it can be tempting to use plugins like Yoast and aim for all green lights, these tools are quite primitive in terms of SEO. They focus on technical ideals like slugs and keyword percentages rather than thinking about readability and user experience.
As such, it’s better to dedicate your time to creating genuinely engaging and helpful content and avoid trying to simply tick those boxes.