February 16, 2022

Your 2022 SEO Checklist: The Basics

So, you’re interested in appealing to the Google overlords, huh? Whether you’ve risen in the search ranks before or you’re starting with a brand new website, keeping an up-to-date search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is crucial to the success of businesses of all sizes in our increasingly digital world. No matter where you are in your SEO journey, you have likely learned that it’s a constantly evolving space, and therefore, it’s easy to lose sight of some of the basics. 

This will be the first of a series of blogs to break down the best SEO practices. Check back for updates as we get into exciting areas like Keyword Research, On-Page SEO, and Technical SEO! We’ll start with the basics here to ensure you’re setting yourself and your website up for success.

Getting Started

1. Set Up Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools 

Think of Google Search Console as the database showing exactly how your website performs in Google’s eyes regarding health, visibility, and how you’re found. You can check specific URL crawlability, submit sitemaps — similar to instructions for search engines — conduct keyword research, uncover mobile website version issues, and more! The best part is that all of this data is free. You can get started on Google Search Console by providing the domain or URL and then proving the website’s ownership. From there, watch the data start pouring in.

While Google has the bulk of search volume globally, Bing is no slouch for helping in SEO analysis. Bing Webmaster Tools has many of the same features and functions as Google Search Console, but it comes with added value features like detailed SEO reports and website scans. Similar to Google Search Console, you’ll have to verify your website ownership to submit it. Don’t feel like going through the verification process twice? You can also import your websites from Google Search Console into Bing! Once you’re all set up on these, you can submit those sitemaps to help give the roadmap to Google’s crawlers to know exactly where to go within your domain.

Getting these two tools set up helps lay the right foundation for your SEO work, so the sooner you get tracking, the better!

2. Add Google Analytics 

While Google Search Console helps you understand how individuals organically get to your website, Google Analytics is the next step to understand what they do on your website once there. Analytics helps you see not only organic traffic but all traffic that comes on to your website. It’ll help you understand what pages draw the most traffic, what kind of audience comes to your site, and how long they stay there.

Google Analytics has been transitioning from the longstanding Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4. In tandem, both still have value — learn more about this one-two punch here. In fact, make it a 3-for-1 by linking your Google Search Console to Analytics, which helps paint an even larger SEO picture.

3. Check Out Google Search Central 

Beginning to sense a theme here? We’re indeed guilty of loving our Google tools, but where else to get your SEO information better than straight from the source? 

Google Search Central offers a great interactive walkthrough of all SEO-related topics for anyone related to or interested in your SEO, like business owners, developers, and even SEO professionals. By answering prompts like if you appeal to multiple languages, use javascript, and have a brick-and-mortar storefront, you can get a good benchmark of where your website is and where you can grow across Google tools!

4. Install an SEO Plugin, If Applicable 

As website building platforms like Squarespace or Wix have risen, so have the SEO abilities of more traditional website platforms like WordPress. While we use Yoast from personal preference, RankMath and All in One SEO also offer great SEO capabilities. 

These plugins help WordPress website owners not have to rely on their developers to optimize, and instead, they empower them to make key changes to their websites. You can tackle page-specific needs like title tags, URL slugs, and even meta descriptions, as well as more technical SEO components like index/noindex, link following, or robots.txt files.

Is This SEO Journey Worth It?

Now that you’ve spent some time reviewing the basics, you’re thinking in one of two ways.

  1. Great. Let’s learn more!
  2. SEO seems like a lot of work. I’m not sure it’s really going to make a difference for my business.

If you’re in this second camp, that’s okay! While we’d love to think that the fact that 93% of online experiences start with a search engine would convince you, let’s crunch some numbers.

Let’s say you’re a cake baker here in Florida, and your SEO is awesome, ranking first for the search results for “Florida bakery.” This first organic results in a 28.5% click rate.

According to SEMRush — another go-to SEO tool — this search term brings in approximately 5,400 searches per month across the country (64,800 annually). 

With Google Analytics, you set up a goal to see how many users convert by submitting a cake inquiry form. Generally, a 2-5% conversion rate is normal, but for our numbers, we’ll say it’s at 2.5% exactly.

From there, about 33% of customers go through with their inquiry and turn into an ordering customer. Last but not least, let’s say the average value of your cake orders is $40.

Final Equation: 64,800 (Searches) x 28.5% (1st Rank Click Rate) x 2.5% (Visitor Submission Rate) x 33% (Close Rate) x $40 (Average Order Value) = $6,094.44

While this is on a smaller scale of a low cost per good and for a single keyword, imagine what this could look like for a larger purchase like a car or house? A well-built SEO strategy can make all the difference for your business, and you’re just getting started.

PHOS Is Your SEO Partner

A strategic, well-founded SEO plan can be one of the most rewarding acts for your business. The inbound marketing team here at PHOS can help you and your business move from the basics to pro SEO in no time. Get in touch with us to get started!

Caleb Knight

Caleb Knight

Caleb focuses on providing clients with exceptional results through strategy, content, and data. With a vast skill set and experience across digital marketing and public relations, he focuses on developing and implementing strategies to bring our client’s efforts to life while simultaneously building relationships with them.

Outside of PHOS, Caleb can be found exploring all of the great outdoors that Florida has to offer, admiring the night sky, curating his assortment of Spotify playlists, and playing/following a variety of sports.