When it comes to web development, one of the most important things to consider is SEO. Without proper optimization for search engines, your website may not be able to attract the right audience or generate the desired results. I’ve seen just about every SEO mistake possible that comes from freelancing out part or all of your web development. That’s why I’ve put together a list of 10 essential SEO factors to keep in mind when outsourcing web development for your business.
Outsourcing web development has become a popular and affordable option for many businesses looking to build or revamp their website. By outsourcing web development, you can leverage the expertise and experience of skilled professionals without the need to hire full-time staff.
Outsourcing web development can also pose challenges, especially when it comes to implementing SEO strategies. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of optimizing a website to improve its visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). It is a critical component of any successful website, as it helps to drive traffic, increase brand visibility, and generate leads and sales.
To ensure that your outsourced web development project includes effective SEO strategies, it’s essential to consider the following ten factors.
- Keyword Research and Analysis
First things first, you need to choose the right keywords that will help your website rank higher on search engines. Keyword research and analysis is a critical aspect of SEO. It involves identifying the keywords and phrases that your target audience is searching for when looking for products, services, or information related to your business. By understanding the keywords that are relevant to your business, you can optimize your website content to rank higher in search engine results pages.
How I’ve seen this go wrong for business owners
When you don’t know what keywords your website should be ranking for, or even which keywords you’ve been historically ranking for, you won’t be able to measure any changes that happen in your ranking/positioning for those keywords.
If you have an existing website it’s important to know how Google views it before you bring in someone to make changes.
How to check your website for existing keywords
If you haven’t connected Google Search Console yet, this is where I recommend starting. You can also use free tools such as ahrefs or SEMrush to get an idea of keywords that your site is being recognized for. However, Google Search Console is a must.
Starting with a new Site? Here’s how to Choose Keywords
To choose relevant and high-volume keywords, start by brainstorming a list of keywords and phrases that you believe your target audience would use to find your products or services. Then, use keyword research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Moz to identify additional keywords and phrases that are relevant to your business.
When selecting keywords, aim for a mix of high-volume and long-tail keywords. High-volume keywords are frequently searched, while long-tail keywords are more specific and less competitive. You should also consider the intent behind each keyword, as some keywords may be more likely to lead to conversions than others.
Once you’ve identified your target keywords, incorporate them strategically throughout your website content. However, it’s important to use them naturally and avoid keyword stuffing, which can harm your website’s ranking. Additionally, use variations of your keywords to keep your content fresh and avoid being penalized for duplicate content.
Keyword research and analysis is crucial for identifying the keywords that are relevant to your business and optimizing your website content to rank higher in search engine results pages. By choosing the right keywords, you can increase your website’s visibility and drive more traffic to your site.
- On-Page Optimization
On-page optimization refers to the process of optimizing your website’s content and HTML source code. This includes optimizing meta tags, headers, and content, as well as ensuring proper keyword density and internal linking.
How your meta tags, headers, and content should be optimized:
Meta tags, headers, and content are some of the most important on-page elements that need to be optimized for SEO. To optimize them, you can follow these best practices:
- Use unique and relevant title tags and meta descriptions for each page.
- Use header tags (H1, H2, H3) to organize the content and include your target keywords in them.
- Write high-quality, original content that provides value to your target audience and includes your target keywords naturally.
How I’ve seen business owners affected by poor SEO on new builds or add ons to an existing site
- Auto filled or non-existent meta titles and descriptions: If the freelancer you’re using claims to have SEO baked into their web development process then you should see thoughtful, custom written meta titles and descriptions for the pages of your website.
- Multiple H1s: Each page of your website should only have one H1 tag. Say it with me: Each page should only have one H1. Your H1 text gives Google a clear explanation of what this page is about. When you have multiple titles that are tagged as H1s, you can send mixed signals to Google bots and your search ranking will suffer.
- High Quality Content: This applies to both pages and blog posts. If your freelancer has agreed to write content for your site, you have to audit that content to ensure that it’s original content, and that it’s not full of filler material that doesn’t provide value to your visitors.
Importance of keyword density and internal linking:
Keyword density refers to the number of times a keyword appears on a page relative to the total number of words on that page. While it’s important to use your target keywords in your content, it’s also important to avoid keyword stuffing, which can lead to penalization by search engines. To ensure a healthy keyword density, aim for using your target keywords in a natural way throughout the content.
This not only helps users navigate your website, but it also helps search engines understand the structure of your website and the relevance of each page. When creating internal links, use relevant anchor text that uses the same or similar text as the page title that you are linking to.
A common example of this that you likely see every day is when there are buttons on a page that are labeled “Learn More”. That text does not tell the user or Google where that button is linking to. If it’s linking to your “About Us” page, the button or the text being hyper-linked should be labeled “About Us”. This may seem insignificant, but it’s these small SEO wins that add up to make a big impact on your website over time.
Overall, optimizing your website’s on-page elements is crucial for improving your rankings in search engines and attracting more organic traffic to your website.
- Technical SEO
Technical SEO is all about making sure your website is optimized for search engines from a technical standpoint. This involves optimizing website speed, ensuring mobile-friendliness, and implementing XML sitemaps, robots.txt files, and canonical tags.
Technical SEO is a critical component of SEO because it ensures that search engines can easily crawl and index your website’s pages. If your website is not technically optimized, search engines may have difficulty understanding your content and displaying it in search results.
How to optimize website speed and mobile-friendliness
One of the most critical technical SEO factors is website speed, as search engines prioritize fast-loading websites. To optimize your website’s speed, consider reducing image sizes, minimizing HTTP requests, and enabling browser caching. Mobile-friendliness is also essential for SEO because most searches are now conducted on mobile devices. You can optimize your website for mobile devices by using responsive design and ensuring that your content is easily accessible and readable on small screens.
Importance of XML sitemap, robots.txt, and canonical tags
In addition to optimizing website speed and mobile-friendliness, other technical SEO factors to consider include creating an XML sitemap to help search engines crawl and index your site, using a robots.txt file to tell search engines which pages to crawl and which to ignore, and implementing canonical tags to avoid duplicate content issues. It’s essential to ensure that these technical elements are properly set up and maintained to maximize your website’s visibility in search results.
By optimizing these technical aspects of your website, you can help ensure that search engines can easily crawl, index, and rank your content, leading to increased visibility, traffic, and ultimately, business success.
How you can check your own technical SEO
There are loads of free tools that you can use to check your website and double check the work that you’ve paid for.
Page Speed: Pingdom Speed Test and GTMetrix are great free tools that can give you a ton of information on how any page on your website is loading, and give you some ideas of where you can start improving your site speed.
XML Sitemap: Using Google Search Console you can verify and see what’s in your XML sitemap.
Robots.txt: You can view your robots.txt file by simply typing your web address and adding “/robots.txt” at the end. Editing this file will depend on what CMS your using.
- Content Creation and Optimization
Creating high-quality and relevant content is crucial for SEO success. Make sure your website has valuable content that is optimized for your chosen keywords and includes keyword-rich titles and meta descriptions.
When it comes to content, quality and relevance are key. Your content should provide value to your audience and answer their questions or solve their problems. Additionally, your content should be optimized for search engines, including the use of keywords, titles, and meta descriptions.
How to Create High-Quality and Relevant Content
To create high-quality and relevant content, it’s essential to first understand your target audience. What are their pain points, interests, and questions? Once you have a clear understanding of your audience, you can create content that speaks to their needs and interests.
Some tips for creating high-quality and relevant content include:
- Conducting keyword research to identify relevant topics and keywords
- Creating comprehensive and informative content that answers your audience’s questions
- Incorporating multimedia elements, such as images, videos, and infographics, to make your content more engaging and visually appealing
- Ensuring your content is well-written and free of errors
Importance of Using Keyword-Rich Titles and Meta Descriptions
When creating content, it’s essential to use keyword-rich titles and meta descriptions. These elements provide search engines with information about the content on your website and can help improve your search engine rankings.
Your title should accurately reflect the content of your page and include your target keyword. Your meta description should provide a brief summary of your page’s content and include your target keyword. Keep in mind that your meta description should be under 160 characters, so it fits within the search engine’s display.
By creating high-quality and relevant content and optimizing it for search engines, you can help improve your website’s visibility and attract more traffic to your site.
How I’ve seen business owners get burned with bad content
Auditing your content is critical when you give an outside party access to create anything on your website. Over the years I’ve seen everything and anything happen when a website isn’t regularly audited and managed. Some examples include shady backlinking to other websites that you don’t want your website to be associated with. Comment sections that are left open and invite horrible comments and links. Hidden links and filler content that has nothing to do with your website.
A great example was a telecom company that I previously did work for who had an online shop as a part of their website. Unbeknownst to them, a developer they had outsourced had added thousands of products to their website that they did not sell. This included products like hunting equipment and household items.
- Link Building
Link building is the practice of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own website. It is an important factor in SEO because search engines like Google consider backlinks as a vote of confidence from one website to another. The more high-quality backlinks a website has, the more trustworthy and authoritative it appears to search engines. This can help boost the website’s ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs) and drive more traffic to the site.
How to acquire quality backlinks
When it comes to acquiring quality backlinks, it’s important to focus on getting links from reputable and relevant websites. Here are some strategies you can use:
- Guest posting: Reach out to other websites in your niche and offer to write a guest post in exchange for a backlink.
- Broken link building: Find broken links on other websites, reach out to the website owner, and suggest your content as a replacement for the broken link.
- Resource page link building: Find resource pages in your niche and reach out to the website owner to suggest your content as a valuable addition to their page.
- Skyscraper technique: Find popular content in your niche, create a better version of it, and reach out to the websites linking to the original content to suggest they link to your improved version instead.
- Infographic link building: Create an informative and visually appealing infographic and reach out to relevant websites to suggest they embed it on their website with a backlink to your site.
Importance of anchor text and link relevancy
Anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. It’s important to use relevant and descriptive anchor text that accurately reflects the content of the page it’s linking to. This helps search engines understand the context and relevance of the linked page.
It’s also important to ensure that the websites linking to your site are relevant to your niche or industry. If you have a website about gardening, for example, it’s more valuable to have backlinks from other gardening-related websites than from websites about completely unrelated topics.
Overall, link building is an important aspect of SEO that requires effort and strategy. By acquiring high-quality backlinks from relevant and reputable websites with descriptive anchor text, you can boost your website’s authority and improve your search engine rankings.
6. Social Media Integration
Social media integration involves incorporating social media into your website, enabling users to share your content and engage with your brand across various platforms. By integrating social media buttons and feeds into your site, you can make it easy for visitors to follow your brand on social media, share your content with their followers, and engage with your brand in real-time.
How to integrate social media buttons and feeds:
Integrating social media buttons and feeds can be done in a few different ways, depending on your website’s platform and the social media networks you want to integrate. Some popular options include:
- Adding social media sharing buttons to your website’s pages and blog posts
- Embedding social media feeds or widgets on your website’s homepage or sidebar
- Integrating social media login options to streamline the registration process for new users
Importance of social media shares and engagement:
Social media engagement is an increasingly important factor in SEO. When your content gets shared on social media, it can lead to increased traffic to your site and improved search engine rankings. In addition, social media shares can help to build brand awareness and credibility, as more people become familiar with your brand and share your content with their own followers.
To make the most of social media integration, it’s important to create engaging, shareable content that your audience will want to share with their own followers. This could include creating infographics, videos, and other visual content that can be easily shared on social media, as well as actively engaging with your followers and responding to their comments and messages.
Overall, integrating social media into your website can be a powerful way to boost your SEO efforts and increase your online visibility. By making it easy for users to share your content and engage with your brand on social media, you can drive more traffic to your site, build brand awareness, and improve your search engine rankings.
7. Local SEO
Local SEO refers to the practice of optimizing a website for local search queries. These are search queries that contain a location-based keyword, such as “best pizza restaurant in Los Angeles”. Local SEO is important for businesses that have a physical location, as it helps them attract customers who are searching for products or services in their local area.
B. How to optimize for local search
To optimize for local search, there are several things you can do:
- Create a Google My Business listing: This is a free listing that allows you to provide information about your business, such as your address, phone number, and hours of operation. It also allows customers to leave reviews, which can improve your local search rankings.
- Use local keywords: Use keywords that include your location in your website content, meta descriptions, and title tags.
- Build local citations: Citations are mentions of your business on other websites, such as directories or review sites. Building local citations can help improve your local search rankings.
- Encourage customer reviews: Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business listing or other review sites. Positive reviews can improve your local search rankings.
Importance of NAP consistency and local business listings
NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. It’s important to ensure that your NAP is consistent across all online directories and review sites. Inconsistent NAP information can confuse search engines and hurt your local search rankings. Make sure that your business name, address, and phone number are the same across all online listings. Additionally, make sure that you are listed on all relevant local directories and review sites.
By optimizing for local SEO, you can increase your visibility in local search results and attract more customers to your business.
8. Analytics and Reporting
Of all the factors that contribute to effective SEO, monitoring and reporting are two of the most important. Analytics and reporting allow you to track the progress of your SEO strategy and determine if your efforts are generating positive results.
Google Analytics is a powerful tool that can help you measure the success of your SEO efforts. By tracking metrics like organic search traffic, bounce rate, and conversion rates, you can get a clear picture of how well your website is performing and identify areas for improvement.
To set up Google Analytics, you need to create an account and add the tracking code to your website. Once you’ve done that, you can start monitoring your website’s performance and analyzing your data to make informed decisions about your SEO strategy.
Regular reporting and analysis are critical to ensuring that your SEO efforts are on track. By setting up regular reports and reviewing your data regularly, you can identify trends and make adjustments to your strategy as needed.
When working with an outsourced web development team, make sure they have experience with setting up and managing analytics tools like Google Analytics. It’s also important to establish a reporting schedule and ensure that you receive regular reports that provide insights into your website’s performance.
By focusing on analytics and reporting, you can continuously improve your SEO strategy and ensure that your website is performing at its best.
9. Communication and Collaboration
Communication and collaboration are key to the success of any outsourced project, including web development and SEO. It’s important to establish clear expectations and deadlines from the outset, and to maintain regular communication throughout the project.
Here are a few tips for effective communication and collaboration with your freelancer:
Importance of clear communication and collaboration with the freelancer
Clear communication is essential when outsourcing web development and SEO. You should be able to communicate your goals and expectations clearly, and the freelancer should be able to understand them and provide feedback as needed.
How to set expectations and deadlines
When working with a freelancer, it’s important to set clear expectations and deadlines from the start. This includes deadlines for deliverables, communication, and milestones throughout the project. You should also establish a process for addressing issues and changes as they arise.
Importance of regular updates and progress reports
Regular updates and progress reports are important to keep everyone on the same page and ensure that the project is moving forward as planned. Your freelancer should provide regular updates on their progress and any issues they encounter, and you should be prepared to provide feedback and address any concerns as they arise.
By following these tips and maintaining open communication with your freelancer, you can ensure a successful outsourced project that meets your SEO goals and helps your business grow.
Importance of Holistic SEO in Web Development
Holistic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an essential aspect of web development. By optimizing your website’s content, design, and code, you can improve your website’s visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). With higher visibility, your website can attract more organic traffic, which can lead to more leads and conversions. Without proper SEO, your website may remain hidden from potential customers, which can hinder your growth and revenue.
One of the critical factors in SEO is creating quality content that includes relevant keywords and phrases. Your website’s content should be engaging, informative, and relevant to your target audience. By using keywords and phrases strategically throughout your content, you can improve your website’s visibility on search engine results pages. Additionally, optimizing your website’s design and code can also enhance your SEO efforts. For example, creating a mobile-friendly website can improve your website’s user experience and ranking on mobile search results pages.
Another important aspect of SEO is link building, which involves creating backlinks from other websites to your website. Backlinks signal to search engines that other websites consider your website to be a valuable resource. Therefore, search engines may prioritize your website over others with fewer backlinks. By implementing effective SEO strategies, you can improve your website’s ranking, attract more traffic, and ultimately increase your bottom line.
In conclusion, by keeping these 10 essential SEO factors in mind, you can ensure that your website is built to rank well on search engines and drive more traffic to your business. Don’t forget to choose the right freelancer or agency to ensure your project is in good hands. So, what are you waiting for? Outsource your web development and SEO today and see the difference it can make for your business!
Now, we understand that not everyone has the skills or time to tackle SEO on their own, and that’s where outsourcing comes in. When it comes to outsourcing web development and SEO, it’s essential to choose the right freelancer or agency. Look for someone with experience, a good track record, and a clear understanding of your business goals. A reliable partner can help take your website to the next level and achieve the results you’re looking for.