A small business is an ongoing project, and your do-it-yourself website is no exception. It takes a lot of work to get even the best business websites to page one of a Google search results page, especially if digital marketing isn't your strong suit.
Your marketing department may be a team of one, but you can still get your page rank moving in the right direction. Here are 14 tasks that can help.
Daily Do-It-Yourself Website Tasks
As with most areas of your business, your website also needs daily maintenance. Make sure each day you take time to:
- Check for new backlinks. CEO of Honeycomb (@HoneycombUSA) Michael Transon (@michaeltranson) says MOZ Site Explorer is a "great way to keep tabs on what websites are talking about your business on a daily basis."
- Think about promotion. Jason Bauman, an SEO associate with Trinity Insight (@TrinityInsight) recommends setting aside time each day to come up with ways to promote your site. "This includes using sources like HARO so you can act as a source in your industry for journalists, contributing content to industry websites or in places frequented by your target customers, and developing content for your own site," says Bauman.
- Work on outreach. Diane Ellis Scalisi, an SEO and digital marketing strategist for CanIRank (@canirank), says daily outreach is critical for off-page SEO, the practice of building quality links around the web that point to your business website. She recommends getting notifications when competitor brand names, your primary product, and industry keywords are mentioned through services like Google Alerts, Talkwalker or Mention. Then you can reach out to industry journalists and bloggers.
- Manage your reputation. Claim your business listing on major review sites, like Yelp, so you know your customers' complaints. The tips in "How to Make Online Reviews Your Best Friend (Even When Reviews are Bad)" can help you respond.
The takeaway: Pay attention to who is talking about your site, business, and industry every day.
Weekly Do-It-Yourself Website Tasks
Weekly tasks make take a bit more time, but they can have a big impact on your website ranking:
- Produce new content. According to Tim Lavelle, director of SEO & social media at U.S. Interactive Media (@usintmedia), "The best way to retain your rankings is to regularly offer new material to Google to prove that you an expert, authoritative voice in your niche."
- Check Google Analytics for keyword growth. "You'll see weekly changes in your keywords based on competition and your SEO work," says Transon. "If you notice a keyword is falling in results, consider writing a new blog post and using that specific keyword as your focus."
- Check your site traffic. Transon suggests looking for changes of more than five percent from the previous week. "This can help you determine what type of content people are enjoying on your website so you can create more of it and attract even more people," he notes.
- Monitor your competitors. When your competition gets a new link, Scalisi says you should look for opportunities to get one from the same site. "For example, news articles often mention competing companies, reviews suggest alternatives, resource pages link to many sites, and forum threads often discuss multiple companies," she says.
The takeaway: Most of these tasks are about getting content on your site. So keep publishing blog posts, news items, press releases, and other information your clients will find useful and engaging.
Monthly / Quarterly Do-It-Yourself Website Tasks
Monthly tasks are usually about the big picture, so carve out time once a month to:
- Check Google Search Console. Look for crawl errors, sitemap issues, and site speed issues. "This will help determine if there are gaps or problems between you and the Google search engine," says Transon. "If there are issues, you may need to hire an SEO company to help fix them." Transon also notes that you should submit a new sitemap to Google Search Console if you make changes, and XML-Sitemaps is an easy way to make one.
- Update your existing content. "Whenever news is released that's relevant to your brand, product, service, or topic, you should update your high-ranking posts to incorporate the new information," says Lavelle. "There are a variety of ways to do it, but proving to Google that you're continuing to follow up on the matter and that you're on top of changes in your industry is important to ensuring its continued favor."
- Crawl your own site. According to Bauman, page titles, meta descriptions, duplicate content, and headings can have a dramatic impact on your search results, so he recommends crawling your site every few months. That way you can "make sure that no pages snuck through your initial audit process or were added after the fact without being optimized." Not sure you're ready to tackle this? Check out this comprehensive guide to on-page SEO, which breaks the big picture into manageable chunks.
- Do your research. Scalisi notes the importance of identifying keywords that send the most traffic to your competitors and decide which ones you might be able to compete for. While you're at it, look into question keywords. "These are often a great way to uncover information you customers are looking for," says Scalisi. Lastly, find out which of your competitors' content has earned the most links and develop your own improved version of that content.
The takeaway: Take a high-level view once a month to build your website's visibility.
Semi-Annual / Annual Do-It-Yourself Website Tasks
Some tasks are only necessary once or twice a year, such as…
- Checking your website registration. Bauman says successful sites are targets for domain squatters. "No one is immune to losing their domain," he warns. "Depending on what the domain squatter does with your domain, they can do lasting damage to your brand. Don't let it happen to you."
- Updating your logistics. Lavelle says, "The best way to lose rankings is to fail to update for new technologies or realities." As an example, he points to Google's push for the Accelerated Mobile Pages project as a sign that speed is an increasingly important rank factor. That means you may want to make sure you're on the fastest framework possible.
Mobile traffic is another example of a changing reality for your site. Learn more in "Why Mobile Matters for Small Businesses."
The takeaway: Your semi-annual and annual tasks may seem rote, but they protect your site and your rank.
Don't forget: your DIY website design may need attention, too. Read "3 Key Elements Every Small Business Website Should Have" for tips.
About the Contributors
Jason Bauman is an SEO associate with Trinity Insight, a digital marketing agency in Philadelphia. For more than two years, he's assisted small business to create, grow, and maintain their presence online. His other hobbies include writing, reading, and crafting the perfect cup of coffee.
Tim Lavelle is director of SEO and social media at U.S. Interactive Media, where he spearheads sophisticated research, implementation, and reporting strategies for SEO campaigns within some of the most competitive verticals, including travel and hospitality, politics, higher education, finance, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare.
Diane Ellis Scalisi is an SEO and digital marketing strategist for CanIRank, an SEO software tool that enables small businesses to find keywords they can rank for, links they can get, and on-page optimizations that will help them connect with new customers.
Michael Transon is the CEO of Honeycomb, a digital inbound marketing agency in downtown San Francisco. Honeycomb helps small businesses create and execute cross-channel marketing plans to increase demand generation. You can find him on Twitter at @michaeltranson.