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Do you want to grow your organic traffic? That means you need to do maximum SEO efforts for your digital marketing strategy. We want to help you with that by sharing with you our complete SEO checklist.
Yes, you heard that! We are sharing this guide to help you get a bump in your search engine rankings. By enhancing your website contents, you will appear more frequently in the search results.
What’s in the Article?
Overview SEO Checklist
Here is a summary of the things included per SEO checklist. Some of these items are done daily while others are done every time you publish a page. Familiarize them below:
Here are one-time tasks to be done for SEO basics.
- Google Search Console (GSC)
- Bing Webmaster tools
- Google Analytics (GA)
- Installing SEO plugins
- Sitemap creation and submission
- Making of the robots.txt file
- Setting up your SEO software
Technical SEO checklist
One-time tasks for technical SEO:
- Planning of the website structure
- Ensuring your site can be crawled
- Ensuring the essential pages are indexed
- Check if you’re using HTTPS
- Checking if your site is accessible using one domain
- Inspecting and optimizing page speed
- Doing Google mobile friendly test
- Installing a plugin for compressing image files
Items to be done at a scheduled time:
- Fixing duplicate content
- Fixing crawl errors
- Fixing broken pages
Tasks to be done every time you publish a page:
- Get your target primary keyword
- Perform keyword research that match search intent of viewers
- Evaluate your chances of ranking higher in search engine results
Here are items you need to do every time you publish a page:
- Insert a table of content
- Make it readable by having simple sentences and short paragraphs
- Use images to break up paragraphs
- Use subheadings to enhance readability
- Make sure your introduction is attention grabbing
- Know the problems of the audiences in the market and write a content that solves them
On Page SEO Optimization
Here are items you need to do each time you publish a page:
- Use concise descriptive words for your URL
- Create attention grabbing meta description, title tag, and meta tag
- Optimize the images you will use
- Link resources with high domain rating
- Include to add a schema markup
- Correct internal linking
Link Building Checklist
These are the things you need to periodically for your website:
- Duplicate the links to your competition
- Reclaim those lost links
- Go for those unlinked mentions
- Publishing guest posts
- Highlight resource pages
Here are items you need to each time you publish a page:
- Target users who are linking to inferior domains
- Increase brand awareness of your business
How to use this SEO checklist
Crafting an SEO strategy is not easy. Once you are done making it, you can implement that on your website. Take note that implementing search engine optimization does not just happen once. You need to continually do it like it’s a habit.
How do you use your SEO checklist?
- You do it when you’re creating your website structure.
- After making your website live, you will need to schedule a date to periodically update your off and on page seo checklist.
- And when you’re publishing a page, basic and technical SEO must be done.
Just a reminder, you don’t have to do all items inside your SEO checklist. You can just do those things that can be done on your website. What’s important is that you share valuable tips with your audiences. This helps you create a genuine relationship with your potential customers.
All local businesses love to have high organic search traffic since it means more chances of getting customers. This would also boost your pages’ ranking factors in the search engine results.
SEO Basics Checklist
Before we go to technical SEO setup, you first need to know the basics of SEO strategy. Not all of these things can immediately improve your Google rankings yet there are needed as a foundation. Let’s talk more about them here.
Setting up the Google Search Console
Google search console is free software that helps you track organic traffic and search engine performance. Using this tool, you can do the following things:
- Monitor and see the rankings of your target keywords
- See errors in your site structure
- Submission of your XML sitemap
We will make another article to share with you on how to set up this tracking tool.
Setting up Bing Webmaster Tools
This software is parallel to the Google search console but specific to using the Bing search engine. You will also have a dashboard where you will find all metrics you will be monitoring for your website’s organic traffic and search engine result performance.
Bing Webmaster tools is one of the many free tracking software for monitoring the performance of your target keywords. If some of your potential customers are coming from Bing, then having this is beneficial.
Setting up Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free tool that helps you understand how visitors use your website. You can also connect Google Analytics (GA) to your Google Search Console (GSC). This better helps you in understanding your SEO efforts.
Here are the key things GA can offer to you:
- Let’s you see how many audiences visit your site
- You can see if your organic traffic is increasing or not
- Helps you identify which pages on your website bring a lot of organic traffic
- With GA, you can also identify what other sites are bringing traffic to your web pages
- Shows you some metrics for SEO performance like bounce rate, average time on site, and page views
Installing SEO Plugins
Regardless of the kind of site builder you are using, you will need an SEO plugin to help in the optimization. This software is like an extension of your content management system (CMS) and tracking tools for your SEO strategy. Below are some tasks enhanced by an SEO plugin:
- Search engine optimization
- Analysis of website structure
- Digital marketing
- Meta descriptions
- Meta tags and title tags
- Link building
- To find broken links
Here are some examples of SEO plugins:
- Rank Math
- Yoast SEO
- The SEO Framework
How does an SEO Plugin work?
These software modules work together with the main application. An API is needed to connect these software modules to the main application. An SEO plugin has its distinct function and you can control them using the plugins themselves.
Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress
This software module is for WordPress and it helps you create contents that are good for SEO. This can be your blog post or services pages found on your website. Using Yoast, you can easily update the title tag, meta tag, slugs, and meta descriptions on your site.
Yoast also helps you fix any errors on your sitemaps, canonical tags, and non index tags.
Make and submit your sitemap
Google needs to crawl on your web pages to determine your search engine rankings. To make it easier for them, you need to submit an xml sitemap. This file lists all pages on your site you want Google to crawl. It helps speed up crawling and detect any crawl errors on your website.
Here are the common URLs where you can find your sitemap file:
Creating robots.txt file
Together with your sitemap, you also need to create and submit a robots.txt file. This file helps search engines know which pages on your site they cannot crawl. This is to protect some sensitive data inside your site.
For instance, on your e-commerce site, you can include your cart page on your robots.txt file. It’s for the protection of your business and your buyers not to them crawl on this section.
No matter how smart Google is, it still struggles in understanding multiple website contents. To make that easier for them, putting up a schema markup is essential.
This is also called structured data markup. It’s a search engine language that provides concise information about the content on your web page.
Do you see those rich snippets on top of the search engine results? Those are products of the structured data of schema markup. It helps users get more accurate results in their browsing.
Technical SEO Checklist
Technical SEO is the foundation of your site structure for digital marketing. If done wrongly, it can break your website and down your Google rankings. It also determines how easy it is for search engines to crawl your site structure. Let’s know more about them here.
Plan for your website structure
Starting at the drawing table is the best thing to guarantee you get your dream website. You can search online for inspiration on the website you want to create. There are also tons of software you can use to draw your site layout. You can use Lucid Chart or even Microsoft Word to create it.
Migrate to HTTPS
One ranking factor is making sure your website has the HTTPS protocol. This factor has been included in the ranking factor since 2014. When your website has this, it gives your audiences the confidence that their personal information is safe on your site. You’re also confident that structured data inside your website is encrypted against hackers.
If your site is still in HTTP better migrate to HTTPS for a more secure internet communication protocol. In the address bar, you will see the padlock icon before the HTTPS, that is one sign your website is secure.
Double Check if your site is crawlable
To ensure a web page can be crawled by search engines, it must not be included in the robots.txt file. Check if you are blocking the right pages from the crawl or not.
Take note, that there’s a difference between crawling and indexing. You can schedule a time for your SEO software to crawl your website to assess its SEO performance. This also helps you detect any crawl errors that down your site speed and visibility.
Indexing your website
Indexing your web pages is important if you want Google to rank them. In your SEO software, you can find what pages on your site have the “noindex” tag. After finding them, you need to remove that tag to let search engines crawl and rank them.
You will usually find this noindex tag in the head section of the HTML. If you want Google to rank that page, you need to remove the tag.
Take note, there is a difference between crawl and indexing. It could be that the page can be crawled but has the noindex tag. That means it won’t be included in the ranking in the search engine results.
Website accessible with one domain
Making sure your website can be accessed with a single domain is important. It helps avoid problems with crawling, indexability, and data security. Using the domain name system (DNS) we have that easy-to-remember domain (text name) to access a website.
You can check your domain using different software online. This helps you ensure you are having one domain name in accessing your site.
Page Speed Optimization
When we say page speed it means page load time. The duration it takes for the entire page content to be displayed to the user.
If you want to reduce the bounce rate on your site, make sure the loading speed is fast. This is one of the ranking factors you have to improve in technical SEO. Page speed on both desktop and mobile is needed to make sure your site is friendly to users.
Here are some tips for you to enhance your site’s page speed:
- Compress your files
- Optimize your codes
- Minimize the number of redirects
- Use tools that can automatically delete the cache on the browser
- Improve the response time on your server by identifying errors like slow routing or lack of available memory.
- Use content distribution networks to evenly distribute the amount of content delivered to your audience
- Compress your image files
Ensure your website is mobile friendly
Your audience can come from different sources. These potential customers can come from your website, GMB, paid ads, or organic traffic. Aside from that, you also need to think of the device your users are using upon accessing your website.
It could be that your visitors are either using a laptop, desktop, tablet, or mobile phone. For those using big devices, there are no problems with seeing the contents and load speed. But what about those using smartphones, iPads, or tablets? You need to think if your website is already optimized to be friendly for mobile users.
Because of this, Google made the mobile-first index for ranking websites in their mobile version. If you don’t make your site friendly to mobile users, it can drag down your rankings. You can also use Google mobile friendly test to see if your website is optimized for smartphones.
Mobile SEO Friendly Checklist
You can refer to this mobile SEO friendly checklist we made for you:
- Run Google mobile friendly test for assessing your website’s friendliness to portable devices.
- You can use compression plugins that will help reduce the file sizes of the images used on your site.
- Use different tools for measuring the page speed of your website on mobile and on desktop. Some of these free tools are Google page speed insights, Google mobile speed test, and GTMetrix. You also need to check your Google Search Console for the performance of your site.
- Seeing how your website looks in different resolutions is as important as ensuring page speed is great. You can use the Google Chrome Developer Tools to check this out. That way you can adjust the font size and borders on every page. You can also hide some of those contents on mobile to help shorten page load time.
- Don’t overly use pop ups on mobile since Google can punish you on that. It promotes a bad user experience when pop ups come really often.
- You also need to check on the visibility of your call to action (CTA) buttons. This is critical on mobile since there is a narrower display for users to scan through your website. Choose a color and font size that is visible on mobile. This helps increase click through rate.
Fix Those Broken Links
There are different tools you can use to crawl and detect those broken links on your site. For instance, you can use Ahrefs or Screaming Frog.
When there are many broken links on your web pages, it tells Google that your site is not up to date. It also brings down user experience since people won’t be happy to click and expect nothing afterward.
These can be internal links or outbound links that are broken. You can look into the site audit report of the software you are using to see those broken links.
Avoid Duplicate Contents
Google search engine also punishes those websites having duplicate contents. You must ensure that all contents on your web pages are unique to boost the authority of your site. Here’s how you check and correct those duplicate contents:
- Crawl your website using any SEO tool
- View the site audit report and into the duplicate contents section
- Change those similar contents and make them unique
- You can use canonical tags or 301 redirects to correct this issue. You can also use Google Search Console.
Keyword Research Checklist
Keyword research is essential to SEO strategy. Finding the right keywords is important to ranking in the search engine results. Here are some of the things you need to do for the keyword research checklist:
Going for the Primary Keyword
For every page on your website, there is one primary keyword you need to target. This can vary depending on the topic of your blog, or the niche you are in.
Use a keyword research tool to find your primary keyword. You can also this tool to get related keywords and long tail keywords for your blogs or service pages. In any content, this target keyword is used once or twice only. Don’t do keyword stuffing as Google doesn’t like it.
Learn from your competitors
If you don’t have enough knowledge about keywords, your best route is to benchmark your competitors. Use your keyword research tool and plug in the domain of your competitor. This generates a site audit report showing all those keywords they are ranking for.
This becomes your starting point for choosing the keywords you want to use for your web pages. It saves you time and effort in doing your keyword research from scratch.
In the site audit report, you can also find the pages where those primary and related keywords are ranking for. You can make a parallel page or blog post from this reference.
Know the intent of your audiences
We understand that you want to rank on page one of the search engine results page. But finding your target keyword isn’t just the only thing you will do. You also need to understand the intention of those audiences.
Finding those frequently asked questions in Google is one effective strategy. On page one of the Google page results, you will find the section “People Also Ask”. You can use these questions as the main topic or subtopics of your page or blog post.
If you’re using a keyword research tool, you can find those top ranking pages for your target keywords. View them and understand the format of their page. Make a parallel one of it and use the same sets of keywords.
Evaluate your chance of ranking for keywords
Once you are done finding your target keywords, the next thing to do is to evaluate your chance of ranking using these keywords. Using your keyword research tool, you can find the difficulty and traffic potential.
The analysis will also tell you how many backlinks you need to have to rank in the top ten for that target keyword. That is the challenging part since you need to backlink to high authority domains for a target keyword.
Dive deeper into Search Volumes
It’s a constant debate in SEO to use search volumes as to their reference to choosing their target keywords. The truth is you only use this as a metric for selecting keywords. Don’t take it as an absolute statistic since it fluctuates all the time.
You can use this when picking between two close keywords. If one appears more often than the other, you can have that on your keyword list.
Keyword difficulty and traffic potential are the two most important factors you need to consider in your keyword selection.
To generate more search engine traffic, you need to have a valuable content to your audience. SEO is not just about having the right keywords but also creating contents that help solve customer problems. We’ve made a content checklist for you to read upon for your SEO strategy.
Solve the problem of your viewers
You cannot just get the keywords and write a content based on what you feel. That’s like shooting arrows in the dark. You need to have a direction on your contents. The best way to start is to understand the intent of your audiences.
You can encode a keyword on Google’s search bar and hit enter. Check what are the topics coming out on the first page. That is a rich source of information on what you can make for your website contents.
You can also look at the “People Also Ask” section to see what readers usually ask in the internet for that keyword.
Benchmarking on the top ten results is your best method of creating a wonderful content that hits the intent of your readers.
Write an attention grabbing introduction
Hitting the first page of the Google search results is great! But grabbing the attention of your readers to click on your link is even better. You need to let them stay on your page, otherwise, your bounce rate will be high.
So how can you grab the attention of your reader and convince them to stay on your page?
That’s right! Having an interesting introduction that captures their attention and search intent.
Here are some ways for you to start an amazing intro:
- Use a compelling question
- State an intriguing statistical report about the topic
- Inject an emotional catch phrase
- Create a concise summary of what they expect from your content
Connecting with your audience is very important if you want to convince your visitor to stay on your page.
Insert a table of content at the beginning
Users online are always on the go. They like to skim through things and when they find your site boring and wordy, they bounce off right away. Besides having a catchy intro, inserting a table of content helps your viewers understand what is inside your blog post or page.
Once your audience clearly understands the value of your content, they can readily decide whether to continue reading or not. This is better than having them take off immediately in less than five seconds.
Use different Heading
Take note, that your audience is mostly skimmers, not readers. They will only read your content once they find it valuable.
To make your content more friendly for your readers, you need to break them into different sections with subheadings. The subheading must tell the content of that section. You can use heading 1, 2, 3, and 4 on your content. Heading 1 must be the title of your blog post for instance. And then, heading 2 will be the subsections inside your article.
You repeat the use of heading 2 to 6 inside your content. Heading one must only be used once since it is the main topic.
Use relevant images to break up contents
Using images to break up your contents is ideal. No audience likes to face a wall of words. Use images that convey message similar to your contents. Creating an infographic inside your blog post is also one of the best practices.
You can also optimize your image by renaming it using your target keywords. Editing the alt text of your image is also part of SEO best practices.
Use Simple Sentences and Concise Paragraphs
When it comes to web copies, the best practice is to make it readable to a grade 5 or 6 student. You need to use simple sentences and common words used in everyday living. Avoid using technical words or jargon. It can confuse your reader making them bounce off your page.
To make your contents readable, keep your paragraphs at three lines maximum. Avoid having five to six lines of paragraphs for your blog posts or pages. This can increase the bounce off rate on your website.
On page SEO Checklist
For this part, you will need to optimize your contents directly on the website. Below are the essential things included for on page seo checklist:
Write interesting title tags
Write title tags to show what the content is about, say for your blog post or service page. The best practice is to include a keyword. But if it won’t make sense, better not do it.
Title tags help increase the click through rate to your site. If it helps convey value to your audience, you can expect a higher number of clicks then.
You will find this under your title tag and it serves as an extension of the former. When writing meta descriptions, here are some tips:
- Make it explain the title tag
- Keep it less than 120 characters
- Always use an active voice
- Use your primary keyword inside the meta description
Descriptive and concise URL
The words you use on your URL also matter to search engines. That’s why you need to keep it short and simple. Don’t forget to include your primary keyword on the URL slug and make the entire phrase descriptive.
When you do this, it helps the search engine better understand what your page is talking about. This helps your ranking in Google and other search engines.
Linking relevant pages within your website is also good for SEO performance. This helps Google and other search engines crawl through your website.
Add a schema markup
This content helps increase the click through rate to your site. Search engines can better understand your page with the help of schema markup.
Image optimization and linking to credible sources
Putting the keywords on your image alt text helps make your page more visible to search engines. People can search images instead of a phrase, so optimizing your images would be a great help.
Linking to other websites with higher domain authority can also boost your SEO. It helps strengthen your site’s authority on your niche.
Link Building Checklist
You have thousands of competitors online. It is hard to remotely compete with all of them. Link building is one effective way that can help you rank higher in search engine results. Here are a few things included in this checklist:
- Make a parallel link with your competitors
- You need to reclaim those links you have lost
- Go for your unlinked mentions
- Do guest blogging
- Use resource pages
- Find those users who are linking to inferior pages and convince them to link to your curated contents
We hope these SEO checklists will be a good guide for your digital marketing plans. Increasing organic traffic is a continuous process. Don’t expect that once you establish your keywords and content, then that’s it. That’s totally wrong if you understand it that way.
SEO process is for long term but it requires periodic updates. You need to update your keywords and monitor the performance of your site.
Nevertheless, what matters is that you are adding value to your customers. Helping them solve a problem is a great thing for all businesses. We hope our article helped you understand the important factors in SEO.
If you have questions, feel free to reach out. We will do our best to help you craft the right SEO strategy for your Adelaide business.