Ready to launch a website? Or running a blog or website already?
Well, you must have an SEO checklist within your hands already to create a successful blog or site that drives millions of traffic. So, is that working well or at least meeting the search engine’s guidelines?
If no, then you must take some time, recheck your checklist, and plan your SEO strategies (including basics) again. Right from verifying your website to engaging your visitors, you need the right SEO practices everywhere. So, if you are serious about your website ranking and traffic, then an effective and up-to-date SEO checklist is what you need to have handy first.
SEO Checklist to Boost your Website Rankings
This article helps you with the working 50 point SEO checklist that makes your job much easier. So, keep reading till the end, own this checklist and implement all of them right away to boost your search engine rankings and organic traffic.
So, let’s get started…
The 50 point SEO checklist is grouped under these 7 head concepts.
- SEO Basics
- Technical SEO
- Keyword Research
- On-Page SEO
- Off-Page SEO
- Link Building
So, make sure you ticked all the above concepts in the checklist for outstanding results. However, it doesn’t mean skipping a few won’t give you any results. The more points you check, the better. Let’s dive in without any ado.
Checklist for SEO Basics
This is a basic yet crucial checklist. No matter, if you are a new website or an old one, make sure you check each of the below points to rank better on search engine results.
Setup Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free SEO tool offered by Google that helps you monitor and maintain your website on search engine results. It doesn’t mean that you need to have a Google Search Console account in order to appear on SERP. It helps in how you can improve your site performance by giving you some useful insights like how does Google sees your site, notifies website errors and any penalties.
Let’s see why exactly a website needs to set up a Google Search Console account.
- Understand how Google sees your page
- Tell Google to crawl your web page
- Submit sitemap and let Google know all pages in your site
- Get alerts and fix website errors
- Study which keywords are bringing you traffic
- Improve your site performance with reports and insights
- The list goes on
Though you prefer premium SEO tools to analyze your website, this step is unskippable.
Verify your site with Bing Webmaster tools
Bing is not as popular as Google, you are right. But did you know 33% of searches are made on Bing whereas it is 65% for Google? Thus, the search traffic of Bing is not negligible. You need to know how your web pages appear on Bing and study what are your working keywords there either, right? So, it is recommended to set up an account on Bing Webmaster tools that similar to Google Search Console and analyze your website.
Setup Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a Google Marketing Platform that gives free tools to analyze all your website data in a single place.
Create an account and connect it with your Google Search Console. And it provides you a complete view of your site, know what is working for you and what is not with its robust reports and insights only Google can give you.
Especially for small businesses and enterprises, Google Analytics offers everything that they could use to grow their business.
Check for Penalties by Google
It is very important to check for any Google penalties imposed on your website for violating its guidelines. Ensure there are none. If there are any, consider your SEO checklist again and request a crawl again.
Google punishes websites and blogs with lower ranks and lowers traffic which affects your sales and business. So, keep an eye out for penalties always and make sure you follow the right SEO practices to avoid the losses.
Get SEO Plugins
You also need an SEO plugin that helps you optimize even before you publish the content. Yoast SEO is one such efficient and most useful plugin for WordPress users. It helps you resolve technical issues such as sitemaps and robots.txt file quite easily.
Check for WordPress Visibility Settings
If you are using WordPress as your content management system ensure you check visibility settings and robots.txt file. So that you don’t accidentally block either users or search engines from viewing your site.
Checklist for Technical SEO
Identify Errors in Google Search Console’s Coverage Report
Your pages need to be crawled by search engines in order to be ranked. If they can’t find and view your pages, you are going to lose. So, it is crucial to find and fix crawl errors to make your website error-free. Google Search Console provides Coverage report that helps you identify crawl errors easily. So, if you find any types of crawl errors such as wrong code in robots.txt file or visibility settings, fix the issues immediately.
Optimize your site architecture
Site architecture plays a critical role in boosting your website rankings. The structure of your site should be as simple as possible to make search engine spiders as well as visitors’ job easy. Users should reach any page of your site within 3 clicks from your homepage. This not only saves time, effort thus delivers positive user experience.
How does it feel if you have to visit 4 or 5 pages on a website before you reach the page you want to view? Tiresome and unpleasing? So, make sure your site structure is simple and easy to navigate. The below picture shows an ideal website architecture.
Also, embed the breadcrumbs menu on top of the pages to make it easier for users to navigate. As this idea delivers great user experience, Google loves the sites using them.
Check your Permalink
Not just backlinks, even your permalinks play one of the important roles in ranking your website. So, ensure all your URLs also known as permalinks or permanent links of your website are SEO friendly. As these exist permanently on your site, you need to optimize them perfectly according to search engine guidelines in order to increase the chances of better rankings.
Check the below permalink structure and parameters to improve your search engine rankings.
Thus make it clear and simple. So that even users find it easy to assume what’s inside.
Permalink structure checklist
- They should be as short as possible, though the maximum length is 2083 characters
- Must include keyword or keywords
- Words separated with hyphens
Note: Also check with your canonical URLs. Make sure all URLs from your website are unique. Use canonical URLs properly to avoid duplicate content issues either from within your site or with other websites. After all, Google can only distinguish between two same content articles looking at URLs.
Improve Loading Speed
Loading speed is among the top 5 Google ranking factors. So this is another crucial factor when auditing your website.
Improve your site loading speed to as high as possible to impress search engines as well as users.
Note: Websites or blogs that more than 2 seconds to load experience high bounce rate and low conversion rate. So, ensure if your site loads faster.
Tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, Pingdom etc. help you test your site speed and provide great insights as well.
You will find the tactics to improve your site speed in the coming sections. Stay tuned…
Optimize your site for all devices
People browsing through mobile devices are increasing exponentially when compared to laptops or PCs. Therefore, it is highly necessary to optimize your website for mobile devices. Else you are likely to lose a huge amount of traffic. Don’t you agree?
Moreover, according to April 2015 Google’s mobile-friendly ranking algorithm, websites that have mobile-friendly pages witnessed a boost in their rankings.
As Google recommends optimizing websites for all devices, you should in order to see a boost your rankings.
Google Mobile-Friendly Test allows you to test your sites’ friendliness using either URL or code within a few seconds. It even provides you with detailed issues, so that you can fix them ASAP.
Protect your site with HTTPS
A secured site not only assures users about their privacy protection but also influences them with your commitment to data protection. It also parallelly impresses the search engines and rank better.
Yes, Https in the URL is a positive Google ranking factor. Almost every web host offers SSL certification for the websites they host. Luckily, there are even amazing web hosts such as Bluehost that offer free SSL certifications.
So, set up HTTPS to your site through your existing web host or migrate your site to a better host without disturbing your SEO.
Checklist for Keyword Research
SEO is nothing without keyword research as it plays a prominent role when optimizing your website. For your business to reach your audience, your website should have enough target keywords, there is no exception. After all, keywords are the bridges between you and your audience and search engines build those bridges. So, unless you find those right keywords search engines can’t help you reach your right audience (meaning, they don’t rank you). This is why keyword research has become one of the most important tasks in SEO. Moreover, keyword research isn’t a simple task nor a one-time affair.
Therefore, you should regularly research profitable keywords that help in your page ranking. Because every niche experiences a number of new keywords over time. For example, Apple Macbook air was not a keyword before its launch, but now it is a powerful keyword with 90,500 searches per month.
Still, keyword research is not impossible and even improving the website ranks. You can find the complete keyword research guide here and boost your rankings. Now, let’s get into the keyword research checklist.
Promote your Seed Keywords
Discover and make a list of your seed keywords (primary keywords) through guesswork or with keyword research tools like Ubersuggest, SEMrush, Keyword Planner etc. Though the seed keywords have high competition and high keyword difficulty, you should also simultaneously use them in your content rightly to stand chances to rank for them. Moreover, it is important to rank for your seed keywords because it is what your business it.
Discover Long Tail Keywords
Having said that, seed keywords are difficult to rank and most people fail to rank for them even after many trials. You are still not out of the game. You can drive a good amount of traffic, improve your rankings and conversion rate using long-tail keywords. Wondering how to find them? Simple, Google autosuggest, LSI keywords and SEO tools such as Ahrefs, SEMrush, Keyword Planner, MOZ etc. are good sources to discover effective keywords that contribute to your business growth.
Utilize Epic SEO Tools
There are keywords everywhere, but you need some pro skills to identify what works for you. Doing keyword research manually through autosuggest or guesswork might not always yield good results. So, here are a few SEO tools that Myvu recommends after thorough research.
Online Communities have Fruitful Keywords
Did you ever wonder why Quora or Reddit appears on top results for some keywords? It is because there are no blogs or no well-optimized sites for particular keywords. So, you stand chances to outrank if you write content with those keywords?
Online communities like Quora, Reddit, Digg and so on are excellent sources to find useful keywords. If you come across such (above) scenarios with keywords related to your niche, do not miss the opportunity. Create great content, you will definitely enjoy the results.
Expand your Visibility with Question Keywords
Question keywords are likely to appear as snippets or bullet points. So, focus on these keywords to maximize your visibility. Answerthepublic.com is the best and popular keyword research tool to find question keywords for any niche. The more times you appear on search engine result pages, the better for your brand awareness. Moreover, the traffic to your site doubles.
Recheck your keyword density
Higher keyword density is considered a spam factor by Google. So, check all the content in your webpages and ensure it doesn’t exceed more than 3%. Though the impact of keyword density is not being heard in recent days, it doesn’t mean it has lost its importance. Keyword density is still a ranking factor.
If you have found any keywords stuffed too many times, consider replacing them with synonyms. And include more relevant long-tail keywords in the content to achieve better results.
Checklist for On-Page SEO
So, we are done with the few not-so-easy SEO checklists, now let’s head into an easy task. On-page SEO is less time consuming and simple task when compared with the rest. So, shall we look into those simple checklists?
Use Keywords in H1, H2, H3 Tags
Keywords included in heading and subheading tags contribute to your page ranking to some extent. So ensure you use the target keywords in your H1, H2 and H3 tags.
Here is an example:
Consider your target keyword is SEO blog, then including the same in your H1, and H2 helps you rank your page better. However, this alone can’t make your ranks any better all at once, you need to also optimize for other ranking factors as well.
Tip: Also, use your target keyword in the first 100-150 words of your content. This contributes to your page ranking.
Use Short URLs
Research shows shorter URLs rank better compared to long URLs. So, it is recommended to keep your URLs short.
Use Keywords in URLs
Make your URL rich with keywords so that search engines understand what your page is about.
This URL shows that the article is about protecting your website content from copyright infringement using DMCA.
Look at this URL: https://www.xxx.com/post-2/dmca
Does it look impressive? Or give any idea of what’s inside? No, right?
Tip: Remove unnecessary characters and only include your keyword if it is lengthy or include the complete title if the title is short.
Optimize Title Tags
Though you add a target keyword in your H1, H2, H3 tags for ranking better. There is still a thing you could do to impress the search engines and users as well. And that is, adding title modifiers to your title tags. As we already discussed the importance of long-tail keywords, not all long-tail that highly trending now are listed in the SEO tool reports. So, you can overcome this situation by including modifiers like best, updated, 2020, numbers etc.
Tip: Place your target keyword in the forefront of your title.
Look at the title of this article: SEO Checklist – Complete 50 Point SEO Checklist
- Guest Posting Sites List 2020
- 100+ Business Ideas to Start Business and Make Money
- Advanced Link Building Guide – Best SEO Strategies
It is recommended to link to 5 or 6 other pages on your site when you wrote an article. While you are linking do not forget to optimize your anchor text, prefer using keyword in your anchor text.
Link to up to 8 links to very high authority sites from your content. This says you have well researched the topic and the content is trustworthy. Moreover, Google your page if you provide a good user experience with all necessary links and information.
Employing external links not only improves users’ reading experience but also helps search engines to find your other pages easily. In case you have linked to trusted websites with average domain authority or high performers in your industry, let them know that you mentioned and linked them. This helps you in building a positive relationship with them.
Pay Attention to Anchor Texts
As said above, use keyword-rich anchor texts to foster the chances to rank better. This helps readers to understand what’s in the link even before they click. Thus you will see a good number of genuine visitors on the referred link and only people rarely bounce back.
But do remember that you should not over-optimize your anchor texts especially if they are incoming links. Over-optimized anchor texts of the hyper-links seem like spammy links for search engines. So, pay attention to them.
Optimizing images is one of the key factors in on-page optimization. Though you use high-quality and rich images in your content, if they are not given alt-tags they don’t make any sense to search engine spiders. Robots can only understand text files, so make sure you gave proper alt tags.
The best way to optimize is to give the right file names along with image alt tags.
Optimize Meta Descriptions
Along with meta tags like title tags, canonical tags, alt text tags, header tags etc. meta descriptions also play a key role in affecting your SERP positions. So, optimize your meta description in such a way that it describes the whole content of your web page. Also, make it easily understandable by users and search engines.
Though Google picks the best and related lines of your content according to the user query, you also need to provide your version to make its job easier.
Checklist for Off-Page SEO
Backlinks are of course one of the top-ranking factors. You need a high number of quality backlinks from high authority sites as they pass link juice to the referring websites. So, plan backlink strategies and improve your website ranking as well as domain authority.
Wanna learn how to build effective backlinks to your site to skyrocket your rankings as well as organic traffic? Check out this Advanced link building strategies.
The better your pages rank on search engine result pages, the faster your website ranking and authority will improve. So, focus on improving your page rank by adding great content and quality backlinks from relevant sites.
Number of Referring Domains
Having said that, a higher number of incoming links are needed to improve your traffic and ranking. It is equally important to look at the number of referring domains to the total number of backlinks ratio. It is because Google considers a high number of backlinks from a single domain as spam and doesn’t value them much. So when you build links ensure you ask different domains in your niche for backlinks.
When we talk about links one thing that rules link building is link authority. The higher the authority of your incoming link, the more beneficial. Wondering what is link authority? Simple, links pointing from high-authority domains meaning, domains that established trust and some authority based on their age, size, quality with search engines hold the same authority.
So, focus on them. They pass good link juice (their authority) to your website.
Quality is preferred over quantity, you might have heard this, millions of times. Now, its time to put that into action.
Nature of Links
There are two types of links, good and bad. Good links are that coming from trusted sources either websites, blogs, shares, media files. Bad links are that come from untrusted sources such as spammy sites, bulk directory submissions websites etc.
So, in order to prevent your website from Google penalties, it is suggested to stay away from these bad backlinks.
Fix Broken Links
Make sure you check all the fix broken links pointing to your site if you are well-established site already. Broken links mean lost links. Your site may have broken links because of issues like technical problems, site migration etc.
If you do not detect and fix your broken links your competitors may do it and you will lose them forever. Tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, Mangools etc. help you detect your broken links and provide you opportunities to cover the loss and resolve the issue.
If you are running a new blog or website, zero backlinks to your site may overwhelm you and tempt you to get backlinks in unnatural ways. But remember quality is always preferred over quantity by search engines. So, don’t try getting backlinks from bulk directory submission sites or sites that display buy backlinks on their websites. These come under link schemes and result in Google penalties.
While you are building links, pitching for backlinks recheck if their website or blog belongs to your niche. Relevance comes first in link building. The main intention behind link building is to help readers with related information and improve their user experience with relevant links. So, make sure you meet the purpose of building links.
Focus on Driving Traffic
As stated above, backlinks helps users to access more information related to the topic they are accessing and taking them to a relevant site that is finally helpful for them. So, focus on driving traffic through your website, so reconsider where your backlinks are. Are they driving enough traffic as they should?
Citation is an important factor in local SEO. These are the online mentions of your business. So, make sure your company details such as business name, phone number and address are displaying right in the search results. Also, check if your citations show inappropriate results or not pointed to you. This is a serious factor for businesses that also operate physically.
Your brand can be mentioned on the internet either with a link or without a link. And most people think that only the linked mentions (AKA backlinks) are only useful, effective and useful for your ranking. But did you know that even the unlinked mentions are also valued by Google? Yes, these links are called implied links and they are also considered one of the Google ranking factors. So, next time when you see someone mentioned you without linking to your site and are not reachable for you to pitch, don’t get stressed trying. You are at no loss. However, the hyperlinks hold high value.
In order to grow your popularity, you need to appear and make a mark in all possible mediums. So, explore all platforms where your audience might be such as Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, etc. and create unique content. Plan strategies to get more followers, engagement on your posts and shares. This takes you to a larger audience.
Google My Business
It is quite well important to rank in local search results. So citations are just not enough. You need to optimize your business to appear for nearer search queries. Create Google My Business profile and optimize it and rank for it.
For instance, if you run a flower shop. You should rank for “flower shop near me” keyword to get more traffic to your business. Moreover, it is one of the vital ranking factors in off-page SEO and local SEO.
According to Moz, one of the popular SEO tool found that reviews also play a key role in local organic search results.
The more positive reviews on your profile, the more trust earn from both people and search engines. Not to mention, Google also considers your reviews to rank in local search results. As already told, user experience is the key. After all, nobody wants to visit a store that already has negative reviews, right?
Checklist for Link Building
As already discussed in off-page SEO, backlinks are the key ranking factors. And guest posting is one of the effective ways to build powerful strategies. No matter, what niche you serve, you will definitely have plenty of guest posting opportunities. So, find for the blogs that accept guest posts and pitch them about yours.
Not only you gain backlinks, and a good amount of organic traffic but you also boost your website rankings and DA.
Build Relationship with Peers
Having said that, with guest posts and with email outreach do you not only earn backlinks, free traffic, improved website ranking, and authority, you will also make some friends in your industry. Not to mention, having friends in your own industry is not just a casual thing. You will have myriad benefits like learning from them, forever backlinks, and support.
Mention Other Bloggers
One of the easiest ways to build strong relationships in the industry and grow is mentioning your peers, other bloggers in your content or comments. Also, letting them know that you mentioned them in your content. So that they may also do the same in their future posts or give a shoutout in their social channels as a return token.
Though you plan SEO strategies well to implement your next action it is always better to do some research on how your competitors did it or doing. Therefore you get an idea of what works and what doesn’t in prior. This not only saves you time but also helps you plan better strategies as they have left you some tips with their experiment. And you can see those tips and tactics doing competitor analysis, thanks to amazing SEO tools. You can do a deep competitor analysis with SEO tools.
Checklist for Content
Focus on Quality
Content isn’t just king, it’s everything for you if your business exists online. So, focus on creating great content about your business and your services to your people. However, the foremost thumb rule for creating content is quality. If you don’t deliver quality content, you are out of the game. So, focus on content quality more than the quantity. Write it in a way that is understandable by everyone even to the people who are ignorant about what you are talking about.
Make it Visually Rich
Though you write content that is of high-quality with great facts, stats and deep research, it might sometimes make someone feel sleepy. So, make it visually appealing with images, graphics, short videos etc. This not only attracts people but also the alt texts contribute to website ranking.
Deliver High Readability
As said, you write content for readers, not for search engines. And search engines only love the content that is made exclusively for readers. So, create and publish the content that is easy to read, understand. And to your surprise, this factor also contributes to your web page position in SERP.
Use Techniques like SkyScraper
The skyscraper technique is a trending and most effective link building tactic created by Brian Dean. This simply means you build content that is better (in all aspects) than the existing content produced by your competitors. So, what do you get in return?
Yes, pick a topic and apply the skyscraper technique and build a long article that is packed with everything related to it. Do Email outreach to the top performers and really high-authority websites in your niche and pitch them about your work. Chances are high that they accept it. So, this is an amazing link building technique to earn high authority links.
Tip: You can also skyscraper technique to the content on your website. If there are any outdated or less-informative articles on your blog, develop them better and republish them.
Publish In-Depth Content
In order to create your brand identity and stand out among others in your industry, you need to do something that your competitors didn’t do. Most people just write and post articles just for the sake of posting. And those are your opportunities. Find out the content that lacks in-depth research and develop them in your own style. Pitch them and earn backlinks. Easier said than done. It takes a lot of effort, skill and patience, but they get paid well.
Pro Tips: Advanced SEO Strategies
- Now that, you have learned a complete 50 points SEO checklist. Here are the few bonuses, advanced pro tips for you to boost your rank even higher and hold it.
- Optimize your content for snippets. They drive more free traffic to your site.
- Keep an eye on your website loading time, keep it low. Also, improve your site’s dwell time (the time people stay on your page) by improving the UI, content quality and readability.
- Monitor your click-through-rate. The more your CTR the faster and higher you rank.
Having a checklist beforehand is important when you run a website. It helps you analyze where you stand and what do you need to improve.
Hope this SEO checklist acts as a guide and helps you in optimizing your website for better rankings and huge organic traffic. The mentioned points gain you great results and are the proven strategies. However, it is always recommended not to skip any points if you wish to see better results.