SEO Checklist 2019
Have you checked this latest 31-point SEO checklist?
Are you striving hard to bring more traffic to your website and want a quick checklist so that you don’t miss a single element? You’re at right place. Here is a smartly prepared 31-point SEO checklist that covers almost each and every aspect of SEO critical to the success of your campaign.
So, let’s start.
How this SEO checklist is useful for you?
You can consider this checklist a shopping cart of elements for your monthly grocery. As you need all the products to meet your monthly consumption, you can’t choose to miss a single thing.
Keep in mind that there is no direction that you follow this checklist blindly but carefully pick what is applicable in your case. The idea here is just to give you an insight about all crucial points that hold relevance in any typical SEO campaign.
Whether you want help on an old website or new website SEO advice, this is especially meant for you.
Understood? Let’s go.
Basic SEO Checklist
Let’s start with the best new website SEO practices that you must choose before doing anything else.
Do remember that these things are doubtful to have a direct influence on rankings. They’re just the basics that every website owner should be aware of.
- Install Yoast SEO
It is a free SEO plugin for WordPress and a few other CMS systems.
It can help you a lot on various things such as – prepare sitemaps, optimize metadata, put on “noindex” attributes to various portionsof your site, and much more.
In simple words, it adds up a lot of ease to various things that are otherwise complex.
However, if you’re not using WordPress, you can simply search for the best SEO plugin for the CMS you’re on.
- Prepare a sitemap
Sitemaps are meant to convey search engines where to discover the main content on your site (which they can then crawl and index).
An example is below:
You can typically find yours at yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml
How do you prepare one? As I already mentioned, you can use Yoast SEO plugin for this. Otherwise, there are many sitemap generators out on the web.
- Create and upload a robots.txt file on your website
Robots.txt is actually a plain text file that directs search engines where they can visit and can’t on your site. It looks like this:
From the above image, it can be easily seen that the file includes some directives that allow or disallow the search engines from visiting various sections of your website.
If you’re on WordPress, you can use Yoast to prepare and optimize the robots.txt file. This robots.txt generator is found to workperfectlyeven for non‐WordPress users. This is one of the best new website SEO tips.
- Install Google Analytics
Google Analytics comes free of cost. Its main job is to allow site owners check how many users visited the website and their behavior.
To install, signup and paste the provided tracking code into your website.
- Setup Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a very effective, must‐have tool for all webmasters.
It allows you monitor your website performance in search and view the keywords for which your website rank. You can also refer to various site improvement tips provided there.
Keyword Research Checklist
Keyword research is undoubtedly the most important part of the SEO puzzle.
This is because if you don’t know what people are searching for, it is quite difficult for you to optimize your content for search engines.
- Get a primary keyword to focus on
Keep in mind that each page/post on your website should target one main primary keyword.
To find yours, you can choose to use Google Keyword Planner.
- Discover long-tail keyword combinations
People search for a particular topic in different ways. This is why 15% of Google searches are new and have never been searched earlier.
To deal with such a situation it is best to make long-tail keyword variations. You can seek help on this by using Google autocomplete. Just type your primary keyword (e.g., “SEO checklist”) into Google, and you’ll see long‐tail recommendations like this:
- Get to know the ‘search intent’
Have you faced any situation where Google was unable to provide the answer for what you were looking for? Rarely. Right.
This is because Google is excellentin understanding the user’s search intent—i.e., what the user is looking for when they type some words into their search engine.
To increase your likelihood of getting your website ranked for a specific keyword, you need to go the Google way. You must get to know the search intent behind the keyword you’re targeting.
Looking at the present ranking results in the SERPs can help you find out this.
Let’s do the same for SEO checklist.
Here, all the outcomes are blog posts. There are no product pages or ecommerce pages because that’s not what people like to see.
So, if you created a page marketing an SEO checklist for sale, the chances of it getting ranked are very low.
- Gain more from the questions people ask on Google
What if someone types “SEO” in the search bar of Google.
You can easily see what Google suggests in regard to the term “SEO” just below the first page. These suggestions are in the form of questions related to the searched term. From this, you can determine what elements you should use to make your page rank better.
- Choose a realistic goal for the chosen keyword
Don’t jump the bandwagon but be realistic. Always set an achievable target for your SEO efforts. Though no keyword is really unachievable. there are some impossible to crack, particularly if you’re competing with established pages.
On-page SEO Checklist
After done with the keyword research, it’s time to focus on on-page SEO factors that hold a lot of value.
- Prefer short, descriptive URLs
According to a recent study, it has been found that pages with short URLs tend to rank better.
However, there should be no compromise on the descriptiveness of your URL. Your URL must provide an insight into what the user in actually looking for.
Another benefit of using descriptive URLs is that you can include targeted keywords.
- Write an attractive title tag and description
In most of the cases, you’ll be asked to include your target keyword into your title tag and meta description.
Is this effective? Yes.
But don’t follow this, if this makes the tag and description illogical.
Most of the pages that rank on the front page of Google don’t feature an exact‐match keyword in their title tag.
Your foremost objective shouldn’t be to shoehorn keywords into such regions. In its place, prepare an interesting title and description that will augment CTR and bring more traffic to your website.
- Use one H1 tag on your page
Google recently mentioned that you can use as many H1 tags on your page.
However, we think that you should use only H1 tag.
But what about the keywords.
There are two big reasons to include your keyword here:
Scannability – Putting your keyword in the H1 helps to strengthen that the visitor is in the appropriate place. It makes it evident that your content manages the topic they probably searched before arriving on your page.
Link framing – People will often associate to your page using the title. Including your keyword in the H1 will surge up your chance of receiving links with your target keyword in the anchor text.
- Interlink internal and external resources
Web pages that link out to high‐DR resources are found to rank better than those that don’t.This is why you shouldn’t hesitate from linking out to other web pages. But make sure you prefer quality, relevant stuff.
The same is the case with internal link.
Whenever you come up with something new, don’t forget to to add internal links from relevant places on existing pages.
- Optimize your images with descriptive “alt” tags
According to a study, 70% of top-ranking pages don’t have their target keywords in their image alt tags. You’ll be shocked to know that almost half of them don’t have even alt tags filled in.
Keep in mind that the idea of using alt tag is to offer some context to the reader should the image fail to load (or if the visitor is using a screen reader).
This is why it is suggested to prefer descriptive alt tags which means your target keywords will be included automatically.
- Smartly “sprinkle” long‐tail variations throughout your content
It is very easy. Just smartly place your long-tail keywords throughout the content available on your web page. Make sure you don’t over do it as it will lead to keyword stuffing. Your focus should be on readability.
- Add schema markup to improve SERP visibility
Schema markup helps search engines better understand the web page content. But it can also intensely affect how your page is shown in the SERPs.
Consider this example.
Have you noticed the difference?
Schema markup is found to augment click‐through rates and drive more traffic to your website.
It’s not heavily complex to implement either. Prefer Google’s markup helper or this Schema markup generator to do it easily.
Content is an integral part of any SEO program and should be handled carefully. Your entire SEO effort are meant to fall on floor is your content is not up to the mark.
Let’s refer to the below checklist to stay strong on this point.
- Write a kick-ass intro
In today’s fast-paced word, people have little time to read the entire content on your page. This is why your prime focus should be on your intro.
If you manage to do so, you can expect to get more traffic on your website as it generates more engagement.
- Concentrate on readability
A long piece of content seems boring. This is why it is recommended to divide your content in subheadings, images, quotes, etc.—anything that will keep the reader stick to the page.
- Prefer short sentences and paras
Unless there is a genuine need, it is better to simplify things.
This refers to the use of short sentences and paragraphs. Also:
- Evade unnecessary jargon;
- Use simple words instead of complicated ones;
- Eradicate dreadfully needless adverbs.
- Write engaging content on the given topic
The simple answer to this is to follow EAT approach.
EAT means – Expertise/Authoritativeness/Trustworthiness. That is what Google claims to be relying on in their official search quality assessor guidelines.
Technical SEO Checklist
There could be a number of technical aspects that may hamper your website’s SEO performance.
Let’s find out more about them below.
- Determine any crawl goofs
This simply means that Google is encountering trouble viewing the content of your site. If the visibility is poor, your hope of attaining search rank is low. This is why it is recommended to get it fixed ASAP.
You can find these crawl errors in Google Search Console > Coverage.
- Work on your site speed
Page speed is something you should pay focus on. No matter what studies say, it is something you should take seriously.
This is because nobody loves to wait for a page that takes long time to load. It not only discourages visitors from coming back but also damages your reputation.
In general, it shouldn’t take more than 3 seconds to load your page. There are various tools that you can use to check your website’s performance in this regard.
- Rectify outgoing broken links
Always keep in mind that broken outbound links mean poor user experience. And user experience is something that Google considers a lot —that’s why they modified their algorithm to penalize sites that feature distracting ads a few years ago.
- Make a mobile-friendly website
In today’s dynamic world, smartphones are a way of life. And you can’t afford to lose out on traffic just because your website is not mobile-friendly.
Make this a priority if your website is still not rendering well on smartphones.
- Move to HTTPs
Is HTTP a ranking factor? According to Google, NO.
But various studies present contradictory results. Anyway, HTTPs is meant to safeguard your visitor’s data. This is particularly important if your site has any contact forms on your site. If you’re asking for passwords or payment details, then it’s not just necessary, it’s an absolute must.
- Rectify duplicate content issues
Duplicate content means when you have two or more similar or equal pages on your website.
This may confuse Google as which page should it consider.
It’s a typical ecommerce SEO concern thanks to faceted navigation. That alone can cause hundreds of duplicate content issues due to URL parameters. You can run a side audit to determine any such issue.
Fix these by canonicalizing the affected pages to a “master” page.
Link Building Checklist
This is undoubtedly the most challenging task in your SEO efforts. It is something that you don’t have the complete control. So, let’s check out these time-tested tips.
- Duplicate your competitor’s links
Your competitors might have some backlinks. If a website is linked to your competitor, it will be beneficial for you if you manage to place a link there.
And when it comes to do this, there are various options. However, one quick option is to discover sites that are linking to multiple competitors as the chance of them also linking to you is quite high.
The final outcome is that you can place links to your website by replicating your competitors’ links.
- Examine and replace any lost links
Sometimes, links get lost due to various reasons – good or bad. No matter what’s the reason behind, there is an option to reclaim them back.
You may see them as link removed. To get them back, you need to provide a logical reason.
- Chase unlinked mentions
People sometimes mention your brand—or objects associated with your brand—without linking back to you. These are called unlinked mentions.
It is really great if you could convert unlinked mentions into linked ones for your brand. The easiest way is to reach out to the site author and ask him or her to make the text clickable. If they’re well aware of your brand, they won’t take much time to do this.
- Let relevant people find your content
People always aspire to get the content that is relevant to them.
This is where you should make a mark by letting right people know that you’ve the right content. These people are often caked as “linkerati.”You can perform blogger outreach to make them aware of your content.
Is it effective? This is what I do most of the time.
Always remember that SEO is a continuing process and you can’t be a jack of all trades. Whatever practice you do, focus on it from your heart and you will see that things have started turning your way.
All the best.