Are you looking for an SEO checklist that can help your website on Google’s first page? This article provides a collection of information you need to work on your site’s organic traffic and rank on Google.
You’ll get instructions and tried-and-true procedures that cover everything you need to know.
Keep on reading as I will present the checklist on SEO Basics, Technical SEO, Keywords Research, Content Optimization, Onpage SEO, and Off-page SEO.
How to Apply Complete SEO Guidelines
It’s crucial to have SEO guidelines since it keeps you on target when developing your website. Rather than developing your website based on your assumptions about what people want, your approach will ensure that you create an excellent website that people are seeking.
The checklists below are some of the things you do even before, but if you find something that you still haven’t used to optimize your website, you can always work for it and see if it is relevant to your site.
1. SEO Basics
A basic setup of must-use tools, such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console, should be included in any SEO checklist for new websites (and even current ones). To get your accounts up and running and linked to your site, use this website SEO checklist!
Remember that there are a plethora of website optimization tools available to assist you with your SEO.
Let’s dive into it now!
Set Up Google Analytics
Everything starts with Google Analytics, no matter what reporting tools or dashboards you use. Install this as soon as possible on your site to ensure that you have a large amount of historical data.
To double-check for faults, run some brief real-time traffic tests. Configure numerous profiles to allow your team to analyze different views of the data more quickly.
Create Google Search Console Account
The next step is to create a Google Search Console account to connect to Google Analytics. Google Search Console, like Google Analytics, is a free tool.
It’s also a strong tool, giving your company a lot of information about how your website performs in search results.
Google Search Console shows how people discover your website through organic search results. After you’ve set up Google Search Console for your website, you can go on to the following step on the SEO checklist.
Set up Bing Webmaster Tools
Is Bing as well-known as Google?
No. However, Bing accounts for up to a third of all searches. As a result, it’s worth optimizing for.
Bing Webmaster Tools also has some useful capabilities, such as a built-in keyword research tool.
Bing has a sizable share of the search market, despite Google’s dominance. That is why Bing Webmaster Tools is beneficial. Like Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools allows you to view how your website and pages perform in search results – but only on Bing.
Install SEO Plugin
You’ll need an SEO plugin if you’re using WordPress to help you optimize things like sitemaps and meta tags. However, you do not need an SEO plugin if you’re utilizing a different website platform like Shopify.
Here are some best WordPress SEO plugins and tools.
- Yoast SEO
- Rank Math
Create and Submit A Sitemap
Creating a sitemap is the best approach to ensure that your website gets found by search engines like Google. You’ll be able to determine the structure of how search engines crawl your website by producing a sitemap.
Search engines use sitemaps to figure out where the important material on your site is.
Your sitemap.xml is normally found at yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml. Check the image below:
If you’re using WordPress and one of the above-mentioned plugins, you’ll see that creating a sitemap is a standard feature.
Create a Robots.txt File
This Robots.txt file instructs search engines which pages or parts of the site should not be indexed. Search engines will, by default, look at all of the content they can discover.
Even if you don’t want the search engines to index any of your pages, make sure this Robots.txt file exists.
On some WordPress SEO plugins, they allow their users to edit their Robots.txt file and check this feature.
Check Manual Action Report in Search Console
This report includes a detailed summary of all manual acts that have an impact on a site. The manual action report is very important for SEOs who are new to a company or taking over an existing website.
The problem must be resolved across all affected pages. Only fixing the problem on a few pages will not solve the issue.
When all of the issues in the report have been resolved, you can seek a new review from Google by clicking on “request review.”
Check To See If Google Can Index Your Website
Google’s spiders are constantly exploring and updating their database for fresh information.
The search engine’s purpose is always to give up-to-date results, even if the results are obtained from a stored source. You must ensure that nothing prevents Google from indexing your website in the first place if you want them to index it swiftly.
As a result, it’s in your best interest to ensure that new content is indexed as soon as possible by Google. Remember that the quality of your material, as well as the lack of internal links, could be a deal-breaker in the indexing process.
2. Technical SEO
Make Sure You Are Using HTTPS
One of the well-known ranking variables is having an SSL certificate set up on your website. Any information transmitted between your website and server is secured with an SSL.
If you haven’t already done so, making the switch to HTTPS should be at the top of your to-do list. For SEO purposes, simply installing an SSL certificate on your website is not enough; you must do so correctly to risk losing your present ranks.
Fix Duplicate Content on Your Website
Duplicate material is another technical issue that many websites have. Duplicate material is detrimental to a positive user experience, so unique content is a primary focus. To guarantee that a site is perceived as unique, it is critical to keep duplicate content to a minimum.
In addition, consumers prefer to read original stuff that isn’t seen on the site or elsewhere. Reducing duplicate material improves the quality of high-quality pages and provides the greatest user experience possible.
Find and Fix Crawl Errors
You’ll want to check for any crawl issues on your site. When a search engine tries but fails to reach a page on your website, it is a crawl error. Look for any crawl issues after you’ve crawled the site.
When looking for crawl errors, you should…
- Use 301 redirects to execute all redirects properly.
- Look through any 4xx and 5xx error pages to see where they should be redirected.
Improve Your Site Speed
If all other factors are equal, Google favors pages that load quickly. Because Google uses page speed as a ranking factor, making sure your site speed is fast is critical.
Check your page load time with a tool like Google’s PageSpeed Insights. To enhance page load times, follow all advice, such as compressing files or pictures and deleting superfluous scripts.
You could also use Google’s mobile-friendly test tool to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly.
Fix Broken Internal and Outbound Links
Check the site for broken links using a crawling tool. Internal links and outbound links are a technique to keep both humans and search engines moving from page to page smoothly, so fix any links that don’t help with that.
Any links to third-party websites that break overtime should also be handled. After all, you want to provide your site visitors with an amazing user experience. Furthermore, if the number of broken links on your site starts to rise, Google may lose faith in it.
Ensure Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly.
A responsive website design changes automatically to allow for easy navigation and reading on any device.
Google makes it obvious that having a responsive website is a highly important ranking indication for its algorithms. According to Google’s new “mobile-first” approach to indexing information, an adaptable website is now more vital than ever.
As a result, it’s a good idea to make sure your website is totally responsive and displays in the best possible way for mobile, tablet, and desktop viewers.
Create Clear, Friendly URLs
There are a few more things to consider while creating SEO-friendly URLs. First, you need to make sure that they are clear and simple. Consumers should comprehend what a page is about at a glance if you use numbers and codes instead of the language they can understand.
Second, separate words with hyphens rather than underscores, spaces, or other special characters.
Lastly, ensure that your target keyword is included in the URL of the page. If you want it to rank, this is critical. For example, if the web page is an article or a blog post, utilize the major term from the title in the URL.
Add Structured Data
HTML code is used to tag specific items on your page with structured data. If your website is a homemade pizza recipe, you may tell Google which text is the ingredients, which is the cooking time, and so on. Google can then use the tags to generate rich snippets for your pages in the SERP.
Under the improvements tab in Google Search Console, you can check your structured data. Google will show you the changes you attempted to make to your website and tell you whether or not you were successful.
Check the Page Depth of Your Site
Pages should ideally be no more than three clicks deep within your site.
If this is the case, you’ll need to spend some time flattening your site’s structure. It’s as basic as the deeper a page gets, the less likely it is to be found by users or search engines.
Pages that need more than three clicks to access will be marked in the problems section of your site audit report.
Check Redirects (302s And 301s)
A 302 redirect indicates a temporary redirect, but a 301 redirect indicates a permanent redirect.
While Google has confirmed that 302s pass PageRank, the reality remains that if a 302 redirect isn’t expected to be deleted at any point in the future, it should be updated to a 301.
Any 302 redirects will be clearly identified as pages with temporary redirects in the Site Audit report.
Check For Redirect Chains and Loops
Redirect loops differ from redirect chains. Both issues impact the usability and crawlability of your website.
Redirect chains make crawling your site difficult for search engines, which directly influences the number of pages indexed. Redirect chains will also cause slower page loading times, increasing the likelihood of visitors leaving. This is also a minor ranking element.
Errors occur when redirect loops are used. When a crawler comes across a redirect loop, it has reached a dead-end and will stop looking for more pages to index.
3. Keywords Research & Mapping
Keyword research is the process of identifying words and phrases that will rank in search engines. When undertaking keyword research, the ability to examine buyer behavior comes in handy.
You must know the appropriate keywords to add relevance to your business and build a strategy for attempting to rank for the appropriate keywords and target audience. Keep on reading to learn how you can work on your keyword research and mapping.
Know Your Competitors
This is a necessary component of any business strategy, and SEO optimization is no different. You must find your competitors’ websites and plug them into an optimization tool that will tell you which keywords they rank for and how they use them.
This may provide you with some further keyword suggestions for your own website.
Know Your Most Important Keywords
You must choose which keywords will yield the best results for you. You may use free keyword tools to look for keywords that are connected to your main products and services.
Ranking for these keywords is likely to bring in the ideal clients who are eager to buy your products and services to your website.
Use Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are three or four keyword phrases that are unique to what you’re selling. When a buyer chooses a highly particular search word, they are usually seeking exactly what they intend to purchase. Only 10% of visitors use the site search function on average.
In almost every case, such highly precise searches are considerably more likely to result in sales than more general generic searches, which are more targeted toward the type of research that buyers generally conduct before making a purchase choice.
Multi-word phrases that are highly particular are significantly easier to rank for than single or double keyword phrases that are more generic.
Create a Keyword Map
After you’ve determined your target keywords, you’ll need to map them to your website’s pages and look for any gaps.
If you don’t know how to, here is what you need to do:
- Create a keyword list
- Learn what keywords people are actually searching
- Expand your keyword list based on your research
- Group related keywords
It’s critical that you take the time to make sure you’re targeting the correct pages with the proper keywords, and the steps mentioned can help you get it right the first time and utilize it to fuel your plan.
4. Content Optimization
Searchers ask Google, Bing, and other search engines to locate concepts and keywords for them, and content optimization is just changing textual content to contain those concepts and keywords. Continue reading to get the most out of your content optimization.
Create Amazing Content
Google favors content that is new, unique, and well-written. When you create long, rich content on your website, make sure you provide relevant content using keywords that can also help you rank in search engines.
Here’s the 3-step process to create amazing content:
- First, identify a piece of popular content in your industry
- Next, create something even better
- Finally, promote that content
Optimize the Length of Your Posts
Google prefers longer articles. According to one study, the average length of a first-page Google search result is 2000 words.
While it isn’t required to publish an article of that length or more than 2000 words every time you update your blog, you’ll generally have better luck if you do so regularly. Using bullet points, subheadings, and lists to break up long pieces into manageable bits for your readers will help avoid a wall of text.
Use Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, And Headings
These parts of your content provide a short description or an idea to readers about your content. They have often overlooked aspects in good SEO, which lowers your chance of ranking higher in Google. Properly using Title tags, Meta descriptions, and Headings will create a drastic change in your content optimization.
To learn more about Title tags, Meta descriptions, and Headings, read the Onpage SEO below.
5. Onpage SEO
Improve Page Title / Meta Title
The most significant element on the page is the Page Title or Meta Title. They are an important ranking factor in Google. When users search for queries relating to your content, product, or service, you want search engines to display your page title, meta title, or title tag.
It gives search engines an idea of the content of your page.
Here’s how you can write the right Page Title or Meta Title:
- Maintain a page title length of 50 to 70 characters or a width of 920 pixels
- Include your target keyword towards the start of the page title tag.
- h1>HTML tags/h1> should be used to wrap your page title.
By viewing your browser’s developer console, you can see if your page title is wrapped in the appropriate tag. Check that your title element is H1 by navigating to it.
Improve Meta Description
Like your page title or meta title, meta descriptions appear in search engine results when consumers search for queries related to your content.
The meta description is a brief description of a page that informs users of what they will gain by viewing it.
In the preceding paragraph, take note of the term “users.” If your description doesn’t read well, makes no sense, or makes a misleading promise, don’t use it in the meta description tag.
After all, meta descriptions aren’t used to determine SEO rankings.
A poorly written meta description, on the other hand, that is incompatible with the content that visitors see when they click through, will result in high bounce rates, short dwell durations, and lower ranks.
Avoid Duplicate Content with Targeted Keywords
With all of Google’s Panda adjustments, it’s more crucial than ever to have original and relevant content. If you have numerous pages with the same material (or if your content appears on other people’s websites), you risk being penalized by Google, and your search rankings will suffer as a result.
Keep your material new and unique if you want to keep Google happy.
Utilize Headings Properly
Don’t forget that structure is important. Your header tags provide your article shape and context. Make sure your post’s material is well-structured, and utilize the proper header tags to display a consistent information hierarchy- H1, H2, H3, H4, and so on.
Your H1 title, which is the main descriptive title of the page with the major keyword or phrase, should always come first, followed by your H2 and so on, with keyword variants. It’s preferable to have only one H1 on each of your pages to keep them focused on a single topic.
Check Alt Text On Image
If your page has an image, strive to include the keyword naturally into the image’s short description. The alt text will serve its purpose in search engines, and your screen readers will comprehend what the image depicts.
Insert a Good Amount Of Internal Links
The links to other pages on your website assist search engines in indexing and optimizing your content.
Google uses internal links on any particular page to evaluate what content is connected. It will also consider the number of internal links on your domain’s pages and prioritize those sites with the most internal links centered on a given keyword.
When it comes to on-page SEO, your responsibility is to ensure that there are enough internal links, that they are in the proper place, and point to relevant content.
6. Offpage Optimization
Off-page optimization comprises enhancing a website’s reputation. This is difficult to achieve through website adjustments, as is the case with on-page SEO. Follow the steps outlined below to improve your off-page optimization.
Analyze Your Competitor’s Backlink Profile
How can you look at your competitor’s link profile?
You may look at their backlink profiles once you know who your online competitors are. There are several free and paid tools available online to assist you with this. Knowing what a competitor’s backlinks look like can be a strong approach to see behind the scenes and discover what they’re up to in terms of marketing.
Conducting a Link Intersect Analysis
Are your competitors using links that you are still not utilizing to benefit your website?
Conducting a link intersect analysis will help you find links that your competitors are enjoying which you are still not using. By using a useful tool for determining which links you should focus on based on your backlink strategy will benefit you in the long run.
Turn Unlinked Mentions Into Links
You should search the internet for mentions of your brand that do not include a backlink. Once you’ve compiled a list of all the sites that mention you, you can approach them and request a link back to your site or material.
The sites would be ranked from highest to lowest in terms of Page Rank. The higher your page rank, the better for your SEO and public relations.
Discover New Backlink Opportunities
Google continues to place a high value on links. It is also one of the most well-known methods of off-page optimization.
Building external links with your website are referred to as link building. The basic goal is to obtain as many links or votes as possible in order to outrank your competition.
Webmasters are on the lookout for shortcuts to help them build links to their sites. The higher the number of backlinks, the higher the authority.
Set Up and Optimize Google My Business
How do you expect customers to find your business if it isn’t featured in local directories and maps?
Optimize your Google My Business account to take advantage of local search and attract people to your door. Your Google My Business (GMB) listing is the most visible asset in your organization.
Claim your business to see what people are saying about you, check and improve information about your business, and so much more. Even while GMB optimization isn’t tough, it does take time, which is why many businesses use a local SEO agency for SEO services to assist them.
That’s it. These are the checklists for complete SEO best practices. Good results don’t happen overnight, and if you are eager to be on the first page ranking in Google, incorporating these checklists will surely help you in your site’s optimization.