This post was most recently updated on December 27, 2019
If you want to increase your website traffic, you’ll love this comprehensive SEO checklist.
It is the perfect list to ensure maximum Search Engine Optimization.
Learning SEO tactics from the best in the industry, I have created my own checklist, that includes all the must-haves and more of SEO guidelines.
I am now sharing this tried and tested SEO checklist with you today.
Read the complete list and its benefits and then decide which one you want to implement on your website first.
Remember, you don’t need to implement everything from the list.
Understand your requirements and do it one step at a time.
Most of the steps in the list are pretty standard and doesn’t require a lot of technical knowledge to carry them forward.
The more steps you implement, the higher are the chances of you getting more relevant traffic.
Let’s get started.
- Basic SEO Checklist
- On-page SEO Checklist
- Perform Keyword Research
- Add your keyword first in the title tag
- Use the same keyword in the meta description tag
- Use Power words in the meta title and description tag
- Use your keyword in the first paragraph of the page
- Use your keyword in heading tags
- Use Synonyms and LSI (related) keywords in your page
- Use internal and external links
- Optimize your images
- Content Checklist
- Technical SEO Checklist
- Website Speed
- Mobile Friendly Website
- Secure your website with HTTPS
- Fix Broken Links
- Fix crawl errors
- Fix duplicate content issues
- Create Website Sitemap
- Create Robots.txt
- Use Schema Markup
- Link Building Checklist
Basic SEO Checklist
Setup Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager is a management tool that helps you update tracking scripts known as tags by adding a single code snippet on your website or mobile app.
It manages multiple pixels(tracking scripts) making is easy to add or remove any script without changing anything on the website.
Setup Google Search Console
Google search console is a free SEO tool provided by Google that shows you how your website is performing.
You can optimize your website for better search engine results using this tool.
You can also make most using other features like search queries, impressions, clicks, positions, submit the sitemap, fix crawl errors, and get notified for any errors on your website.
All in all, this is the ultimate SEO tool that will help you increase your website traffic if you are serious about SEO.
Check out the complete Google Search Console Tutorial here.
Setup Google Analytics
As the name suggests, Google Analytics is an analytics tool to track your website visitors.
It is one of the must-have tools when it comes to analyzing data for SEO
With Google Analytics, you can track how much traffic you get from search engines, pages that visitors visits, traffic increase trends, bounce rate, avg. time spent on your website, goals and other important metrics that will help you analyze your visitors.
Here is a helpful guide for Google Analytics.
Install Yoast SEO Plugin (WordPress users only)
Yoast SEO is a free, well known and powerful WordPress plugin for SEO.
It helps you with technical aspects of SEO like robots.txt, sitemap, metadata optimization, content readability and more.
You can even see whether your article is optimized for your keyword or not.
You can also avail the paid version of Yoast SEO which offers more functionality and ease of use.
If you are not using WordPress, there are various other plugins and tools with similar functionalities that help you with your website SEO.
On-page SEO Checklist
Perform Keyword Research
Keyword research is the heart and soul of SEO. If not executed accurately, it will not have any effect on the SEO efforts and sometimes can lead to negative results as well.
First, you need to figure out the intent or objective of your target audience. Understand what your potential users may search in Google and accordingly start your research.
Enter your desired keyword and find out monthly searches, organic results, keyword difficulty and more.
You can even use Google Suggest to find relevant keywords.
Based on search volume and your audience, you can decide your target keyword.
Once you finalize your keyword, you can use that keyword in your webpage to boost your ranking.
Add your keyword at the beginning of the title tag
Meta Title of your webpage is the most important part of SEO.
It is advisable to add your keyword first in your title tag.
If you are not able to do that, try to keep it close to the beginning of your title tag.
Use the same keyword in the meta description tag
The meta description of a page is not considered as a ranking factor but adding the keyword in meta description will help you attain a better Click Through Rate (CTR).
A high CTR is one of the ranking factors for Google.
If your CTR is high, it automatically upscales the page ranking.
Use power words in meta title and description tag
Power words or action words help you grab your visitor’s attention. Use words like Best, Guide, Checklist, Review, Current year and more.
You can even use numbers or symbol in your title and description tag which also resonate well with audiences and help get a higher CTR.
Use your keyword in the first paragraph of the page
You should add your target keyword in your webpage content but don’t stuff too many keywords otherwise Google won’t rank it.
Use the target keyword organically throughout the webpage content. However, don’t overdo it, Google might flag your page for keyword stuffing.
Ensure that use the target keyword in the first 100 words at least. This makes it easier for Google bots to find the keyword and increase your chances of getting higher rankings.
Use your keyword in the heading tags
Make sure that you add your keyword in heading tags that are h1, h2, h3 etc. on the page.
Add your primary keyword in h1 tag and use the same keyword or related keywords in other heading tags.
This won’t exactly boost your ranking tremendously but is a good practice to follow for better user experience.
Use Synonyms and LSI (related) keywords in your page
We have already established that keyword stuffing is a big no-no for SEO. It is always better to create content with user needs in mind.
Alternatively, you can use synonyms or similar keywords in your copy instead.
Latent Semantic Index (LSI) keywords are similar or go hand in hand with your focus keyword. For the keyword SEO Checklist, you will find phrases like “SEO best practices Checklist”, “SEO Checklist pdf” and more.
You can use tools like LSIGraph.com to get the similar keywords.
Once you have those keywords, integrate them with the web copy.
Use internal and external links
Adding a 4-5 link on your webpage is a way to tell Google about your webpage’s topic.
If you add the external link of an authoritative website that is also relevant to your content or topic, you are indicating Google about the authority of your webpage.
Adding 2-3 internal link of your website will help Google understand your overall website topic.
Optimize your image’s name and alt tag
Google search engine doesn’t interpret images.
So in order to help Google understand what this image is about, you can add a relevant description of the images using the Alt tag in your image.
You can even add image name relevant so it will be super easy for Google to understand the image and rank it accordingly.
Make your content more readable
Nobody is free enough to read big paragraphs about your business on your website, most people will just glance at the webpage and move on.
To keep the content easy to read, break up your content with subheadings and bullet points. You should also add more images, quotes etc and keep more whitespace on the page to make it more user-friendly.
Use short sentences and paragraphs
As the heading suggests, write your page or blog with short sentences and paragraphs.
Avoid using any complex words, that will make it difficult for other people to understand the content and ultimately drive them away.
If you are using the Yoast SEO plugin, you can see your readability rate which will help you optimize your article further.
Create unique and in-depth content
Keep your content unique, informative and interesting- that people will want to read.
Try to cover all the available subtopics for your main topic. This way, you have a great piece of content that will be unique to you.
Google also loves unique and in-depth content.
If your content is loved by your users, you will get a better ranking.
Technical SEO Checklist
The fast-paced world waits for no one, thus your website must load quickly or face the consequences of high exit rate if the page doesn’t load within a few seconds.
Even Google is considering website speed as a factor of ranking on the SERP.
You can optimize your website code and images for faster loading time.
Mobile Friendly Website
Use of mobile phones to access the websites and search for queries is at its peak.
As per Google’s recent Mobile First Indexing for ranking, any website that is not mobile optimized will face a setback on search rankings.
You can use Google’s Mobile Friendly tool to check your website and ensure that it passes the responsive test.
Secure your website with HTTPS
As per Google blog, HTTPS is also one of the ranking factors for Google’s search engine.
If not done yet, you must transfer your website to https immediately.
You can do so by purchasing an SSL certificate and installing it on your hosting server or you can use free service like Cloudflare for it as well.
Fix Broken Links
Broken links gravely affect your website’s ranking.
They lead to poor user-experience which is one of the most important ranking factors for Google.
It’s essential to keep a tab on them and fix them regularly.
You can identify broken link using any free tool like drlinkcheck.com
Fix crawl errors
Crawl errors are generated by Google if they are not able to view your page. You can find out crawl errors from Google Search Console > Coverage menu.
Fix all the errors you see in coverage menu and click the ‘Validate Fix’ button to submit.
Google bots will crawl and check if it is fixed or not.
Fix duplicate contents
Ensure that you don’t have similar pages on the website with similar content, it can really hurt your rankings.
If you must duplicate content across 2 or multiple pages, use the Canonical tag. It will inform Google about duplicate content and not affect your SEO efforts.
And if you are eliminating the page with duplicate content, make sure you add a 301 redirect that will redirect the user to the original page.
Create Website Sitemap
The sitemap is the easiest way to tell Google about the number of pages on your website and what are they about.
Once you build a sitemap and submit it to Google, it will periodically crawl and index all those URLs.
You can generate sitemap manually from sites like xml-sitemaps.com
If you are using WordPress, you can use the Yoast SEO plugin to generate the sitemap. You can even use All in one SEO Pack plugin to generate a sitemap.
Your sitemap will be on root directory from your website so the sitemap URL will look like this.
Robots.txt is a simple file on your web site’s root directory indicating Google or other search engine bots that you don’t need to crawl on the given files.
You can check whether you already have a robots.txt file or not from this URL-
This helps you block any file or folder from crawling and indexing by search engines.
Let’s say you want to block a demo folder on your website. So your code will look like the below.
It’s very simple to create one but in case you are facing trouble creating it, you can use the Yoast SEO plugin to create robots.txt as well.
People who are not using WordPress can use the free tool from Seoptimer.
Add Schema Markup
Schema Markup is helpful to tell Google about your contents. You can add HTML markup defined as a schema.org and add them to your HTML code.
It’s technical and you may want to take help from your developer.
However, you can also use tools like Google’s Structured Data tool, to implement it easily and add them into your HTML code.
Link Building Checklist
A guest post is a well-known and a fruitful link building strategy.
Approach bloggers from your industry and ask them to publish your article as a guest post. This will help you get an authoritative back link for your website.
You can check the authority of that blog before you decide to do a guest post.
Moreover, as readers of this blog are your target audience, you can get quality leads from the blog as well.
Answer on Quora and other Forums
Quora, Reddit, and other forums are a great way to get backlinks from known domains. You can answer questions relevant to your industry on Quora and other platforms.
Search for the keyword in the search box and find out questions that are related to your industry. Try to genuinely help people instead of just talking about your business. Only add links where it’s relevant. This is applicable to almost every forum.
Make sure that you don’t add a link just to gain backlinks otherwise your answer will lapse or be removed.
As mentioned in the above point, do not comment on articles just to gain backlinks.
Instead, actually read the blog and if you have any insights to share then only comment. Add a link to your website only if it’s really required.
Most blogs, ask for the website along with email and name so you can get links from it
Do outreach to get backlinks
Most of the time you mention a few people from your industry in your blog. So it’s always good to reach out to those people and ask them to share your piece of content.
You can even mention an influencer in your blog and conduct an outreach campaign to get the backlinks. If they like your content, they might even share it on their own social media.
Phew! That’s all folks.
I know this SEO checklist is huge!
SEO is always a continuous process so don’t worry if you can’t implement all of the points in one go- do it one step at a time.
Having said that, this checklist will help you get higher rankings if you follow each point and implement it on your website.
If you are a beginner and want to learn more about SEO check my Step by Step SEO tutorial before you can implement the SEO Checklist.
I would like to hear your thoughts about the Checklist and if you have any questions, leave a comment below.