SEO checklist

When attempting to optimize your website, having a checklist to go by can assist in making sure you are doing everything you need. The SEO checklist can help you gain leads, improve where you are in the search engine results, and improve your organic traffic.

When you are attempting to boost your rankings in the search engines, there are three different elements that matter:

  • Off-page SEO

This measures and improves items that occur beyond the actual site, such as how many links are directed to your site, and the quality of those links.

  • On-page SEO

This deals with the optimization and improvement of your current website pages.

  • Technical factors

For on-page SEO, the goals are to ensure you have optimized all your pages with the best content and tools for search-engine friendly results. You should have at least two relevant, targeted keywords or phrases, paying attention to where your site currently ranks based on those terms.

Your on-page SEO efforts should have the following:

  • High-quality content that is at least 500 words.
  • Targeted search phrase in a headline.
  • Targeted search phrase in at least one sub-headline.
  • Targeted search phrase that is repeated 3-10 times in the copy. Copy should be reader-friendly.
  • Include relevant images or graphics.
  • Captions for images or graphics include targeted search phrase.
  • Content is engaging and encourages sharing.
  • The page is optimized for local or specific areas. Consider using a page footer with information.
  • All grammar and spelling should be perfect.
  • Social media links should be included. Pages with active visitors are scored higher.

When coding, remember the following:

  • The target or keyword search phrase should be in the page URL.
  • Every page should have an HTML title tag that is 70 characters or less.
  • Every element should have a meta description tag that is no longer than 160 characters.
  • The targeted phrase should be used in your image alt text.
  • There should be links to other pages within the site that are relevant to that particular topic.
  • All pages designed for mobile should be coded to be recognized as a mobile-optimized site.

Your off-site SEO checklist should include the following:

  • Measurement of inbound links. How much value do they carry? In order to successfully do this, you can plug your site URL into Open Site Explorer.
  • The explorer will reveal all inbound links, the top-linked pages, sort by domains, show the anchor text other sites use to link to you and compare your performance metrics against the competition.

So, how do you use this data?

  • Scan the highest-authority inbound links.
  • Scan the highest-authority links of your competition.
  • Attempt to add any inbound links from non-profit organizations.
  • Take things slowly. Let your inbound links grow organically.

In order to make your mark on a local level, there are certain tactics you must use:

  • Include a “Contact Us” page that provides a complete name, address and location of all your locations.
  • If there are 10 locations or less, your information should be in the sitewide footer.
  • Use Schema markup of your location data.
  • Make your phone number clickable on the website and mobile devices.
  • Use the same name, phone number and address every time.
  • Link your location pages from a high-level navigation menu.

These are suggestions for conducting on-page and off-page SEO audits, but what about an overall assessment checklist? Here are a few tips:

  • Have you installed Google Search Console?
  • Have you installed Google Analytics?
  • Using WordPress? Install a Google Analytics plugin.
  • Install Yoast SEO! for WordPress.
  • Check Google Search Console for 404/500 errors. Also check for duplicated content, technical errors and missing titles.
  • Use Browseo for additional technical errors.
  • Use Screaming Frog for broken links, errors and crawl issues.
  • Use Google’s Keyword Planner for keyword research. You can also use SEMRush and KeywordTooLio to find out valuable information.
  • Have you analysed competitor websites? Link profiles? This is how you can establish yourself as a link builder.
  • Incorporate your primary keyword into your page URL.
  • Place the main keyword in your title tag? You can also find out the click-through rate.
  • Make sure your meta tags are 160 characters. Is the keyword in your header?
  • Do you have an H1 tag on the page?
  • Is search engine-accessible copy on the site? There should be at least 100 words for the search engines to understand your site and niche area.
  • Are synonyms embedded in the copy? Use natural language to get your point across.
  • All images should have ALT tags and filenames.
  • Do you have links? Make sure they are connected throughout the site.
  • Do you have off-page optimization?
  • Make sure the site is not creating duplicate content.
  • Use absolute URLs in your code.
  • Have you checked your site speed with Google PageSpeed tools.
  • Is the site responsive?
  • Have you created an SML sitemap and submit to Google.
  • Do you have a robots.txt file.
  • Have you claimed your space with on other major platforms to gain exposure?
  • Do you have social media platforms?
  • Have you used an SEO audit tool?

There are a lot of free SEO tools that can be used to ensure your sites are properly optimized. These are just a few things that can be done from an SEO perspective. It is wise to remember good SEO is organic and happens over time. These checklists are just a starting point to get on the right page.

Here are some main problems with SEO that should be addressed as well:

  • Online forms
  • Duplicate pages
  • Poor link structure
  • Non-text content

Websites are always competing for attention in the search engines. Gaining knowledge and experience in improving website ranking will help utilise the information for increased traffic and visibility. SEO is consistently changing, so consistently employing new tactics for results can help make a difference.

Although SEO seems hard, it really is a way to make the website easy for your readers and the search engines. SEO helps engines figure out what each page is about and how it is useful for others. SEO is important for a number of reasons:

  • Generating more traffic

Ranking in a top position will put you in the spotlight,

  • Cost-effectiveness

This saves the company money because it is targeted and focused. It is the most inexpensive way to get attention without having to pay for it.

  • ROI

SEO provides quantifiable results. The comprehensive analytics also provide companies with the ability to get demographic information and other engagement metrics for your audience.

  • Brand awareness

SEO also helps with brand engagement and awareness. It is instrumental in getting users to associate brands with keywords.

  • Increased usability of the site

SEO also helps make the website easier to navigate for search engines. This makes it easier for search engines to crawl a site, and for users to find the information they are seeking.

Utilizing SEO in conjunction with these checklists as part of your online marketing strategy can assist the marketing team in evaluating what’s working and what is not. Going the distance in getting every element of the checklists completed is a step in the right direction on the road to getting what you really want – results and a bigger bottom line. SEO continues to be a major part of site optimization and maintenance, so as a small business owner, all efforts are worth it.

SEO checklist

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