Search engine optimization is essential to growing your business digitally. It does not cost you anything but takes consistent effort. In return, it increases your credibility and helps you reach more and more people.
SEO has a lot of steps and processes. Here is the SEO checklist 2023, which will help you to start and finish SEO step by step.
SEO Basics Checklist
1. Set up Google Search Console
The Google search console is a free tool to track the website’s organic performance. Google search console helps you to see the top keywords for which your website is ranking along with ranking positions. You can also find critical errors on your website and submit sitemaps on the Google search console.
2. Set up Google Analytics
This is another free tool of Google that helps you see the analytics of the page’s audience. It shows the number of users coming to your website and from where they are coming. It also reveals how the user interacts with your page.
4. Install an SEO plug-in
If your website is built on WordPress, you must install an SEO plug-in like Yoast SEO or Rank Math. This plug-in will enable you to optimise several things like blog/articles, pages, sitemaps and metatags.
5. Create and submit a sitemap
Creating and submitting a sitemap to a search engine is very important. It facilitates the search engines to easily crawl and index your pages by telling them where the necessary content is on your website. You can find sitemaps on one of these URLs:
6. Create a robots.txt file
If you want to prohibit search engines from going to a particular page of your website, a robots.txt file is a must. It is a plain text file that helps the search engine segregate the page where it should and where it should not go on your website. You can create a robots.txt file by searching the following on google: robots.txt generator.
Keyword Research Checklist
7. Find a primary keyword
Each page of your website should focus on a single important keyword. You should conduct keyword research regularly to uncover new phrases, but you should also ensure that you target the right keyword each time you publish a new article/blog. You can use several keyword research tools for this purpose.
8. Assess search intent
Search intent tells you about the user’s intention and why the user is searching for a particular query. It is crucial to rank on search engines; your content must align with the search intent. Always assess the types and formats of the pages ranking for your primary keyword.
9. Competitor Analysis
You can use specific tools to determine the level of ease and challenge to rank on a particular keyword. You can also find low-competition keywords for the required competitor analysis on these tools.
10. Research what people want to know
When you know what people want to know, it’s easy to incorporate those answers into your content. The section on the google page ‘people also ask’ gives a clear idea of the questions users are searching related to your keyword.
On-Page SEO Checklist
11. Use short, descriptive and keyword-inclusive URLs
Short, descriptive and keyword-inclusive URLs help the user to know what the page is about. The simplest method to create such URLs is by adding the keyword in the slug.
12. Writing a compelling title tag.
Title tags show up right there in the google search. So make sure to write a title tag that explains what the content is about and is captivating enough.
13. Writing a compelling meta description.
Meta descriptions describe the content. It should contain the primary keyword and align precisely with the search intent.
14. Link to relevant resources (outbound linking – if required)
Whenever needed and required, you can give an inbound and outbound link to your content. It helps the user learn more about your content’s topic and resources.
15. Optimising images before uploading (size, Title, description and alt tags)
It is essential to optimise the images as well. Install an image compression plug-in. Rename the image file as a descriptive phase.
16. Add schema markup
Schema markup assists search engines in better understanding your content. It also significantly impacts how your website appears in the SERPs.
The use of schema markup can boost click-through rates and drive more visitors to your website.
17. Add internal links
Internal links assist Google in determining the topic of your page. They also make it easier for search engines and consumers to explore your website.
Technical SEO Checklist
18. Make sure your site is crawlable and indexable
If your website is not crawlable, it is difficult for search engines to index it. Always check the coverage report on the Google search console. If there are any warnings related to robot.txt files, try to clear them post haste.
Indexing and crawling are different. Remove the ‘noindex’ tag from the pages that should be indexed.
19. Make sure you’re using HTTPS
HTTPS is very major factor in ranking on search engines like Google, Bing etc. If you don’t want to spend money on purchasing an SSL certificate for your site, you can get one for free from Lets Encrypt.
20. Make sure your website is accessible in one domain.
To avoid crawling, indexing, and security issues, your website should be accessible to visitors only at one location, i.e., domain.
21. Make sure your site loads fast.
The page loading speed is a critical factor in ranking for desktop and mobile. As the speed of the page decreases, the bounce rate increases. You can check the performance of each page of your website using different online tools.
22. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly
Mobile users are more than desktop users. It is very critical to make your website mobile-friendly.
23. Fix broken pages (Error 404)
Check for broken pages of your page using online available tools and fix them right away. Broken pages leave a very negative impression on the user.
24. Fix duplicate pages/content issues
Duplicate content is identical or nearly identical content that appears on the web in more than one location.
25. Write the best intro (including the primary keyword)
The intro should be captivating enough to draw the user’s attention within a few seconds. A good introduction connects with the reader and offers the solution that the user is looking for. It should also include the primary keyword.
26. Use of subheadings for hierarchy
Subheadings give structure to your content. It makes your content easier to interpret and interesting at the same time.
27. Break things up with images
Images make your content catchy. Reading plain text can get boring, but with pictures, you can keep the user interested in your content.
28. Use of short sentences and paragraphs
Using short sentences increases the readability of the text. The better the readability score better it is to understand. You should also use easy phrases and avoid using jargon. It would be best if you always targeted to score higher. You can check the readability score online.
29. Website content proofread (Grammar mistakes)
It would be best if you double-check that your content is grammatically correct. Grammar error is a big turn-off for the user and negatively impacts the audience.
30. Adding a table of contents
A table of content gives you a clear idea of what is in the content. It also provides a direct jump link to different sections of the page.
31. Include a call to action (CTA)
It is always recommended to add a call to action in your data. CTA prompts the user to take some desired action related to sales.
Link Building Checklist
32. Analysing and Try to Replicate your competitor’s Links
It is essential to dig deep into competitors’ content and link profiles. If a page mentions and links to several rivals but not you, it might be a link worth pursuing. You can copy your competitor’s link sources.
33. Reclaiming lost links
You can check the report on lost links using online tools. Then, you can proceed to reclaim them.
34. Pursue unlinked mentions (if any)
There will be some pages which mention you but without links. You can make more from such mentions by asking those pages to provide a link to your page.
- Link-building activities you can follow to build quality backlinks:
- Guest post
- Directories Submission
- Infographics Submission
- Forums submission
- Blog Commenting
- Business listings
- Image Sharing
- Content Sharing (Growth Hackers, Medium, LinkedIn, Growthub, Business2community)
Also Read: What Are Branded Keywords in Google Ads?