I’m going to show you a detailed SEO checklist that helps you grow organic traffic to your blog from Google.
As I’m sure you know, there are numerous categories in SEO. From keyword research to On-Page SEO, Technical SEO, Link Building, and more.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
SEO’s goal is to get your website the best possible rank in Organic Search or Non-Paid Results, on search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Every day millions of people search online for various search terms such as questions, products, and services. Years of research prove that people rarely look beyond the first page or second page of results.
And, they most often click the links near the top of the page, which is where you want to be when people search for your products and services.
How does SEO Works?
Search Engines use complex formulas and processes called “Algorithms”. It is used to analyze, index, and rank the millions of sites on the web.
Search Engines evaluate the signals and use them to assess where your website should rank compared to other websites. These signals include:
- Meta Tags.
- Links to your site from other sites.
An important thing to keep in mind is that search engines are sophisticated; they analyze for quality, not quantity, in order to provide search results that are relevant and trustworthy.
How to Optimize SEO for your Website?
First Step – The first step is to think about your target audience.
Who are they?
What will they want to see and learn when they visit your website?
What words or phrases are they likely to use?
Just think as a Visitor. If you are a visitor, “what would you like to search for?” think like that. Use that knowledge to create compelling, well-written content that engages your audience and spurs them to action.
Remember, flooding your website with keywords that degrade your readability and it will hurt your ranking in SEO. So, don’t do that.
Second Step – Making your website easy for people to share on social media.
Adding Social Buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and other social media sites is a great way to make your website more shareable.
Third Step – The use of Backlinks can also improve your website’s ranking.
Backlinks are created when someone puts a link to your website on their website. Search Engines take note of backlinks.
However, having a bunch of random websites linking back to yours won’t boost your search engine ranking.
Again, Quality and Relevance are Key.
Quick Summary (Infographics)
<a href="" title="SEO CHECKLIST ( INFOGRAPHIC)"><img src="https://realmillionmoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/SEO-CHECKLIST.png" width="100%" style="max-width:900px;" alt="SEO CHECKLIST ( INFOGRAPHIC)"></a><br>Provided by <a href="https://realmillionmoney.com/" target="_blank">RealMillionMoney</a>
So rather than trying to tackle all of them at once, this SEO checklist is going to help you stay organized and optimized. With that said, let’s jump into the first category of our SEO checklist and that’s the Basic SEO.
1. Sitemap Creation:
The first thing you should do is create a Sitemap. Sitemaps tell search engines where to find important content on your site, so they can easily crawl and index your pages.
Here’s what the sitemap for our blog looks like in the above image, which was created automatically with the Rank Math SEO plugin (Mainly used for SEO Friendly articles).
Now, if you don’t use WordPress, don’t worry, there are tons of free sitemap generators you can find from all over the web.
2. Robots.txt File:
The next thing to check for is a robots.txt file. A robots.txt file is important because it gives instructions to search engines on where they can and cannot go on your site.
For example, you may not want them to crawl certain pages or directories like a cart for an eCommerce store, or RSS feeds. So you’d add that to your robots.txt file.
If you’re unsure if you have a robots.txt file, just go to your domain.com/robots.txt. If you see a plain text file like this, then you’re good to go.
If you see anything else, then Google, “robots.txt generator,” and create one.
3. Google Analytics Account:
Google Analytics can give you insightful data on how your visitors interact with your website. For example, analyzing bounce rates and time on page can give you an idea of user experience and engagement.
4. Google Search Console:
Google Search Console is a must-have tool for all webmasters. You can track your performance in search and see the keywords that you’re ranking for.
5. Keyword Research:
While there are a lot of ways to approach keyword research, there are certain fundamentals that I think every page should follow.
The first being to find a primary keyword or focus keyword target for your page.
Every blog post should have one main focus keyword.
Bonus: Focus on Long-Tail Keywords for more search traffic from Google.
For example, a search for “SEO Checklist” in any Keyword Research Tool. Let’s say, you searched in UberSuggest (Free Keyword Research Tool), you’ll see things like Keyword difficulty score, Search volume, paid difficulty, Cost per Click (CPC) as well as various SEO metrics.
1. Use Short URLs:
Use short URLs, yet descriptive.
According to Ahrefs, they studied that 2 million keywords and found that pages with shorter URLs rank better than those with long URLs.
A simple way to choose your URL is to set it as your primary keyword target.
For example, a blog post on “10 Ways to Make Money Online 2020“, could be”domain.com/make-money-online-2020”. It’s short, and anyone can tell from the URL what the topic is on.
2. Compelling Title and Meta Description:
Ensure that you have a compelling title tag and meta description.
Old SEO advice will tell you to include your target keyword in your title and meta description.
But, Ahrefs data shows that exact-match keywords in the title and description do not correlate with the ranking position.
So should you use your focus keyword in your title and description?
The answer is it depends. The most important thing about the title is that it entices a click.
After all, clicks translate into traffic. But if you find that you’re stuffing the keyword for the sake of inclusion, then you shouldn’t worry too much about it.
3. Link to Internal and External Resources:
The next thing you should do is add relevant internal and external resources. Web pages that link out to High Domain Rating external resources rank higher than those that don’t.
Second, you should add internal links from relevant pages to your new post, as seen in the below image.
A quick way to find these pages is to go to Google and search for something like “site:yourdomain.com” and then add a keyword related to your topic.
You’ll then see all posts from your domain that include your keyword. Just visit these pages, and add internal links to relevant anchors texts.
4. Include Keyword in URL:
Your URL helps Google understand what your page is all about.:
And a keyword-rich URL can improve your organic CTR.
That’s why you want to include your keyword in your URL.
For example, my target keyword for this page is “SEO checklist”.
So I made the URL for this page: “https://realmillionmoney.com/seo-checklist-2020/”
5. Keyword in Header Tags:
Make sure to include your keyword in H1, H2, or H3 tags.
For Example, if my focus keyword is “SEO”, then here is an example below.
This tip won’t help that much in your Google rankings.
But when it comes to search engine optimization, every little bit helps.
6. Optimize Images:
Images help very much and it is very effective when it comes to SEO and Google Rankings.
Help Google to understand your images, you want to optimize your image alt tags and filenames. And it also helps to rank you in Google Image Search.
Use relevant images as the topic of your content.
Choosing a topic with high search traffic potential and doing some basic on-page SEO is important. But all of your efforts will be in vain if your content isn’t up to par.
Here are a few things you can add to your to-do list when creating your content:
1. Introduction that Engages:
The first thing is to write an engaging introduction. The purpose of the intro is to let your readers know they’re in the right place and that your page will solve the reason for them being there.
If you fail to do so and your readers will be gone fast.
Start with something that resonates with the reader, build trust, and promise a solution to the user’s problem.
2. Focus on Readability:
Second, focus on readability. Let’s talk about readability in two categories.
(i) Visual Comprehension:
The first is Visual Comprehension. When a reader lands on your page the first thing they’re going to process is how your page looks.
And if they land on a big wall of text in 10pt font, they’ll likely get overwhelmed and leave.
Instead, break your content into pieces by writing in short sentences and short paragraphs.
Other visual assets you can add are images to separate paragraphs.
Put some effort into creating or finding images that will enhance the reader’s experience.
Like you can use graphs, charts, or screenshots that help illustrate a point. These tips will help increase your chances of turning visitors into readers.
(ii) Reading Comprehension:
According to a study, 50% of the US population reads below an 8th-grade level.
This means that if you’re writing at a higher level, you’re alienating half the population as well as non-native speakers.
There’s a free tool called Word Counter. Just paste your content in there and it’ll give you a readability score.
If you’re the type to write academically and struggle to lower your readability score, a great tip you can use is to write as you speak.
3. Piece your Content:
Break your every sentence after a full-stop into easy-to-read content. As you see in this article, I break all the sentences into pieces for better reading.
By this, visitors spend more time reading your article deeply and thoroughly.
It keeps your bounce rate low which is one of the Google Ranking Factors.
4. Use Schema Markup:
Schema markup helps search engines understand your content better.
I recommend Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.
It makes using Schema so much easier than trying to do it manually.
5. Problem-Solving Content:
The last part of the content checklist is to ensure your content solves the reason for the searcher’s query.
Great content is content that solves a user’s problem.
For Example – Someone searching for “How to Write a Blog Post” and probably wants practical and actionable information they can try right away. They want to know how to write a blog post in a proper way and for better impressions.
If your content solves their original problem and answers the questions that might come to mind as they’re reading, then you probably have some decent content.
6. Use Multimedia:
Multimedia helps to make better content. And, images and other forms of multimedia help content rank better.
Use Various forms of Multimedia like:
- Visual Content
- Interactive polls and quizzes
Off-Page SEO: Link Building
When it comes to white-hat link building, you’ll have to pony up and do some email outreach. Now, outreach isn’t about begging for links.
In the words of the Late. Eric Ward:
Links aren’t things. A link represents something somebody finds valuable. A link represents something someone wants to share. A link represents the human manifestation of a desire to let someone else know about something useful.
And there are a few strategies you can use to promote your valuable, shareworthy, and useful content.
1. Write Competitive Content:
The first thing you can do is look at who’s linking to the top-ranking pages for your target keyword.
These will likely be the most relevant link prospects seeing as they’ve already linked to a competing article on the same topic.
Now, you have to just write more competitive articles than your competitor.
If their article is up to 1,000 words then write 1,500 words. If their article is in deep understanding then write a deeper article. If their article has 5 images then use more than 5 images in your article. You have to just write more, than your competitor.
The easiest way to find these people is to go to Ubersuggest (Free Seo Tool) and enter your primary keyword.
Next, scroll to the bottom of the page where you’ll see the “Content Ideas” along with their SEO metrics. Just click on the “Links” and see how many backlinks your competitor have.
2. Guest Posting:
To find Guest Posting Blogs, type a phrase like (“submit guest post” + “any niche”).
Like, write this phrase “submit guest post” + “health” into Google, and review the results.
Then, Visit all the websites recorded individually on each page in query items.
Undoubtedly, you will discover truly incredible sites along these lines, yet a couple of them may acknowledge visitor articles from givers.
3. Link Roundups:
the sole purpose of linking out to quality content the type of quality content that you already publish on your site that would be awesome right.
Fortunately, for us, that’s a real thing and they’re called Link Roundups.
Exactly link roundups are daily, weekly, or monthly blog posts that curate and link to outstanding content.
4. Broken Link Building:
When most people build links, they send generic pitches that offer zero value, can I have a link please, thank you, and send.
But with Broken Link Building, you can add value to someone’s website.
Here’s this step-by-step process:
First, add “Check My Links” to Google Chrome. It is a free Google Chrome extension that finds broken links on any page.
Finally, let the site owner know about their broken link and offer your content as a replacement.
5. Link through Outdated Content:
Use Google Search to find old and outdated content on topic areas you want to focus on.
Set the time (on Tools) to “custom range” to filter the results to only show posts from years ago.
Find who’s linking back to their site. Then, pitch your outreach email to the site where the outdated content is linked. And ask for exchanging a link with your new updated content.
6. Invite Guest Bloggers:
Find active guest bloggers in your space and invite them to write for your site too.
It’s one of the best ways to absorb followers from influencers.
And aside from getting them to share their content published on your website on their social networks, they almost always link out to their own past works including their guest posts.
So, these 6 techniques are great to use for new and existing content. But there are a couple of other link building strategies that work more effectively if you do the prospecting beforehand.
If you want to know more about Link Building a.k.a Backlinks Techniques. Click the Link Below.
At this point, you should have a solid SEO checklist you can rinse and repeat for each new page you create. But as you create more pages, there’ll likely be technical SEO issues that go unnoticed.
So you have to focus more on the domain level here to find and fix these issues.
You can find these issues by running a crawl with a tool like Ahrefs’ Site Audit.
Now, you can use it for free with Ahrefs Webmasters Tool.
The Site Audit tool will then crawl your pages and search for over 100 predefined technical SEO issues. After the crawl has completed, you’ll see a list of issues they found on your site.
Now, Site Audit is great for finding the issues on autopilot, but you’re still going to have to fix them. Let’s go through a few important ones you should fix.
1. Improve your Page Speed:
Slow-loading pages are annoying for the user experience. And as a result, Google has said that page speed is a ranking factor. You can use tools like Pingdom, GtMetrix, or Google Pagespeed Insights, to measure the speed of a single page.
If you have a slow website or page, go back to Site Audit, and click on the issue of the slow-loading page.
Next, copy one of the URLs from your website Site Audit List and put it into Pagespeed insights.
And as you scroll through the list, you’ll get suggestions on what to fix, and the time savings you can get by fixing it.
I’ve already explained this in the Site Audit and whole about Ahrefs Webmasters Tool. You can check it out here.
2. Mobile-Friendly Website:
Next, you have to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. Google has a “mobile-friendly test” tool you can use.
Just enter the URL you want to investigate and they’ll tell you whether your page is mobile-friendly.
3. Broken Link Issues:
You’ll have to ensure that you don’t have any issues or any external or internal broken links. If someone clicks on a link and ends up on a broken page, then that’s a bad user experience.
You’ll have to fix these because linking to broken pages is a waste of “Link Equity”.
If you’re linking to any broken pages, then you’ll be able to find that in Ahrefs’ Site Audit tool under “page has links to a broken page.”
Just click on the number of affected URLs, and then, you’ll see a list of pages that are linking to broken pages. Just see “how to fix” and then, fix them.
4. Secure your Site with “HTTPS”:
HTTPS is one of the top SEO Ranking Factors and is a top Google ranking signal.
90% of websites that rank at the top have an “HTTPS” website.
This “Lock Sign” is the signal that you have HTTPS Website or An SSL Certificate.
So if you haven’t already, it’s time to move your site to HTTPS.
If your hosting provider provides you an SSL Certificate then it’s well n good or You can do it easily by installing the plugin “Really Simple SSL” (For WordPress Users).
If you are using any other platform, you can try this “SSL For Free”.
6. Identify and Fix Crawling Errors:
A “Crawl Error” means that Google has trouble viewing a page on your site.
And if they can’t view your page, it’s not gonna rank for anything.
You can easily find Crawl Errors in the Google Search Console’s “Coverage” report.
If you notice Google is having trouble accessing one of your important web pages, you’ll want to get that fixed ASAP.
Since every site will have different Technical SEO issues, I recommend using a free tool such as Ahrefs Webmaster Tools or Ubersuggest to help you identify these issues and then tackle them one by one.
Every Blogger should know about SEO. Without SEO, it’s hard to rank on Google. So, here is the Free SEO Checklist. Now, you know about SEO, Basic SEO, On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, Content Checklist, and Technical SEO.
Now, implement these tips to Rank your Website on Google.
And, if you have any questions regarding this, then ask me in the comments.