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Updated on the 1 November 2022
Today I want to introduce you to The Ultimate SEO Checklist – Best Practices Now Guide.
Looking for a thorough SEO checklist to improve your site’s organic traffic and Google ranking?
I have created the ultimate SEO checklist containing 41 best practices and activities.
Everything you need to know about SEO, from the basics to off-page signals.
The Ultimate SEO Checklist
Useful SEO Checklist
This checklist is divided into sections covering the main SEO focus areas:
- Keyword Study
- Off-page SEO
A comprehensive SEO approach will include all of the above.
Follow our checklist to verify you’re following SEO best practices.
Implementing best practices and addressing current concerns will increase your chances of SEO success.
Still, trying to figure out what SEO is?
Your site can rank for competitive phrases if you pay attention to the fundamentals.
The following things are purely administrative and essential to a good SEO strategy.
1. Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools Setup You may utilise Google Search Console to boost your site’s organic visibility and traffic.
My thorough guide explains why it’s vital to use, set it up, and more. Google Search Console
Bing Webmaster Tools provides similar statistics and insights for their search engine.
These essential tools enable you to upload sitemaps, uncover crawl issues, etc.
Set them up now, and thank me later.
Good data is required for a sound decision.
How many people visit Google Analytics?
Google Analytics Organic Traffic
My Google Analytics beginner’s guide will teach everything from setup to basic reporting.
Still, one thing is sure: you can’t conduct a successful SEO campaign without it.
You will also need to connect to Google Analytics to import data from Google Search Console.
3. Install and configure a WordPress SEO plugin
Use WordPress as your content management system (39.5 per cent of the web currently does).
You should instal and set up an SEO plugin to offer the capabilities and features you need to effectively optimise your site.
We propose SEO plugins in our WordPress SEO checklist.
It’s a question of personal taste.”
Whether you don’t use WordPress, ask your developer if an SEO plugin or module is required.
Resource: How to make your content more visible on Google.
One of the most popular Shopify SEO software is Plugin SEO.
4. Create and send a sitemap
A sitemap helps search engines identify which pages to crawl and which is the canonical version.
Create a sitemap to ensure your site’s content is scanned and indexed.
Including when a file was last updated, how often it is edited, and any language versions.
Google accepts various sitemap types, although XML is the most prevalent.
Your sitemap is usually found at HTTPS://www.domain.com/sitemap.xml.
Building a sitemap is routine if you use WordPress.
Otherwise, you may use one of the various sitemaps generating programmes accessible.
Once produced, send your sitemap to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
How to Submit Sitemap
Remember to include your sitemap in your robots.txt file.
5. Make a Robots.txt
Your site’s robots.txt file notifies search engine crawlers which pages and files they may access.
It’s usually used to restrict the crawling of specific pages, not to de-index them from Google.
The robots.txt file is located at:
Check if you already have one.
Make one even if you don’t need to restrict any websites from crawling.
Your CMS may need you to manually generate and upload the file to the domain’s root.
CMS stands for the content management system.
This beginner’s tutorial explains how to utilise robots.txt files.
6. Manual Actions in Search Console
In rare cases, a manual action may adversely impact your site.
Manual precautions against unnatural links, thin content, concealed text, and open spam may be taken.
Manual action will only affect some areas.
You may find them in Google Search Console’s manual actions tab.
However, you should always check before starting a new project or taking over an existing one.
7. Assure Google Can Index Your Website
Making ensuring Google can index your site is part of SEO fundamentals.
Resource: Best SEO Affiliate Programs Now – Guide
When Google cannot index a website, it is not as often as you think.
When moving code from a staging environment to a live setting, developers often leave noindex tags in place.
Use the Site Audit Tool to test your website’s crawlability and indexability.
Plan your project’s site audit. After the audit, go to the Crawlability report for further info.
The most crucial pages of your site should be rechecked to prevent wasting time later.
Doubtful Google has properly indexed your site?
It’s impossible to rank for the proper phrases without thorough keyword research.
Your traffic will only convert if you rank for the correct keywords.
8. Identify Your Rivals
Finding phrases that work for your competition is easy to start keyword research (i.e., competitor keywords).
No time spent analysing competitors is wasted.
Use the SEMRush Domain Overview tool to determine who your competitors are and how your visibility compares.
9. Locate Your Money Keywords
You must know your “money” keywords.
These are the ones that will generate leads, sales, and conversions.
These are also known as head terms and pillar page keywords.
These high-volume, high-competition keywords encapsulate your subject or area.
Consider the phrase “NFL Jerseys” as an example—it is a head term.
It is possible to find keywords for your products and services using the Keyword Overview tool.
10. Find Keyword Variations
A keyword strategy without long-tail keywords isn’t one.
In fact, long-tail keywords outperform head phrases in terms of conversion rate.
A long-tail keyword
Your SEO approach should target both long-tail and head phrases.
Finding your objective head phrase can help you focus on more specific long-tail keywords that convert better.
The Keyword Magic Tool can discover long-tail keywords.
The software provides a list of keywords with match types such as broad, phrase, exact, and related.
Resource: What is the best Keyword Research Technique in SEO?
11. A Keyword Map
Your next step is to “map” or link your target keywords with your site’s pages and detect gaps.
The keyword mapping guide says:
Keyword mapping is a basic framework for targeting keywords that reflects your site’s structure.
For boosting traffic, the map may help identify areas for improvement.
12. Examine the Rank Pages’ Intent
Your page’s content must fit the searcher’s purpose.
This entails analysing the sites that rank for your goal phrases and matching your content.
Assume you want to target a word nationally.
Despite considerable search traffic and moderate keyword difficulty, the SERPs only show local results.
Once you understand it, you can only match your content with Google’s goal.
Learn how to determine search intent and use this helpful graphic to categorise search features by intent type:
You may also utilise SEMRush Keyword Research tools to determine keyword intent.
The purpose selections differ to assist you in establishing the searcher’s buyer journey stage.
Navigational, informational, commercial, and transactional keywords.
13. Identify the questions being asked.
Knowing your audience’s queries might help you better address them via your website’s content.
The Term Magic Tool can find relevant questions for any keyword.
Use the “questions” filter to show results.
This is an excellent start, mainly if you use more precise terms.
You may utilise a tool like AlsoAsked.com to scrape information and find “People Also Asked” inquiries.
14. Determine Your Keywords’ Difficulty
A new website may only rank for competitive keywords later.
As a result, you must assess the keyword difficulty. Beginning your SEO strategy with realistic goals may assist.
Avoid broad keywords like “Toyota Camry” in favour of long-tail phrases like “Toyota Camry San Diego.”
Measure complexity using the Keyword Overview Tool (or any other tool that indicates keyword difficulty).
Technical SEO helps build solid foundations and ensures crawlability and indexability.
Here are some of the most prevalent technical best practices.
15. Use HTTPS Only
Since 2014, HTTPS has been a ranking factor.
There’s no excuse not to use HTTPS encryption on your site, so move now.
Examine your browser’s URL bar to see whether your site is HTTPS.
An HTTPS padlock is shown by a padlock icon to the right of the URL. The answer is no.
Visit the Site Audit tool and look at the dedicated HTTPS report for further information.
16. Check for Duplicate Sites in Google’s Index
Allowing Google to index just one version of your site is critical.
Each one should link to a single version of your site.
You may use either the non-www or www variant, but the most frequent is https://www.domain.com.
You may test this by typing each option into your browser’s bar.
If you’ve set up redirects without trouble but can still access other versions, do so immediately.
Resources: How to successfully use WordPress and Google Analytics – 23 Tips
17. Fix Crawl Errors
Google Search Console can instantly discover any crawl issues.
You’ll see mistakes, excluded pages, warnings, and legitimate pages in the Coverage report.
Investigate any problems and discover why URLs are missing from search results.
Issues like 404 errors and poorly canonicalised sites might significantly affect your website’s performance.
18. Boost Site Speed
Even Google admitted that page experience will be a ranking factor in 2021.
You must ensure that your site loads swiftly and that consumers demand more.
No one is waiting for a sluggish site now.
This tool may help you assess page performance and Core Web Vitals metrics.
Scroll down to see your total Performance score and recommended improvement activities.
A site Audit may also provide a glimpse of your Core Web Vitals and improvement suggestions.
19. Fix internal and external links
Broken links are wrong for the user. Nobody loves clicking a link and being taken to a different website.
Your Site Audit report will include a list of broken internal links that you should update or remove.
20. Fix HTTP Links on HTTPS Pages
Most sites moved to HTTPS years ago, yet internal links still go to HTTP pages.
Even if a redirect is in place, it should be changed soon.
Fix the few broken links manually in your CMS.
You must modify page layouts or search the database to replace them if they are site-wide.
If uncertain, consult your developer.
21. Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
Google prioritises mobile friendliness. Google began indexing all webpages mobile-first in mid-2019.
Your organic exposure will only improve if you provide a mobile-friendly experience.
Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see whether your site is mobile-friendly.
22. Create SEO-Friendly URLs
An SEO-friendly URL structure helps search engines explore and comprehend your pages.
Resource: What is SEO Affiliate Marketing – Detailed Guide
Your page URLs should also be essential and descriptive.
An SEO-friendly URL looks like this:
Unlike a non-descriptive query string:
Use hyphens to separate words in URLs, not underscores.
Keep URLs brief (a study by Backlinko showed that shorter URLs tend to rank higher).
23. Consolidate data
Structured data markup gains value as Google builds a more semantic web.
If you don’t use structured data, you should.
Also available in the Schema.org vocabulary are data formats for assessing items and services.
Structured data like review ratings and pricing make your organic listings stand out on the SERPs.
Use Google’s structured data checker to check whether your site utilises structured data.
24. Check Your Site’s Page Depth
Pages should be at most three clicks deep on your site.
If they are, you need to invest effort in flattening your site’s structure.
More pages in your website design mean less chance of visitors or search engines finding them.
The Internal Linking report in Site Audit shows how many clicks it takes to visit a page.
25. Monitor 302 Redirects<
A 302 redirect is temporary, but a 301 redirect is permanent.
While Google has verified that 302 redirects pass PageRank, they must be changed to 301.
The Site Audit report will show any 302 redirects as pages with temporary redirects.
26. Fix Redirect Loops and Chains
Redirects should not create a loop or take visitors or search engines down a rabbit hole.
Replies should go from A to B.
The Issues tab in Site Audit will indicate any redirect chain or loop issues.
Update all redirects in a chain to the final destination or remove and update the redirect creating the loop.
On-page factors like excellent content and a pleasant on-page experience affect ranking and organic traffic.
These days, blog postings are very competitive.
Therefore, it’s critical to outrank rivals for vital keywords.
Resource: What is the best Keyword Research Technique in SEO
Check out our blog SEO guide for more information.
Check the boxes below and create great content for users rather than just for search engines.
27. Title Tag Duplication and Truncation
Title tags are a critical component of search engine optimisation.
They are frequently the first things an SEO looks at to help a page rank.
Title tags tell search engines what a page is about and influence whether a person clicks on it.
The title tags should be descriptive enough to let visitors know what they’re about to see.
Title Tag Shortening (you will see three dots after the title tag and part of it missing).
Title tags above 70 characters are usually trimmed.
You must also check for title tags (where the title tag is blank).
These problems may be fixed by updating your page’s title tags.
28. Resolve Meta Description Duplicates and Missing
While meta descriptions aren’t a ranking factor, they assist people in understanding your page’s content.
Your meta description influences whether or not a user chooses your listing over another (CTR).
Otherwise, Google shows the page’s content, which may contain navigation text and other unpleasant aspects.
You should give a compelling description that attracts clicks if you have duplicates.
Remember that Google rewrites meta descriptions 70% of the time to fit search intent.
But always write one that inspires people to study more.
29. Fix Multiple H1 Tags
The H1 element is the page’s primary heading and should only be used once.
A site with too many H1 tags will be highlighted in the Issues tab of Site Audit.
Multiple H1 tags are often used to surround your site’s logo and main heading.
H1 tags should include a page’s primary target term, so be sure you’re labelling the proper material.
30. Revise your page content and title tags.
Your page titles and meta tags may help you rank for keyword variations and your main keywords.
Determine which pages in Google Search Console’s performance report have strong impressions but need more clicks.
Not having optimised your website with these variances in text or tags makes it relevant for searches.
Remember that just increasing keyword mentions won’t cut it.
Consider these keywords as themes for H2s or subsections.
Optimise your page with this in mind, and you’ll notice an increase in clicks and ranking positions.
Resource: What is the best Keyword Research Technique in SEO?
31. Conduct a Content Audit and Edit
A content audit is an excellent approach to finding out what material is working and what isn’t.
Getting rid of information that doesn’t rank adds no value and shouldn’t be on your site.
Auditing content and removing thin, redundant, or low-quality information is critical.
Delete any material that doesn’t bring value to your site.
That’s it. Kevin Indig’s essay on using SEMRush for SEO pruning is a great place to start.
You may also use our Content Audit tool to determine which pages to rewrite, eliminate, or update.
32. Alt Tags for Images
Always focus on image optimisation.
This area of SEO should be considered, from picture identification to size and quality optimisation.
Ensure that the significant pictures on each site page have alt tags that accurately convey the information.
Alt tags are helpful for both search engines and visually challenged people.
Check your site’s photos for missing alt text using the Site Audit Issues tab.
33. Internal Linking
Internal links are one of the most under-utilised link development strategies.
Improving your site’s internal linking strategy might provide immediate results.
An internal link from an authoritative page elsewhere on your site might help some marketers experience rapid gains.
Find sites that need to be connected to or have authority that should be shared.
The Site Audit Internal Linking report’s “Notices” section lists pages with just one internal link.
What is Anchor Text? What You Should Know About SEO
34. Fix Keyword Cannibalisation Problems
Keyword cannibalisation occurs when numerous pages on the same site rank for the exact keywords.
Keyword cannibalisation is a confusing SEO term.
It isn’t necessarily a significant concern.
Assume you have two pages ranking for the “SEO checklist”—one outdated and one current.
If Google favours the older page, it may not rank the more helpful current page.
In this scenario, combining the two carriers will avoid separating traffic.
With cannibalisation, search engines can only select which page to show, making ranking difficult.
Set up a Position Tracking campaign and look at the Cannibalisation tab.
This cannibalisation tutorial will show you how to identify and resolve these difficulties.
35. Revive Orphaned Site Pages
Your site’s pages should constantly be connected to other pages.
A page with no links to other pages on your site likely lacks authority and scores low.
Orphaned pages in sitemaps are identified in the Site Audit Issues tab.
The Internal Linking report highlights it.
Link to these pages from one other related page.
36. Update Your Site’s Content
Content ages and becomes obsolete.
For significant gains, upgrading outdated information is one of the simplest chores.
Orbit Media’s Andy Crestodina says:
We’ve discovered that updating previous blog entries is a great SEO strategy.
It’s time well spent if your page’s material is outdated or could use a new perspective.
After all, why would Google maintain outdated ranking content until it’s updated?
Off-page SEO factors are vital for SEO effectiveness. But, as we’ll see, it’s more than just link-building.
37. Examine Your Competitor’s Links
To outrank your rivals, you must be aware of their link profile.
Just as you should analyse your competitors’ content, you should investigate their link profiles.
Analysing a competitor’s link profile might reveal their backlinks’ overall quality and authority.
Also, check out How To Get More Traffic To Your Website
38. Analyse Link Intersects
Do you lose out on links that your rivals get?
A link intersect analysis might help you identify quick wins.
Backlink Analytics lets you enter up to five sites to examine which links to your competitors.
A resource website that links everyone except you? Reach out and beg to be added.
39. Link Unlinked Mentions
It’s possible to find news articles that mention your firm but don’t relate.
This course shows you how to utilise Brand Monitoring to find unlinked brand mentions and connect them.
Customise your Brand Monitoring tool’s associated keywords.
40. New Link Building Possibilities
There are constantly fresh possibilities to develop connections, but locating them might take time.
Building a high-quality backlink profile is vital, and employing the correct SEO tools may help.
The Link Building Tool, for example, provides a steady supply of new chances and websites to contact.
Your possibilities will multiply in minutes, and you will have a firm plan to outperform your competitors.
Our Link Building Guide covers particular link-building tactics.
41. Make a Google Business Profile
Off-page criteria include more than simply links, despite their importance in ranking.
Make sure your local company is listed (and ranked) on Google Business Profile (GBP).
A rival will basically get all of your visitors.
It takes effort to properly optimise and maintain your GBP listing.
But whether you serve consumers at their site or visit you, you will benefit from your time here.
Check out our GBP (previously Google My Business) guide to learn how to improve your brand’s local presence.
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Boost Your SEO Presence Now!
Here is a 41-step SEO checklist that both beginners and expert SEOs may use to optimise their sites.
A list doesn’t guarantee SEO success.
You must follow these methods to boost your SEO to outrank your competition.
I hope The Ultimate SEO Checklist – Best Practices Now Guide was helpful.
Please Leave Questions and Comments Below, and I will gladly answer them.
Bye for now, and Good Luck
Till the Next Time