We created the ultimate SEO checklist for boosting organic traffic and rankings.
The checklist has 41 recommended practices and tasks.
How to Use This SEO Checklist
This checklist has been divided into sections that address the key SEO focus areas:
- SEO Basics Checklist
- Keyword Research Checklist
- Technical SEO Checklist
- Content & On-Page SEO Checklist
- Link Building & Off-Page SEO Checklist
A complete SEO strategy must concentrate on all of the aforementioned factors. Follow our checklist to adhere to SEO best practices.
SEO Basics Checklist
You have to understand the fundamentals if you want SEO to be successful. If you don’t, your website can have trouble ranking.
The following pointers are fundamental SEO activities, yet they form the basis of an effective SEO strategy.
1. Set Up Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools
You may track, update, and troubleshoot your site’s performance in Google search results with Google Search Console (GSC), a service.
It’s one of the best resources for learning more about Google’s perception of your website.
Bing Webmaster Tools, on the other hand, is the equivalent platform. if only Bing had existed.
With both of these tools, you can find out what keywords people are using to reach your website, see crawl issues, and much more.
We urge you to put these up if you haven’t already.
2. Set Up Google Analytics
A free online (and app) analytics tool is Google Analytics. It assists in monitoring and reporting your site’s traffic volume, source, and user activity.
Its helpful features include:
- Find the pages on your website that receive the greatest (or the least) visitors.
- Identify other websites and search engines that direct traffic to you.
Keep track of your average time on site, page views, and bounce rate.
- To set up your account and make the most of Google Analytics, see our tutorial.
Pro tip: Integrate your GSC with Google Analytics to access valuable SEO data in your Google Analytics account.
3. Install and Configure an SEO Plugin (If You’re Using WordPress)
An SEO plugin needs to be installed and set up if you use WordPress.
It will make search engine optimization for your website quite simple. additionally assist you with technical SEO elements like setting up XML sitemaps and robots.txt.
The most popular options include:
- Rank Math
- Semrush SEO Writing Assistant
For example, this is how the WordPress SEO Writing Assistant appears:
This plugin can help you improve the SEO of your website’s copy and content.
Note: Determine whether you require the installation of a specific SEO plugin if you’re using a different CMS (content management system). The functionality you require might already be present.
4. Create and Submit a Sitemap
A sitemap is a file that enables search engines to easily discover, crawl, and index all of the material on your website.
It provides helpful details about them and highlights the pages and files you believe to be crucial.
refers to the most recent time the page was updated. or if there are any translated versions of a page.
The sitemap for our blog can be seen here:
WordPress users will have the sitemap generated automatically.
If you’re not, using a sitemap generating tool to create one is rather simple.
Once you have your sitemap, send it to Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Search Console.
5. Create a Robots.txt File
A file called robots.txt instructs search engines as to which files and sites they should or shouldn’t crawl.
This is what it can look like:
And they are really important. They organize how search engine crawlers access, index, and display your material.
For example, https://seofeatures.com/robots.txt.
6. Check Search Console for Manual Actions
Manual actions result from an obvious attempt to influence or violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Additionally, any or all of your website won’t show up in Google search results if it requires a manual activity.
User-generated spam, problems with organized data, unnatural links (both to and from your site), thin content, buried text, and other difficulties can all be fixed manually.
It’s a good idea to check Google Search Console for any manual actions.
To achieve that, locate the “Security & Manual Actions” menu option by navigating down the tool’s sidebar. Just click it. Next, select “Manual actions.”
That should bring up a report with any faults that were found. If any.
If Google takes a manual action against your website, Google will let you know in a GSC report.
On the other hand, if you’re working on a new project or taking over a website, one of the first things you should look at is the manual activities.
7. Make Sure Google Can Index Your Website
Making sure that Google can index your website is part of knowing the basics of SEO.
Indexability refers to a page’s capacity for analysis and indexing by a search engine. in order for it to appear in search results.
Keyword Research Checklist
Finding possible search terms that could be pertinent to your business and your clients is the process of conducting keyword research.
It involves locating, grouping, and ranking keywords. thereby feeding your keyword strategy.
8. Identify Your Competitors
Finding competitor keywords is one of the most effective strategies to begin keyword research.
These are the keywords that your rivals are now using to raise their ranks and increase traffic.
If such terms are effective for them, they might be effective for you as well.
9. Find Your Main ‘Money’ Keywords
The keywords that can lead to leads, sales, and conversions are your core “money” keywords.
These are typically high-volume, fiercely competitive keywords that describe what you have to offer.
These are also referred to as pillar page keywords and head terms.
Tips: To get more keyword information for your own website, use Google Search Console.
Great if you’re ranking high. If not, optimize and improve the content on these pages.
10. Find Long-Tail Keyword Variations
A long-tail keyword is a focused search term with little competition.
Less frequently do users look for them. However, they account for a significant percentage of all searches and have better conversion rates.
Moreover, they are usually easier to rank for.
Make sure your SEO approach focuses on long-tail keywords.
Focus on the primary keyword you want to target first.
11. Create a Keyword Map
After determining your target keywords, you must “map” (assign) them to the various pages of your website.
Use one keyword initially to locate a wider group.
12. Analyze the Intent of Pages That Rank
Simply said, search intent is the reason behind a user’s search.
Four different types of search intent exist:
And one of Google’s primary objectives is to match users search intent.
Therefore, constantly check that the content of your page corresponds to the searcher’s intent for the keyword you are targeting.
13. Identify Questions People Ask
Knowing the queries of your audience will enable you to better answer them in your content.
Sort the terms using SERP (search engine results page) elements like “People also ask.”
That will display terms in the SERP’s “People also ask” box. just like this
This will enable you to select the appropriate keywords for tools like AlsoAsked.com.
14. Understand Your Ranking Difficulty
You can prioritize work by evaluating your odds of ranking for a particular term. And establish goals as you start implementing your SEO plan.
Therefore, consider both keyword difficulty and search volume while deciding what to target. Balance opportunity with ranking simplicity.
Technical SEO Checklist
You may build a strong foundation and make sure that your site can be crawled and indexed with the help of technical SEO.
The most popular technical best practices are listed below.
15. Make Sure You’re Using HTTPS
Since 2014, HTTPS has been a ranking factor.
By checking the URL bar of your browser, you may easily determine whether your site is HTTPS-based.
You are utilizing if there is a padlock to the left of the URL. You are not if you don’t. And a security risk could be presented by your connection to that website.
16. Check for Duplicate Versions of Your Site in Google’s Index
You need to allow Google to index one version of your website.
Additionally, there should be only one place where people may access your website. Otherwise, crawling, indexing, and security problems may result.
The following are various variations of your website, for instance. They should all, however, point to one.
You may choose either a non-www or www version. But you should choose between the two.
The primary version should be the only one that 301 redirects to.
By entering each variation into your browser’s search box, you may immediately verify this. You should be good to go if you are taken to the main page of your website.
17. Find and Fix Crawl Errors
When a search engine attempts to access your website but runs into a problem, it makes a crawl error. Additionally, it might work against your SEO success.
404 errors, wrongly canonicalized pages, and other problems are present. All costs should be taken to prevent these mistakes.
Any crawl issues can be immediately discovered using Google Search Console.
Access the “Pages” report under “Indexing.”
There are two sections: “Indexed” and “Not indexed.”
The category “Not indexed” will include crawl errors.
Spend some time fixing any mistakes you uncover. And more thoroughly investigate the reason for excluded URLs.
18. Improve Your Site Speed
User experience (UX) is negatively impacted by slow websites. And Google uses UX as a key ranking component.
Make sure your website loads swiftly and take into account the fact that customers still demand more.
A slow website doesn’t have anyone hanging out.
You can evaluate the performance of a page and the Core Web Vitals statistics using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
To get your site’s performance score and a list of suggested improvements, enter your site’s URL, click “Analyze,” and scroll.
19. Fix Broken Internal and Outbound Links
A broken link is one that directs users to a page that is no longer accessible. Usually as a result of an improper redirect when it was destroyed or moved.
When a user or crawler clicks on a broken link, the server responds with the response code 404 (page not found).
A further indicator of a bad user experience is broken links. Nobody wants to click a link and discover that it leads nowhere.
20. Find and Fix HTTP Links on HTTPS Pages
A while ago, most websites switched from HTTP to HTTPS.
However, internal links that lead to HTTP pages are still frequent. not the most recent HTTPS variant.
These are not required, even if there is a redirect to the new page. These need to be updated as soon as you can.
To see if there are any broken HTTP links, go to the “HTTPS Report” in Site Audit. Additionally, how to remedy them.
Update these manually in your CMS if there are only a few broken links.
On the other hand, you need to alter page templates if these are site-wide (which they frequently are). Alternately, perform a database search and replace.
In case you are uncertain, consult your developer.
21. Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly
Google ranks heavily favor mobile-friendliness. Google switched to a mobile-first indexing policy for all websites in the middle of 2019.
Using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool, you may determine whether your website is mobile-friendly.
To begin, enter the URL of the page you wish to test and select “Test URL.”
You need to see the test results after a little while. It will appear similar like this:
Here are some guidelines for using mobile devices effectively:
- Choose a responsive (mobile-friendly) website theme.
- Make your website simple to read and navigate on mobile devices.
- Adapt titles and meta descriptions for mobile search engine results
22. Use an SEO-Friendly URL Structure
Search engine crawling is facilitated by URL configurations that are SEO-friendly. and comprehend what they stand for.
Your page URLs must to be clear and informative. both for consumers and search engines.
Here is an example of an SEO-friendly URL:
As opposed to a query string that isn’t descriptive:
Use hyphens to divide words in your URLs. Use underscores sparingly.
Do make URLs as brief as you can. (Backlinko’s research shown that shorter URLs typically rank better.)
23. Add Structured Data
A standardized method of giving search engines details about a page is by using structured data.
It necessitates the use of the schema HTML vocabulary. Schema.org has further information. Schema presents content in a way that is understandable to search engines.
For instance, structured data can be used for reviews, books, events, organizations, and local businesses.
Your listings stand out in the SERPs by utilizing structured data.
For instance, the schema markup for reviews could be as follows:
24. Check Your Site’s Crawl Depth
The amount of clicks between a page and the homepage is referred to as page depth. It is simpler for Google to crawl shorter paths.
Furthermore, pages shouldn’t be more than three clicks deep.
If they are, you should spend some effort flattening the structure of your site.
The less likely users or search engines are to find a page, the deeper it is buried in your website structure.
25. Check Temporary 302 Redirects
Redirects with a 302 status code are transitory. 301s indicate that the change is permanent.
A 302 is frequently used in place of a 301.
Even though Google has said that 302s pass PageRank, they should still be converted to 301s when you know the switch will be permanent.
26. Find and Fix Redirect Chains and Loops
When a page on your site goes to a page that has already been diverted, it creates a redirect chain.
Users and search engines shouldn’t be sent through several redirection when using your website.
Redirects also shouldn’t result in a loop.
Redirects should just go from page A to page B.
By changing all redirects in a chain to refer to the end target, you can fix these problems. Or by eliminating and upgrading the loop-causing redirect.
Content & On-Page SEO Checklist
Your site will struggle to rank and get organic traffic if it lacks helpful content and an excellent on-page experience.
Make sure your website checks the following boxes. And concentrate on producing outstanding content for users rather than just search engines.
27. Find and Fix Duplicate, Missing, and Truncated Title Tags
An essential (and fundamental) component of SEO are optimized title tags. In order to improve a page’s ranking, they are frequently the first item an SEO expert examines.
Search engine spiders are told what a website is about by title tags. and have an effect on whether a consumer clicks on it.
Definitely stay away from:
- Duplicate title tags
- Long title tags (should stay under roughly 60 characters)
- Missing title tags
28. Find and Fix Duplicate and Missing Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions do not directly affect rankings. However, they do assist users in understanding the content of your page.
They push people toward choosing your listing over another’s. It may have an impact on your organic click-through rate (CTR) in a positive or negative way.
Like title tags, you want to stay away from:
- Duplicate meta descriptions
- Long meta descriptions
- Missing meta descriptions
Note: To best match search intent, Google rewrites meta descriptions more than 70% of the time. But you should always write one that inspires readers to find out more.
29. Find and Fix Multiple H1 Tags
An H1 tag is an HTML heading used to indicate the primary topic of a webpage. And just one should be on each page.
H1s are crucial because they enhance user experience, increase accessibility, and aid search engines in understanding material.
As a general rule, stay away from:
- Duplicate H1s
- Long H1s
- Missing H1s
Note: Ensure that the H1 header contains the page’s target keyword.
30. Improve Title Tags, Meta Tags, and Page Content
You’re passing up a chance to rank if your page titles and meta tags aren’t correctly optimized.
not just for the variations of your primary keywords.
Go to Google Search Console and select “Performance,” then click on “Search results.”
The boxes next to “Average CTR” and “Average position” should be checked.
Look for keywords that have a lot of impressions but few clicks and a low average position as you scroll down.
This typically indicates that your page is ranking and is relevant for the queries. However, neither your content nor your tags have been improved by using several keyword variations.
Remember that adding keyword mentions alone won’t accomplish anything.
Consider these extra keywords as subjects for extra H2s or subsections.
Your page should be revised and re-optimized with this in mind. Additionally, it’s possible that your clicks and ranking position will increase.
31. Audit Your Site’s Existing Content
A content audit is the process of examining your content to identify areas that could use better.
Conducting an audit is crucial to understanding how you can improve the SEO performance of your website.
Using tools like Google Analytics, you may evaluate your material. Or use Semrush’s On Page SEO Checker to get suggestions for improvements.
Start by often monitoring the traffic to and interaction with your pages. Additionally, make sure to add updates as needed and keep your content current.
32. Ensure Images Use Alt Text
A description of an image is placed in the HTML code of a page as “alt text,” or “alternative text.”
It’s important since it makes photos easier to recognize for search engines and those with vision impairments.
Additionally, improving your image alt language can increase traffic from Google and Google Images.
33. Improve Internal Linking
certainly one of the most neglected link-building strategies in SEO marketing is the use of internal links. They facilitate site navigation for both users and search engines.
The internal linking strategy of your website might be improved for immediate, observable results.
Some marketers believe that including one or two internal links from reliable pages on other parts of your website will yield immediate results.
34. Find and Fix Keyword Cannibalization Issues
When one or more pages on your site target the same term and intent, this is known as keyword cannibalization.
One of the two has an impact on the other’s ranking potential. And neither will function as effectively as they could.
It’s not what you want.
Because search engines won’t know which page to display in the SERPs, it will be tough for you to rank for those keywords.
The following are some typical methods for addressing keyword cannibalization:
- Remove and re-direct cannibalized pages.
- Canonicalization (informing Google of the preferred URL)
- Page re-optimization
- Merge pages
35. Find and Fix Orphan Pages
A page without any internal links to it is called an orphan page.
Because search engines can only find pages from the sitemap file or through backlinks, these pages often have very little significance.
And only those who know the URL can access the page.
As a result, each page on your website needs to link to at least one other page.
36. Ensure Your Site’s Content Is Up to Date
Content ages and gets out-of-date organically.
And one of the simplest actions you can carry out to notice significant SEO gains is replacing outdated material.
If the information on your website needs to be updated or could benefit from a new viewpoint, your time was well spent.
After all, the optimal user experience is rarely provided by outdated content. So why would Google still list it if it isn’t updated?
Link Building & Off-Page SEO Checklist
You cannot ignore off-page SEO if you want to promote SEO success.
Although link building is frequently considered to be all that it entails, there is more to it than that:
37. Analyze Your Competitors’ Link Profiles
How can you outrank your competitors if you are unaware of their backlink profiles?
Analyzing your competitors’ link profiles is equally as crucial as studying their content.
38. Conduct a Link Intersect Analysis
In order to find websites linking to your competitors but not you, you can also perform a backlink gap audit.
They’ll probably be pleased to link to you if they’re linking to your rivals.
Particularly if your material is superior, this is true.
39. Turn Unlinked Mentions Into Links
A website mentioning you or your company without linking to you is known as an unlinked mention.
They have already mentioned you, therefore this method definitely works. They could be content to make it into a link.
40. Find New Link Building Opportunities
There are always fresh options for link building to investigate.
Building a backlink profile with high-quality links is crucial. Additionally, discovering these chances can be a little bit easier if the proper SEO tools are used.
41. Set Up and Optimize Google Business Profile
Make sure your local company has a Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) if you own one.
Through Google Search and Google Maps, it’s among the most effective ways to reach customers.
If not, you’ll essentially be giving visitors to a rival.
And now for some advice on business profiles:
- Reflect your company as accurately as you can.
- Describe what makes your company distinct.
- Upload and keep your videos and photographs updated.
To start improving your brand’s local visibility, read our Google Business Profile guide.
Execute on the SEO Checklist
SEO is always changing. Therefore, it would be virtually impossible to incorporate all SEO-related factors in a single checklist.
However, if you work on the aforementioned issues, you’ll be well on your way to better rankings. And far ahead of your rivals.