SEO Checklist: SEO Best Practices You Must Know

seo checklist

Many webmasters are still stuck doing things they way they did years ago. This SEO checklist will get your website SEO current.

Even if you’re diving back into SEO after only a couple months away, you’ll be shocked at how much has changed. Because of how fast the landscape changes, great webmasters always need an updated SEO checklist to keep up.

The same boring on-site SEO routine doesn’t cut it anymore.

In this brand new checklist, we’ll cover basic SEO, keywords and on-page SEO and content optimization. If you’re going to do SEO right, you need to pay close attention.

Now let’s get rolling.

Your Basic SEO Checklist

Google Analytics

Without Google Analytics, you’ll fail to understand the demographics of your visitors. If you don’t understand your visitors, you won’t know how to market to them.

Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Search Console

These help you analyze tons of factors that impact search traffic.

Google PageSpeed Insights

Target a score of 85/100 or higher. This is for both desktop and mobile.

If your site takes more than a couple seconds to load, you’ll lose visitors.

Equip Your CMS

Install an SEO plugin that lets you write title, description, and tags. If you’re using WordPress, Yoast SEO is a great choice.

Site Must Be Responsive

This should go without saying. Your site must be responsive on all devices.

Get Rid of Broken Links

Xenu’s Link Sleuth is a free tool that’ll help you get this done.

Upload Your Sitemap

Use this free tool (for up to 500 pages) to create your sitemap.

Then, upload it to Bing and Google in their webmaster dashboards.

Upload Your Robots File

The Robots.txt file tells search engines which pages you want crawled and which pages you want left alone.

Running an SEO Check

After you submit to the Google Search Console, run a full SEO check.

Check all sections and fix suggested problems.

Server Check

If your site is hosted by a spam server, it’ll kill all your SEO work.

Put your IP through this free tool and find out the details.

SSL Certificate

As part of our basic SEO checklist, make sure you have an SSL certificate installed on your site.

It’ll build trust with site visitors and search engines at a very small price.

Make Sure Your Business is Claimed

This includes all directories and social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Twitter, Technorati, and Pinterest.

On-Page SEO Checklist

You probably already have a list of keywords. Even so, here’s a technique on how to find better ones.

  1. Go to your Google Adwords
  2. Login
  3. Select Tools >> Keyword Planner
  4. Select “Search for new keywords using phrase, website or category”.
  5. Enter your site’s primary keywords
  6. Select your preferred industry
  7. Entering your biggest competitor’s URLs
  8. Select a geographic location
  9. Start searching for ideas

Search engines today look for more than just keywords. They also look for context.

Here are a few steps that will keep you up-to-date with the most current search algorithms as it relates to contextual keywords:

  1. Go to Wikipedia
  2. Search your niche
  3. Write down all contextual keywords you find
  4. Find synonyms for those keywords using Thesaurus.com
  5. Use Google Related Searches box at the end of Google’s SERPs
  6. Find additional keyphrases and long-tail keywords
  7. Use Google Trends to find keywords rising in popularity

Title, Meta Description, and ALT Tags

Page titles should never be more than 65 characters. They should also start with a keyword.

Meta descriptions should not go over 155 characters.

For local SEO, also include your phone number in the description. The last line should read something like: “Call 808-555-1212 to set an appointment”. Doing this allows people to call you after viewing your number in the SERPs.

For image tags, write appropriate ALT tags. Search engines can’t (yet) view images.

Internal Links and Header Tags

Don’t use text like “click here” or “learn more”. Instead, build internal links.

Utilize anchor text to link to other pages within your site. These types of links help users find topics they’re interested in.

They also spread link juice like wildfire.

Optimizing Content

Thanks to SIRI and other voice search assistants, users have already started talking to our phones. As Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to evolve, smartphones will start reading website content back to users.

How is your website going to sound when users have their smartphone’s AI function read your content back to them?

If your site sounds stuffed with keywords or un-natural to listen to, the user will leave your site in a heartbeat.

To avoid this, follow these important guidelines:

  1. Write in conversational tone
  2. Avoid click-bait titles that articles don’t back up
  3. Write in a style a 5th grader will easily understand
  4. Make an FAQ page to land in Google Answer Box

Positioning For Success in RankBrain

The algorithms for search engines are evolving every day. The AI for Google, RankBrain, currently handles about 15% of all search volume.

Its job is to answer complex search queries.

RankBrain pays close attention to overall context, not only keywords. Believe it or not, it also learns from its own mistakes based upon what users eventually click on.

Remember that RankBrain moves popular content higher up in the SERPs. Because of this, you need to position your site in RankBrain by doing the following:

  1. Compose awesome content that gets a lot of clicks
  2. Write in a tone that’s natural
  3. Compose articles that have meaning
  4. Compose articles that teach users new things
  5. Use images and videos in articles
  6. Promote all articles on social media

SEO Done Right

When you follow the steps of this SEO checklist, you’ll see your site rankings begin to steadily improve.

Higher site rankings mean more visitors and more business. After all, that’s why we’re all here.

To get started on understanding where your site currently sits in the world of SEO, run this free SEO site audit.

It’ll quickly show what you need to focus on first. Then work through this SEO checklist to further perfect your site.

Here’s to reaching the top page of search results!