A Complete SEO Checklist For 2019
If you’re looking for a step-by-step SEO checklist that you can use immediately, then you’re going to love this post.
I have prepared a direct, straightforward process that will drive more traffic and more customers for your website as quickly as possible.
Let’s dive in and learn about SEO checklist.
To begin with, let’s tackle the SEO fundamentals first. I have compiled a list of tools and plugins that you’ll need to rank in search engines.
Setup The Google Search Console
I believe that the Google Search Console is a VERY powerful free SEO tool.
It is designed to help you track your site’s performance in Google search, and it is packed with surprising features like:
- Provide insights of keywords that bring you the most traffic
- Submit a sitemap
- Fix website errors
- Receive messages from the Google search team
- Ample more surprises
In short, if you’re serious about your website rank, then setting up the Google Search Console is the first step to a higher rank.
Install Bing Webmaster Tools
Next big step is to set up Bing Webmaster Tools.
Is Bing as popular as Google?
I know you will raise this question and the answer is no. But surveys suggest that around one-third of all searches are carried out on Bing. So it is worthy enough for optimization.
And it has some nifty features like it’s a built-in keyword research tool.
Configure Google Analytics
Google Analytics opens up the BEST way to visualize how people find and use your site.
Moreover, it has many impressive features filled in its pockets:
- Get insights on your web traffic from Google
- Find the pages on your site that bring you the most traffic
- See if your traffic is elevating
- Identify other sites and search engines that send you traffic
- Provide details of average bounce rate, page views, and time on site
Tip: Synchronize Google Analytics with the Google Search Console. You’ll get valuable SEO information such as it gives visibility to the usage of keywords leading to a particular behavior on the website.
Keyword Research Checklist
It is the first pillar of SEO. It’s crucial to do keyword research the right way.
And in this checklist, I’ll show you how to find keywords quickly that your customers search.
Use “Google Suggest”
It is one of the best methods to reveal long tail keywords.
Let me show you how it works:
Type a keyword in Google.
Wait don’t be hasty in pressing enter or the “Google Search” button. Instead, check out the keywords that Google suggests you:
(These are “Google Suggest” keywords)
As these keywords come straight from Google, you KNOW that these keywords are trending and people search for them.
It means that they’re great keywords for your site optimization.
Pro Tip: Go and check Keywordtool.io. This tool scrapes Google Suggest keywords and makes the process much easier to scale.
Utilize Google Keyword Planner
Google’s official keyword research tool is the Google Keyword Planner.
It’s designed for Google Adwords. However, it’s useful for SEO keyword research too.
After all, the data will be super accurate here as it comes straight from Google.
Surf online communities
Online communities like Reddit, Quora, forums, etc. are excellent places to find keywords.
I also utilize Reddit as a keyword finder as it is a goldmine. There are millions of people discussing almost all stuff there.
You need to eavesdrop on such discussion, and I assure you that you will get the best keyword results that even Google Keyword Planner is unable to find out.
Pro Tip: Keep an eagle’s eye on the topic thread where people ask a lot of questions. It is the best place to find a lot of frequent keywords that you can utilize for your site optimization.
Pinpoint keywords with low competition.
Use a freemium tool called KWFinder to research keyword.
The best thing about this tool is that it is too detailed which gives A LOT of data for keywords.
Just type a keyword into KWFinder and see the magic. You will get info on:
- Search volume
- Keyword Difficulty
- Estimated visits
After analyzing these factors, you can choose low-competition keywords that are easy to rank.
On-Page SEO Checklist
Now it’s time to optimize your content using a handful of tested on-page SEO techniques.
Insert your keyword in your URL
Your URL helps Google algorithm to understand what your page is all about.
To make the search engine understand your website you must include your keyword in your URL.
For example, the target keyword for the page is “seo services.”
Then, the URL for the page should be like https://xyz.com/seo-services
Go for short URLs
Shorten the URLs as much as possible.
A recent analysis of 1 million Google search results reveal that to rank higher short URLs is best in Google.
Incorporate keyword in title tag
It’s not a big revelation that you should use your keyword in your title tag.
But very fewer people know that keyword placement matters.
Specifically, you must put your keyword in front of your title tag.
For example, in the image, the main keyword for the post is “Measure The ROI Of Your Offline Media.”
As you can see, the title tag has the keyword in it.
Use the keyword in first 150 words
Google gives more attention on the first 150 words of your page.
Ensure to use your keyword once here.
For example, for my LinkedIn audit post, you can see that I used the term “audit your LinkedIn” right off the bat.
Use the keyword in H1, H2 or H3 tags
Ensure to incorporate your keyword in H1, H2 or H3 tags.
You might have noticed that the term “keyword research” in the first subheader on this page:
Well, that subheader in an H2 tag also includes “keyword research” which helps in to get higher ranking for that keyword.
Always remember that this tip won’t make a significant dent in your Google rankings, but when it comes to search engine optimization, every little bit helps.
Go for Synonyms and LSI Keywords
Back in the day, keyword stuffing used to make sense for the page.
But, not anymore.
Now, Google is smart.
So instead of stuffing the same keyword 1000 times, go for synonyms and LSI keywords.
For example, let’s say you want to rank for “how to start a social media campaign.”
Well, mention the exact keyword a few times on your page and use LSI terms and synonyms like:
- How to launch a social media campaign
- Starting a social media campaign
- How to create a social media campaign
- How to set up a social media campaign
You get the idea, right?
Just add LSI terms and synonyms to your page. And you’re set.
Technical SEO Checklist
Technical SEO plays a crucial role; it can make or break your rankings. The good thing about technical SEO is that fixing the problems isn’t that hard especially if you follow the items on this checklist.
Identify Crawl Errors
A “Crawl Error” means that Google has issues viewing a page on your site and if they can’t see your page, it’s not gonna rank at all.
You can easily find such errors with the help of Google Search Console in the “Coverage” report.
If you find that Google is having trouble accessing one of your web pages, then get that fixed ASAP.
Make your site mobile-friendly
Google’s recent launch “Mobile-First Index“ optimize the rank of the view.
If your website isn’t mobile optimized, then it’s not going to rank very well.
Fortunately, Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test helps you to see your site’s mobile friendliness easily.
Just pop in a page from your site and get a clear “yes or no” answer.
Fix broken links
Broken links are hazardous to your SEO efforts.
So you want to find broken links and fix them.
The easiest way to do that is to check out the free tool called DrLinkCheck.com that scans your site for broken links.
Stay secure with HTTPS
Do you know what the confirmed Google ranking signal is? It’s HTTPS.
If you haven’t already, then it’s time to move your site to HTTPS.
Check website’s loading speed
Does your website load insanely fast?
If it’s no, then your site isn’t going to rank well.
Did you know that sites that load within five seconds gain 70% longer average sessions?
So, optimize your web pages and remove unwanted and high data consuming graphics to get instant high ranks.
One thing will remain constant. “Content is king.”
There’s no denying that if you want to rank in Google, then you need to publish great content.
That’s why content now plays a BIG role in any modern-day SEO strategy. And in this section, I’ll show you the tricks to create the content that ranks well.
Use “The Skyscraper Technique”
The Skyscraper Technique is an effective formula for publishing excellent content.
I used this technique a lot to gain good traffic:
Here’s the 3-step process:
- Identify the piece of popular content in your industry
- Create something better
- Promote that content
Chunk your content
No one likes reading blocks of text:
That’s why I ALWAYS break my content to maximize readability:
These small chunks of the content keep my bounce rate low, which is a crucial Google ranking factor.
Focus on recent content formats
BuzzSumo’s team recently reviewed 100 million articles.
You will be shocked what did they find?
The majority of content gets zero backlinks.
And a ray of sunshine is that specific content formats perform better than others.
Specifically, the big winners who have sites with a strong reputation for original, authoritative content.
What do they mean by “original, authoritative” content?
- Content is written by experts
- Original research
- Content that isn’t just regurgitated information
- Case studies and real-life examples
- “Evergreen” content that provides value for YEARS
Studies show that using multimedia can help you rank in Google.
You might have noticed that this post contains LOTS of images.
I do this for two main reasons:
First, it makes the content better.
Second, images and other forms of graphics help content to rank better.
So I recommend you to use multimedia in your content like:
- Visual Content
- Interactive polls and quizzes
Link Building Checklist
Link building is KEY for successful SEO. Google confirmed that backlinks are one of their top 3 ranking priority.
Unfortunately, building links isn’t easy, but if you want to rank in Google, links are a must. And in this section, I’ll show you how to do it.
Build backlinks with guest posting
Guest posting is an AWESOME way for link building.
There are two ways to guest post.
Right way: Publish your guest blog on important sites in your industry.
Wrong way: Publish a guest blog on any website that has a “write for us” page.
I only post guest blogs on sites that will send me targeted traffic.
Reverse your competitor’s backlinks
Why reinvent the wheel when you can imitate your competitor’s link sources?
To make that happen, you’ll need a link analysis tool.
I use Ahrefs.
But if you’re tight on budget, you can use a freemium tool like Link Explorer.
No matter which tool you prefer, the process remains the same:
- Grab your competitor’s URL.
- Pop it into the tool.
- Finally, get as many of their links as you can.
Some of these links will be nearly impossible to replicate, but you will find many that are pretty easy to copy. Use that to gain organic traffic.