The one and only SEO checklist you will ever need

If you are an SEO newbie or have some experience but would like to get … Read more The one and only SEO checklist you will ever need

If you are an SEO newbie or have some experience but would like to get a step-by-step SEO guide on how to avoid common website promotion mistakes, here’s a list of SEO tasks based on best practices that you should take into account when creating and optimising your websites.



Introduction

So you got your fancy website or blog up and running, but now you need to rank high in Google. The question is always how do I make sure I rank so that my pages get found by Google? Well Look no further, I’ve compiled a complete step-by-step SEO checklist of SEO tasks based on the best practices. I guarantee you that you will see results if you can check all of them!

I’m currently working on a Notion board with an actionable checklist that you guys can duplicate and use! I will update this post once I’m done with that. Consider checking back on this page for the Notion link, or follow me on Twitter or subscribe to my newsletter.



1. Keyword research 🔬



Analyse competitor keywords

To begin the process of gathering keywords for your website, start by researching a competitor’s page that ranks well in search engines. This is because these pages may contain highly valuable keywords already proven to work on Google and other search engines.

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Collect core keywords

A semantic core of a website is the collection of keywords that describes what you’re selling and helps gain top search results. You describe your website by these core keywords.

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Keyword mapping

Keyword mapping is the process of breaking down a list of keywords into semantic clusters that allows you to distribute them between your site’s pages. This can help avoid keyword cannibalization, which occurs when several pages on one website compete for the same words in search results.

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2. On-page SEO optimisation 📈



Install a web analytics tool and set up your goals

Web analytics tools track how many visitors your website is receiving and what these users are doing on the site. To measure performance, you need to set goals for different user actions (such as registrations or transactions). Goals help define marketing strategies by identifying key objectives that can be adjusted over time.

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Add your website to Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free tool that tracks website rankings and helps reveal indexed pages. It also shows errors on the site, which can give insight into how to improve it for search engines to rank it higher.

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Register a local business on Google Maps

Google Maps is a useful tool for finding local businesses. To show up on Google Maps, you must complete the registration process by filling out all necessary information and verifying that your business exists in real life. Doing so will boost your visibility within search results relevant to users of certain areas, which should lead to increased website traffic from people looking at those specific regions who are interested in what you’re selling!

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Create a logical site structure

The structure of the website is what determines how easy it is to find all pages on a site. Organizing each section, subsection, and page in an open-ended way makes it easier for bots that search engines use to crawl through your site and index every single one of its pages.

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Secure the website by migrating it to HTTPS

HTTPS protocol is an extension of the HTTP developed for safe communication. It’s needed to maintain site security so no information such as visitor actions or their contact details are retrievable. The presence of this HTTPS has been influential in Google search rankings since 2014, and its influence on these rankings will likely grow over time.



Define the preferred domain (www or non-www)

Search engines will see example.com and example.com as separate pages, so defining the preferred domain is useful in avoiding page duplication since it allows you to specify which one should be indexed by search engines first if both are found on a website’s link list or sitemap file for instance.



Create a robots.txt file

When building a website, the robots.txt file is used to tell search engine crawlers which pages are and aren’t indexed on our site. For example, we wouldn’t want any sensitive information or internal documents being crawled as it could cause damage if they were viewed publicly; therefore, these specific pages should be blocked from access by bots for them not to appear on Google Search results.



Create an XML sitemap

The sitemap.xml file is a document in the Extensible Markup Language (XML) that lists all of your website’s URLs to help search engine robots index them faster. Sitemaps are used on websites where content changes frequently or has lots of pages and helps Google find those quickly so their users can have better browsing experiences with minimal time waiting for results.

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Set a language with .hreflang attribute

The hreflang attribute is used to define a website’s language or regional URL in case the site has translated versions. This tells Google what URLs to display for specific regions and which version of your content they should index during crawls.

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Create SEO-friendly URLs

The SEO-friendly URL is more readable and includes keywords that are recognized by search engine robots. This has a positive effect on the page’s ranking because it helps both users and bots understand what they can find on this webpage quickly. For example: /seo-checklist vs. /xn-sEoChecKListeX123534098/. /seo-checklist/ is the type of friendly URL you want to aim for.



Use breadcrumb navigation

Breadcrumbs show a user how they moved around between the pages on your website so that he/she does not get lost. They are also helpful to search engines as it clarifies the hierarchy of all webpages, and can be shown in snippets within SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).



Improve your SEO with user-friendly interlinking

The purpose of internal links is to make a website more navigable and structured. They can direct the user towards other parts of the site, establish information hierarchy by pointing out what content comes first or last in an article, spread link weight across pages that are related so it does not all rest on one page alone (this enhances search engine optimization), and ultimately give your online presence authority.

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Check HTTP status codes

When a web browser requests information from the server, it receives an HTTP status code in response. These codes are divided into classes and tell browsers if everything goes well or not; they let you know whether all pages of your website function as expected. Search engines may lower rankings for websites with many incorrect responses that have wrong status codes since this signals to them there is something suspicious going on at these sites–they’re probably trying to hide their low-quality content by sending back fake statuses instead of real ones!



Use Canonical URLs

Duplicate content is a problem for websites that want to appear unique in search engines. A canonical tag tells robots which page they should index and rank higher, so you can avoid the penalty of duplicate pages.



Check the markup validity of web documents in HTML

The validity of your website’s HTML code is extremely important in terms of search engine optimization. If it contains a lot of errors, such as deprecated tags or misspelled words, then this can damage how well the website ranks on Google and other major search engines.



Fix broken links

Broken links are detrimental to the user experience, and as a result, they can hurt your website’s signals that search engine robots look at. When non-working links discourage users from exploring further on your site, it means an error for search engines. If there is a great number of such errors, then this tells them you have low-quality content which will affect their overall rankings in results.



Mind the number of outbound links

If a website has too many irrelevant links, search engines may consider it spam. For this reason, the site’s rankings in search results might plummet significantly.



Create a 404 error page

Non-existing pages can occur when a page is redirected, deleted, renamed. All such non-existent pages should be sent to the 404 status code which will inform users what happened and how they need to overcome it.



Improve the page load speed

One of the most influential Google ranking factors is page load speed. It refers to how long it takes for a webpage’s content and images to show up after loading on the website, which can dramatically impact whether users choose your site or another one.

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3. Mobile optimisation 📱



Create a responsive version of your website

Most of the traffic these days comes from mobile devices. Roughly 60/70% of web visitors, visit your website on a mobile device. That is why Google started using a Mobile-first type of indexing. This means that Google cares more about your mobile site than your desktop version. Making sure your website works great on mobile is one of the most important factors.

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4. Content strategy ✏️



Write unique titles for each page

The title tag is the essential part of web page coding that determines a website’s ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs). While it only takes up to 70 characters, being able to optimize your titles can make or break you.



Write unique meta descriptions for each page

Meta descriptions are snippets of content that appear in the search engines as a preview of your page. They’re also an opportunity for you to tell users what they’ll find on your site and whether it’s relevant to their query or intent about landing pages.

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Optimise H-tags

The HTML headings in a website are important because they give search engines an indication of what the page is about. There are six different levels to choose from, all with varying degrees of importance when it comes to SEO (search engine optimization). Keywords should be distributed evenly throughout each level as this will show Google which keywords deserve more weight than others and allow them to rank accordingly.



Use alt tags on every image

The alt attribute or alt tag is an HTML attribute for a text that describes an image in detail. It must be placed directly in the image tag and not as a separate link like title tags. Alt tags help search engines quickly get a better understanding of what’s illustrated on an image, users who might otherwise have difficulty viewing images, especially those with disabilities because it will read out to them what’s described on each picture that has this feature which also helps people understand why they should click into something if pictures are explaining how things work instead of just words alone whereas screen readers use these descriptions when images aren’t displayed at all due to technical difficulties, etc…

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Optimise content both for crawlers and people

Search engine robots have the user’s best interest in mind. They like it when content is original and valuable, which means that keywords should be included naturally in a piece of writing instead of being stuffed into sentences just to tick boxes on an SEO checklist.

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Create fresh content

As a website owner, it is important to look at your user intent and demand so that you can meet their expectations. You need eye-catching content with relevant information for the reader to attract them as they surf through various websites online.



Develop a content plan

The content plan is a list of pieces that will be published on the site to help it rank higher. The updates play an important role because they work alongside SEO and make sure what’s being shared online isn’t just about promotion but also relevant information for users. It helps streamline the publication process by keeping track of upcoming web pages so there aren’t any delays or overlaps.



Add a blog to your website

Using a blog to attract, engage and convert users is important for any marketing strategy. Blogs are also an overlooked way of improving your website’s search engine rankings (SERP).



5. Off-page SEO optimisation 🚀



Check quantity and quality of site’s backlinks

Backlinks from different web sources to our website play a significant role in how the site ranks on search engine results. It’s important to have both quantity and quality backlinks when it comes to SEO, since having too much of one or not enough of another will impact your link profile negatively.



Analyse your competitors’ backlinks

To understand what a backlink profile should look like, it’s important to research competitors that rank highly in the SERPs.

Competitor research is an integral part of a link-building strategy. Analyzing competitor backlinks helps you get insight into how your website can improve its ranking on Google search results pages. It also enables you to see exactly where opponents are gaining all their links and learn from them so that your site doesn’t make similar mistakes when trying to gain rankings yourself!



Create a link building strategy

A link-building strategy is a process of prioritizing your website’s links to help you get more backlinks and compete with top-ranking competitors. This may depend on how many backlinks you currently have, along with those from high competition sites’

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Collaborate with websites by sharing relevant content within the industry or niche

One of the most important factors to consider when looking for backlinks is if your host website has a related topic. If it does, then you should exchange guest posts with them because they would be more valuable than on an authoritative site unrelated to yours. That means you should do exchanges and write guest blogs at resources popular in your targeted niche!

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Participate in niche forum discussions and answer the questions

Users who are potentially interested in some product or service often search for relevant forums where they can find fresh information and reviews. Participation on the forum creates content, which helps websites rank higher in Google’s results pages as well as increasing traffic to a website. Q&A platforms (Yahoo Answers, Quora) not only provide interesting answers about different topics but also help increase brand awareness and attract targeted users back to your site.



Encourage users to write reviews about your product or service

You can choose to use a review aggregator, where the user’s opinion about services/products is shared and it will impact your decision whether or not you should try out that service/product. Search engines evaluate mentions of reviews for websites impacted by local SEO in particular.



Use images, videos, and documents for website promotion

With the growing number of tools to create shareable multimedia content, businesses need to understand how these media can be best optimized and integrated into their overall SEO strategy. We will look at some common types of sharable files as well as a few tips on optimizing them properly to maximize search visibility. The key to efficient use lies in maximizing search visibility with proper optimizations.



6. Social media strategy 🧑🏾‍🤝‍🧑🏾



Learn the social signals model of your industry

Social media shares increase the visibility of a page and its user engagement metrics which leads to an increase in the SERP ranking. Before starting any social media campaign, define what sort of content will strike a chord for your particular business segment.



Aim to create viral content

To drive additional traffic to your website, you should grow a strong social account on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Social accounts can help increase search engine rankings by engaging in positive interactions with the users who share links for relevant content that matches what is listed under “content.”



Add social media buttons to your website

The fact that you have influential accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest will inevitably attract a lot of people to your website. These platforms are also great for increasing the search engine rankings of your site!



Use the Open Graph protocol for social media posts

Interested in learning how to share your content with the world via social media? Open Graph is a protocol that allows you to control the way it looks when shared on Facebook. It is a meta tags structure for each post headline, description, and preview so that they attract more clicks and shares!



Conclusion

I hope this post can help you a bit! I will keep this post updated when I find newer or better links that are relevant to these steps. Consider following me on Twitter or subscribing to my newsletter in order to stay up to date!

Source: DEV Community


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