This is the most complete SEO checklist on the internet.
Everything on this list works GREAT.
If you also want to achieve higher Google rankings for 2020, you will need this checklist:
Let’s jump in …
SEO basics checklist
Keyword research checklist
OnPage SEO checklist
Technical SEO checklist
Link building checklist
Bonus # 1: Advanced SEO Tips and Tactics
Bonus # 2: case studies and examples
How To Use This Checklist
The checklist also helped me get a ranking for SUPER competitive keywords, such as “OnPage SEO”.
And for “Keyword Research”:
Of course, you don’t have to implement all of this checklist.
Just apply the tips that seem most important to you.
The more tips you implement, the more traffic you will get.
SEO Basics Checklist
Let’s start with the basics of SEO (also known as “Search Engine Optimization”). Here you will learn about the tools (also known as “instruments” or “tools”) and plugins that you need to appear in search engine results.
1. Set up the “Google Search Console”
The “ Google Search Console ” is a VERY helpful and above all free SEO tool.
This tool is designed to help you understand how your website is performing on Google Search.
The “Google Search Console” therefore has many helpful functions:
You can see which keywords are getting you the most traffic.
You can submit a sitemap (also called a “site map”).
They can fix website errors.
You can receive messages from the “Google Search Team”.
and much more
In short, if you are serious about SEO, setting up the “Google Search Console” is an important first step.
2. Install The “Bing Webmaster”
Next, set up the “ Bing Webmaster ” tool.
Are you wondering if “Bing” is as popular as Google? No, but still up to a quarter of all searches are done with “Bing”. So it pays off for you to optimize the results of Bing.
In addition, the “Bing Webmaster” also includes some nifty functions such as an integrated tool for keyword searches.
3. Set Up Google Analytics
“ Google Analytics ” is the best way to see how people are coming to your website and how you are using it.
Many helpful functions include:
- You can see how much traffic you are getting from Google.
- You can find the pages on your website that are getting you the most traffic.
- You can see if your traffic increases and how much it increases.
- They can identify other websites and search engines that are sending you traffic.
Find out your average bounce rate (also known as “bounce rate”), page views and time spent on the website.
Pro Tip: Link “Google Analytics” to the “Google Search Console”. If you do this, you will get useful SEO information from inside your “Google Analytics” account.
4. Install “Yoast SEO” (Only For WordPress Users)
“Yoast SEO” is the best-known SEO plugin in the world for a good reason, because “Yoast” makes it very easy for you to optimize your “WordPress” site for search engines and also helps you with technical SEO matters like robots.txt and sitemaps.
Keyword Research Checklist
The keyword research is so to speak the foundation of SEO. It is therefore important that you do your keyword research in the right way. In this checklist, we’re going to show you how to quickly find the keywords your customers are looking for.
1. Discover longtail keywords with “Google Suggest”
“ Google Suggest ” is one of the best ways to uncover long-tail keywords.
You have to do this:
First, you enter a keyword on Google.
Then do not click on Enter or on the “Google Search” button, but look at the keywords that Google suggests directly.
These suggestions are known as “Google Suggest” keywords.
Because these keywords come straight from Google, you can be sure that users are really looking for them.
In concrete terms, this means for you that these are great keywords with which to optimize your website.
Pro tip: Try “ Keywordtool.io ”. This tool extracts “Google Suggest” keywords, which makes this process a lot easier for you.
2. Find solid keywords with the “Google Keyword Planner”
The “ Google Keyword Planner ” is Google’s official keyword search tool.
This tool is actually intended for “Google AdWords”. Still, it is VERY helpful in SEO keyword research because the data comes straight from Google after all. Therefore, you can be sure that this data is also very accurate.
3. Take Advantage of Online Communities
Reddit, Quora, and other online communities are great places to find keywords.
This video shows you how to find new keywords in these communities step by step.
Find low-competition keywords with “KWFinder”
“KWFinder” is a freemium (also called “business model in which the basic product is offered free of charge, while the full product and extensions are chargeable) tool for the keyword search.
What makes “KWFinder” unique is that it gives you tons of data on every keyword.
You will get the following information if you enter a keyword in “KWFinder”:
- Search volume
- Keyword Difficulty (also “Keyword Difficulty”)
- Expected hits
In this way, you can choose low-competition keywords (also known as “keywords with low competition”), which will help you to rank easily.
4. Find “Question Keywords” with ATP
Question Keywords (also known as “question keywords”) are PERFECT for blog posts and articles.
For example: “How do you make cold brew coffee?”
Are you wondering how to find these “Question Keywords”?
The free tool “ Answer The Public ” shows you exactly the questions that users are looking for online.
In this way, you can answer these questions with your website content. In the freemium version, it is limited to 2 requests a day.
OnPage SEO Checklist
Now is the time to optimize your content (also called “content”) by using a handful of tried and tested OnPage SEO techniques.
1. Use Your Keyword in Your Url
Your URL helps Google understand what your website is about. A keyword-rich URL can also improve your organic CTR (also known as “click rate”).
That’s why you should use your keyword in your URL. For example, the main keyword for this website is “SEO Checklist” and then the following URL was created: https://szetaoptimization.com/seo-checkliste/.
2. Use short URLs
Keep your URL as short as possible!
Also, your website’s URL should be as short as possible, as a recent analysis of 1 million Google search results showed that short URLs ranked best on Google.
3. Put Your Keyword in Front of Your Title Tag
It’s no secret that you should be using your keyword in your title tag.
However, many do not know that where you use this keyword also has an impact.
It’s best to put your keyword before your title tag.
For example, the main keyword for this post is “SEO Checklist case study”.
As you can see, the title tag starts with this keyword.
4. Integrate Title Tag Modifier
Title Tag Modifiers (also known as “converters”) are words and phrases that you can use to add to your title tag.
By using these title tag modifiers, your website will automatically rank for many long-tail keywords.
Here is a video that will walk you through this process:
5. Use Your Keyword in The First 150 Words
Google is paying more attention to the first 100-150 words on your page, which is why you should make sure to use your keyword at least once at the beginning.
For example, you can see here that the term “SEO Tools” was used right at the beginning of the “ SEO tools post ” post:
6. Use Your Keyword in The H1, H2, or H3 Tags
Also make sure that your keyword appears in the H1, H2, or H2 tags (also known as “heading tags”).
You may have recognized that the phrase “SEO Checklist” was used in the first sub-header (also known as “Subheading”).
This sub-header is wrapped in an H2 tag, which can help to get a higher ranking for this keyword.
Nonetheless, this tip won’t have a really big impact on your Google ranking, but every tip, no matter how small, can help you with search engine optimization.
7. Optimize Your Pictures
The images you use say a lot about your content, but unfortunately, Google is only able to read and interpret images to a limited extent.
So to help Google understand your images, optimize your image alt tags (also known as “image alt tags”) and file names. Optimized images also help you with the ranking when searching for images.
You have to do this:
First of all, use a filename when saving, which briefly describes what is shown in the image.
For example, imagine that you took a picture of a cheese omelet with your iPhone.
Therefore name the picture something like this: “kaese_omelette.png”.
Next, give the image a descriptive alt-tag when adding the image to your website.
Feel free to use a lot of alt text so that Google can instantly see what’s in the picture.
That’s all you should fundamentally consider when optimizing your images!
8. Use Synonyms And LSI Keywords
It used to make sense to pack a page full of keywords.
This no longer applies today as Google has gotten smarter.
Instead of using the same keyword 1000 times, use synonyms and LSI keywords (also called “related keywords”).
For example, if you want to rank in the ranking for “how to start a blog”, mention that exact phrase multiple times on your website. In addition, you should use the following synonyms:
- how to start a blog
- start a blog
- how do I create a blog
- how do I configure a blog on WordPress
The next step is to add LSI keywords, which are terms that are based on the main keyword.
You can find a lot of these LSI keywords at “ LSIGraph.com ”.
Finally, add a few of these LSI keywords to your website.
9. Use External Links
Use links to 5-8 authority sites (also known as “trusted sites”) in your article.
For example, the “ List for SEO Techniques ” included links to trustworthy sites such as Wikipedia and Google.com.
These links show Google that the content is well-referenced and trustworthy.
10. Use Internal Links
This is also very easy for you:
As soon as you post new content, you should link to 2 – 5 other pages on your website.
Pro tip: Use keyword-rich anchor texts (also known as “anchor texts”) for your internal links.
Please pay attention to how the anchor text “on-page SEO” was used for the internal link:
This automatically informs the search engine that the linked page is about “on-page SEO”.
Technical SEO Checklist
A “technical search engine optimization” can influence your ranking positively, but also negatively. Fortunately, troubleshooting technical SEO problems isn’t that difficult if you take the following information and tips to heart.
1. Detect Crawl Errors
A “Crawl Error” indicates that Google is having trouble viewing a page on your website.
But if Google can’t see your page, it won’t rank in search results either.
You can easily find crawl errors in the “Google Search Console” under the “Coverage” log:
Here you can see that Google is having problems accessing parts of the website (for example: robots.txt blocks “Search Engine Spiders”). Therefore, you should resolve such issues as soon as possible.
2. Find Out How Google Sees Your Website
Sometimes users can see everything on your website while Google has no access or can only see parts of it.
Again as a repetition for you:
If Google doesn’t have full access to your website, it won’t appear in the ranking.
Therefore, you should use the “Inspect URL” function of the “Google Search Console” by simply entering a URL of your website.
This gives you a helpful look at your website from a Google perspective.
3. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
Recently, Google introduced a new “ Mobile-First Index ”.
What this means for you is that if your website is not optimized for mobile use, it will not get a good ranking.
Fortunately, you can easily check the mobile-friendliness of your website with the Google Mobile Optimization Test.
Simply enter a page on your website and you will get a clear “yes or no” answer.
We think that’s pretty cool!
4. Repair Broken Links
Broken links damage your search engine optimization and therefore you should recognize them and fix them quickly.
The easiest way to do this is with the “ DrLinkCheck.com.” The tool, which scans your website for broken links:
5. Protect Your Website With HTTPS
HTTPS is a confirmed ranking signal from Google
So it’s time to switch your website to HTTPS if you haven’t already done so. If you’re designing a completely new website, use HTTPS from the start.
6. Check The Loading Speed of Your Website
Is your website loading incredibly fast?
If this is not the case, your site will not rank well either.
The free tool “ PageSpeed Insights ” lets you know how fast your website loads for desktop and mobile users:
The tool even lets you know what you can do to improve the loading speed.
There is no doubt about it: If you want a good Google ranking, you have to publish great content (also called “content”). Hence, content is an important part of any modern SEO strategy these days. In this section, we’re going to walk you through exactly the steps to create the type of content that will rank for 2021 and beyond.
1. Create Great Content Using the Skyscraper Technique
The “Skyscraper Technique” is a great way to publish great content.
This method was also used here to double the search engine traffic:
The process consists of three steps:
- First, you identify popular content in your industry.
- Then create better content.
- Finally, promote this content.
Unfortunately, there isn’t enough space here to go into detail.
So if you want to learn more about the “Skyscraper Technique”, just contact us using the “Contact” button on the bottom right.
2. Break Up Your Content to Maximize Readability
Nobody wants to read gigantic walls of text:
Therefore, you should ALWAYS divide the content into easy-to-read pieces of text like this:
These short paragraphs keep the “bounce rate” (also “bounce rate”) low, which is also a key factor for a good Google ranking.
You will learn more about this later.
3. Edit the Theme of Your Website as Thoroughly as Possible
When analyzing over 1 million Google search results, one thing stood out in particular:
Content with the best ranking on Google tends to cover a complete topic thoroughly.
For example, this guide was recently published on the website.
You could have posted a boring piece of content like: “5 Tips for Video SEO”.
Instead, a guide has been created that covers EVERYTHING about this topic, which is the main reason why it appears in the top 5 rankings on Google for the main keyword:
In addition, the guide receives a lot of shares on social media.
4. Use “Schema Markup”
“ Schema markups ” helps search engines to better understand your content.
In fact, Google recently reported that Scheme can help you with your rankings. For you, however, it can be a bit tricky to implement “schema”, so I recommend Google’s “ test tool for structured data ”.
The tool makes using schema MUCH easier than trying it manually.
5. Focus on Content Formats that Work in the Moment
The BuzzSumo team recently reviewed 100 million articles.
We’ll tell you what was found and start with the bad news first :
“Most of the content receives zero backlinks (also known as” backlinks “).”
Now here is some good news:
The team at “BuzzSumo” found that certain content formats perform better than others.
Specifically, “the big winners are the sites that have built a reputation for original, authoritative content”.
What is meant by “original, authoritative” content?
- Content is written by experts
- Original research (such as surveys and industry studies)
- Content that is not just retold information
- Case studies and real-life examples
- Evergreen content (also known as “perennial favorite”) that will be available for YEARS
Recently this extensive list of SEO tools was compiled :
188 tools were tried out and checked for this purpose. This was an insane amount of work, but it was absolutely worth it.
6. Use Multimedia
Industry studies (like this one) show that using multimedia can help you get ranked by Google.
For example, this post contains a LOT of pictures.
There are two important reasons for this:
First: Images create better content.
Second: Images and other forms of multimedia help content to rank better.
Therefore, you should use these types of multimedia in your content:
- Visual content
- Interactive polls and quizzes
Now is the time to discuss a VERY important part of SEO: link building
Link Building SEO Checklist
Link building is the key to successful search engine optimization. Recently, Google confirmed that backlinks are among the “Top 3” ranking signals.
Unfortunately, creating a link is not that easy, which is why most SEO checklists skip this step. But if you want a Google ranking, links are a MUST. This chapter shows you how this works.
1. Create Powerful Backlinks With Guest Posts
Guest posting is a great strategy for link building.
However, there is a right and a wrong way to guest post.
Correct Way: Post your guest post on respected websites in your industry.
Wrong-way: Publish your guest post on any website that allows guest posts.
In fact, you should only write guest posts on pages that will then provide you with targeted traffic.
For example, this guest post was published on the Buffer Blog:
The aftermath of the guest post was not only a great backlink but also a decent amount of traffic.
2. Use Your Competitor’s Backlinks
Why should you literally reinvent the wheel when you can just copy your competitors’ link sources?
To do this, you need a link analysis tool such as “ Ahrefs ”.
But if you have a certain budget, you can use freemium tools like “ Link Explorer from Moz ”.
No matter which tool you choose, the process is always the same for you:
- Copy your competitor’s URL.
- Enter the URL for the selected tool.
- Then copy the desired links from your competitors.
For example, here is a link report from “Ahrefs”:
Copying some of these links will be difficult if, for example, they are in some way related to the website.
However, many links can be copied fairly easily, such as links from guest posts and interviews.
3. Build Contextual Backlinks With Link Roundups
This strategy works great, but it comes with a catch.
You can find out which catch this is and how the technology works.
4. Become a Guest on a Podcast
The benefits of podcasts are similar to guest posting, but instead of contributing an article, you become a guest on a podcast.
For example like this podcast from last year:
As you can see, the result was an appealing backlink and a handful of targeted visitors.
5. Mention Influencers in Your Blog Post
This process is very easy for you:
First, mention influential bloggers in your content and then let them know you mentioned them.
For example, all founders of the tools described have been informed here that they have been mentioned in the list of SEO tools:
Here you can see that they shared the content on social media as a result.
Bonus: Advanced SEO Tips and Tactics
Now that you know the basics, you will learn a handful of advanced SEO tips and tactics.
1. Optimize Your Website for Click-Through Rate
The more users click on your search result, the higher your ranking will be.
The click-through rate (also “CTR” or “click rate) is a signal about the user experience (also known as“ user experience ”) that Google is paying more and more attention to.
2. Limit Website Downtime
When your website crashes, users get nervous or angry and as it turns out, Google gets angry as well.
In fact, Google stated that unplanned website downtime ” can negatively affect the way a page looks .”
Fortunately, you can easily track the downtime of a page with a tool like Pingdom, which pings your page hundreds of times a day.
If the website has crashed, you will receive a notification so that you can fix the problem as soon as possible.
3. Delete “Dead Weight” Pages
Google recently announced that a huge website with tons of pages can be bad for SEO.
Here is a quote from a Google representative (Gary Illyes):
Hence, you need to make sure that every page on your website is AWESOME.
In fact, “Backlinko” generates over 300,000 unique visitors per month, even though the site only has 100 posts:
This is possible because this website focuses on 100% quality.
Despite the fact that this “quality over quantity” approach clearly works, you see A LOT of sites struggling with “dead weight” pages.
“Dead Weight” sites like:
- WordPress “Categories” and “Tag” pages
- Out of date blog posts
- duplicate content
- Low-quality blog posts
- eCommerce product pages with no sales
- Archive Pages
- Sparse content / boilerplate content
- Pages about outdated services
So that the “Dead Weight” pages cannot harm your SEO efforts, you should delete them.
4. Improve the Time Spent on Your Website
Dwell time (also known as “dwell time”) is another key factor in Google ranking.
Google wants to see that users stay on your website because when users quickly switch from your page to another search result, this tells Google the following:
“Users don’t like this site!”.
But if users get what they want from your website, they will stay on it longer, which will not go unnoticed by Google either:
But how can you get users to stay on your site longer?
5. Update and Republish Outdated Content
In case you have old articles on your website that are getting dusty, this is the place to look carefully:
Recently this blog post was updated and republished:
The formatting has been improved, substantial content has been added, new screenshots have been included, and more.
So essentially the post has been improved and republished like it was a new post.
These simple 1 – 2 adjustments increased the search engine traffic to this page by 260%:
As you’ve seen, this SEO checklist really works.
But before you start implementing the SEO checklist, we would like to hear from you what you think of the article.
Do you have another question about something you read here?
Let us know by leaving a comment below.