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SEO Checklist - A Complete Guide

What Is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of developing various aspects of your website to improve your ranking on search engine results. Check out this article for more information.

SEO Checklist

If you want to get your website to the first page on Google you’ll need this SEO Checklist.

What Are The Benefits of SEO?

SEO is the gift that keeps on giving. While ad campaigns can bring traffic to your site, they ultimately end and can be quite costly. SEO works over a much longer period of time and is more cost-effective.

An optimized website is much easier to use than non-optimized sites. Pages load quicker, are more responsive and well designed. Google ranks optimized sites higher than slower, non-optimized sites.

An improved ranking increases your authority online and brand awareness. This can be a distinct advantage over your competitors.

SEO improves organic site visits. By ranking higher on Google you have a much higher chance of potential customers visiting your website.

SEO Checklist

This thorough SEO checklist looks at the following deciding factors:

  • Content
  • Keywords
  • Links
  • Images and Video
  • Page Load Speeds
  • Voice Search
  • URL
  • Meta Descriptions
  • Schema
  • Formatting

Content

Content is king! Written content is vitally important for websites these days. Your business can write an article to provide information to visitors, grow your authority in your niche and improve your Google search ranking. 

Written content should include:

  • A content strategy
  • Relevant keywords used properly
  • Informative images and videos
  • Internal and external links
  • Good formatting

Keep reading for a detailed look at each of these topics and how they can improve your content and SEO. Or if you need professional help take a look at our content marketing services.

Keywords

When most people think of SEO they think of keywords and keywords stuffing. Keywords are still incredibly important to SEO but the days of cramming in as many keywords as possible are over. Google prefers quality rather than quantity.

Keyword research is one of the most important things we do when it comes to writing an article and optimizing your website. Having a relevant keyword and using it properly can greatly improve your chances of ranking high on Google.

Keyword Tools

Finding the right keyword is important. Luckily there are a number of free and paid tools available to help out with this. Google Keyword Planner and Google Search Console are both free tools from Google that can help you nail down the perfect keyword.

Ahrefs is a paid service that has a very in-depth and detailed keyword explorer.

Keyword Placement

Now that you have your keyword, you need to know where to put it. Your keyword should feature in these places:

  • URL
  • Title
  • H1
  • Meta description
  • Image titles
  • In the first 150 words of your article

This provides enough data to Google to show that your website is relevant to the keyword. This also makes it much nicer for the visitor to read. Readers do not want to be bombarded by keyword stuffing.

Links

Links within articles and webpages are very important. You can take advantage of backlinks, internal links and external links to improve your SEO ranking.

Backlinks

Backlinks are when another website links to your article on their site. When Google sees other sites linking to you they assume that you are an authoritative and trustworthy voice on the topic. This results in Google boosting your site up the rankings.

Internal Links

Linking to relevant pages within your own website can improve your SEO. Google sees this as improving the authenticity and relevancy of your web page. It also boosts click-through-rates and awareness on your site.

✅ SEO Checklist - A Complete Guide 📝

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External Links

Linking to external, authoritative sites can improve your ranking. If you’re writing about SEO tools it can beneficial to link directly to Ahrefs. Google likes articles that link to popular, trustworthy sites.

Images and Videos

Having images on your webpage and blog posts is great to engage readers. Pages with relevant images, infographics and charts have lower bounce rates and are more useful to readers.

Image Sizing

That high-def picture of a stunning landscape will look fantastic on your website. But, uploading the full-sized image can create problems for you. These images can take a long time to load, which affects their ranking. Visitors may even click away from your site before it finishes loading. 

Resize your images with free online tools like TinyPNG or applications like Photoshop.

Alt Text

Alt text is the text you see when an image fails to load on a website. This can be somewhat useful to users, but more so for Google. As Google crawls through your website and gathers data it also looks at the alt text for images. 

For example, Google will prefer an image for a restaurant with an alt text of “young family enjoying a chicken curry in a Chinese restaurant” over an alt text of “people eating”.

Google prefers alt texts that are descriptive, fewer than 125 characters, and have limited use of keywords.

Embedded Videos

Google is starting to prioritize content that contains videos. Go to YouTube and find appropriate videos to your content and use them in your article. This makes your article more thorough and will improve its search ranking.

Page Load Speeds 

For your website to rank high on Google it must load quickly. Google prefers websites that load quickly and answer the searchers' query. Using tools like Page Speed Insights by Google can give you a report on how your site performs and how you can improve it. 

Page Speed Insights

It’s no surprise that Google gets full marks here on its own test. Google has options to test page speed on both desktop and mobile. Mobile sites need to be responsive and can require further optimization. The work is well worth it though. Websites with fast-loading mobile websites rank higher than sites with slow speeds.

Webpage Load Speeds

Even Google’s homepage can be improved when it comes to mobile. Reach out to us if you’d like to see how we can optimize your website!

URL

Optimizing your URL is now very important when it comes to SEO. URLs should be concise, informative, and include your keyword.

www.mywebsite.com/new-blog-post-about-search-engine-optimization-checklist-website-google

This is an example of a poorly optimized URL. There are too many keywords and it’s too long.

www.mywebsite.com/blog/seo-checklist

This URL is much better. It’s short and sweet and contains the keyword

Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are the ~150 characters that appear below the URL on a Google search. These summarize your webpage and should act to get that searcher to click on your website. 

SEO Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions should be informative, concise, and contain the keyword for the webpage. If you do not select a meta description Google will generate one which may bring unwanted results.

Schema

Schema is microdata that you can add to the code of your website that changes how your website is represented in search engine results. Check out the examples below of schema in action and see how it can work for you!

Schema-Product-Review

Schema For Product Reviews

Adding schema to a product review can give the reader a quick insight into your page. Here are two pages that review a pair of Sony headphones. The first page gives the review results and the reviewer, making this page more attractive to click on.

Schema-Event-Listing

Schema For Event Listings

Websites with event listings can take advantage of schema too. In the search result above the user gets instant info about the upcoming events and can click directly on a concert. This will improve clicks to your site and increase leads.

Schema-Large-Website

Schema For Large Websites

Companies with numerous pages on their website can also take advantage of schema markup. Searching for “Google”, users can directly access different products and pages within google.com

Formatting

Great content is, well, great. But if people don’t read it then it is worthless. Formatting your content into readable blocks is much better than presenting large paragraphs of words. 

Writing in easily digestible chunks will reduce bounce rate on your page and increase engagement with the reader.

Format-Text-SEO

Both paragraphs above contain the exact same amount of words. The first paragraph is uninviting and difficult to identify key information. The second paragraph is broken up into smaller chunks with key information written in bold. Which paragraph would you rather read?

Voice Search

“Hey Siri, I’m hungry.”

Ever wonder why some restaurants show up on this result and some don’t? Their websites are optimized for voice search. 

SEO Voice Search

Voice search is one of the latest trends in SEO marketing. More and more smartphone and smart speaker users are making searches by asking Siri, Alexa and Google. Ensuring your Google My Business account is optimized is key for this.

This concludes our SEO checklist. If you need professional SEO advice get in touch with us today.

Blair Kaplan
Jul 18, 2019
With Roy McClean

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