SEO Best Practices Checklist
If you intend to get the most out of your online presence, then you probably already know that you need to follow SEO best practices. However, these best practices are always changing, so it’s also worth using an SEO best practices checklist, which will help you to keep track of what you’ve done while also leaving room to add new items as they come up. Using an SEO audit checklist can also help you make sure that your SEO campaign doesn’t overlook anything.
Of course, a checklist is a standardized list of tasks, steps, or items used to organize a specific process into its component parts. Using a checklist can increase organization, standardization, and, of course, motivation: it always feels good to check off an important task. With SEO in particular, though, there are often dozens – or even hundreds – of small, repetitive tasks to be completed in order to ensure the quality of your digital marketing campaign.
A few items that should come up on any good SEO audit or SEO best practices checklist include:
- Divide your SEO tasks into on-page SEO and off-page SEO
- Monitor the quality of your organic traffic
- Make sure your site’s loading speed remains high
- Make sure your site is responsive and compatible with both computers and mobile devices
- Ensure search engines are only indexing one version of your website (and that it’s the most recent one)
- Optimize navigation and all UX/UI elements that determine user experience
- Audit your backlinks and fix any broken links
- Track your keywords regularly
In addition, it often also makes sense to have a separate checklist just for keywords and keyword-related SEO tasks. These could include:
- Identify related keywords, especially those being used by your target audience and competitors
- Consider local keywords and phrases, which often have less competition
- Organize and utilize keywords appropriately throughout your content
- Revisit your keywords and expand them regularly
Clearly, there’s a lot to be thinking about here, and as a business leader with many things already on your plate, you may not be able to keep up with it all. This is where using advanced tools, such as the processes offered by SEO and B2B marketing agency Demandwell, can help you organize, manage, and get the most out of your digital marketing campaign.
SEO Checklist Template
As mentioned above, search engine optimization (SEO) is an area that is entirely conducive to checklists. To begin with, it is often incredibly useful if you convert your checklist to a PDF, an Excel spreadsheet, or even a simple Word document with a few boxes next to every item. However, even though this may work well at first, there is still a lot for you to keep track of, and soon you’ll see that it’s often easier to take advantage of advanced tools that can automate this process for you. For example, depending on which CMS you use, you may want to take advantage of Yoast SEO, which can integrate with WordPress.
Whether you end up using a Yoast SEO checklist, an SEO checklist Excel, or even an SEO checklist PDF, though, it’s important to reference and utilize this resource regularly. Some things to keep in mind include:
- Establish your Google Analytics page, your Google Search Console page, and your Google Tag Manager – though they’re all Google tools, each one does slightly different work
- Think about what your target audience intends to do with their searches, and plan accordingly to help them achieve those goals
- Map out these searches as a part of your sales funnel
- Qualify every lead based on who is ready to make a purchase
- Take a look at both the search volume and competition for each individual term you are planning to use
Because some of these involve multiple steps, and some might need to be done more than others, these nuances mean that eventually, you may want to move this resource to an advanced software program that will allow you to better monitor everything in one place. So, if you can make this process more efficient with a tool such as Demandwell’s patented approaches, then you are placing yourself in the best possible position for success.
It is often helpful to divide your digital marketing campaign (and your SEO-related tasks in particular) into an off-page SEO checklist and an on-page SEO checklist, because these are two very different things. Even though it is important for you to conduct an off-page SEO audit regularly, it’s also necessary to revisit your on-page SEO checklist regularly too.
First, though, it is important to take a closer look at what on-page SEO actually is. On-page SEO describes the different processes involved in optimizing each of your individual web pages: in this way, you can make sure that they rank higher. (This is important because, if your page is ranked higher, then you can drive more organic traffic to your website.) Given this definition, on-page SEO includes both your content and the code that makes it available. So, a few items you may want to include in your on-page SEO checklist include:
- Double-check keyword density – too many keywords stuffed together in forced ways may lead to search engines penalizing that content
- Make sure your keywords are also included in your meta descriptions, title tag, and heading tags, as well as appropriately spaced throughout your content
- Optimize your title so that the content is easy to discover
- Include the main keyword in the URL for that content
- Include images and label/tag them appropriately
- Ensure relevant links are included
Then, because off-page SEO is its own (though related!) set of concerns, there are different things to keep on this checklist. Items here might include:
- Fix broken inbound links immediately after finding them
- Pursue opportunities to link your site to others: networking within your industry or creating guest content like blog posts can help with this
- Remove duplicate title tags and replace missing ones
- Monitor your website’s overall loading speed
- Ensure that you’re using a responsive design that makes your site accessible on mobile devices like phones and tablets
- Set up a sitemap and check how user-friendly your navigation is
Separating out SEO tasks into on-page SEO and off-page SEO in this way will help you place your site in the best possible position for success.
Daily SEO Checklist
Thinking about SEO on a daily basis isn’t even an exaggeration – that’s how fast SEO can change, and your outstanding content needs to reach visitors as best as possible. For example, as a part of our daily SEO checklist at Demandwell, we recommend that you create five new pages every week to keep your site discoverable on a continual basis. Depending on your schedule or your team’s, you can create this content all at once and then stagger posting it, one item for each day of the week. Or, you can build one piece of content per day and post it immediately once it’s finished.
One way in which this posting schedule can be accomplished is as follows. Utilizing your daily SEO tasks list, target keywords prior to creating content, and plan to create that content around these pre-identified keywords. Once you’ve decided what you’re going to write about, then aim for around 1500 words. (Even though this may sound like a long page, you will get used to it quickly! And the results are worth the effort.) Also, make sure that the content is well written. Proofread carefully to avoid typos, repetition, and unintentional plagiarism, or repeating other people’s ideas without credit. Believe it or not, this does happen from time to time.
If you are able to post high-quality content on a regular basis in this way, then you will be able to increase your overall search results rankings. This in turn can go a long way toward improving the success of your digital marketing campaign.
SEO Checklist For Blog Posts
If you are creating new blog posts, which is a very specific type of content, then you need to think about on-page SEO as you are writing these. Blogs are often an integral part of your digital marketing campaign, and also one of the easiest ways you can incorporate targeted keywords on your website. When you are developing your SEO checklist for blog posts, it’s worth noting that this will probably be similar to your landing page SEO checklist.
Also, it can be helpful to use tools such as Yoast when developing your blog SEO checklist. Whatever you do end up using, though, pay close attention to each blog post, since blog posts can be a major part of driving organic traffic.
Technical SEO Checklist
One final category of SEO worth discussing is technical SEO. Similar to the SEO checklists in other areas, it is usually helpful to use a technical SEO checklist template.
When looking at an SEO checklist for developers, it quickly becomes apparent that technical SEO is often similar to off-page SEO in many ways. In addition, SEO web development focuses heavily on technical SEO – or, in other words, technical SEO refers to server and website optimization. This is important because when search engines are trying to determine what your website is about, they use robots that “crawl” and index the site so they can tell whether or not it matches a user’s search. So, if you make your website accessible to these search engine crawlers, then they will be able to index your site more easily and this can help you improve your SEO rankings.
When it comes to SEO tips for web developers, too, keep in mind that search engines do give preferential treatment to websites that display certain technical characteristics. These include responsive design, a secure connection, and a fast loading time. That means these technical elements are a similarly important part.
For example, you need to make sure that your website is secure. You can do this by installing an SSL certificate on your website. Also, even though this option is probably built in, you should also make sure your website is responsive to mobile devices. If your website is more responsive, then it will immediately become more relevant to those using search engines from their phones, which is a growing part of the global population. This in turn will help you improve your search results rankings, increasing the amount of organic traffic flowing to your site.
All in all, SEO best practices encompass a wide range of things that are often quite different from each other, and using an SEO best practices checklist can help keep track of these things.