In this blog, I’m going to discuss a detailed SEO checklist that will help you grow organic traffic to your blog from 1000 monthly search visits to over 25,000 visits.
As I’m sure you know, there are numerous categories in SEO. From
link building, and more.
So rather than trying to tackle all of them at once, this SEO checklist is going to help you stay organized, optimized, and sane.
With that said, let’s jump into the first category of our SEO checklist and that’s the basic setup.
1. The first thing you should do is generate a sitemap.
Sitemaps tell search engines where to find important content on your site, so they can easily crawl and index your pages.
You can easily create a sitemap for your website with the help of a tool called “Yoast SEO”
Yoast is a free WordPress plugin which is very efficient plugin used for generating an XML sitemap for your website.
Now, if you don’t use WordPress, or prefer not to use Yoast, there are tons of free sitemap generators you can find from all over the web.
2. The next thing to check for is a robots.txt file.
A robots.txt file is important because it gives instructions to search engines on where they can and cannot go on your site.
For example, you may not want them to crawl certain pages or directories like a cart for an eCommerce store, or RSS feeds. So you add that to your robots.txt file.
If you’re unsure if you have a robots.txt file, just go to your “domain.com/robots.txt” If you see a plain text file like this, then you’re good to go.
If you see anything else, then Google, “robots.txt generator,” and create one.
Google Analytics can give you insightful data on how your visitors interact with your website. For example, analyzing bounce rates and time on page can give you an idea of user experience
Google Search Console, on the other hand, is a must-have tool for all webmasters. You can track your performance in search and see the keywords that you’re ranking for.
So go through these basic setups and let’s move on to the next subsection on our checklist, which is keyword research.
While there are a lot of ways to approach keyword research, there are certain fundamentals
That every page should follow.
The first being to find a primary keyword target for your page. Every blog post we should create must contain one main primary target.
To find the “right” primary keyword, you’ll need a keyword research tool.
There are so many tools that you can use for keyword research. Some of them are
Google Keyword Planner
Ahrefs Keywords Explorer
Moz’s Keyword Explorer
Keyword Tool etc.
Now, the second thing you’ll want to do is assess search intent.
Search intent basically means the reason behind the searcher’s query and Google is really good at helping you do this.
Just search for the primary keyword phrase you want to rank for. Then look at the top-ranking results.
To assess search intent, you’ll want to look at the types of pages that are ranking and the format they’re using.
As you can see here, the types of pages that are ranking for the keyword, “Digital Marketing Tools,” are blog posts. As for the format, they mostly seem like a hybrid between list posts and tutorials, which you can infer by the titles.
Now, if you were to create a product page selling an SEO checklist, then you probably won’t rank because you won’t be matching search intent.
Once you have search intent down, you’ll want to look at related queries to your topic.
The first place you can look is Google’s autocomplete. Just type your primary keyword in Google’s search bar and take note of other relevant search queries.
Two other places to look are in the “people also, ask” box in the search results as well
as the related searches at the bottom of the page.
In this case, queries and questions related to the side effects of tea leaves show up in both places, so this is definitely something we would want to include in our post.
To find even more related queries and questions people are asking, you can check the Search suggestions and Questions report in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.
Across these two reports, you’ll find over 28,000 keyword ideas along with keyword metrics
like Keyword difficulty, search volume, and more.
If you’ve done all of these checkpoints, then you should have a strong idea of what your
content should be about and the questions you should address it throughout your post.
Next up is to find relevant keywords and subtopics for your post.
According to a study on 3 million searches, it was found that on average, the top-ranking page also ranks for nearly 1,000 other relevant keywords in the top 10.
One of the main ingredients to ranking high for numerous keywords are links. But an equally important part is content.
Fortunately, you can find subtopics to cover by looking at the keywords that the top-ranking pages are already ranking for, then make sure you cover those points on your page.
The last thing on the keyword research and analysis side is to assess your chances of ranking in Google.
In order to understand your chances of ranking, you need SEO metrics of the top-ranking pages. Otherwise, you’ll just be guessing.
As a very general estimate, you can use the Keyword difficulty scores in Ahref Keywords Explorer to get a very rough sense of that.
So here’s what all these steps include in the keywords research checklist.
Now we gonna talk about the next section which is about on-page SEO.
1. The first point here is to use short, yet descriptive URLs.
According to a study on 2 million keywords and it was found that pages with shorter URLs
rank better than those with long URLs.
A simple way to choose your URL is to set it as your primary keyword target.
For example, a blog post on 75 actionable SEO tips could be (domain.com/seo-tips/)
It’s short, and anyone can tell from the URL what the topic is on.
2. Next, ensure you have a compelling title tag and meta description.
Old SEO advice will tell you to include your target keyword in your title and meta description.
But the study shows that exact-match keywords in the title and description do not correlate with the ranking positions.
So should you use your keyword in your title and description?
The answer is it depends.
The most important thing about the title is that it entices a click. After all, clicks translate into traffic.
But if you find that you’re stuffing the keyword for the sake of inclusion, avoid it.
3. The next thing you should do is add relevant internal and external resources.
In the same on-page SEO correlation study, it was found that web pages that link out to high‐DR
external resources rank higher than those that don’t.
Second, you should add internal links from relevant pages to your new post.
A quick way to find these pages is to go to Google and search for like site:yourdomain.com
and then add a keyword related to your topic.
You’ll then see all posts from your domain that include your keyword. Just visit these pages, and add internal links to relevant anchors texts.
In general, the higher the number, the more “authoritative” the page.
When you do this properly, you can pass the link equity to your new page and possibly increase the speed that Google discovers your page.
And that’s all for on-page SEO now we head to the next thing that is content.
Choosing a topic with high search traffic potential and doing some basic on‐page SEO is important. But all of your efforts will be in vain if your content isn’t up to par.
Here are a few things you can add to your to-do list when creating your content.
1. The first thing is to write an engaging introduction.
The purpose of the intro is to let your readers know they’re in the right place and that your page will solve the reason for them being there. Fail to do so and your readers will be gone fast.
Start with something that resonates with the Reader
Build trust or credibility and
Promise a solution to the user’s problem.
2. Second, focus on readability.
Let’s talk about readability in two categories. The first is visual comprehension.
When a reader lands on your page the first thing they’re going to process is how your page looks.
And if they land on a big wall of text in 10pt font, they’ll likely get overwhelmed and leave. Instead, break your content into pieces by writing in short sentences and short paragraphs.
Other visual assets you can add are images to separate paragraphs. But don’t just throw in stock photos for the sake of faking visual appeal. Put some effort into creating or finding images that will enhance the reader’s experience.
These tips will help increase your chances of turning visitors into readers.
Now, the other category in readability is reading comprehension.
According to a study, 50% of the world’s population reads below an 8th-grade level.
Which means that if you’re writing at a higher level, you’re alienating half the population as well as non-native speakers.
There’s a free tool called Hemingway Editor. Just paste your content in there and it’ll
give you a readability score.
If you’re the type to write academically and struggle to lower your readability score, a great tip you can use is to write as you speak.
3. The last part of the content checklist is to ensure your content solves the reason for the searcher’s query.
Great content is content that solves a user’s problem.
For example, if you have a post on productivity tips, try and go beyond things like “sleepless,” and “hustle.”
Someone searching for productivity tips probably wants practical and actionable information they can try right away. They want to know how they can measure whether their productivity levels are increasing.
If your content solves their original problem and answers the questions that might come to mind as they’re reading, then you probably have some decent content. And if it doesn’t, you might need to re-hit the notepad.
Now let’s move to the next section which is about link building.
When it comes to white-hat link building, you’ll have to tighten up the seat belt and do some email outreach.
Now, outreach isn’t about begging for links. In the words of the late Eric Ward:
“Links aren’t things. A link represents something somebody finds valuable. A link represents something someone wants to share. A link represents the human manifestation of a desire to let someone else know about something useful.”
And there are a few strategies you can use to promote your valuable, shareworthy, and useful content.
The first thing you can do is look at who’s linking to the top-ranking pages for your target keyword. These will likely be the most relevant link prospects seeing as they’ve already linked to a competing article on the same topic.
The easiest way to find these people is to go to Ahrefs Keywords Explorer and enter your primary keyword. Next, scroll to the bottom of the page where you’ll see the top 10 ranking pages along with their SEO metrics.
The parts we want to pay attention to are the backlinks and referring domains columns. If there are a decent number of referring domains, meaning, unique websites linking to the page, then click on the number in the backlinks column to find out who’s linking to them.
You can now skim through the Backlinks report and look for relevant prospects.
Another link building tactic that works well is guest posting.
Now, these techniques are great to use for new and existing content. But there are a couple of other link building strategies that work more effectively if you do the prospecting beforehand.
And these are the Skyscraper Technique and Broken Link Building.
The next thing we gonna look for is technical SEO.
At this point, you should have a solid SEO checklist you can rinse and repeat for each new page you create. But as you create more pages, there’ll likely be technical SEO issues that go unnoticed.
So we want to focus more on the domain level here to find and fix these issues.
You can find these issues by running a crawl with a tool like Ahrefs’ Site Audit. The tool will then crawl your pages and search for over 100 predefined technical SEO issues.
After the crawl has completed, you’ll see a list of issues we found on your site. Now, Site Audit is great for finding the issues on autopilot, but you’re still going to have to fix them.
Let’s go through a few important ones you should fix.
The first is page speed.
Slow-loading pages are annoying for the user experience. And as a result, Google has said that page speed is a ranking factor.
You can use tools like Pingdom, GtMetrix or Google Pagespeed Insights, to measure the speed of a single page.
Next, we want to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly.
Google has a “mobile-friendly test” tool (https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly) you can use. Just enter the URL you want to investigate and they’ll tell you whether your page is mobile-friendly.
Next, you’ll want to ensure that you don’t have any external or internal broken links.
If someone clicks on a link and ends up on a broken page, then that’s bad user experience.
On top of that, you’ll want to fix these because linking to broken pages is a waste of “link equity.”
If you’re linking to any broken pages, then you’ll be able to find that in Ahrefs’ Site Audit tool under “page has links to a broken page.” Just click on the number of affected URLs, and you’ll see a list of pages that are linking to broken pages, as well as the broken pages that are being linked to.
So here it ends our must do Seo Checklist.
And if there’s anything that We’ve missed and that’s an absolute must-do on your SEO checklist, then let us know in the comments.
So keep grinding away, start adding some satisfying checkmarks to your checklist and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and keep visiting our website for such amazing content.