The updated and absolute must SEO checklist

Before you create a new page always remember to consult your SEO check list, and if you don’t have one the article below will help you in creating one of your own. While there are several things that you have to do whenever you create a new page and not all of them might be the same as on the list below but at least ensure a few of them check off. And don’t start stressing over getting every single thing perfect, it doesn’t harm to leave a little bit to chance as well. And no checklist in this world is all encompassing; they keep getting updated often, so treat this as a base guideline or a helpful reminder rather to keep a check on your SEO venture and ensure success.

1. SEO Plugins

An SEO plugin is necessary even though many people might try to convince you otherwise. Setting up your website content, writing and editing are infinitely easier with these plugins to help you, but bear in mind that they will not do the actual writing and just by having them your website’s search engine rankings aren’t go through the roof. Try Yoast Plugin or the All in one SEO Pack.

2. Keyword research

We’ve been telling you right from the beginning that your SEO journey has to start with Keyword research; it serves no purpose to research keywords after all the work is done. For our website to rank well in organic search results and stand out, keyword research is essential. For better ranking your keywords should feature in your title, description and URL with a limit of 50 -60 characters for title and in between 150 -160 characters for Meta data description. Once you’ve finished the keyword research, list down the important ones that you want to target in your URL and in the page that you’ve just created. Though URL’s aren’t exactly a high ranking factor but the click through rate (CTR) of an SEO friendly URL is much higher, so here’s a tip you can employ; use dashes or hyphens instead of underscore as they’re alpha characters and words shouldn’t be separated. There are tons of tools on the internet to do a keyword research, you can try Google Keyword Planner  which is the go to for most SEO folks or you could try KWFinder.

3. Accessibility, User Experience and crawlers

Basically the question we’re asking and you should be asking yourself is if your content is optimized? We all know now that content has to be optimized for mobile, there is no other go and it definitely isn’t a fad! The pages and content of your website should be accessible and visible to search engines and content should be accessible through other devices too. Scan your website with Screaming Frog or Google Search Console and check if crawlers (programs that search engines use to scan and analyze websites in order to determine their importance and ranking in search engines for certain keywords) can get to all the pages, your website has unique and original content and no duplicates, no broken links or pages and doesn’t have thin content or pages. You could go the extra mile and optimize it for differently abled audience as well, for example: screen reads for the visually impaired.

Now the most important thing to check is the speed with which the page loads, use the Google speed test tool or GTmetrix and do some proxy checking to check if your page loads quickly from other regions as well where you’re targeting. Also it helps to do an in house usability test, ensure that the design, user interface, visuals all add up to an enjoyable experience for all your users.

4. Keyword Density, Text/HTML ratio

We can’t stress enough about not stuffing your content full of keywords, for one it’s very wrong and secondly and more importantly there’s nothing more Google hates than a website which is trying to rank higher by sneaking in too many keywords, so it could get you penalised. Ideally, for any page the keyword density, meaning the percentage of keywords used in a web page as compared to the total number of words on the webpage, shouldn’t exceed 1-3%.

And because you’ll need to use these keywords in the URL, Meta data description, headers and titles it would be safer to use synonyms in other text. Run your content through Live Keyword Density Analysis or SEO Centro Tool to analyse the keyword density of your webpage.

The amount of text on a web page versus the HTML code on the same web page is what text to HTML ratio refers to. And though it isn’t a factor that directly affects your search engine e ranking, there are several related factors which could affect the ranking, so ideally it should be around 25 – 70%.

5. Original, relevant and correct content

Content which is original always ranks better and it’ll also avoid a plagiarism lawsuit, so check for duplicate content before posting. Use Copyscape or Plagiarism software liberally and check if there’s something similar or the same lurking around the internet. Your content should also be relevant to the topic or the products and services your business deals with. Always check your content for grammatical or spelling errors because there’s nothing more irritating than reading content with too many typos. Use a grammar checking tool like the Best Grammar Checker tool or Grammarly’s free plugin for chrome.

6. Important services and tracking

Once you’re done with all that’s mentioned above, it’s time to take the next step. For our website to be a success there are a few more things that you need to pay attention to.

Web analytics: To understand our site’s performance clearly and how your product or your business is perceived by the customers you’ll need the direct insight that analytics offer. Based on this data you can decide to make improvements as you’ll know what works and what doesn’t. And moreover here are 4 reasons why you should concentrate on web analytics right now.

  •         Keyword Insight: With the help of analytics you can identify keywords which are your site’s biggest drivers. The data shows you the number of times that particular was searched online and also it points out new and repeat visitors to your site and time for which they stayed on your site.
  •    Customer Insight: With the data you have on the keywords that are searched online and how many times they were searched for, you’ll know what your customers are looking for and also gives you insight on customer behaviour.
  •       Social Insights: The data collected will help you in identifying the traffic to your website and what they do there. You can also identify which of the social channels are the most used by your target audience.
  •        Insight into page quality: Your site should meet the needs of the users and the data from page analytics will give you that insight and from that you’ll understand your site’s performance.

Google Analytics is the best tool to use for web analytics. There’s also Piwik or Omniture that you can use too.

Uptime Monitoring: Knowledge of your website’s uptime is helpful in finding problems and resolving them quickly. Get Pingdom for your site and they have some affordable options too for your site if you’re a beginner.

Retargeting and remarketing: One part of your SEO checklist you shouldn’t ignore is remarketing and retargeting, you’ll need to lure those customers in one way or the other for your business to succeed. And even if you aren’t planning on doing it right at the start it helps to have Facebook or Google’s retargeting pixels on all your pages to lure the audience back to convert.

Brand Alerts: You alone can’t comb through the vast expanse of data on the internet to find out if your business is being talked about and how it’s being spoken about. For that you’ll need a tool that can comb through the nooks and crannies of the Internet to find reviews in even the most obscure of places. Google alerts while being free isn’t worth it as it’s not as good as a few others like Talkwalker, Trackur, Fresh Web Explorer alerts or Mention.net and if you can afford it there’s a few tools that are paid and totally worth the money.

Tracking your rankings: You’ll need to track the rankings of your webpage to analyse its performance, you’ll need an SEO tool which while it can track your rankings it should also do a regular crawl, display slip ups and competitive opportunities. Moz, Ahrefs, SEMRush, Searchmetrics, or Raven are some of the best known tools for the job.

WebMaster tools: For customers to find your business your webpage should be visible on Google search, Google search console can help you in monitoring your site’s presence in Google search, this your one way ticket to solving your accessibility issues. Bing WebMaster Tools is also a great option.

Social and web profiles: Finally the most important part is securing your brand. You don’t want anyone jump up and grab the name of your Facebook page, Pinterest page, Instagram profile page, YouTube page, or your SlideShare page, so just go the whole route of all the social media sites and web profiles out there and claim whatever your website’s name is.

7. Tools to improve your SERPs representation

You need to make sure you’ve improved the way your page is represented in SERPs, so use Schema, Rich Snippets to mark up your content items, increased CTR’s and reduced bounce rates and OpenGraph tags to ensure that the social networks have enough detailed information about your site so they can show a link on those pages that have been placed by the users.

8. Social Sharing Buttons

If you want your content to be shared on social media, you’ll need to add social sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc on your webpage to ensure that users can easily share the page online.

9. Link redirection, Internal and outbound linking

Redirection is necessary if you’ve changed domains and you need to redirect the previous URL to your new one and it’ll also help you check where an affiliate link goes and what affiliate network is being used. Use tools like screaming frog or use the Link redirect checker which is available as an extension for chrome. Provide a few legitimate internal links on your posts, they help the user in navigating your domain better as well as help in spreading link juice (ranking power) around websites. Don’t make the mistake of hiding or burying the main link navigation so that search engines cannot access it, getting those pages you’ve worked so hard on listed in the search engines’ indices will be hindered considerable because of the lack of direct, crawlable links point to those pages. You can look at how your site’s link structure looks by running your site through Open Site Explorer to rectify any errors.

More than Internal links what helps your website is the presence of outbound links, when you have hyperlinks pointing the visitor to some other domain Google will know that you’ve provided quality links in your website. It also shows the visitors who explore those other pages that you’re knowledgeable on the subject and are mixing with the right crowd and it guides them to take action as it is a measure of your website’s popularity, relevance and trustworthiness.

10. Amplifying your Launch

It’s practically SEO 101 to know that you need to see success immediately after launch. To ensure a successful launch day or week or even a launch month you need to first understand what needs to be done to amplify your launch and how. It’s quite simple, build a list of people who would be interested in the product or service; it can range from family, random acquaintance from the coffee shop who keeps talking SEO, neighbourhood uncles and aunties who’ve been in the business or even bloggers and journalists. Reach out to them directly and speak about your launch and invite them to the launch, not after. Now you’ve got your social sharing buttons in human form, now that you’ve created a buzz these people will act as your influencers.

Well now we’ve listed pretty much most of what needs to be done, sure it isn’t as exhaustive as some others but the main points that you need to watch out for are covered. Follow the checklist as you go, dig deeper into those details, tick all the boxes or as much as you can; don’t be disheartened if you can’t, just look for a way around to the solution and you’re going to have a successful SEO experience than if you leave it to chance. We wish you good luck, now go get building on that site!