appears to be complex, it is not so if you know what you’re doing. A thorough SEO checklist 2021 is provided below. You can use it to easily enhance traffic to your website, be it e-commerce stores, local companies, affiliate websites, or any other types of websites.
The tactics have been tried and tested, and they’ve been proven to work. So don’t waste any more time and implement these brilliant strategies to boost your site’s exposure and position it where it belongs: #1!
SEO optimization is an ongoing procedure that should be carried out regularly concerning. For the sake of our user’s convenience, we’ve divided the content into subtopics that are simple to learn and apply while improving their website. Let’s begin with the most fundamental steps.
SEO checklist: How to improve your results
Basic SEO checklist for new websites
The measures that follow will not have a direct influence on your page’s ranking right now, but they will undoubtedly move your site higher up in the SERPs.
Create a Google Search Engine Console account.
Look for Ranking Keywords- With their Search Analytics, Google Search Engine Console assists you in optimizing your content.
Check Ranking Positions- These analytics shows you what drives users to your site and examines your site’s impressions as well as its position in Google search. You may receive your content from Google, which will help you monitor your index coverage and ensure that the most recent version of your page is displayed.
Helps You Find Errors- Another added advantage is that if there are issues on your website Google will analyze and send data to those URLs notifying them to rectify the issue.
Set Up Bing Webmaster Tools
These tools assist you in customizing your website, making it more appealing to users and thereby increasing traffic. This application allows you to explore your website, examine backlinks, manage keywords, and speed up the process of getting your website to the desired position. This tool is Bing’s version of Google’s Search Engine Console.
Set Up Ahrefs Webmaster Tools
This tool assists you in resolving issues on your website that are causing it to function poorly. With a variety of user-friendly reports and filters, the Ahref tool can help you browse your website’s backlinks and obtain actionable insights from your inbound and outgoing link profiles. With choices like Search Volume, Keyword Difficulty, and Traffic Value, it also enables you to study and use keywords from your competitors’ sites and optimize yours accordingly.
Set Up Google Analytics
Set up Google Analytics to help track your site’s inbound traffic by means of data collection, tracking, and analyzing the data involved in your marketing process. Google Analytics is an exceptionally useful tool that helps in optimizing and improving your website and guarantees an assured Return on Investment. It does so by giving the owner access to the browser’s unique insights and machine learning capabilities that are exclusively available through Google.
Install SEO Plugin
This is a required and beneficial tool for optimizing your sitemaps and metatags as it helps easily to add titles and descriptions to all the posts and pages on your website. Most WordPress users prefer Yoast SEO when it comes to plugin installation however other plugins such as SEMRush, Google Search Console, Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, SEO Press, Rank Math, Schema Pro, Keyword Tool io, etc. You generally won’t require a plugin if you’re using a different platform, such as Shopify.
Create and Submit a Sitemap
Sitemaps are more or less like a blueprint for your website that helps the Search engines to find, crawl and index the contents of your site. Sitemaps are usually in the form of an XML to help link different pages of your website. Google says “If your site’s pages are properly linked, our web crawlers can usually discover most of your site.” This is why sitemaps contribute to your page ranking process.
You can submit your sitemap here
Create a robots.txt file
This standard instructs the search engine which parts of your page can be scanned and processed and which parts should be avoided. If you have an e-commerce site, for example, you don’t want the search engine to look at the cart page. It’s a good idea to have a robots.txt file, and installing this program isn’t difficult. Follow all those steps give by google to create robots.txt
SEO checklist: How to improve your results
Technical SEO checklist
Optimizing the technical part of your website boosts your website and if you fail to do so it holds back your site from ranking as high as it should. Given below are some best practices for Technical SEO optimization that should be followed,
Plan the Structure of Your Website
Structure your website in such a way that is easy for the search engine to navigate and crawl through it. A logical site structure should be followed. There must be an internal link on each branch of the map to allow search engines and visitors to navigate through the pages.
Create a Crawlable Site
Check whether your site is crawlable because the search engines cannot index your site properly if they are not. To check whether your site is crawlable make use of the Google Search Console as it might let you any warnings or exclusions concerning robots.txt.
If you want the search engine to crawl through any blocked sites on your page then make the necessary changes in the robots.txt file.
Create an Indexable Site
Links and XML sitemaps supplied to Google Webmaster Tools help Google find web pages (unique URLs). The search engine crawls the web pages it discovers to assess the content’s relevance to search users and their queries. It then indexes the pages based on those findings, similar to how a large library catalogs its web pages. Check for any ‘noindex’ robots meta tag or x-robots tag on the page because indexing is impossible if this is the case. These non indexed URLs are mentioned in the coverage report by google.
HTTPS is a ranking indication for Google. According to a data study, HTTPS websites have a higher ranking advantage than HTTP links, therefore moving to HTTPS will help any website, regardless of whether confidential information is involved. To provide a little more detail, data delivered through HTTPS is protected by TLS or transport layer security protocol.
This provides three critical layers of protection: data integrity, which ensures that data cannot be updated or corrupted without discovery during transmission, data encryption, which keeps data secure, and authentication, which ensures that users are connecting with the intended site. Apart from perhaps improving your position, it also safeguards visitor data, particularly if you have any contract forms on your site. Your site is an HTTP site if it has a padlock symbol in the search bar of your browser. You can get an SSL certification also for your site.
Make Your Website’s Information Accessible At One Domain
Not providing enough information on your site and offering several links that cause people to jump from one site to the next is inconvenient not just for users, but also for search engines in terms of crawling, indexing, and security problems. Plug the following URLs into httpstatus.io to make sure everything is in order
- All three of them will redirect to the fourth link if everything checks out and your site is in order.
Your Site Should Load Fast
When it comes to a user-friendly experience, this is one of the most crucial factors to consider. Since 2010, page speed has been a ranking factor for desktop, and since 2018, it has been a ranking factor for mobile. The explanation is obvious: waiting for a website to load after clicking on it is inconvenient. As a result, when the chances of a bounce grow, the page speed falls.
You may use tools like PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom Website Speed Test, and GTMetrix to see how quickly your page loads. You can only check one page at a time with these tools. If you want to check all your sites, crawl every page of the site with Google PageSpeed Insights. This will cause the slow sites to be highlighted in the performance report.
Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
Because the majority of searches are conducted on mobile phones, making a site mobile-friendly is critical. As a result, mobile optimization is necessary. You can do so through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
Install an Image compression Plug-in
The page speed improves and becomes faster when the images on the website are smaller. Higher page speed is a major aspect that influences your site’s rating, which is why you should compress your photos. ShortPixel is a suggested image compression tool for users using WordPress to build their sites, as it allows you to compress 100 images every month for free.
If you’re using another platform to compress your website, you might look for a suitable site on Google
Fix broken pages
It’s harmful to your users and your SEO if your site has outbound broken links. They send a message to their visitors that the page that they are looking for no longer exists triggering a 404 error page. The “Google bots,” or Google’s web crawlers, move from page to page collecting data. Make sure you’re not referring users to broken pages, as it will affect your conversion rates. Make sure to audit your outbound links regularly that hinder the flow into and around your website.
Fix Duplicate Content Issues
Duplicate content is harmful to your site as it provides little to no value to the site’s visitors and the reason is this when duplicate content is present, site owners can suffer rankings and traffic losses. This is a common SEO issue that commonly occurs in e-commerce that occurs due to faceted navigation. This is the prime reason why so many duplicates arise which can be fixed using the Ahrefs Webmaster tool. You can crawl your site using Site Audit which will show you the issues that are found in your site.
Keyword research checklist
The most important thing ever when it comes to ranking your site is the correct usage of keywords. So let’s take a look at how to create a keyword-optimized site.
Target a Primary Keyword
Make sure your website targets one specific keyword at a time which will be your primary keyword. Conduct keyword research regularly to find keywords that you need to target and make sure you are targeting the best keyword each time you publish a new page.
So how will you know you are targeting the best keyword,
Research and know the particular word that represents the topic. Use the Ahrefs Keywords Explorer and search for your topic, it will show the possible keywords that help your site rank by looking at the parent topic.
Keep in mind that parent topics aren’t completely foolproof as they only show keyword results that have ranked higher in other sites and show a suggestion of the same, therefore use a keyword that is more suitable for your site’s content.
Assess the Intention of Search
The reason behind the intention of the audience’s search query when they type a particular keyword when looking for a precise search result is known as Search Intention. So how will you know what the users are going to type in their search boxes? Well, an effective way to do so is by looking at the types and format of pages that have gained a higher ranking in Google and use that as your primary keyword.
It would be easier to understand with an example, take for instance you are typing the word “Digital Marketing Skills”, Google presents you with countless search results, usually blog posts that are related to your query.
Assess your chances of getting ranked in Google
Set realistic expectations by accessing the probability of which keyword will have increased ranking. Estimate roughly and understand the ease or difficulty of ranking using the Keyword Difficulty to help you know the score in the Keywords Explorer.
Estimate the ranking of certain difficult keywords by yourself and do not completely rely on the tool.
Know your audience better
You can know your audience better by understanding the reason behind their search. To know the audience’s search intent you should analyze the results they have conducted so far and see what they have looked up for more. Using this information, update the relevant keywords on your site that help boost the ranking of your website.
The suggestion “ People Also Ask” box gives further insight into what the people are looking for. You can take a look at the top three ranking pages and paste them into the Ahrefs Content Gap tool to help show you the keywords that one or more of the pages rank for. Assessing keywords alone is not sufficient to gain ranking, your website’s content should also be up to date. Follow the following practices to level up the content on your website,
A crucial thing apart from choosing the right keyword to help your site rank is the content in your website. Your content should be well researched and informative furthermore fulfilling the search intention of the reader in an effective manner. Create content that is compelling and useful in such a way they don’t look up other sites for the need of further information as your site didn’t provide enough. Writing compelling contents are difficult as users can jump from your site to another in a nick of time. So get your readers to read through your content past the introduction part.
A Winning Intro:
The first and the foremost thing that captures the eyes of the audience is the catchy headings that you write for your websites. Added to writing informative content this is what kindles interest in the reader to look into the site and read through the information. These three tips will help you write headings that captivate your reader. Firstly, look at your site from the point of view of the viewer and try to understand the reason why they would have come to your site, connect with your reader, and gain their trust. Build a promising conclusion by providing a solution for their problems at the end of your website.
Use Headings to create a hierarchy
Use H1 and H2 to provide a logical order for your content on your site which helps the user to know the overall information that you are providing them with. It makes it easier to skim through the contents.
Nobody can sit and read through an entire wall of text. Make your content look appealing and understandable by providing relevant images to your writings. This is highly useful when you have written technical content where a pictorial representation of the process would be highly appreciated and helps understand the context better.
Use short sentences and paragraphs
A study has shown that about half of the US population read below an 8th-grade reading level. Therefore don’t overcomplicate the content in your site by using language that cannot be understood by the average user. Keep in mind the following things such as using simple words and phrases, not using jargon, and always write in an active voice. Use the Hemingway to help aid you in the process by telling which grade does your content fit into and provide necessary suggestions.
Add a table of contents
A table of contents not only helps you have an overview of the contents in your website but also helps the viewers access the particular piece of information within the site utilizing jumping directly to the necessary information. Another advantage is that table of contents helps you win sitelinks in the SERPs.
On-page SEO checklist
What is On-page SEO?
On-page SEO is the process of optimizing the content on your website, especially the visible content and content in the source code.
Here’s how you do it,
Use short, descriptive URLs
To help the users understand what your page is all about, set your primary keyword as the URL slug. These kinds of descriptive URLs help the user know what the content of your website is all about. The disadvantage long URLs pose is that they tend to truncate in the SERPs.
Write a compelling title tag
Title tags will help the user understand what the page is about. Try to include the target keyword in the URL of your site and if it doesn’t make sense do not sweat it. Write something compelling and catchy so that the viewers will have the urge to click on your URL and visit your website.
Write a compelling meta description
Google does not show meta descriptions for sites that often. Keep in mind the following tips to create a compelling meta description, first and foremost expand on the title but not more than 150 words, double down on search intent, and use an active voice, try and use your primary keyword where it makes sense.
Link to relevant resources
This helps the users to navigate your site effectively. These external links help the users to find relevant content based on their need for information and give them the required answer.
Optimize your images
Install an image compression plugin if you haven’t done it yet. Various image optimizations should be done on a page-by-page basis. Name your images in a descriptive manner rather than the one that is the default name that is being assigned. Also, don’t forget to add descriptive alt text as it helps to replace an image on the page when the image on the page fails to load. It is highly useful for screen readers.
Add schema markup for rich snippets
The purpose of schema markup is to help search engines understand the content of your site better and it also helps to dramatically increase the visibility of your site and how it shows on the SERPs page. The reason why schema markup brings more traffic to your site is that it can increase click-through rates. Use Google’s markup helper or this Schema validator to do the task with ease.
Add internal links
Internal links help Google understand what your page is about. The reason behind this is, only then can Google help the users navigate the website by providing relevant internal and external links for your site. Also, it might be quite useful for you to add internal links from relevant pages whenever you publish new content. This can be done by creating a free Ahrefs Webmaster Tools account, crawling your site with Site Audit, go to the Link Opportunities report, and then add a ‘Target page’ filter and set it to your new page.
You can internal links wherever it makes sense and where you feel additional information can be given.
SEO is an ongoing process. You can check your site periodically with the help of the points given above, but you should not lay back once you’ve completed. Check and optimize your site periodically and each time you publish a new page.
While doing the optimization, it is quite impossible to include all the points mentioned in this SEO checklist 2021 for ranking your website. But, if you religiously implement the checklist into your site then there would be an assured increase in your site’s ranking. At the end of the day, all that matters is getting ahead of your competitors.