SEO Checklist

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seo checklist

With an SEO checklist, you can keep track of your optimization measures and improve your Google ranking. XML sitemap, loading speed, keyword research, and snippet optimization are certainly familiar terms. Since a website is optimized in several places by on-page and off-page optimization, both technically and in terms of content and structure, it is easy to lose track.

With the help of our SEO checklist, you can optimize your website step by step and check whether you have observed all the points.

The important SEO checklist

The following SEO checklist serves as a guide and mainly includes on-page optimization measures, which are both analyzes and improvements.

The implementation of the individual points does not have to happen immediately but can be carried out slowly. To give you a better overview, we have divided the checklist for SEO measures into two major sub-areas, content and technology, with the structural aspect being divided into content analysis and content optimization:

  • Setup and technique
  • Content analysis
  • Content optimization

Setup and Technology

In the area of setup and technology, loading speed, XML sitemap, HTTPS, indexing, crawling errors, URLs, and broken links are important aspects of search engine optimization. Furthermore, since March 2021 it has been particularly important that your site is optimized for mobile devices in accordance with Mobile First. We will now explain how you can best optimize the individual points.

Website Loading Speed

A website should never load for more than 3 seconds; the shorter your website loads, the better it is for ranking. For Google, loading time is an important ranking factor and part of a positive customer experience and customer journey. You can use PageSpeed Insights to check how fast your website actually is.

PageSpeed Insights score results

XML Sitemap

The sitemap is important for the indexing of your website on Google because it shows the search engines which subpages should be indexed. It gives Google important information about the structure of your website, which in turn is an important factor in being able to rank a website. Typically, the sitemap is in XML format and is submitted through the Google Search Console. The sitemap can usually be found by entering the following address in the browser: www.yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml.

datacrypt sitemap

Anyone who uses the popular content management system (CMS) WordPress has a number of WordPress plugins to choose from that automatically create a sitemap. But there are also generators on the Internet.

HTTPS and SSL

Although it is hardly conceivable anymore, it still happens that some sites run without an SSL certificate. If you don’t have one, you should tackle this item on the SEO checklist first. A secure connection is an absolute must in times of data protection and GDPR.

secure website

If your website does not have HTTPS encryption, it will be marked as “untrustworthy”.

Mobile friendly and responsive design

By March 2021 at the latest, every website should be optimized for mobile devices according to Mobile First and have a responsive design. This means that users can call up a website on all devices, the display of which in turn is automatically adapted to the desktop, smartphone, or tablet. You can use Google’s mobile-friendly test to check how your site is displayed on the respective end device.

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check if your website is mobile friendly

Optimize URLs

Another important aspect of the SEO checklist of our OnPage optimizations are the URLs, because mistakes are often made here too. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to see URLs that are meaningless and do not give the user any information about the content of the subpage. At this point, using speaking URLs as permalinks is important. Speaking URLs are links that show what the website is about. It has no technical abbreviations and is not excessively long.

This is a SEO friendly URL:

seo friendly url structure

This would not be an SEO-friendly URL because it contains special characters and the link does not provide any information about the content of the subpage:

not a seo friendly url structure

Remember the following points:

  • Formulates short and descriptive URLs.
  • Each URL only exists once.
  • The words are separated with a hyphen.
  • Do not use special characters and capital letters.
  • The URL contains the focus keyword of the relevant sub-page.

Indexing and crawling errors

Do you have an indexed website? This step is about checking whether indexing was successful, which pages Google should index and what crawl errors may have occurred. It doesn’t make sense to have all pages indexed, so you can exclude certain URLs from indexing using the robots.txt file.

Why is indexing so important? Your site can only rank on Google if it is indexed. You can see whether a page has been indexed in Google’s Search Console or by entering “site:www.yourwebsitename.com/subpage” in the search bar.

take a look if your website is in the google index

Furthermore, you should always check your website for broken links to avoid 404 error pages. These pages result in high bounce rates and lower click-through rates, which sends a negative signal to Google and lowers your rating.

You can track broken links with helpful tools, so-called broken link checkers, or extensive SEO tools like Screaming Frog, or SEMrush. But the Google Search Console can also recognize broken links.

Content analysis

In addition to technical optimization, the content-related and structural measures in content marketing are of course also important in order to improve your ranking. Therefore, you should always take a close look at your content, check the search intention, and, as part of keyword research, analyze whether you are using the right keywords, the keyword density is correct and no keyword stuffing has taken place. In order to actually come up with unique content, you should also examine your content for duplicate content.

Check search intent

Before you optimize your keywords, you should check whether the search intent is still correct. Basically, all your optimization measures should always keep the so-called search intent insight in order to guarantee the user the best possible customer experience and customer journey. Accordingly, you can optimize your keywords in such a way that they are adapted to the needs of the users and serve their search intention in the best possible way.

If a user searches for “motorcycle helmet for men”, then it is more of a transactional search query, whereas “best motorcycle helmet comparison” is an informational search query. The former would lead to an online store, whereas the latter would call for a product comparison or guide amount.

Analyze SERPs

In order to better understand the search intent and optimize the keywords, you should definitely analyze the search result pages (SERPs). This allows you to see what is being asked about a keyword and see what the top competition is presenting for the search term.

The SERPs, including the user questions and snippets, reveal what you should know about the search intent. Also checks:

  • Which keywords, long-tail keywords, and synonyms are used.
  • What the sentence order and spelling are like.
  • Which keywords appear in the URL.
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Keyword research

You can of course do the keyword research with a keyword tool. It is not only important to find the right keywords, but also to adapt them to the search intention, to place them in the right place, and to have the optimal keyword density. Any keyword stuffing is counterproductive and leads to penalties on the part of Google.

That means your

  • Must use the right keywords in the right place.
  • Have to keep the search intention in mind.
  • Avoid keyword stuffing.
  • The keyword density should be between 1 and 3%.
  • Uses long-tail keywords (keywords with a low search volume).

You can then optimize accordingly and should use the focus keyword in the introduction in the first 100 words and then use it again in the body text.

One of the best keyword tools you should use to rank quickly and high in organic search results is LongTailPro. Just try the tool… you will be surprised how well it works!

Find duplicate content

Duplicate content always arises when content appears twice either internally or externally. A popular mistake comes from snippet optimization, where the meta description is mostly duplicated. Each description should be unique and not appear more than once. The same applies to the entire website, which should only be indexed under one domain. Otherwise, you will quickly have to deal with duplicate content, which will be penalized by Google. If you want to properly tag websites with duplicate content, you should use canonical tags.

With a duplicate content checker like Siteliner, you can check your website for duplicate content.

Content Optimization

After analyzing the weak points of your content, you can better optimize it. There may be a lot to do in this area. As soon as you have carried out extensive keyword research, you can optimize the relevant content, i.e. expand content, include focus keywords and long-tail keywords, remove keyword stuffing, adjust keyword density and write new SEO texts.

Optimizing SEO content and writing texts

For many, this area is the most difficult and time-consuming of the entire optimization work, because writing good SEO texts is not always everyone’s favorite pastime. Don’t worry! That’s why we’ve written an article for you that explains how you can use a few simple tricks to write good SEO texts. When writing, you should structure the text well and use long-tail keywords.

If you don’t want to write the texts for your website or blog yourself, you can outsource content, for example. A very popular content platform is HireWriters. There you will find many freelancer authors who are happy to write the texts for you.

You can also rely on AI content writing software like Jasper to help you create content.

Structured data

The structure is not only important for the reader or potential buyer but above all for the search engine crawler. With the help of structured data, they can better evaluate the content of the website and recognize it as relevant for the search query. Schema markup helps Google in this process. Many websites use FAQ markup, which makes a snippet more visually prominent in the SERPs; an FAQ snippet then looks like this:

Snippet Optimization

You can increase visibility on Google with rich snippets and featured snippets. For snippet optimization, too, we have prepared an editorial for you that shows you step by step how to create a search-engine-optimized snippet. It is important that the focus keyword appears in the title and meta description and that the text arouses the user’s interest.

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Snippets are like advertising signs that should arouse curiosity. Special characters and emojis can also be used for this, provided they fit the company. When optimizing, also make sure that the title is not too long, otherwise, three dots will appear.

Optimize images

Image optimization is also an important part of the SEO checklist. Correct captioning of the images, adjustment of the size and quality, and description of the file names are part of image SEO and must not be neglected in on-page optimization. All relevant images should have ALT attributes that give an indication of the content.

Since the search engines cannot rate an image themselves, it is necessary to provide an adequate description of the image content.

  • The focus keyword should be present in the alt text of the first image.
  • The images must be resized and compressed.
  • The image title must be meaningful.
  • The filename of the first image has the focus keyword.
  • All other images have a description of the file name (ALT and title attributes)

Check and set internal links

Just as important for the structure of a website is a meaningful, internal linking of the individual pages of the website. These internal links are important for the Google crawler and the user. When linking correctly, however, a few criteria are important.

  • The font size of the anchor text
  • Position of the internal link (footer, sidebar, body text, list)
  • Font color and formatting
  • Number of words of link anchor text
  • Type of link
  • context of words

Frequently Asked Questions About Search Engine Optimization

Why is an SEO checklist so important?

An SEO checklist can be helpful to keep an eye on all optimization measures. Since many factors can be improved on a website, you sometimes lose track.

What is the most important thing when it comes to search engine optimization?

Which points of the SEO checklist are important for your website can vary. Depending on where your need for optimization is, this can be different for each website. However, you should make sure that your website is optimized for mobile devices and that the content quality and loading speed are right.

What should you do first for on-page SEO?

Which measures are the most important depends on where the greatest weak points are located. Therefore, the content quality also applies here, checking the search intention, loading speed, and optimization for mobile devices.

How often should you work through the SEO checklist?

Some items on the SEO list need to be checked and repeated at specific intervals, while others only need to be done once. As a rule, however, all points are examined again after a few months.

Founder at Datacrypt Ltd
Tim is the founder of Datacrypt.io and is an expert in web design, SEO, eCommerce, and content management. Tim loves to give you a lot of useful information in our blog about various topics.
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