I have already shared my Checklist for On page SEO and Off Page SEO. We are going to update this post and share a consolidated SEO checklist, considering that it’s 2022 and most of the SEO tricks are dead by now. Following is a How to guide for Search Engine Optimization.
On Page SEO Checklist
If you always wonder how to SEO your website then you are at right place, have a note of the below points as they will surely help you to optimize your posts quickly and get recognized in Google.
1. Have Search Engine friendly URLs: You may be wondering what do I mean by Search engine friendly here. Let me explain this with an example.
YourWebsite.com/12/2013/abcdefg/ds1a37slmah/2.html –>It is not at all Search engine friendly because Spider can’t judge what it is all about instead use a clean URL with your target keyword and have the same structure for all the pages and posts.
YourWebsite.com/2013/01/SEO/On-Page-SEO/Checklist.html –> It’s a proper and clean structure. It would be understood by human and Google crawler easily. you can also refer yoast seo guide for perfect url structure.
- Best permalink structure in WordPress to improve SEO
- How to change the already existing permalink structure in WordPress
2. Fresh and Unique Content: I believe this doesn’t need any explanation. Hope you all are writing fresh and Unique content. It’s near to impossible to hit Google first page with a copied content.
3. Readability: Avoid Grammer mistakes, spelling mistakes. Try to explain everything in a simple way. Now a days most of the SEO plugins are having a readability measure so you can easily check the readability of content based on various scales. If you are not using any plugin then try WordPress SEO by yoast plugin. its a free plugin which takes care of various SEO factors including readability of content.
4. Keyword density is not going to help any more: Previously people used to maintain a certain %age of keyword density to rank higher for particular keyword. Even I had shared in one of my post that it should be between 1-3%. BUT NOT ANYMORE, recently I have experimented and found that one of my post came up in Google first page even though keyword density was less than 1%.
Note: Keyword density doesn’t make any sense now a days but Higher keyword density can cause you trouble. Try to have < 3% keyword density for target keyword. That will not help you to rank higher but it will certainly keep you out of any trouble. Read more about it at How to check keyword density.
5. Bold, Italic, Underline: Bold, Italic and underline a keyword will help you to rank higher for that keyword. Note: Don’t overdo it otherwise it would nullify the positive impact.
6. Image optimization for SEO: Not only text but you can also optimize images which you have used in your post. It is much advisable to use small size images with ALT attribute to have proper benefit of SEO. Remember to have a meaningful name of images rather than having meaningless names such as IMG241.jpg etc. Read more about image optimization at How to make images SEO friendly.
7. Post Title: Its is always good to have your target or focus keyword in your title. At the same time title should be eye catchy and meaningful so that visitor may be able to understand the topic by just seeing the title. It would also help to improve the CTR.
8. Header Tags: Most commonly used Header tags are H1, H2 and H3. It is good to have only one H1 tag, more than one H1 tag can confuse search engine to understand the topic and would negatively impact the SEO. Apart from this you can have multiple H2 and H3 tags in the content and in some places you could put your focus keyword in such tags to improve on page seo of your post or article. read more about them here.
9. Internal Links: Avoid internal links to non-related posts. It would not make any good impression to visitors and search engine. Rather, interlink related posts with varying anchor text, it will surely reduce bounce rate and will improve search engine optimization.
10. External links and Anchor Text: If you are pointing to any external relevant source from your post then it would eventually improve on page SEO. Try to use proper anchor text instead of using words like click here, read more etc.
11. Website Loading speed: You would be surprised to know that Google considers site loading speed as one of the ranking factor. It’s because slow sites lose some of their visitors because of the overhead in loading time. Hence improving your site loading speed would definitely improve the on page search engine optimization.
12. Proper use of Nofollow wherever necessary: Don’t use dofollow for all the external links. Try to mark only trusted and useful sources as dofollow, mark remaining links as nofollow. Never use nofollow for internal links as it would stop spreading link juice to internal pages or posts.
13. Tags and Categories: If you are using WordPress platform then it would be easy for you to maintain categories and tags. It makes navigation easy. Sometimes such pages can cause you trouble because when you don’t give unique excerpt in category and tag pages then these pages may cause duplicate content issue which can attract Google panda algorithm to your site, it can lead to an penalty. If you are not giving unique excerpt for such pages then mark tag and category pages as noindex.
14. Avoid stopwords in post URL: Search engine ignore stop words while indexing the article so it’s better if you avoid such words in post or article URL. Read more about stopwords at wiki.
15. Use LSI keywords to improve search engine visibilty: Using more LSI keywords in your posts improves your search engine ranking and keep you out of the over optimization penalty.
Refer these guides:
What are lsi keywords and how they can improve seo?
how to find lsi keywords?
15. Cloak affiliate links: Sometimes affiliate brings search engine penalties so it is a seo best practice to cloak affiliate links. This should not be used anymore, instead add rel = “sponsered” to your existing affiliate links.
16. First and last paragraph makes sense: Have your target keyword in first and last paragraph of your post instead of flooding out the whole post with the keywords.
Off Page SEO Checklist
1. Submit Sitemap: Submitting your sitemap actually doesn’t help in SEO but it would help to get your posts indexed quickly. you can use various plugins to do this task. Such plugins pings to various search engine crawlers so that they would be able to know that something is there which requires indexing. I personally prefer using Google XML Sitemap generator.
2. Dofollow backlinks from Relevant sites: Initially I used to tell my readers that making dofollow links would improve your page rank and as well as search engine rank. However for 2013 my advise is to have dofollow links from related and relevant sites otherwise it would adversely impact your site. If you are getting backlinks from a non-trusted site which you have not created then you can use Google disavow tool to remove such backlinks.
Few methods to build quality backlinks
3. Improve social presence: Now a days search engine gives importance to the content which is being shared by others on social networking sites such as Facebook, twitter, StumbleUpon Reddit etc. Its a win and win case because it would not only improve your off page seo but it would also attract many visitors from such social networking sites.
4. Guest Blogging: Guest blogging is a best way to get quality backlinks. It also helps to increase traffic from other sites, where you have submitted guest posts.
5. Avoid getting links from Link farms: There are many sites which provide dofollow links to all other websites. Such sites are known as link farms. Avoid getting links from such sites.
6. Don’t purchase backlinks: Don’t purchase backlinks. I’m sure that it would never improve your search engine ranking. However I’m pretty much sure that sooner or later you would get caught by search engine and would be penalized by them. If you have purchased such links and your site is not performing well then these backlinks may be the reason for that. Remove them by using Google disavow tool and file a reconsideration request to remove manual penalty out of your website.
7. Last but certainly not least: Don’t use Blackhat methods to improves SEO. Believe me it would be worthless and result would be horrible. Find more about Blackhat and Whitehat SEO at wiki.
That’s all I have in my Basic SEO checklist, if you find that there is something missing then drop a comment and let me know. I would be happy to include that in my checklist.