The Ultimate SEO Checklist for 2020

This SEO checklist outlines the most important things you should do when starting a new website or performing an SEO Audit. It covers technical SEO, Keyword Research, On-Page SEO, Link Building and more!

SEO Best Practices for Websites and SEO Audits

This SEO checklist outlines the most important things you should do when starting a new website or performing an SEO Audit. It covers Technical SEO, Keyword Research, On-Page SEO, Link Building and more.

Follow these 26 SEO best practices to increase long-term targeted traffic to your website.


Technical SEO Checklist

  1. Install Google Analytics. Essential to measure key SEO metrics like website traffic, conversions and revenue. Use Ahrefs to measure keyword ranking and link building.
  2. Using WordPress? Download the Yoast SEO Plugin. It will make your life 10x easier. Use it to complete many of the Technical and On-Page SEO best practices in one place.
  3. Verify Your Site in Google Search Console. This free tool allows you to check how the search engines view your site with reports about indexing status, search queries, crawl errors and penalties. To learn more, read this helpful guide.
  4. Improve Website Performance & Speed. Analyze your site with Google PageSpeed Insights. Aim to score 80+. Speed things up with WordPress Plugins: Better Delete Revision, WP Smush and W3 Total Cache .
  5. Take the Google Mobile-Friendly Test. Your site should deliver a great user experience across all devices. Extra important now that Google’s algorithm favours mobile friendly sites.

Keyword Research Process

  1. Develop a Buyer Persona. Getting into your customers shoes is the first step to keyword research. Remember, customers are not searching for your site. They are searching for valuable information to solve their problems. Having a buyer persona is a crucial first step to to figuring out what your best customers are typing into Google.
  2. Keyword Strategy. Aim to target less competitive “body and long tail keywords” that competitors have overlooked. Create content around a portfolio of keywords rather then one single term.
  3. Brainstorm for Keyword Ideas. Hack Wikipedia for Topic Ideas and Synonyms. Generate 1000’s of long tail keywords ideas using 3 automated tools: Google Autocomplete, Ubersuggest & Keyword Shitter . Discover untapped keywords and topics using Quora.
  4. Narrow Down Your Keyword List. Use search volume data from Keyword Everywhere Extension or Google Keyword Planner to cut down the list. Be sure to consider commercial intent using Cost-per-click (CPC) figures as a guide.
  5. Choose Target Keywords. Once you have a list of possible keywords & phrases, start by reviewing the first page of Google for each keyword. Look to see if there are well established sites with high quality content. Then, use data from the MOZ SEO Toolbar to see the authority and number of links competitors have. Eliminate overly competitive keywords and focus on keywords you actually have a chance to rank for. Your chosen keywords will be the centerpieces of your content.

On-Page SEO Checklist

  1. Pick One Keyword Per Page. You’ll generally want to start with lower-volume keywords.
  2. Write Title Tags Search Engines Love. Every page of your website should have unique title tag, preferably starting with a relevant keyword. Include modifiers like “best”, “2016” etc. to stand out and to pick up long tail searches. Keep title tags 55 characters or less or they’ll appear truncated in search results.
  3. Follow Best Practices for URL’s. Use short and sweet URLs that include your target keyword. e.g. http://www.yourdomain.com/target-keyword. Avoid numbered urls like http://www.yourdomain.com/p=123. Always-use-hyphens-in-urls. Never_use_underscores_in_urls.
  4. Skyrocket Clickthrough Rate with Meta Descriptions. Highlight the benefit of your post or product compared to competitors who already appear in the search results. Keep meta descriptions 160 characters or less or they’ll appear truncated in search results.
  5. Optimize for the Google Image Search Results. Create with Canva. Include target keyword in the filename and add keyword-rich alt text to images when uploading.
  6. Reduce Bounce Rates. Make the topic clear by including your target keyword in the first 100 words of your article.
  7. Give Your SEO a Boost with Heading Tags. Include your keyword once in an H2 or H3 subheading.
  8. Include Outbound Links. At least 2 outbound links to authority sites (popular blogs, news sites and .edu and .gov resources) in every piece of content that you publish.
  9. Add Internal links. 2-3 internal links to older articles when you publish a new one.
  10. Publish Longer Content. At least 300 words. 1500 words for competitive keywords.
  11. Use Prominent Social Sharing Buttons. Make sure your social sharing buttons are front and centre on blog posts and articles. Use DiggDigg WordPress plugin.
  12. Double-check everything. Once you’re live with an SEO Audit Tool.

Link Building

  1. Link Building Strategy. Not all backlinks are created equal. Your goal should be to earn quality “do follow” back links from high ranking pages in your niche. Earn these naturally by creating (and promoting!) content worth linking to.
  2. Analyze Your Competitor’s Backlinks, Rankings & Traffic. This is the easiest way to get started with link building. Look at each of Top 10 search results for your target keyword, views link for each page using the MOZ SEO Toolbar. Focus on their “Inbound Links” from “Only External” sources to see who has linked to them. You can also use Ahrefs, Majestic SEO & SimilarWeb to uncover competitors marketing strategies you can replicate.
  3. Maximise Links for Your SEO Campaigns. Find authoritative links in the tools above and reach out to those sources to pitch your latest blog post or product. Expect 5% response rate from these cold emails. You can also search for existing non-linked content using Mention or Buzzsumo. Contact the owner or author of the piece and ask them to kindly link back to you if possible.
  4. Create Content That Generates Links & Social Shares on Autopilot
  5. Model Successful Content. Use Buzzsumo to find proven content ideas & formats.
  6. Put Together Best of Lists. e.g. search for the Best Infographics for Internet Marketers
  7. Crowdsource Content. e.g. 7 Experts On Why Building Your Email is So Important
  8. Publish Survey Results. e.g. SEO Pricing: 600+ Agencies Share Costs & Pricing Model
  9. Create Infographics. e.g. Noob Guide to Online Marketing. Tools: Piktochart, Infogram, Canva.

Bonus Tip: Leverage the high domain authority of other websites like to quickly get to the top of the search results: Guest Posting, YouTube, Slideshare, Udemy, Quora & more. Publish your content on these sites and drive traffic back to your website.


I hope you found this SEO checklist helpful 🙂

Check other posts about marketing in the Marketing section of my blog

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The Best Digital Marketing Tools to Grow a Business

Here you can find the best digital marketing tools to grow a business! From Similar Web to Google Trends for Market Research; From Bluehost for WordPress to Mailchimp for Email Marketing; From Google Search Console to Ubbersuggest for SEO; From Canva to Inpreview for Social Media Marketing.

Best Digital Marketing Tools to Grow a Business

Here’s a list of some of my favorite digital marketing tools. Enjoy!


Market Research

Digital Marketing Tools for Market Research
Google Analytics It is Google’s free web analytics service that allows you to analyze in-depth detail about the visitors on your website. 
Keyword EverywhereThis used to be free but it is now a paid tool. Use Keyword Surfer as a free alternative. Browser addon that shows search volume & CPC in Google & many other keyword research tools
Keywords SurferFree alternative to Keywords Everywhere
SimilarWeb Gain insight into any website’s traffic data while you browse
Google FormsBuild market research surveys to collect feedback and email addresses
Google Trends Find sizzling hot topics ideas for any business

WordPress

Digital Marketing Tools for WordPress
MyThemeShopPremium WordPress Themes For Any Site
NameVineInstantly Find a Domain, Facebook and Twitter Account
NamestationRun a contest to crowdsource 150+ domain name ideas
BluehostReliable and Inexpensive Domain Registration & Hosting
MonsterInsightsGoogle Analytics Plugin for WordPress

Email Marketing

Digital Marketing Tools for Email Marketing
MailchimpEmail marketing software – free up to 2000 subscribers
WP Subscriber ProWordPress Plugin to capture email addresses with pop ups & side bar sign ups forms
LeadpagesCapture email addresses with Landing Pages & Leadboxes

SEO

Digital Marketing Tools for SEO
SEO Audit ToolEnter the URL of any landing page or blog article and see how optimized it is for one keyword or phrase
AhrefsSEO Backlink Checker (alternatives: OpensiteExplorer, MajesticSEO, Semrush)
Google Search ConsoleView your site from Googles perspective with reports about indexing status, search queries, crawl errors and penalties
Google PageSpeed InsightsEnter the URL of your homepage or blog article to get customised tips to speed up your site
WP Revision ControlFrees up storage e.g. only keeps the latest five versions of each page on your site
WP SmushWordPress Plugin to improve your website speed by compressing all of your images in one click!
WP Super CacheWordPress Plugin to speed up your website by using browser caching (just install it – you don’t need to understand it!)
UbersuggestGenerate 1000’s of keywords ideas in one click. Install Keyword Everywhere (above) for search volume & CPC data
BuzzsumoFind proven content ideas & formats from around the web

YouTube

Digital Marketing Tools for YouTube
VidIQUncover the secrets to success behind your favorite YouTube videos
CanvaUse templates to easily create YouTube Thumbnails, Facebook Covers, Twitter Headers and much more! I did a whole post about this tool.
ScreencastomaticBasic Video Recording & Editing Software
CamtasiaProfessional Video Recording & Editing Software

Facebook

Digital Marketing Tools for Facebook
ImgurFind the most viral photos to share
PinterestFind viral quotes images to share
GleamCreate a contest and give people an incentive to like and share

Twitter

Digital Marketing Tools for Twitter
Google URL ShortenerCreate short URLs that can be easily shared, tweeted, or emailed to friends
Twitter PublishEmbed tweets, timelines or follow buttons on your website
RitetagFind the best hashtags to increase your visibility
BufferSchedule posts and manage all social media accounts all in one place

Instagram

Digital Marketing Tools for Instagram
Facetune 2Mobile app to edit images
LightroomMobile app to edit images
InpreviewApp to see how a new post is going to look like on your feed
Record it!Record something that you are doing on your phone and use it as a story
bit.lyShorten the URLs to put in bio

Quora

Digital Marketing Tools for Quora
QuoraBecome An Authority & Drive Long-Term Website Traffic by Answering Simple Questions

Adwords

Adwords
Google Ads / AdwordsTransform your traffic and sales overnight with paid advertising
SpyfuDownload Your Competitors’ Most Profitable Keywords and Ads

Check other posts about marketing in the Marketing section of my blog