A basic SEO checklist is something that every digital marketer needs. According to Statista, Google.com generated around 82.6 billion visits in February 2022 alone.
Online is where your customers are; this is why SEO (search engine optimisation) and SEO services form a crucial business activity. A checklist helps create a framework around what tasks you need to carry out.
As a leading digital marketing agency in Brisbane and surrounding areas, our clients often ask for an easy-to-follow SEO checklist.
A basic SEO checklist provides a process approach to creating and managing any company’s digital portfolio. SEO is a broad term encompassing setup to on-page tasks, such as optimising blog posts, to aspects like keyword research, linking strategies and indexing.
If you’re already familiar with some of these aspects, move on to our Ultimate Onsite SEO Checklist. There, we focus more on how to make your content rank the best possible.
Basic SEO Checklist
In truth, search engine optimisation is a wide subject area. There are numerous aspects of creating and managing an SEO checklist, each element of which can be technical in itself and benefits hugely from experience.
SEO professionals often focus their experience on just one or a few areas of the wider subject.
Let’s run through some of the more common tasks that an SEO expert would provide as part of their SEO services.
These common tasks (and the advanced tasks) are what we provide for our clients to achieve great success, so they should help you too.
Part of this depends on where you are at presently. If it’s a new website, then there is a setup process to start with. Whereas existing websites are focused more on optimisation and monitoring their results.
We’ll break this down into three main sections:
- Set Up and Tools
- Content Strategy and Optimisation
- Monitoring and Analysis
This is by no means a linear process but more of a circular one. Google is constantly changing their requirements. Website designs, coding, and plugins constantly change, as do almost all SEO tools and practices. So periodic reviews of all these sections are advisable.
SEO Checklist: Set Up and Tools
Let’s start with section one and the main tasks required in the setup process.
1. Website design and build
Designing a website theme optimised for SEO from the start will save you a lot of time and energy later.
This includes obtaining the right domain name, colour and branding, website layout and structure, and creating relevant pages.
Plus, planning and creating sales pages and funnels may need to be included and setting up contact forms and details.
2. Google analytics and webmaster tools set up
Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools (Essentially Google Search Console) need to be installed on your website so you can track your SEO progress and see how your site is performing. You might also want to add similar tools for other search engines like Bing.
3. Create a sitemap
A sitemap is a file that tells search engines about the pages on your website. This makes it easier for them to find and index your content. You can create a sitemap manually or use a tool like XML-Sitemaps.com.
If you’re using a CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress, then plugins will often create a sitemap for you, and Google should find it.
Submitting your sitemap to Google simple ensures they have a copy handed to them.
4. Optimise for speed
Slow loading sites frustrate users and can lead to higher bounce rates. Google also considers page speed when ranking websites.
Getting your site speed as fast as possible early in the process is good. There are many ways you can speed up your website. Here are a few:
- Using a fast website theme or static site
- Use a caching plugin
- Optimising your images
- Minimise HTTP requests
- Use a content delivery network (CDN)
If this sounds technical, then yes, it can be. For those unfamiliar with this process, we strongly recommend that you call us, and we can talk you through what options are pertinent to your needs.
SEO Checklist: Content Strategy and Optimisation:
Now that the structure is in place and the essential tools that will monitor the website for later use, we can layer up the content into the site and ensure that those are optimised for best performance and results.
1. Create a content plan and delivery process
Creating content can be in the form of product pages, service pages, and writing blog posts. As well as “news” areas of the website and even your homepage.
It’s important to understand that the SEO of your website will be reliant on the quality of content you provide. So, it goes without saying that if you’re going to take this on, you need to be prepared to invest time and effort into creating great content.
Website layouts need to be fairly flat in structure. Avoid having visitors make more than three clicks to access the right content.
So take care in mapping out the design of your pages, and put a process in place whereby content is created, optimised on the page, and then published and indexed.
2. Research target keywords
To find relevant content to create, then understanding your audience is, of course, key. So already, we are into the website marketing arm and your specific brand.
Once you know your target market, you’ll need to start with keyword research.
This will give you an idea of the phrases people are searching for to find businesses, products and services like yours. This information can then be used to inform your content strategy.
Many different keyword research tools are available, but some of the most popular include Google Keyword Planner, Moz Keyword Explorer, and Wordtracker.
Once you have built a target content plan, you need to invest in advertising services such as PPC or other ad delivery networks. Create content for social media platforms or helpful blog articles that target organic search traffic.
We’ve added more in-depth help with keyword research here.
3. Conduct on-page SEO
When adding content, you need to optimise it for search engines. Some may seem like minor details, but they all feed into an overall SEO “weighted score”.
For a basic SEO checklist, here’s a list of the types of data you need to cover
- Optimise page and post titles
- Write sufficient and genuine content
- Insert keywords without overdoing it
- Edit meta descriptions
- Ensure you use header tags
- Insert relevant and/or unique media
- Check images and ALT tags
We cover this area in more detail in on article Ultimate On-Site SEO Checklist.
4. Add internal linking
Linking to other pages on your website helps search engines understand what your website is about and can also improve traffic flow around your site.
Internal linking helps build your authority in your sector and creates a “silo” of content on each subject area. Creating content clusters covers a subject more thoroughly and leads visitors logically through a subject area.
Thus they will stay longer, explore your website further, and provide good visitor experience indicators to Google.
One easy way to improve SEO is by ensuring you publish regular, high-quality content. This will show Google that your site is active and help improve your authority as time progresses. And there are a whole set of Google quality guidelines around how to do this.
5. Engage in external linking
External linking is just as important as internal linking. Google pays attention to the number of links you have coming in from other websites and the quality of those websites.
Good content naturally attracts quality backlinks from high-domain websites. This is also a good indicator to Google that your content is perceived as trustworthy and informative.
6. Use social media wisely
Social media is a great way to connect with potential customers and promote your content.
However, it’s important to use social media wisely. Posting too much promotional content or failing to engage with your audience will make you lose followers quickly.
The key is to strike a balance between promoting your content and engaging with your audience in a helpful way.
SEO Checklist: Monitoring and Analysis
Once you’ve instigated a routine that encompasses the steps, the work doesn’t end there.
Without monitoring, you won’t know how well you are doing or whether you’re doing enough of the right things that are working.
Results enable you to shape and improve your content strategy, so…
This is where we utilise the tools you initially set up. Plus, use third-party tools where you think it’s necessary.
- Check rankings – Check and monitor your rankings in Google Search Console, along with the types of searches you appear for, the number of clicks and the traffic growth.
- Monitor your competitors – Use SERP tools to monitor your competitors’ progress. Look at what is working for them and review what you might be able to compete with or approaches you can adopt.
- Social media progress – Check social shares and mentions. You can also use third-party applications to help with this.
- Set up alerts – Set up Google Alerts so you can be prompted for changes in rankings. Primary keywords that you want to rank for can be tracked and monitored.
- Tailor your content – Adjust and improve your keyword targeting and social media activities within your future content and product or service offering. Gauge what is getting traction on social media and keep ahead of trends in your industry.
SEO is an ongoing process that needs to be monitored and tweaked regularly if you want to maintain results.
The scope of SEO is very broad and can often take years to undergo a learning curve. We’ve touched on some of the fundamentals in this article.
If you think you now have a better understanding of what a basic SEO checklist looks like, then you can go on to look at our Ultimate SEO checklist for a deeper dive into some of the crucial areas outlined above.
Or, instead of trying to learn and deliver an entire industry yourself, you can employ a digital marketing agency to do it for you.
At Anchor Digital, we have an end-to-end team of professionals dedicated to covering and optimising all of these areas for our clients.
For those in Brisbane looking for a local digital marketing agency that understands their needs, contact us for an initial conversation on how we can help.