The Complete SEO Checklist to Get Your Website on Google

a picture of Tom Donohoe
Written by: Tom Donohoe
Last updated: July 1, 2018

Launching a new website? Updating your existing website?

This is the SEO checklist for you. It’s the same checklist I use with every new SEO consulting client.

And guess what. It works.

If you’re looking for a practical step-by-step checklist you can use on your site today, then you’ll love this infographic.

Follow this checklist and you’ll drive more website traffic from Google:

seo checklist infographic that covers 32 steps to get your website on Google





Step 1

Set up your SEO Tools and Tracking Software

To successful run SEO campaigns for your business you need to leverage technology to get the best results.
You’ll need to understand how many people come to your website, where your ranking in search engines and insights into website optimisation.

In this step, I’ll cover everything you need to know technology wise to tick off your SEO checklist.





1. Install Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a web analytics platform offered by Google. It’s the most widely adopted Analytics tools in the market and considered industry standard.

For SEO, you’ll be able to track key metrics like how traffic you’re getting from organic search, whether it’s from Google or Bing and is SEO driving business results.

It’s pretty simple to get started you’ll need to put the Analytics tracking code on your website but there are plenty of great resources to help you get started.

Resources:

 

2. Set Up Google Search Console

Search Console is another great free tool offered by Google, and a must-have when doing SEO. It will give you a bunch of data about your sites organic performance in Google.

For example, you can get data on how many times your site appears and gets clicked for keywords. And it will also reveal if there is any major issues you need to fix.

Resources:

 

3. Set Up Bing Webmasters Tools

Often overlooked but Bing is an important search engine to drive SEO traffic. Webmaster tools is Bing’s version of Google’s Search Console.

You should go and submit your website to their webmaster console.

Resources:

 

4. Set Up Google Tag Manager

In SEO you’ll be using different technology that will need you to put tags on your website. As well as put in place tracking to see how users interact with your website.

Google Tag Manager is free tool that will help you do this with ease. The best part is you don’t need to be tech-savvy to install complex tracking scripts on your website.

Resources:

 

5. Using WordPress? Set up Yoast SEO plugin

If you’re using WordPress for your content management system then Yoast SEO is a must-have plugin.

It’s a free plugin that will help you put in place most of the items on this checklist. It also gives you SEO recommendations for improving your pages and blog posts.

Resources:
  • Yoast SEO download page
  • How to install and setup Yoast SEO
  • Beginners guide to Yoast SEO

 

6. Consider paid SEO tools

Keen to take your SEO to the next level? Well, there are some paid options on the market. A paid SEO tool will allow you to do more in-depth analysis and track your keyword rankings.

There are hundreds of SEO tools on the market. But I’ll go through the three that I use and that are the most popular.

Moz Pro

Moz is an all-in-one SEO toolset that can help you to improve your rankings in search engines.

Resources:

Ahrefs

Like Moz, Ahrefs has a simialar tools set to research keywords and track rankings. But Ahrefs is more focused on growing your search traffic through competitor research. It has a tool set that lets you understand how to outrank them.

SEMrush

SEMrush is another all-in-one SEO and competitor research toolkit. It will help you watch rankings, research keywords and get backlink opportunities.

Resources:



Step 2

Research your competitors, keywords and develop a SEO strategy

Next up in the SEO checklist is researching your search potential, competitors and industry. Then developing a tailored strategy to move forward with.

Here’s the thing:

SEO is a process and without a clear strategy driving your daily tactics you won’t see great results.

Let’s go!





7. Do your competitor research

Before you dive into planning what you should do to your website, look at your competitors. Using a tool like Moz, SEMrush or Ahrefs you can see what’s working and what’s not for others.

Learn from your competitors and position yourself to outrank them in search results. You want to look at what are their best pages and keywords are. Then where and who they get backlinks from.

Resources:

 

8. Conduct in-depth keyword research

Once you’ve got insights from your competitors you need to get dirty with keyword research. List the 10 most important keywords for your business.

Use a free or paid tool to start doing keyword research. You want to find keywords that have high buying intent and good search volume.

Resources:

 

9. Map your target keywords to URLs

Once you’ve got your list of keywords you want to target, next you need to map them to the pages they belong on.

Using Google Sheets or Excel create a column with your page URL. And columns for your primary and secondary keyword you want to target on each page. Try to create relevant pages to match your top keywords.

Resources:

 

10. Develop your SEO strategy

Now you’ve collected all the data it’s time to develop your SEO strategy. Here you need to set objectives for the next 6-12 months and how you’ll achieve them.

Resources:



Step 3

Build a robust-foundation with Technical SEO

First up, don’t freak out by the word “technical”.

Technical SEO involves ensuring that your website is compatible with search engines. So that you’re not preventing it from being indexed and ranked for your keywords.

There are other website performance and security factors that need to be dealt with also. But let’s go through it all now.





11. Check your index status vs pages on website

Do a search in Google “site:yourwebsite.com.au” and see how many pages are returned. Compare this with the number of pages on your website. If there is a big discrepancies you may have an indexing problem.

Resources:

 

12. Get your website secured with an SSL certificate (HTTPs)

Making sure your website is secure is important for several reasons. Google has said that HTTPs is a ranking factor, so that’s pretty big. But it can also boost your conversion rate by making visitors feel their data is safe.

Resources:

 

13. Create your Sitemaps (HTML & XML)

Make your website accessible for search engines by including sitemaps on your website. If you’re using WordPress you cay do this using Yoast SEO and Simple Sitemap Plugins.

Resources:

 

14. Clean up or set up your Robots.txt file

The robots.txt file tells search engines where they can and can’t go on your website. If one is setup on your site make sure you’re not blocking any important pages. And if one is not set up that you exclude the pages you don’t want found by search engines.

Resources:

 

15. Check your website page load speed

Having a fast website is crucial to providing a great user experience. And it’s even more important because page speed is a Google ranking factor on desktop and mobile devices. You should aim for 2 seconds as the ideal load time.

Resources:

 

16. Check your website is mobile friendly

More people browse the internet on mobile devices than desktop. Is your website mobile responsive? If not, you should have a developer fix that asap. In 2018, Google will use the mobile version of your website to rank your site.

Resources:

 

17. Check for any broken pages on your website

Use Google Search Console or a tool like screaming frog to crawl your website. Check HTTP status codes for any pages returning a 404 not found. Redirect these pages to a different page on your website.

Resources:

 

18. 301 redirect any broken links

If you do find any 404s on your website that cannot be resolved you should 301 redirect them. You want to redirect them to the most related page on your website.

Resources:

 

19. Confirm your code (HTML, CSS, JS) with the W3C

Check your code meets industry standards is a must-do for website owners. If your code doesn’t meet standards you could run into issues. One common issue that can impact perfromance is browser compatibility.

Resources:

 

20. Your websites marked up with schema.org

Marking up your website using schema.org can help give search engines more context. It will also help you to appear in rich snippets. You can use Google Search Console to make sure you’ve implemented schema the right way.

Resources:



Step 4

Improve your visibility with On-page SEO

Now you’ve built a foundation and have your technical SEO right.

It’s time to turn to on-page SEO and make sure it’s optimised for search engines (and humans!).

Here’s the items you need to check off next.





21. Include your target keyword in the page title

A title tag is an HTML element that specifies the title of a web page. Your title tag is one of the most important on-page SEO ranking factors. Each page title on your website should be unique.

Resources:

 

22. Write a compelling meta descriptions that contain your keyword

Meta descriptions appear below the page title in search results. They provide a description of the content on the web page.

Meta descriptions aren’t a ranking factor but they can help improve your click through rate. If you include your keyword it will bolded when searched in Google.

Resource:

 

23. Break up content with useful and keyword rich heading tags

Don’t get these mixed up with title tags. I’m talking about the sub-headings on your page ranging from heading 1 to 6.

Heading tags communicate importance to search engines and you should try to use them. Make sure you’re only using one heading 1 per page.

Resource:

 

24. Use short and keyword rich urls that help the visitor understand the page

URL structure is an important indicator to Google of relevancy. Pro tip: define your own URL structure. Don’t let Content Management System, such as WordPress, create them for you.

25. Optimise your images by including your keyword in the file name and alt text

When uploading an image to your content management system you need to do three things. One, Make sure the file name contains keywords. Two, reduce the file size below 150kb. And three, give the image a descriptive keyword rich image alt text.

Resources:

 

26. Use internal links to distribute authority across your entire domain

Internal links are hyperlinked text that point to another page on your website. It’s important to link to related pages on your website to pass authority around your entire domain.

Resources:

 

27. Place your target keyword in the first 100 words and throughout the content

Keywords are words and phrases that people use to find web pages on Google. Include your target keyword within the first 100 words and throughout your content. Don’t stuff the keyword in too many times as this is against Google’s guidelines.




Step 5

Become an authority in your industry with Off-page SEO

The final step in the SEO checklist is your off-page SEO.

To rank well in Google you need to build authority to your website. The best way to achieve this is through link building and other off-site techniques.

Tick all these boxes and you’re well on your way to ranking in Google!





28. Outreach and amplification

Letting people know about your website is crucial to drive traffic and links. Identify and reach out to key influencers in your niche. Offer them value in exchange for amplifying your brand.

29. Check your website’s backlink profile

Investigate how many referring domains (other websites) are linking to yours. Make sure that they are all high quality and not spamming. You’ll want to make notes of any bad links and disavow them in Google Search Console.

Resources:

 

30. Identify new link prospects for reaching out to

Links to your website is one of Google’s top ranking factors. You should always be looking to build new links. You can use tools like I mentioned earlier to find new links prospects. My favourite tactic is looking at your competitors links. Try to reach out the the websites linking to them that are relevant opportunities for you.

Resources:

 

31. Set up Google My Business Profile

Setting up Google My Business profile is pretty much compulsory if you’re a local business. It’s definitely worth doing even if you’re a national business. It allows you to take up more space in search results.

Resources:

 

32. Claim social media profiles with your business name

Claim your business on the main social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. While social media isn’t a ranking factor. It definitely has indirect benefits as it can build awareness of your business. This can turn into website traffic and links.

Resource:



Over to you!

So there’s your SEO checklist for this year.

Now I want to turn it over to you: Which of the steps were already implemented on your site?

And what have you got a lot of work to do on?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment below right now.



Free Traffic Growth Hacks Straight to Your Inbox
Join my email subscriber list and you'll receive exclusive growth strategies that I only share with my subscribers weekly.
I guarantee 100% privacy. Your information will not be shared.