Who says Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has to be difficult? You just need to figure out what’s best for your website and track your progress to check what is/isn’t working.
For those who are new to the term, SEO refers to the process of improving your website to boost its visibility when individuals search for your services or products in search engines such as Google, Bing, etc.
If you are mulling over how to boost your site’s organic traffic and rank on Google, we have created a complete SEO checklist that talks about 101 ways to improve your SEO in 2022. Business owners and marketers in any industry can benefit from the SEO strategies and tips mentioned below.
But before we begin with the checklist, let’s discuss the basic SEO elements. These serve as the key components to optimizing your website for search. Take a look:
- URL Structure: A URL is defined as the address of a given unique resource on the internet. It should be consistent throughout your site and reflect the path the website visitors should take to get to a particular page.
- Meta Descriptions: These are short paragraphs appearing below the page title and URL link during a search. They should be easy to read and entice a searcher to click through.
- H1 tags: Located in your website’s code, H1 tags are used by search engines to know and differentiate the theme of every page.
- Page titles: A page title is a brief description of a webpage and is shown on search engine results pages (SERPs) and at the top of a browser’s window. Page titles should be structured the same way on all your website pages.
- Keyword and Alt text (more on these two terms in the checklist).
Now, let’s begin with our SEO checklist. For better understanding, we’ve organized it in the following categories:
- SEO Basics
- Keyword Research and Optimization
- On-Page SEO
- Technical SEO
- Off-page SEO
- General Checklist
- Advanced SEO Tactics And Tips
First, let’s start with the SEO basics. Here’s what you should know about the plugins and tools you will need to rank in search engines:
1. Setup Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a fantastic free tool that you should use to improve your SEO. Set it up and track the performance of your website in Google search.
2. Setup Google Analytics
Google Analytics enables you to see how individuals find and use your website. For instance, you can see how much traffic you get from Google, know the pages that bring the maximum traffic, your average bounce rate, and much more. This data gives you an idea of the areas you need to work on.
3. Install Yoast SEO (For WordPress Users)
Yoast is the most renowned SEO plugin in the world. It makes it extremely easy to optimize your WordPress website for search engines.
Keyword Research and Optimization
Called the foundation of SEO, keyword research is an SEO practice where you find, analyze and use the phrases that searchers use to look for information on the web.
You must know how to find keywords that your potential customers are searching for. Here’s how you can do this:
4. Discover Keywords in the Google Keyword Planner
Do you know what the official keyword research tool of Google is? It is the Google Keyword Planner. This tool is a great source of keyword ideas and lets you discover search queries that have a lot of searches.
5. Search for Long-Tail Keywords
Using Google Suggest is a great way to find long-tail keywords.
Enter a keyword in Google. Don’t click on “Google Search” or press Enter.
Just look at the keywords Google shows you:
These are the best types of keywords to optimize your website around as people are searching for them (that’s why Google suggested them to you!). So, ensure you follow this tip of our basic SEO checklist.
6. Search for Question Keywords with Answer the Public
Question keywords are ideal for articles and blog posts.
You can find them in almost no time on Answer the Public (ATP).
For instance, open ATP and enter the question – “How to make mint tea?”
This free tool displays questions that individuals search for on the internet.
With these suggestions, you can easily answer questions through your content.
7. Use UberSuggest to Find Relevant Keywords
UberSuggest shows you a number of relevant keywords when you enter a single one. You can easily filter by media type (video, image, news, etc.) and geographical location.
8. Include Your Keyword in Your URL
Try Incorporating the target keyword in the URL of a website page or a blog post as it helps Google understand what the page is about.
9. Incorporate Keywords in Your Meta Description
Integrate your keyword at least once or twice in the meta description. Also, ensure you write a catchy meta description. Taking these steps will help you improve your SEO.
10. Discover Low-Competition Keywords with KWFinder
When you enter a keyword into the KWFinder tool, you can fetch extremely useful data on it, such as:
- cost-per-click (CPC)
- Keyword difficulty
- Search volume
- Estimated visits
This information makes it easy for you to choose low-competition keywords (which are easy to rank for).
11. Always Focus on Quality
In an attempt to improve your SEO, do not compromize on the quality of your content. Remember, you are writing for readers and not for robots.
Let’s see how you can optimize your content with the help of a few on-page SEO factors when you are looking for ways to improve your SEO.
12. Start the Title Tag With Your Keyword
If you are wondering what’s wrong with your SEO strategy, maybe you are not writing effective title tags. 36% of SEO experts believe the title tag is the most important SEO element.
You may already know that you should include your keyword in your title tag. But don’t forget to front-load your keyword in your title tag. Place your keyword at the start of the title tag. Check an example of this (the main keyword here is SEO basics):
13. Integrate Your Keywords Once in the First 150 Words
Google considers the first 100-150 words of your page very important.
Hence, ensure you incorporate your keyword once here.
14. Use Internal Links
When you write a fresh piece of content, see if you can link to 2-5 other pages on your website.
Tip: In your internal links, use keyword-rich anchor text.
15. Use External Links
Ensure to link out to 5-8 trusted or authority websites in your article (e.g., Wikipedia). Such a step tells Google that your content is trustworthy and well-referenced.
16. Audit Your Content Regularly
This is yet another important tip of this SEO checklist. Remove content that doesn’t rank in SERPs, doesn’t add any value, and doesn’t provide any benefit to your website in the end. For doing so, check underperforming content and audit and remove any duplicate, thin or low-quality content 1-2 times annually.
Doing away with unnecessary content enables more valuable content on your site to flourish and shine.
17. Optimize Images
To help Google understand images in your content, you must optimize your image filenames and alt tags.
How to do so? Use a filename that gives a brief description of the image. For instance, you should name a picture of a spinach omelet something like “spinach_omelete.png.”
Also, at the time of adding the image to your webpage, give it a descriptive alt tag such as “spinach omelet garnished on a plate.”
Note: Optimized images help you rank in image search.
Technical SEO refers to server and website optimizations that help search engine spiders crawl and index your website in a more effective manner.
The common areas of best practice you need to focus on are:
18. Your Site’s Loading Speed
Having a slow website is one of the mistakes that can sabotage your SEO strategy. If your website takes an extra 2 seconds to load, bounce rates increase by 103%.
Check, does your site load extremely fast?
If not, your website will not rank as well.
Visit a free tool called PageSpeed Insights to know how quickly your website loads for mobile and desktop users. It will also show what steps to take to increase speed.
19. Fix Broken Internal and Outbound Links
Broken links only mean one thing – poor user experience.
Check the list of broken outbound and internal links in your Site Audit Report and fix them (by either updating them or simply removing the link).
20. Ensure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
Do you know Google switched to mobile-first indexing for all websites in 2019? If you don’t offer a mobile-friendly experience, your organic visibility will be affected.
Use Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool to check your site’s mobile-friendliness. 87% of smartphone owners use a search engine on a daily basis. Hence, ensure that your website is mobile-friendly.
21. Ensure you are using HTTPS
This is one of the most important factors in this SEO checklist. If you are not using HTTPS encryption on your site, it is time you do so. HTTPS has been a ranking factor since 2014.
22. Use an SEO-friendly URL structure
An SEO-friendly URL structure enables search engines to crawl your pages easily and know what they are about. Your page URLs must be descriptive and simple.
An SEO-friendly URL looks like this:
Tip: Use hyphens in your URLs for separating words. Never use underscores.
23. Generate and Submit a Sitemap
A sitemap communicates to the crawler which files you consider important on your website and even conveys important information about these files. For instance, for pages, how often the page is changed, when was it last updated, etc.
Google supports various sitemap formats, with XML being the most used one. You can typically find your website’s sitemap at https://www.domain.com/sitemap.xml.
If you have to generate an XML sitemap, you can use the different sitemap generator tools available out there. After you generate it, ensure you submit it to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
In the end, ensure you reference your sitemap in your robots.txt file.
24. Create a Robots.txt File
Your website’s robots.txt file communicates to search engine crawlers the files and pages that web crawlers can’t and can request from your website.
Mostly, it is used to prevent specific sections of your website from being crawled.
Find your website’s robots.txt file at https://www.domain.com/robots.txt. If you don’t have one, you must create one (even if you don’t need to prevent any web page from being crawled).
25. Check the Page Depth of Your Website
The deeper a page, the less likelihood of search engines or users finding it. Ensure pages don’t need more than three clicks to reach them.
26. Check How Google Views Your Page
If Google cannot entirely access your page, it won’t rank.
Use the “Inspect URL” feature of the Google Search Console to see your page from the point of view of Google.
27. Add Structured Data
You must know that structured data markup has become more and more valuable today. If you are not using structured data, you must use it. This is because your organic listings stand out on the SERPs with the help of structured data.
Let’s discuss the SEO checklist for this category:
28. Create social media profiles on the platforms your target audiences hang out on.
29. Get on LinkedIn Pulse (it is LinkedIn’s publishing platform).
30. Do guest podcasting (it lets you speak directly to new podcast listeners that are a part of your target audience).
31. Stay active on Pinterest and join relevant boards.
32. Comment on blogs to develop relationships.
33. Contribute to newsletters.
34. Search for events you can sponsor.
35. Set up and optimize Google My Business.
36. Turn unlinked mentions into links.
37. Check websites using your images and ask them to link back.
38. Get on websites that offer awards.
39. Do expert roundups (but don’t go overboard).
40. Make badges your community can use on their websites.
Here is a basic SEO checklist that comes in this category:
41. Your “About Us” page adds to your brand’s personality. Ensure you make it count.
42. Develop a voice and tone that you follow in all your blogs. Steer away from boring or formal.
43. Become popular for something in your industry (For instance, KISSMetrics is known for A/B split testing).
44. Brand the anchor text of your backlink.
45. Display a tagline on your website that exactly communicates what you are about to provide a glimpse of your business the minute visitors land on your site.
46. Carefully choose your logo as it is something that defines your online presence.
As per the latest SEO statistics, the more backlinks a page has, the more search traffic it gets from Google. If you want to rank in Google, links are an absolute must.
Here’s a basic SEO checklist you should follow for backlinks:
47. Think about guest posting for getting a backlink
48. Ensure you don’t over-optimize the anchor text. Try more generic keywords such as – click here, read more, etc.
49. Prioritize making connections with industry leaders in your niche. This is because bloggers link to other webmasters and bloggers who they know and trust.
50. Links from .edu and .gov domains are much more authoritative and advantageous than from .net and .com.
How do you create content that ranks in 2022? Check it out:
51. Create fantastic content using the “Skyscraper Technique.” It helps you increase your search engine traffic. This is what the process includes:
- Get to know a popular piece of content in your industry.
- Create something much better than this content.
- Lastly, promote the content.
52. Break your content into chunks so that it is super easy to read. If you follow this step, your bounce rate (an important Google ranking factor) can become extremely low.
53. As per the analysis conducted by Backlinko on over 11M Google Search Results, content that ranks best in Google covers an entire topic in an in-depth manner.
54. Different forms of multimedia such as images, videos, charts, and visual content help your content rank better.
55. Make it a point to constantly update your blog and website. Search engines like to show the latest content to their users.
56. Create amazing, long guides that work as the best resource on a particular subject. They attract a huge amount of traffic, backlinks, and social shares.
57. Format your text to highlight your content, in turn making it easier to read.
58. Your content needs to be so amazing that readers get intrigued and check your blog every day/week.
59. Think about creating infographics. They attract a lot of comments, get tons of shares, and get a lot of backlinks. In other words, infographics can help you go viral.
60. Use numbered lists and bullet points so that your content becomes skimmable.
Let’s discuss some general Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tips that you should follow:
61. Don’t make a URL for certain pages unnecessarily long in length. It not only looks unattractive but is harmful to SEO as well.
62. Don’t publish the same post twice on your website. In other words, don’t publish duplicate content.
63. Regardless of the media you upload, ensure it has the alt text in this format: your-keyword-here.
64. Read blogs associated with your industry to derive ideas from them.
65. Ensure you cover everything there is to know about a topic.
66. The more comments you have, the better it is for your website (it tells Google that individuals are engaged and interacting with your site).
67. Develop your brand authority around a particular niche in your industry.
68. When you increase your blogging frequency, you increase your organic traffic.
69. Structure your site – make an architectural plan for it before you kickstart the development process.
70. More direct traffic equals a high-quality site which equals an increase in rankings.
71. Search and fix multiple H1 tags.
72. Find and fix duplicate and missing meta descriptions.
73. Visit Soovle and use it to brainstorm keywords from Amazon, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, and more.
74. Build your list and use your newsletter to create and build your community.
75. Schedule checks for your backlinks profile.
76. Stay abreast with the latest Google Guideline changes.
77. Use social sharing buttons that attract users’ attention and encourage social shares.
78. Reddit, forums, Quora, and various other online communities are fantastic places where you can discover more keywords.
79. Get on magazines as well as newspaper websites.
80. Social Crawlytics lets you analyze the most shared blog posts of your competitors. Check it out to know what potentially viral content you should be producing that brings you a lot of social shares.
81. Encourage your audience to share your blog posts on social media. Mention this at the end of your blog posts.
82. Incorporate a “popular posts” widget on your sidebar so that you are able to increase pageviews and make visitors browse your site even more.
83. Concentrate on user engagement as it reduces bounce rate, increases pageviews per visitor, and social shares.
84. Mention influencers in your blog posts and let them know that you mentioned them. Also, tell them that if they enjoy the guide, they can like or tweet it. Chances are, they will be happy to share your content on social media.
85. Remember, the older your domain, the better it is.
86. Tag your blog posts with the right keywords.
87. Use your keyword and relevant phrases twice in H2s, H3s, and H4s in your blog posts.
88. Use LSI (Latent Semantic Index) keywords in your blog posts. These are synonyms and relevant phrases that define your focus keyword.
89. Ensure your images are as small as possible with no compromises on their quality.
90. Press releases work. But just be careful with them.
91. If your visitors return a second, third, or fourth time, it gives Google a clear sign that your site serves as a helpful resource to them.
92. When you search your keyword in Google by typing it with double-quotes, the number of results shown beneath the search bar is the keyword competition.
93. Find and Detect Redirect Loops and Chains and fix them. Redirects should go from page A to page B.
94. Find keyword cannibalization issues and fix them.
95. Keep URLs as short as possible.
96. Search for and fix missing, truncated, and duplicate title tags.
97. Search for and fix orphaned site pages.
98. Check duplicate versions of your website in Google’s index.
Advanced SEO Tactics And Tips
The question of how to improve your SEO doesn’t end here. Let’s discuss some advanced SEO tactics and tips as well.
99. Limit Website Downtime
Google says that unplanned site outages can negatively impact the reputation of a site.
To track site downtime, you can use a tool called Pingdom.
100. Increase Your Website’s Dwell Time
Another important ranking factor is Dwell Time.
Dwell Time is the time a Google searcher spends on a web page from the search results before heading back to the Search Engine Results Pages.
When people get what they are searching for on your page, they stay. Google takes note of this. So, ensure you implement ways in which the searchers stay on your page longer.
101. Update Outdated Content and Relaunch It
Do you have old posts from your blog that are just collecting dust?
You can update them and make them better by taking the following steps:
- Enhance the formatting
- Include new screenshots
- Add more meaty content
Then, finally, you can relaunch it. You may now see an increase in search engine traffic.
This is how you improve your SEO!
From SEO basics to on-page SEO techniques, this is the ultimate checklist on how to improve SEO in 2022.
As we have covered a lot of SEO strategies and tips in this SEO checklist, it may seem like a lot of information to grasp in one go. But you can always bookmark this post and come back again anytime you want to refer to it.
Now that you know how to improve your SEO with these 101 awesome SEO tips, it is time to get cracking!
Guest author: Sean Davis is a professional content developer at DashClicks, a white-label digital marketing platform for small and medium-scale agencies. He also has more than 5 years of experience as a content strategist, blogger, and digital marketer. Sean uses his expertise to spread knowledge through his writing. He is highly proficient in describing complex technical concepts with simplicity to make them widely accessible.