[Updated] SEO Checklist for 2020

To help you along, We have listed the following SEO checklist from the perspective of Technical SEO, Design SEO, On-page SEO, Local SEO, and Ongoing SEO Support.

[Updated] SEO Checklist for 2020
[Updated] SEO Checklist for 2020

Content Summary

Technical SEO
Design SEO
On-page SEO
Local SEO
Ongoing SEO Support
Additional Notes

Technical SEO

  • Web hosting with 99.9%+ uptime
  • Domain with clean web history
  • SSL certificate installed
  • Firewall implemented
  • Caching enabled (page, browser, object, etc.)
  • Image compression and resizing (in-house system or automated)
  • Automated backups
  • Google Analytics account connected
  • Google Analytics goal tracking, eCommerce tracking and other special tracking enabled
  • Google Search Console account connected
  • XML sitemap set up and submitted to Google
  • Separate sitemap submitted for images and for videos
  • Robots.txt set up
  • Schema.org markup (when relevant) written

Design SEO

  • Information architecture mapped out
  • Responsive web design
  • Mobile-first web design
  • 1 clear CTA per page
  • Custom 404 page set up
  • All links, buttons, and forms tested and working

On-page SEO

  • 1 unique focus keyword per page
  • Focus keyword density between 1-3%
  • 50-60 character meta title including the focus keyword
  • 150-160 character meta description including the focus keyword
  • Short but descriptive slug including the focus keyword
  • Error-free content
  • At least 1 relevant internal link per page
  • Featured image for each page
  • Descriptive alt text for each image
  • Header tags used (focus keyword included in at least 1)
  • Headers appear every 300 words or so
  • Sentences stretch no more than two lines
  • Paragraphs stretch no more than five lines
  • Duplicate content analysis
  • Plagiarism check

Local SEO

  • Google My Business page set up
  • Geo-specific keywords included
  • Location-specific pages created (when relevant)
  • Contact information provided (e.g. phone number, address, etc.)

Ongoing SEO Support

  • Web server uptime, speed, and security analysis
  • Page speed testing
  • Security monitoring
  • Google blacklist monitoring
  • Keyword rank monitoring
  • Broken link checking
  • Software updates

Additional Notes

  • Anything that’s not relevant to the kinds of clients you serve or the kinds of services you offer, delete the row.
  • If there’s anything I’m missing, feel free to add it on (like if you specialize in e-commerce design and want to prep product pages to appear in Google Shopping results).
  • If you’re not comfortable checking the on-page SEO stuff, hand it off to a proofreader or editor (someone who didn’t do the copywriting).

Be Accessible

Do’s

Search Box – Ensure there is a Search Box panel on your webpage to aid in site navigation.
Links – Links internally to other pages within your website, links allow Search Engines to crawl and index your other pages.
Breadcrumbs – Use ‘breadcrumbs’ such as ‘previous’ or ‘next’ buttons – this aids user-ability and is search-engine friendly.
Homepage – It is important your website has a homepage that is easily accessible.
Layout – Your website should be arranged in a clear, hierarchical or ‘tree-like’ layout.

Don’ts

  • Provide a link to every single page on your website from your homepage – this overloads the page with too many tabs, reduces white space and slows loading time. If pages take more than 5 seconds to load you will experience a ‘bounce-off’ rate which will hinder your SEO ranking.
  • Create pages that cannot be reached through ordinary user navigation within your site – link pages into and out of one another.
  • Over-cram your drop-down menus with pages, this hinders user-ability.

Engage in Good Schema Markup Practice

Do’s

Tags – Label, tag, and file all forms of media you insert into your website. If you have a picture on your website of Conor McGregor for example, ensure you label it correctly as “Conor McGregor”. This helps Google to decipher what the non-text content on your website is and lets it know it is a professional website.
Canonicalisation – Have URLs that use canonicalization. For example, for apple.com may have a subpage for both iPhones and iPads. Good canonicalization practice will ensure the apple.com/iphone relates to your iPhone page while apple.com/ipad will relate to the page about your iPad inventory.

Don’ts

  • Have an infinite loop – the same two pages that keep linking to one another – this means users will be forced to leave your webpage in order to return to the beginning, if they do return at all.
  • Use misleading titles and tagging, the tagging should be relative to the content.
  • Have multiple canonical URLs that lead to the same page – this confuses search engine algorithms.

Quality Content

Do

Content – Create content that is of value to users, no matter what that use is, be it informative, newsworthy or for comedic viral-video value.

Don’t

Recreate duplicate or plagiarized content. If your site differs across various geographical areas, create individualized content for those pages. Do not copy/paste content from other websites.

Engage in Good Linking Practice

Do’s

Content – Have content on your website that is quotable, shareable and easy to reference. This gives rise to Editorial Links.
Back-links – Have diverse back-links pointing to your key pages throughout your website.

Don’ts

  • Buy links back to your website.
  • Use back-links that lead to pointless or trivial websites that have no relevance.
  • Have link networks on your website. This is punished by Google’s algorithms.

Improve User Experience

Do’s

Quick Loading Pages – Improve user experience by ensuring your webpages load quickly. Webpages that are slow to load experience large bounce off rates (people leaving your site).
Information Above the Fold – Ensure that page’s most important information is ‘above the fold’ – meaning where you would typically read the headline on the front page of a newspaper.
Aesthetics – Ensure each page is aesthetically pleasing.

Don’ts

  • Correct Information – That the webpage provides the information that says it does ‘above the fold’.
  • Overload your page with information.
  • Place advertisements in the ‘above the fold’ area where your most important information should be.

Be Mobile Responsive

Do’s

Mobile Responsive – Ensure the website is mobile responsive. Be easy to read without zooming, pinching and expanding the screen.
Easy Click Links – Have easy to click links and tabs on your page that can be performed with the thumb.

Don’t

Have non-mobile friendly software on your page, for example, Flash Animation that will not display on Apple Mobile Devices.

Earn Social Signals through Social Media Distribution

Do’s

Social Media Links – Distribute your content through social media channels. Have social media links on your website’s content.
Share Buttons – Have Share content buttons on the top or the bottom of your page.

Don’t

Spend money on bots that artificially share your content. These are detectable by search engines and can incur penalties thus negatively affecting your rankings.

Localize your Content for Pigeon

Pigeon – Finally, in 2014 Google introduced Pigeon a new Algorithm update that awards geographical relevance to searches.
Panda – Targeting webpages, introduced to punish sites that use poor quality duplicated or very little quality content.
Penguin – Targeting webspam, introduced to punish sites with low-quality links.

 

Published by Thomas Apel

, a dynamic and self-motivated information technology architect, with a thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to system and network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. I enjoy the technical writing process and answering readers' comments included.