Here is a free basic SEO checklist to use before you hit that publish button. Start out going down the right path.
It will give the guidance you need to know that you did all the right things with your post before you go live on the web with it.
You cannot be half stepping these days or you will never see a Google ranking. Try to do all of the tasks before you hit that live button.
This is going to be an on page SEO checklist.
In case we missed anything, make sure you comment down below and we may add that item to the search engine optimization checklist.
This list is for everyone to share.
So, do you have a SEO best practices checklist that you go by? That’s OK, if you do or don’t.
You can add any of theses steps to your existing one or just follow this advice and share it later.
Basic SEO Checklist Is Free And Loaded With 17 Easy Steps
It’s nice to have a guideline to follow. Keeps everything more organized.
By following this free basic SEO checklist you can rest assured you pretty much did all you can do to have a well thought out post.
The only thing missing is your content.
In addition, having a systematic way of doing things lowers the odds of not getting the right things done for your page.
Let’s kick it in with the 17 steps of easy tasks that should be done before you click that publish button.
Now you’ll have a smile and can rest assured you did all of the right things for you new blog post.
You can even use this formula for updating your older post. Make sure you have a fast site because it is one of the major ranking factors.
1. Choosing A Keyword Phrase To Use In Your Article
Choosing a good keyword phrase takes some practice. What would someone type into the search bar?
Some people are looking for information, other’s know where they want to go (specific website), and the rest are looking to buy.
Think of this as, what is their intent? So we feel you should gear your article based on someone’s intent. Sometimes we write to provide good information.
Then, there are other times that we are writing for the people that have a problem and we are offering a solution.
They are looking to buy, have a need, or have a problem that needs solved.
Most of these folks will search for things with these type of words included in their search phrase.
Coupons, discounts, and deals. These type of words are something that you should consider as part of your keyword phrase process.
How many times have you seen the word best being used? We have the best deals with price comparisons.
Here is our review of this particular product. Top, highest, fastest are other ways that get your attention.
Those are just some of the ways to grab the attention of the reader so they want more.
Choosing the right keyword phrases can give you a lift in your traffic if you find a long tail keyword phrase with low competition
When your just starting out or if your website does not have enough authority then you need to find low competition keywords.
We call this finding the low hanging fruit.
How Do You Find The Low Hanging Fruit
More than likely, you may want to use a keyword research tool. Are they 100% accurate?
I would say no but they can increase your odds of finding a low competition keyword phrase.
There are many of these kw research tools . You can find free to very expensive tools online.
We like the one for affiliate marketing. Some of these tools are better for certain marketing aspects.
The keyword research tool has a brainstorming function that we really like.
Instead of spending hours thinking of keywords we only need to spend a few minutes to come up with multiple kw options.
It’s easy to use and very simple. 3 color codes make it easy to choose your words. We are looking for the green results.
If your site has more authority then you could go for a higher competition keyword phrase.
A KW Research tool can save you time, give you ideas, and offer you an opportunity to find that low hanging fruit.
This is how you gain authority. By chiseling in using low competition keywords you get an advantage.
After you find the keyword, then conduct a search using the phrase and look at the competition.
Look at their title, images, meta description, and length of article.
This is the time you have to make a decision to use that keyword phrase in your new article or not.
Also check out the bottom of the page for more suggestions.
Keyword Phrase Density
How often should you use the keyword phrase you have chosen in your article?
One thing for sure is that it needs to be in at least 4 different places.
- In The Headline
- Include It In The Meta Description
- The Featured Images Alt Text
- End of Article
It seems everyone has an opinion about the keyword density.
One thing for sure, do not over stuff the article.
Google will slap your site so hard you may never be found again.
As long as you stay on track with the article you do not need to over use the keywords.
However you can use words that have a similar meaning. Try to use those words sprinkled through out the article.
We try to not use a number or percentage of keywords. But our articles that have had the best search results were between .3% to .5% for the keyword density.
Try to include your kw in your h2 titles. That is another major area we like including the phrase on longer articles.
Just use it when it makes sense. Otherwise use a synonym.
Then again, you may be able to get a good ranking score and show up for those words that are closely related.
The keyword should be the subject for that article. So use it wisely and do not abuse.
2. Attention Grabbing Headline – Did You Stop or Smile?
An attention grabbing headline has got to get them to want to look further into the situation.
A great headline urges the reader to want more.
You can do this in a number of ways.
- Creating Curiosity
- Daring The Reader
- Asking A Question
- Being Clever
- Stand Out (Unique)
You have up to 60 characters to draw your audience in. Actually you may only have 54-56 characters.
We have seen Google cut you off after those numbers.
Try to use a keyword phrase inside your headline. If possible use your keywords at the beginning of your unique headline.
The headline is going to be the only place you use an H1 tag. You only get one H1 per article.
It is what your article is focused on.
We recommend that the font size for your main headline should be the largest font used on that particular article.
That could be anywhere between 32 – 60 pixels. It all depends on your site. Try difference sizes and see what looks the best on your website.
We also like to use a main color scheme for our headlines. You’ll notice on this site we have our headlines in the color orange.
It makes the headlines stand out but matches the theme.
3. Our Basic SEO Checklist Includes A Featured Image
The featured image is the image that goes with the headline. It is sort of like the headline but with a picture.
We all have heard that a picture can speak a 1,0000 words.
It is a reinforcement of the headline. It doubles or even triples the power of the headline.
So choosing a great image can be very beneficial to someone clicking on and reading your content.
One thing about a picture. It can turn heads. Make you go back or stop you in your tracks.
We all have seen one or done it.
There have been images that made you read the article, isn’t that right?
We also like using images with our h2 titles. Too many images may slow your site down depending on your hosting plan.
Some folks have to use WordPress plugins to help with this problem like EWWW Image Optimizer.
Anyway use a great image that sets the tone for the headline. Use the best image you have to set it all up.
It takes a little teamwork to get people to click on your article.
So, with an awesome headline, an encouraging image, and the closer the meta description. Folks can just click away. (if it was just that easy, right?
4. The Meta Description Is The Closer
The meta description is when you are allowed to write around 160 characters to describe the contents of the article.
Sometimes we write it first and then after the article is finished we will update it.
You should use your keywords in the first sentence of the meta description. Sometimes we even bold the words to make it clear to the visitor that they have found what they were looking for.
This is your chance to close the deal. You new visitor has been attracted and is very curious about what’s inside. This is when you have to close the visitor and invite them inside.
They need to click the article so you can tell your story and offer all the benefits and information they are looking for. It’s sort of like a mini advertisement.
This is the part that has to get the visitor over the hump. The meta description is the last part and if it doesn’t do it’s job, you just lost a potential customer.
You can let Google decide what your meta description is by them choosing the first couple of sentences in the article.
Some use the Yoast plugin and it will be completely different from the original article.
You can choose to have a completely different title (headline) and meta description using the Yoast plugin or something similar.
5. Grammar & Spell Check
Check your grammar and spelling. You can always use a tool to help you like Grammarly. The free version works fine.
This is up to you. Make sure you performed enough research to act as an expert or to voice an educated opinion.
Make sure you follow all the SEO best practices checklist that we are sharing today before you hit that publish button.
6. Internal Links Are Powerful & Part Of The Basic SEO Checklist
We will discuss 3 inter linking strategies to move the SEO juice around the site.
- Linking To Cornerstone Content
- Silo Linking In Each Category
- Combination of Cornerstone and Silo Linking
This is a great time to link to some of your cornerstone content. These articles would be the best content you have in a category. It should have different keywords from the other article.
Some folks prefer silo linking. In short simple terms this is when you link to the last article in that category. This way the links keep traveling to the older articles.
What we do is probably a combination of the two inter linking strategies. We try to use the silo technique and also link to our cornerstone content. Sort of sharing the juice.
We have had better ranking results using the combination approach. How about you? What’s working for you? Share your thoughts in the comments so we can all learn some new strategies that are working.
Another thing we try to do is link to other cornerstone content in different categories when trying to explain something of value.
7. External Linking
When we use external linking we reach out to content that is an expert source. Yes, we link to the big dawgs stuff. We also link to other smaller websites that we feel have wrote a good article on a subject.
Any external linking that we set up automatically goes to a new tab. This keeps them on your site even if they get involved with the other one for a short moment.
Sometimes we also use mentions and do not apply a link to that source.
We try to keep the external links to a minimum. Try using more internal linking once you have enough content to do so. Mix up your external links. Do not link to the same place every time.
8. When Adding Images Add The Alt Text
When you are adding images to your site this is the time to get everything done with the image so you can set it and forget it. Some image sizes may be different.
We use a full size image for our featured image most of the time.
The other images we use will be set for the medium size (300px x 300px) most of the time. Every now and again we might use a full size depending on what we are explaining.
Right before we load the pictures we try to use the keywords for the name of the image. Then as we load them up we also name the image using the same keyword or a slight variation.
So every image gets a title and a description with some type of keyword phrase variation. Do not use the same keyword for every picture. Mix it up to go with the appropriate title.
Sometimes you can have an image that clicks to an affiliate program. But only do this sparingly.
Finding images can sometimes take a lot of time. Most of our images are free pictures that you can modify to your liking. But having the right images at the right time can make a big difference.
9. Formatting And Page Structure
It’s better just to use good structure. All major titles like an h2, h3, and h4. Use short paragraphs No more than 250 -300 words after each title.
Use bold text when you need it to count. Like the main keyword phrase in the first paragraph of the article.
You can use quote marks when you are repeating what someone said or quoting what someone wrote. The new WP Gutenberg editor has everything you need for formatting and symbols you need.
You may want to use the italics to quote someone also. Some people use it to draw attention to a keyword or phrase.
Using good website or page structure will help you achieve a better ranking score.
Another way to make a paragraph or a section stand out is by using color. That setting is on our right in the Block settings area of Gutenberg.
10. Choose A Category For Your Blog Post
Did you choose a category for your new blog post? Also link to the last article in that category.
Choosing a category is a simply process. But it sends a clear message to your audience and the search engines what this site is about.
We like including a category menu on the side bar as well. This helps your visitors find other articles in the same category.
Categories can increase dwell time. It is just a matter on how you present your categories. Choosing the right actions to go with the categories is also a good idea.
11. Permalink Is A Must Have & Part Of The SEO Best Practices Checklist
This is a good time to set up your permalink. You should use no more than 5 words max.
Actually, the shorter the better. But you should use the keyword phrase of the article.
Like this article. The name of this blog post will be named ” Basic SEO Checklist”. That is what the permalink will be as well.
12. Lead Capture
Some people will use a browser notification. This is a very simple way to notify people that you have some new content. No email is required and it’s just an easy way for people to stay in your loop.
Then there are those that set up these annoying pop ups. Capture your email and may even redirect you to another page.
Personally I hate those annoying pop ups but they do work. Someday we believe that Google will penalize you for using these pesky floating boxes.
You can also have a place in the side bar for someone to sign up for your newsletter but they do not get the sign ups you need.
Another good idea is to use a lead capture form at the top and bottom of your main pages. It must list the benefits you get for signing up.
It could be a simple lead magnet, a free ebook, information video, or a number of things. The point is you want to keep building your email list every opportunity that you have.
13. Are your Call To Actions Clear Cut?
Any button or links that you provide word them properly. Click here, buy now, subscribe here, read this, and sometimes you may need to add an arrow.
We have used a heat map for our site and you would be surprised. The things that people click on. We use that info to better use call to actions.
It’s a good tool to see where the visitors of your site are clicking. We use the one provided by Builderall. Yes, they have tools that work with WordPress.
We use a few of their tools on this WordPress website.
Is Builderall worth it? You need to be the judge.
Is everything spelled correctly and is the grammar correct for your audience?
Sometimes you can get away with some mistakes and then there are times that the grammar and spelling are correct for that particular audience.
14. Did You Set Up A Click To Tweet Box?
You see most of the major players using this tactic. It is a simple way of people getting invited to share your article on Twitter.
You can do it using a simple WordPress plugin called “Better Click To Tweet” It only takes less than a minute to install and its ready to use.
15. Are You Using #hashtags?#BasicSEOChecklist Are you using #hashtags? Click To Tweet
Since we are into the Twitter mode we might as well talk about hashtags. These symbols are popular on most social networks.
People are now even using them on their blog post. You can even search using hashtags. You can search for this hashtag on Twitter and see what you get. #BasicSEOChecklist is the hashtag you should find.
Using hashtags draw attention towards the article or an image. Just use it one or twice sprinkled in with your content.
Next time you are on Google, do a hashtag search of the subject you are searching for. You never know, maybe your article just might get picked up and you might get some extra traffic.
16. Did You Add Any Affiliate Links?
Some people do not like adding affiliate links in their articles. They would rather link to a review or some sort of landing page.
Then you have other that use affiliate links right in the blog post. We have actually been doing it both ways to see which one is more effective.
It’s been a draw. So we are going to keep testing until we have a clear winner.
Some folks just wait until they get them on their email list. People do it all kinds of ways. Whichever way makes you happy then do it your way.
If you differ, then comment below and tell us why? We all want to know.
We also make it clear to our visitors that we may make a commission when you click on one of our affiliate links.
Some people try to hide that fact. Why? Be honest and let your audience know.
17. Invite Sharing And Commenting
You actually should be doing this all through the article. But we all know that at the end of the article we want folks to comment and share our hard work.
You have to ask. If you do not ask you will get less results.
People should be willing to share an article that they enjoyed, got great info from, or you’re getting ready to buy.
Left a comment for other readers. Some articles get left behind because no one comments on them.
Sharing and leaving good comments can help you build your brand.
At the end of this article we welcome you to comment and leave some positive comments for other people to pick up some valuable tid-bits.
We will also encourage you to share this article so other people will have there own basic SEO checklist to work with.
Summary of Basic SEO Checklist
The Keyword Phrase (Start With One That You Can Rank For)
Find That Low Hanging Fruit with less competition. Add your keyword phrase into the headline.
- Featured Image
- Meta Description
The headline, featured image, and the meta description is like a mini advertisement. This part is when someone gets an opportunity to click to the content. So make it the best you can.
Use a plugin to have a different headline and meta description like Yoast.
- Grammar & Spelling
- Internal Links
- External Links
- Images (alt text)
- Structure & Formatting
- Choose A Category
- Permalink (keyword phrase)
- Lead Capture
- Call To Action
- Click To Tweet Box
- Hash Tags #SEOBestPracticesChecklist
- Affiliate Links
- Request Comments & Shares
By following this basic SEO checklist you will know that you have a completed blog post waiting to be published.
That’s the next step. Click publish and then share your post on your favorite social media sites.
We Need You To Comment & Share The Basic SEO Checklist
Surely you have some input on this SEO Best Practices Checklist. The more we can add to the list the better prepared people’s blogs will be that used the basic SEO checklist.
Feel free to comment and tell us what you think. You can also share this article to give folks a basic guide to follow before they publish their new article.
Some of the information may not pertain to search engine optimization but is worth checking on before you hit the publish button.
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