This SEO checklist PDF (downloadable) was made for business owners and bloggers who know they need to optimize their content, but aren’t sure where to start. If you want people to read your blog posts, white papers, downloads—or to use them to drive traffic and leads—you can’t ignore SEO any more.
Download and print our big SEO checklist PDF to make each step easier.
Start With Onsite Technical Fixes
While all relatively simple, these small technical fixes can have a significant impact on your ranking. If you’re confused about how to implement any of them, connect with an SEO expert who can do it for you.
- Make sure your website is secure by installing an SSL to get an https address. You can do this through your hosting provider.
- Create and submit an XML sitemap. Check out #1 in our Blog SEO Guide for detailed instructions on this. This ensures that Google sees each new post you publish.
- Optimize your logo with alt text—it should be short and descriptive.
- Include schema mark-up where applicable. Refer to Neil Patel’s guide for more info.
- Update title tags and meta descriptions for all pages and posts.
- Use alt tags for all images. Learn more in #4 of the same Blog SEO Guide above.
- Use a plugin or tool to create rich snippets. See our favorite plugin recommendations to find a good option.
- Optimize images. Compress the size, update file name, title text, and add alt text with the keyword.
- Make sure you’re properly using subheading. Hierarchical structure based on current best practice, (i.e., H1, H2, H3) is explained by Yoast.
- Check your site speed using Google PageSpeed Insights tool—follow instructions for improving as needed.
- Optimize for mobile friendliness. Use Google’s mobile friendliness tool to figure out what you need to change.
Don’t Underestimate Content and Social Media Marketing
The quality of your content blog content is crucial to your SEO. When creating new posts, keep all of these details in mind.
- Regularly write and publish high-quality, original content for both user and search intent that speaks to your target audience.
- Publish 11+ articles each month. Recent studies show that posting 11 blog posts each month is the magic number for driving more traffic.
- This will help with earning more external links (see the section below).
- Check out our guides on evergreen and seasonal content and try to use a mixture of both.
- If you run a local business, consider supplemental topics, like guides that relate to your city and business. For example, a real estate company can have a guide to fun activities in different neighborhoods to drive SEO value for those local searches.
- Get active on social media. Find out more about how social media affects your rankings and make the necessary changes.
- Clean up any duplicate content on your site or blog, which can hurt your ranking.
Backlinks (external links from other sites that point at yours) act as one of the most important ranking signals. Just look at Backlinko’s Guide to Ranking on Google, where backlinks factors make up almost a quarter of the list of 200. Google sees backlinks (especially those from high-DA sites) as a stamp of approval.
Learn more in our CMO’s Guide to Backlinking.
Ideally, the links will be do-follow, which means the “link juice” passes from their site to yours so Google can attribute it properly.
- Be a source for local news stories that fall within your area of expertise.
- Be a source for journalists looking for experts via HARO.
- Guest post with reputable sites within your industry. Read our guest posting guide to get started, then land even more placements with our tips for great pitches.
- Monitor your backlink profile using tools like Ahrefs or SE Ranking.
- Use Google disavow tool to remove bad links, which can damage your SEO and site ranking.
Use the Right Keywords
Keywords are an essential building block for all your SEO pursuits. Every piece of content on your website should be keyword optimized so that Google knows what it’s about.
- Do your keyword research to create a list of actionable keywords for your business and industry. For help on this process, use our Keyword Research Guide.
- Remember to focus on:
- Long-tail keywords. Check out this guide from SEM Rush.
- Keywords based on questions your target reader would type into Google and create content that answers those questions.
- Use keywords specific to locations and regions, if applicable for your blog or business. For example, “Best Vegan Cafes in Los Angeles.”
- Put your keywords in all the right places. Download the Keyword Research Guide to learn more about this.
- Download Yoast for your WordPress site to check keyword usage on all of your pages and posts.
Bonus: For Business Blogs
If you’re running a small business, don’t forget about these important SEO factors as well.
Optimize Google My Business (GMB)
SEO Consultant Simon Fox explains the value of Google My Business: “What if you are a small local company setting out and don’t have the budgets of the multinational competitors in your space? Well, think local! Google My Business is a sure fire way to get small local businesses ranking above the fold for local searches. Also, getting into the Local Map Pack where your competition should be a lot easier to beat is key.”
What’s more, according to the same Moz resource, GMB signals account for 25 percent of your ranking. Use this checklist to get your GMB in order for SEO:
- Claim Your Google My Business Page (you’ll need a physical address).
- Add images to your page.
- Keep GMB updated with your business information and post updates. They’re very similar to social media posts, so you can even repurpose what you’ve already shared on other sites.
- Get more Google reviews. Ask customers to share their experiences and promptly respond to any negative reviews. Google confirms that managing and responding to reviews improves your local visibility.
Update Other Listings and Local Citations
Depending on your vertical, other review sites or industry specific-listings exist beyond GMB. You should be on these sites so your target customers can find you and leave reviews for other future customers to find.
- Claim your listing on other search engines including Yahoo and Bing.
- Claim all other listings, use this Hubspot list to find the various sites applicable to your business. Popular options include Yelp, Foursquare, or Angie’s List.
- Make sure your NAP is the same across all listings and channels.
- This is especially important if you have multiple locations as you’ll likely have different listings for each.
Double-Check Your SEO Must Haves
Your website is your online business card and it needs to make a great impression, both to visitors and to Google. These SEO must-haves are the first step every small local business needs to take.
- Ensure that your NAP (name, address, phone number) is highly visible and easy to find. Should be consistent on all pages, as well as clickable on mobile.
- Include a contact page and add Google Maps functionality to show your location.
- Add text to describe non-text content, like a menu PDF of your menu. Add text on the page and as the alt tag for the media. You can do this right when you upload an image on WordPress and most other website builders.
- Create a user review or testimonial page or include testimonials somewhere on your site. Reviews account for 15 percent of Google’s local pack finder ranking and a little more than 6 percent of organic ranking according to Moz. Learn more in our guide: How to Unlock the Value of UGC.
Use the Big SEO Checklist PDF to Improve Your Local Rankings
While our Big SEO Checklist is long, there’s no need to get overwhelmed. Take it one step at a time and then get into the habit of following these practices in the future. Local SEO will help you optimize your site, and ultimately get you in front of more customers to increase sales and profits.
Download your SEO Checklist PDF now.