The Ultimate Comprehensive SEO Checklist 2020


On-Page SEO Checklist


Keywords

Keywords are critical when it comes to SEO. A keyword is a word or words that hint at the topic of your web page. The engines look at the words on your page to determine whether or not to list the page in the search results for those words or related words.

Do not engage in keyword stuffing, which is adding the same words too frequently. Your content should flow smoothly and read naturally. The engines might penalize you in the rankings if you engage in stuffing.

Don't intentionally use misspelled words on your site as it is very un-professional.
To help you find good words, consider the "intent" of potential searchers. Are people looking for videos, are they looking for blogs, or are they looking to buy something, etc... Use words related to your visitor's intent.
Use synonyms in your content. So instead of just using one keyword all the time, you should add variations of the same word(s). For example: "How to cook spaghetti"   "Cooking spaghetti"   "Making spaghetti"

Keyword Research

You should research popular search terms related to the content of your web page.
Use Google Suggest to find words. Google will provide you with popular terms that people are looking for. To access these terms, go to Google and type in your most important terms in the search box. Do not hit "Enter" or click the "Google Search" button. Wait for a second and terms will appear automatically below the search box. Those terms are popular and commonly searched for so you may want to use them on your web pages.
When picking keywords to use on your page try to pick words with high search volume, and low competition. So, in other words, pick ones that are searched for frequently, but don't have a lot of pages targeting them.
Use online tools that help you pick the words to use. Try: Ahrefs Keywords Explorer

Short-Tail

These are keywords that have lots of competition and are typically one or two words.
It is difficult to rank well for these words.
Also, the intent of searchers could vary widely with short-tail words. With more specific words (see Long-Tail below) you may find more relevant visitors.
For example, "baseball" is a short-tail word. The problem with that word is the visitor could be searching for anything related to baseball. So if you are selling baseball gloves, you may receive visitors looking for baseball cards, or baseball uniforms.

Long-Tail

You should use long-tail keywords in your web page content and code.
These terms typically have a low search volume, which means people don't search for them very often.
Long-tail words contain three or more words, and sometimes two words.
These words have less competition than regular search terms.
An example is: "Baseball gloves and balls"
Try this tool to find long-tail words: KWFinder

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)

These are words that are related to your main search term, but are not synonyms. For example, LSI terms for "candy" might be "KitKat" or "Coffee Crisp" or "Lollipops."
To find LSI terms, try this tool: LSIGraph.com

Keyword Density

This refers to how often words appear on your web page. It is stated as a percentage.
The formula is: (number of times keyword is used ÷ total number of words on the page) × 100
To check for the density of words on your page, try: AddMe.com
The desired keyword density for terms on your web page is debated by the SEO experts. One reputable expert I know suggests keyword density of no more than 2% per word.

Title Tag

Your <title> tag content is displayed in the search results.

This tag should contain the most important keywords.

You should put your most important keywords at the front of this tag.

DO NOT use the same title on every page on your website. Each page on your site should have a unique title.
Add modifiers to this tag, such as: Tips, Top, Best, Review, Guide, Checklist

Separate keyword phrases in your tag with a dash (-) or a pipe (|).
Your title tag should be less than 55 characters long. If it is longer than this it will be truncated in the search results.

Description Tag

Your <meta name="description"> tag content is displayed below your web page title and URL in the search results.

Write a concise description of your web page in your meta description tag including important keywords.

Some experts recommend that you capitalize the first letter in every word.

Your description must be compelling and encourage people to click on your link.

DO NOT use the same description on every page on your website. Each page on your site should have a unique description.
Just to let you know, the search engines won't always use the content of your tag in the results. Sometimes they choose to display a snippet from your web page in the results instead.
Your description should be less than 150 characters long. If it is longer than this it will be truncated in the search results.

Keywords Tag

Most professionals agree that the <meta name="keywords"> tag is useless. I disagree. At the worst, the engines will ignore the tag. At the best, they will grant a little weight to the tag, especially if they think the keywords are all relevant. I think the engines can detect if the keywords in the tag are relevant to the topic of the web page. My friends, you have nothing to lose by using this tag.
Put the most important words in your keywords meta tag.

Be honest with your keywords, or the engines will ignore them and you may even be penalized.

Heading Tags

Put the most important keywords in a single <h1> tag near the top of your page.

Put secondary words in multiple <h2> and <h3> tags.

Content

The content of your web page is critical to it's success. A well written and informative page will help you to be successful. Poor quality pages are going to fail, even with good SEO. Conversely, a good quality web page with poor SEO will also fail.

Use your best keywords twice in the first 150 words of your page.

Your web page content should flow naturally, and not be stuffed with repeated keywords.
Try reading your content out loud to see how it sounds. If it doesn't sound good you need to fix it.
Some experts recommend that the word count on your page should be approx. 2250 to 2500 words if your web page is a blog.

CSS

Don't use inline CSS styling, which uses the "style" attribute in many tags.

If your style sheet is short, embed it in the <head> of your web page using the <style> tag.

If you are using external style sheets, put all the styles in a single file instead of having multiple .css files.

Link to your style sheet in <head> using:

Multimedia

Consider adding to your web page lots of images, photos, videos, audio, slideshows, podcasts, and infographics.
However, only use multimedia when it serves a purpose. Don't add it for the sake of adding it.
Don't use flash animations on your website anymore. The search engines cannot index flash file content. Adobe is going to stop supporting flash in the near future, so don't bother using them on your pages.

Images

Add the alt and title attributes to your <img> tags. The alt and title text should contain keywords related to the image.
Resize the physical dimensions of your images so that the browser doesn't have to do it. If the file dimensions are bigger than the displayed image, then your page will take longer to download. So if the displayed image code is <img width="300" height="200"> then you should resize that image to 300px × 200px using image editing software.
The filename of an image should contain keywords related to the image.

You should compress your image files for faster downloading.
Don't replace text on your page with images.

Favicons

Your favicon appears in the browser tab for your web page. It is also used on your smartphone as an icon for your web page if your page is saved to your home screen.
First, make a PNG of your favicon at 310px × 310px.
Second, generate your favicons using: Favic-o-matic

External Links

Link out to 5 to 10 quality web pages related to the topic of your page. For example, this page links out to SEO tools and SEO related web pages.

The more text you have on your page, the more external links you can put on it. I link to a ton of sites on this page as I have a ton of text on it.
I recommend linking to web pages that are #1, #2, or #3 in the results. The engines like those pages and will reward you for linking to them. If you link to a page not in the top 3 they won't like those links as much.
Fix broken links on your web page as broken links hurt your ranking. Try this tool: DrLinkCheck.com

Internal Links

You should link to other related web pages on your website.
Make your internal text links long and informative. For example, use "Quick SEO Checklist for Beginners" instead of "Checklist."

Navigation

You should use <a href=""> tags instead of JavaScript links.
Don't use "flash" navigation links.
Make your navigation easy to use, to improve user experience.

Link To Us Sections

You should put a "link to us" section on the bottom of your pages. This makes it easy for people to link to your web page, which helps your search engine rankings.
I offer the HTML and JavaScript to make link to us sections: Put a Link-to-Us on Your Website  
Dream Aquarium

Technical SEO Checklist


Competitor Analysis

Analyze your competitor's content, techniques and practices to help you know what you need to do to compete with them.
What keywords do they rank for?
How many backlinks do they have?
Who is linking to them?
How many social shares do they have?
How many visits do they get for each search term?
What content do they offer on their website?
What keywords do they use in their title and meta description tags?
To research your competitors, try using: Ubersuggest or SE Ranking

User Experience (UX)

This refers to things that make for a better experience for your visitors. If the experience is great for your visitors they are less likely to bounce from your page, which in turn causes the engines to rank you better. Google loves it when people don't bounce from a web page.
Page loading speed is important.
Easy to use navigation.
Lots of multimedia, such as images and videos.
Use attractive color combinations.
Your page should have a favicon.
All the pages on your website should be mobile friendly.
Write your content concisely, accurately, and with good grammar. I recommend that you use: Grammarly
Minimize scrolling. People hate extremely long web pages and bounce when they are fed up with scrolling.

Mobile Friendly Design

Google now has a mobile first ranking algorithm and ranks pages with mobile versions better than other pages.

Test your web page using the: Google Mobile Friendly Test

View your web page on different screen sizes: ResponsiveTestTool.com

Add this tag in the <head> of each page on your site:


Use media queries on your CSS page:

For more info on this CSS, search for "media queries."

E-mail Address

You should offer your e-mail address on your web pages.
You should get an address using your domain name, such as greg@myseoresource.com instead of Gmail, Yahoo Mail, or Outlook.
This is a secret, but Google detects if your e-mail address uses your domain name, and it is a ranking factor.

SSL Certificates

You should get an SSL certificate for your website. Sites with certificates get higher ranking in the search results, and your site is more secure.
The URL for sites with SSL certificates start with https:// instead of http://.
HostGator Shared Hosting Plans with Free SSL for as low as $2.75/mo.HostGator

Duplicate Content

You should not use duplicate content on your website. Basically, don't use someone else's content, or don't repeat your own content over and over on your site. Each page on your site should have unique content.

Website Security

SSL Certificates encript your website.
If your site is hacked, or you want to prevent it, try this:

.htaccess

You should add an .htaccess file to your root folder of your website.
For more information on this, visit: htaccess-Guide
You may want to use a free online generator. Search for "htaccess generator."

robots.txt

This file tells the search engines which pages on your site can be indexed. Create a robots.txt file and place it in your root folder.

I recommend for most sites not to block anything in your robots.txt file. To not block anything, put this code in your robots.txt:

For more info on this, visit: RobotsTXT.org

Robots Meta Tag

You should include the robots meta tag in the <head> of every page of your website:

Here are your options: "index,follow" or "index,nofollow" or "noindex,follow" or "noindex,nofollow"

sitemap.xml

Create a sitemap.xml file using: XML Sitemaps
Submit your file to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
Add this to the top of your robots.txt file:

Change the URL above to match the URL to your sitemap.xml file.

Custom 404 Error Page

I recommend that you create a custom 404.php page, that includes links to important pages on your website.

Add to the top of your .htaccess file:

Create a 404.php file in the root folder of your website. Add to this file the following code below the opening <html> tag:

Domain Names

Your domain name should be short.
It should preferably be a .com domain name. Canadians might want to get a .ca domain, and British people may want a .co.uk domain.
Don't put numbers (digits) or dashes in your domain name, unless you have to.
Try this domain name generator: Instant Domain Search
You can register a domain name using HostGator:

URLs

Make your URLs short.

Put every important web page in it's own folder. Instead of https://www.example.com/blog.html, use https://www.example.com/blog/. Don't link to the index.html page, but rather link to the folder it is in. The name of the folder should be a keyword related to the content of the page.

Put dashes between each keyword in your URL: https://www.example.com/quick-seo-checklist/

You must make intuitive URLs as the URL appears in the search results below your page title, and above your description. A short, attractive, and informative URL will result in more clicks through to your page.

Canonical URLs

You need to specify the official URL you want to use for each page on your website. That URL is called the canonical URL. It tells the search engine which URL to use for your web page in the results. You do this using this tag:

For more info on this tag, search for "canonical urls."

Page loading speed

Your web pages need to load quickly for both SEO and user experience.

To check your page loading speed, try this tool: GTmetrix

Compress your HTML for faster loading using: HTML Compressor

Compress your CSS for faster loading using: CSS Compressor

Compress your images for faster loading using: Image Compressor

Store all your images in a single file using: CSS Image Sprites Try this tool: CSS Sprite Generator

Use a content delivery network. (See below)
If you expect a visitor to click on a link to another page on your website, you can speed up the destination web page loading time by putting this tag in the <head> of the first page:

Steve Souders wrote: "This is like opening the URL in a hidden tab – all the resources are downloaded, the DOM is created, the page is laid out, the CSS is applied, the JavaScript is executed, etc. If the user navigates to the specified href, then the hidden page is swapped into view making it appear to load instantly."
For more info on this tag and related tags, visit: CSS-Tricks
Pay extra for a fast hosting service. In particular, use a VPS hosting package or even better use a dedicated server. I recommend using iPage Web Hosting services:

Content Delivery Network (CDN)

CDNs speed up your website when being viewed so they improve user experience (UX). They do this by using a geographically distributed group of servers. They allow for the quick transfer of content, such as HTML pages, CSS, images and videos.
The search engines can detect CDN usage, and they reward websites that use them.

Crawl Errors

A crawl error is where a search engine tries to reach a page on your site but it isn't there.
You can find crawl errors using the Google Search Console or Ranksider.com
The search engines penalize you in the results for these errors.

Click Through Rate (CTR)

If you optimize your pages for click through rate you will jump up in the search results. Click through rate refers to how often somebody clicks on your link in the search results.
To increase your CTR, try writing a compelling title and description.
Another technique for improving your CTR is to use keywords that appear in Google ads in the search results. So, if the ads are using the term "grow", then you should use the term "grow" in your title and description tags.

Dwell Time

This refers to how long a person stays on your web page after coming there through the search results. The longer people stay on your website the better it is, and that will show in the ranking of your web page.

Bounce Rate

This refers to the percentage of visitors to your web page that sticks around and views other pages on your site. If a visitor comes to your page and then quickly goes back to the search results, it is considered a "bounce" and the search engines will penalize your web page because of that.

Black Hat SEO

This refers to SEO tactics that are unethical, and will result in you getting banned from the search results. Avoid these techniques like the plague.
Don't use duplicate content on multiple websites.
Don't copy someone's content even if you change it a tiny bit. To be acceptable, you should completely re-word and re-design the content.
Don't engage in cloaking, which is sending your visitors to certain content, while sending the engines to different content. The engines should view the same content your visitors are viewing.
Don't pay people to link to your web page.
Don't engage in keyword stuffing, which is repeating the same words over and over and over again on your web page.
Don't use invisible text, which is making the text on your web page the same color as your background. This makes your text invisible to the visitor, but visible to the search engines.

White Hat SEO

This refers to SEO techniques that are NOT unethical. Most techniques you will learn on the web are white hat.  
Dream Aquarium

Off-Page SEO Checklist


Backlinks

You should try to convince people to link to your web pages from theirs.
The engines like it when people link to a web page. It can improve your ranking in the search results if you have incoming links.
Preferably, you would benefit from having links from high quality websites. Links from junk websites don't help you at all, or at least not very much.
Monitor backlinks to your web pages using: MonitorBacklinks.com

Link Building

Be careful which link building services you use, as the quality of the backlinks could be poor and won't help your website. You should avoid link exchange services as the website linking to you will probably be poor quality, and you don't want to link to a poor quality website.

Ask people who are linking to your competitor's web page to also link to your page.
Engage in email outreach, which is sending emails to people asking them to link to you.
You should try broken link building. With this you find broken links on a related web page. Those links should be related to the content of your page. Contact the page owner to tell him he has a broken link, and suggest he link to you instead.
Try a link building related service, such as: Stellar SEO   SureOak

Google and Bing

Submit your website to Google using the: Google Search Console

Submit your website to Bing using: Bing Webmaster Tools

Paid Advertising

If you pay for advertising on Google and Bing, it is a sign to those search engines that your site is of higher quality. The logic is that a poor quality website would not pay for advertising. For that reason, you should consider paying for ads with them which could lead to more organic traffic, if my theory is correct.

Advertise your website using: Google Ads

Advertise your website using: Microsoft Advertising

Google Adsense

Sign up for: Google Adsense
Your website can help you earn income if you use Adsense. With this program Google will place ads on your web pages and you earn money for each click.
Google gives you more organic traffic if you have Adsense ads on your website. Google wants to earn income too, so they reward sites with ads on them.

Google Analytics

Sign up for: Google Analytics
Get a deeper understanding of your customers. Google Analytics gives you the free tools you need to analyze data for your business in one place.

Google My Business

With a Google My Business Account, you get more than a business listing. Your free Business Profile lets you easily connect with customers across Search and Maps.
Sign up for: Google My Business USA
If your business is not located in the USA, trying Googling "Google My Business" to find your country's version.

Bing Places for Business

Add your business to Bing and get found when customers search from their computer, tablet or mobile phone: Bing Places

Rank Tracking

Keep track of your search engine keyword ranking for different terms using: SERPwatcher   SE Ranking

SEO Analysis Tools

Here is a cool tool for analyzing your web pages for SEO friendliness: SE Ranking
For more links, visit: The Best SEO Tool Websites

Search Engine Submission

Submit your website to the search engines using: FreeWebSubmission.com
These are the most important search engines: Google, Bing, Yahoo!, DuckDuckGo.com, Ask, and AOL.
If you have a physical business, you should submit your website/business to local directories, guides, and search sites.

Yoast Plugin

If you use Wordpress to create your website, try using the: Yoast Plugin

Social Media

I recommend that you create social media pages for your business or website. In particular, try Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube and Pinterest.
Use ShareThis.com to add "Share" buttons to your website.
Link to your Facebook, Twitter and other social media pages from your website.
Here are some free icons you can use on your website: (right click to save!)

Website Promotion

Social Media Pages

Guest Blogging

YouTube Video Creation

Direct Mailing

TV Ads

Radio Ads

Newspaper Ads

Yelp Ads

Email Marketing
Increase ROI with video emails, free online surveys, list segmentation, analytics and more! Open your GetResponse account today!

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©2020 Gregory Neil Robinson