The Ultimate Guide to SEO: Boost Your Site's Ranking

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Written by Tom Galland
Founder, SEO Growth

Welcome to our comprehensive SEO checklist, crafted to elevate your website's organic traffic and improve your search engine rankings. This guide covers essential practices and tasks to optimise your website effectively.

A strong foundation in SEO basics is crucial for your website's success. Neglecting these can hinder your site's ability to rank well. Below are key SEO tasks that form the backbone of a robust SEO strategy.

  1. Set Up Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools: These platforms are invaluable for understanding how search engines view your site. They provide insights into keywords used to find your site, identify crawl errors, and more. If you haven't set them up yet, it's time to start.
  2. Install Google Analytics: This tool tracks website traffic, sources, and user behavior. It's essential for identifying your most (and least) visited pages, tracking traffic sources, and understanding user engagement.
    Pro Tip: Link Google Search Console to Google Analytics for integrated SEO insights.
  3. SEO Plugin for WordPress: If you're a WordPress user, an SEO plugin like Yoast, Rank Math, or Semrush SEO Writing Assistant can simplify optimising your site for search engines and help with technical SEO aspects.
  4. Create and Submit a Sitemap: Sitemaps facilitate search engines in finding, crawling, and indexing your site's content. They're crucial for highlighting important pages and their details, like last updates or alternate language versions.
  5. Implement a Robots.txt File: This file guides search engines on which pages to crawl, playing a vital role in your site's SEO strategy. It's essential for coordinating web crawlers and making your content visible in search results.
  6. Check for Manual Actions in Google Search Console: Manual actions are issued for clear violations of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. It's crucial to monitor these to ensure your site remains in good standing with Google.
  7. Ensure Google Can Index Your Website: Making your site indexable is a fundamental SEO task. Regularly check that your main pages are being indexed to avoid later troubles.

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Keyword Research Checklist

Success in SEO also heavily depends on effective keyword research. This involves identifying, sorting, and prioritising keywords that are relevant to your business and audience.

  1. Identify Competitor Keywords: Analyse your competitors' keywords to understand what's working for them. Tools like Semrush’s Keyword Gap can be particularly useful for this.
  2. Find 'Money' Keywords: These are high-volume keywords crucial for driving leads and sales. Pay special attention to keywords with commercial intent.
  3. Explore Long-Tail Keyword Variations: These specific, lower-volume keywords can lead to higher conversion rates and are generally easier to rank for.
  4. Create a Keyword Map: This involves assigning identified keywords to specific pages on your site, helping to structure your website's content strategy effectively.
  5. Analyze Search Intent: Understand the intent behind each keyword and ensure your content aligns with it. This alignment is crucial for attracting the right audience.
  6. Identify Audience Questions: Use tools to discover the questions your audience is asking. Answering these in your content can provide significant value to your users.
  7. Understand Ranking Difficulty: Assess the difficulty of ranking for each keyword and balance this against the potential traffic benefits.

Technical SEO Checklist

Technical SEO lays the groundwork for your site's overall health and visibility.

  1. Implement HTTPS: Secure your site with HTTPS. It's a ranking signal and crucial for user trust.
  2. Unified Site Versions: Ensure only one version of your site is indexed and accessible to avoid confusion and potential SEO issues.
  3. Optimise Site Speed: A fast-loading site enhances user experience and is a Google ranking factor. Regularly check and improve your site's speed.
  4. Fix Broken Links: Broken internal and external links can negatively impact user experience and SEO. Regularly audit and fix these links.
  5. Mobile-Friendliness: With mobile-first indexing, ensure your website is optimised for mobile devices.
  6. SEO-Friendly URL Structure: Use simple, descriptive URLs for better search engine understanding and user experience.
  7. Implement Structured Data: Using schema markup helps search engines better understand and display your content in search results.
  8. Audit Crawl Depth: Ensure that important pages are no more than three clicks away from the homepage for better crawlability.
  9. Content & On-Page SEO Checklist

Content and on-page SEO are critical for engaging users and improving your site’s ranking.

  1. Optimise Title Tags and Meta Descriptions: Ensure these are unique, relevant, and well-crafted for every page.
  2. Use Alt Text for Images: Alt text improves accessibility and helps search engines understand your images.
  3. Internal Linking Strategy: Strengthen your internal linking to improve site navigation and distribute page authority throughout your site.
  4. Address Keyword Cannibalization: Ensure that no two pages compete for the same keyword to avoid diluting your SEO efforts.
  5. Keep Content Updated: Regularly update your content to keep it relevant and fresh.

Link Building & Off-Page SEO Checklist

Off-page SEO, particularly link building, is vital for enhancing your site's authority and visibility.

  1. Analyse Competitors’ Link Profiles: Understanding your competitors' backlink profiles can provide insights into effective link-building strategies.
  2. Seek New Link Building Opportunities: Continuously look for high-quality backlink opportunities to strengthen your site's authority.
  3. Optimise Google Business Profile for Local SEO: If you run a local business, an optimised Google Business Profile can significantly boost your visibility.

By systematically working through this checklist, you can enhance your website's SEO performance, outrank competitors, and achieve higher organic traffic. Remember, SEO is an ongoing process, so regular audits and updates are key to sustained success.

Ready to see results in your marketing efforts in 2024?

Are you feeling like you've gone year after year with different agencies and different campaigns and you're still yet to see results? Book a call with Tom today and discover how we guarantee to change this

Book a free call to learn more