The Ultimate SEO Checklist for 2021
A killer SEO strategy is more attainable than you think!
Marketing Morsels is a series of short and sweet blog posts for Marketing Managers looking for bite-sized knowledge hits that’ll help drive business. These blog posts have been shortened and adapted from their original home, InspireFirst.
If your business has no website (or one that’s out-of-date), does it even really exist? 2021 is all about leveling-up and this SEO checklist will help you spiff up your site with an SEO strategy fit for today’s ever-evolving marketplace.
Why does it matter?
Whether it strikes your fancy or not, there’s no denying the importance of SEO when it comes to driving people to your website (and content). After all, if your audience can’t find you, you may as well not exist.
Getting your webpage(s) to rank among those coveted top spots on the first page of a search engine is where SEO strategy comes into play. However, search engine algorithms change frequently, so you not only need a strategy but an adaptable one at that.
We want to help you drive business and stay on the top of your SEO game this year. That’s why we’ve put together…
The Ultimate SEO Checklist
This checklist will help you improve your rank by helping you identify key areas you need to fix. The more you check off, the better your page rank. Ready? Let’s go!
1. Start with the Basics
- Set up Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools for your site
- Connect to Google Analytics
- Use an SEO plugin to optimize and course correct your site data and content
- A sitemap can help Google discover your webpages more easily (see if you need one)
- Making a Robots.txt file also helps guide Google web crawlers (learn how and why)
- Consider adding an Anti-Spam plugin
- While Google and Bing no longer require it, it doesn’t hurt to submit your site for indexing
2. Keyword Research: Know Your Stuff
- Know your competitors and their keywords
- Know your most important keywords
- Use long-tail keywords
PRO TIP: Start with general blog topics, then use a tool like SEMrush’s Keyword Tool to turn those topics into long-tail keyword ideas.
3. On-Page SEO: Keep That Content Coming
- Outline which keywords are connected to specific pages on your website
- Prioritize keywords
- Create a content calendar
PRO TIP: Search engines reward websites that add fresh, new content regularly!
Keep in mind, you’re writing for humans and not search engines; your content should be useful and engaging. Use keyword terms naturally and avoid any language that makes you sound stilted or awkward.
And remember, long-form content is king when it comes to driving organic traffic to your website.
While there are (seemingly) countless amount of things that affect your rank, below are a few of the most important ones that you should monitor and action regularly:
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- ALT tags for images play an important role in page rank and keep your content accessible
- Internal linking (to related content on your site)
- Orphaned pages (all pages on your site map should be accessible through at least one other page)
- Audit and prune your content regularly by identifying content gaps (and filling them with fresh content) and/or updating old content
4. Technical SEO: Practice Good Web Hygiene
- Make sure your site is using HTTPS and not HTTP (here’s why)
- Check for duplicate versions of your site (if you’ve done a website upgrade, you might have old versions hanging around)
- Use Google Search Console to identify and fix any crawl errors
- Fix broken links
- Make your site mobile-friendly and responsive; the majority of web searches come from mobile devices
- Use an SEO-friendly URL structure
- Check for page depth; no page should be more than three clicks into the website
5. Off-Page SEO: Boost Your Site’s Authority
Outbound links to high-authority pages as well as inbound links to your page tell Google that others consider your content to be valuable for a particular topic. So make sure you:
- Analyze your competitors’ pages to see if they’re taking advantage of certain authoritative sites that you aren’t
- Stay on the lookout for link-building opportunities
With this SEO strategy, you’re ready to get started on leveling up your search engine rank and helping your business grow.