The Ultimate 2023 SEO Checklist
Every year, new SEO trends emerge that every website owner should be aware of. Sometimes it's just a new twist on an old SEO tactic, and other times it's something completely new that could give your website an advantage over your competitors.
While new trends and innovations emerge, many tried and tested SEO methods continue to play an important role in improving your website's rank. Isn't that what every website owner wants in the end?
To assist you, we've created the ultimate SEO checklist for 2023, a multi-purpose tool for website owners to optimize their traffic.
But first, let's take a look at some of the latest SEO trends.
What happened to SEO in 2022?
Voice search, mobile SEO, long-form content, local SEO, and user intent continue to grow in popularity. They were around in 2021, they've been a constant for a long time before that, and they're likely to remain a core part of your online marketing efforts for the foreseeable future.
What's new now that I've cleared out some of the mainstays of your SEO checklist? Hubspot suggests tightening page headers for more context, as well as Google's snippet feature, People also ask, and are using emotive headlines. Most of us have probably clicked on a headline because it spoke to us, so we can all relate to that one. You understand what I mean.
Then there are some more innovative trends that we can expect to see a lot more of in the future. Many of you have heard of artificial intelligence and its application in content creation. If you haven't already, you will very soon. Other long-term trends for 2022 include:
- Core Web Vitals, which show how well your webpages perform.
- Content optimization software can help your content rank higher in search results.
- Structured data, such as schema markup and rich snippets.
- The GPT-3 is a language generator.
- Keyword clustering is the process of grouping together related keywords.
Your SEO Checklist for 2023
Regardless of new trends and advancements, the major SEO staples for 2022 remain unchanged. Even if you are familiar with these SEO tactics, developing a clear strategy can appear difficult. But it doesn't have to be.
We've created an SEO checklist to help you optimize your site. Just follow along stage by stage, and see how your rankings can grow.
Let's start with the fundamentals.
1. Create Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools accounts.
If you're looking for a free way to monitor your site's performance and traffic, improve the performance of your website listings, and fix errors, Google Search Console should be at the top of your SEO checklist.
Other advantages include:
- Keeping track of which keywords are driving traffic
- Looking through analytics for viewing impressions and clicks
- Examining which pages Google has indexed
- Understanding the Visibility of Your Website
If you would like to create an account then use the basic bullet points below:
- Creating a Google account
- Adding your domain name or URL prefix to the Search Console page of Google
- Account validation
- Once verified, click the 'overview' option to begin viewing reports.
Although Google is the undisputed king of search engines, you should also consider Bing and other competitors.
Bing Webmaster Tools can assist you in identifying and correcting any errors that are preventing your website from ranking higher in search results. It's also an excellent resource for optimizing your website for Bing and improving your overall SEO health by identifying duplicate content issues and testing loading speeds.
If you're new to Bing Webmaster Tools, start here:
- Create an account or log in. You can sign in with your Microsoft, Google, or Facebook credentials, or create a new Microsoft account.
- Import your site(s) from Google Search Console or manually add your site(s) to your website.
- Verify your account by using DNS auto verification, XML authentication, or Meta Tag authentication. Alternatively, a CNAME record can be added to DNS.
- When Bing confirms your account, a green checkmark appears alongside a message stating that Bing has added your site to Webmaster Tools. A red cross indicates an error that must be corrected before proceeding.
- Finally, you can upload a site map and a search optimization strategy, but these steps are optional.
2. Install Google Analytics
Google Analytics is an effective tool for tracking website traffic. It is critical to set up Google Analytics before you begin publishing content so that you can track the progress of your website.
To get started with Google Analytics, follow these steps:
- Create a Google Analytics account. Simply click 'Get started today,' or sign in to your existing account.
- Set Up Google Analytics. You can incorporate it into your website, app, or both. You can do this by going to the account column and clicking 'create account’.
- Create an account and set your data-sharing preferences.
- To begin adding domains to your Analytics account, click the 'next' button.
- Google also offers a list of optional activities, such as adding more users to Analytics and connecting your Google Ads account.
3. If you use WordPress, you should install an SEO plugin.
WordPress users can easily optimize their sites by incorporating a plugin into their SEO strategy.
There are numerous excellent SEO plugins for WordPress, such as Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack. These plugins let you optimize your website for search engines, and they provide handy checklists so you can ensure you're doing everything you can to improve your site's visibility.
Other SEO plugins are:
- The SEO framework. There are both free and paid options available.
- SEO Press. (Select between freemium and premium packages).
- Rank Math. Has a plethora of features.
- Nitropack. There are both free and paid plans available.
Whatever keyword plugin you decide on, look for one that:
- Is simple to use. The plugin should be simple to install and configure, as well as simple to use.
- Can track all of your keywords rather than just a few.
- Updates on a regular basis for efficiency and security. A plugin should ideally be updated at least once per week.
4. How to submit a Sitemap
You make it easier for crawlers to index your pages and identify any changes you've made since the last time the search engines crawled your site by creating and submitting a sitemap. A site map also increases visibility while assisting navigation and improving poor linking.
A sitemap can be created in a variety of ways, the most common of which is an XML file. Once your sitemap is complete, submit it to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. They will crawl your website and include it in their indexes.
A sitemap, on the other hand, is not required for every website. According to Google, sitemaps are most effective when:
- You have a large website.
- Your website has a large collection of isolated or poorly linked content pages.
- You've launched a new website with few external links.
- Your site contains rich media, like videos and photographs.
After you've completed that, it's time to create a Robots.txt file.
5. How to create a robots.txt file.
Don't forget to include a robots.txt file when creating or editing a website! This file instructs search engine bots on which parts of your website they may crawl and index.
The following are the advantages of including robots.txt in your SEO checklist:
- By preventing unimportant pages from loading, you can help improve the load time of your website.
- Keeping duplicate content from being indexed by search engines on your website
- Prevents search engines from indexing low-quality or spammy pages
- Concentrating your SEO efforts on your site's most important pages
Consider the following when creating your robots.txt file:
- Which pages do you want search engines to crawl and index on your website?
- Which pages do you want to block from crawlers?
- What parameters should you use to crawl specific pages or sections of your website?
- How frequently should the robots.txt file be modified?
6. Check that the search engines can crawl and index your site.
If you have a website, you must ensure that search engines can crawl and index it. After all, you want potential clients to find you online, don't you? Here are a few items to check off your SEO to-do list to help ensure that search engines can do just that.
- Check if those crawlers can access your site. To index your website's pages, search engines must have access to all of them. You can check this using Google Search Console's URL Inspection Tool.
- On your pages, use keyword-rich titles and descriptions. This can help your website rank higher in search results.
- Include links to other related pages on your site so that search engines can understand the topic of your page and rank it appropriately.
Consider the most recent changes to Google's scoring system: Googlebot now crawls and indexes only the first 15MB of your web content. As a result, you must prioritize your most important content.
Google also announced changes to its Product Structured Data Guidelines as part of the update, so read up on those as well.
7. Make Certain That Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly
Is your website responsive?
According to studies, nine out of ten consumers own at least one mobile shopping app. What is the most common reason for people to use apps? The app can create a superior user experience while on the move.
Visitors who have a negative user experience may not return. As a result, it's important to include this on your SEO checklist.
How do you go about doing this? It's not as difficult as you think. You may:
- Make use of responsive design to ensure that your site adapts to different screen sizes.
- Resize and compress images to make them mobile-friendly. Imagify provides a free monthly plan with a limit of 200 images.
- Examine your website on various browsers and devices.
- Use Google Search Console to evaluate your website's performance and receive recommendations for improvements.
8. Examine for Large Image Files
It's a simple enough equation: the larger your image files are, the longer they take to load.
Use a tool like ImageOptim or Google PageSpeed Insights to check for oversized image files. The PageSpeed tool analyzes loading times and provides recommendations for how to improve them.
ImageOptim compresses images without sacrificing quality; it is compatible with Mac, Linux, and Windows.
These tools will analyze your images and tell you how large they are as well as how to optimize them for better performance.
9. Search for 404 Errors.
Broken links and 404 errors can have a negative impact on the SEO of your website.
They not only provide a poor user experience, but they can also have an impact on your site's ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). To avoid this, it's imperative you regularly check for and fix broken website links.
Use a tool like Screaming Frog or Google Search Console to look for broken links and pages. These tools can help you find broken links and pages that Google has yet to index.
When you discover a broken link, you have a few options:
1) Change the link to point to the correct page.
2) Create a 301 redirect to redirect the broken link to another page on your website.
3) Remove the link entirely from your website.
10. Keep an eye out for duplicate content and keyword cannibalization.
If you repeat the same keyword phrase too frequently, search engines may penalize your site.
Furthermore, if you have multiple pages that target the same keyword phrase, search engines may be unsure which page to prioritize. What does this mean for your website? It's called keyword cannibalization, and it could mean lower search engine rankings for all your pages. That is the last thing you want after you have worked so hard to build your website.
To avoid this, use an SEO checklist that details your keywords to ensure that you aren't optimizing your pages for the same keyword phrases inadvertently.
- Vary your keyword usage throughout your site. Don't just use them in your titles and headings; use them throughout your text as well.
- Make certain that each page has its own title tag and meta description.
- If you have several pages with similar content, make sure they aren't all using the same keywords.
- Check Google Search Console for duplicate content and cannibalization problems.
11. Examine the Keyword Profiles of Your Competitors
Just because you rank first for a specific keyword or set of keywords does not guarantee that traffic and conversions will follow.
To truly optimize your website and its content for your target audience, investigate your competitors' keyword profiles and learn what terms and phrases they are targeting.
This research will provide you with a good idea of the competition you're up against, as well as the terms and phrases that are most important to your target audience. Armed with this knowledge, you can start targeting those same terms and phrases on your own website, which will help you improve your rankings and visibility over time.
The result? They have the potential to be spectacular, assisting you to rank higher, save money, and maximize your ROI.
But how do you locate these keywords?
There are tools available like Semrush that allow you to check your competition by checking the following:
- Common keywords
- Keyword gaps
- Traffic over time.
12. Check Google to see what search intent your primary audience has.
One of the most important factors for SEOs to consider is search intent. But what exactly do we mean by ‘search intent,' and why should it be on your SEO checklist?
Well, first, search intent is a critical ranking factor, with many top SEOs basing their content strategies on this concept.
When you understand what the searcher wants, you can create content that meets their needs and gives them the information they seek.
Put yourself in the shoes of the customer and ask:
- What are your prospects searching for on Google or another search engine? Google's 'People Also Ask' feature is a great place to start.
- What are the questions that searchers are attempting to answer? Again, 'People Also Ask' can help you here.
- Determine popular keywords and phrases related to your topic by conducting keyword research.
- Examine the SERPs to see what results appear (Keywords appear in bold).
13. Select Primary and Secondary Keywords to Optimize For
Your primary keywords will perform best when combined with focus and secondary words. Secondary keywords are words that relate to your primary keywords. When used in the content, they can help get it in front of a larger audience and boost your website's rankings.
When selecting focus and secondary keywords, you should focus on a select few with the biggest impact. Here are some pointers to get you started:
- Choose keywords that are relevant to your company and target audience.
- Make sure your keywords are not only relevant to your ideal customers but also popular enough that people use them in search engines.
- To get the most out of your SEO efforts, use a combination of short-tail and long-tail keywords.
- Investigate who your competitors are targeting and look for gaps you can fill.
- Once you've decided on your target keywords, make sure they're visible throughout your website, including in the title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and content.
14. Discover What It Takes to Rank for Your Targeted Keywords
This should be on everyone's SEO checklist. Your chosen keywords are useless if you don't rank for them. How do you rank for them with that in mind? You can begin by following these guidelines:
- Learn about data points like search volume, cost per click (CPC), SEO, and search difficulty.
- Make a list of content suggestions.
- Then, carry out keyword research. You can use Ubersuggest or one of the other keyword tools available.
- Analyze the data to determine the most effective keywords.
- Featured snippets and meta descriptions should be optimized.
- Include keywords in anchor text and strategically use your main keywords.
15. Make Certain to Produce Useful, Actionable Content
Okay. Content creation is already on your SEO to-do list. It cannot, however, be just any content; it must be engaging, useful, and actionable. Why?
First, you need engaging content because you don't want readers to abandon your content before they get to the CTA or take advantage of your lead magnet offer. You're wasting your time if your content is dull and uninspiring, and your reader isn't doing what you want them to do.
Following that, it should go without saying that your content should be useful. You want readers to leave feeling like they've learned something.
Finally, create content that is actionable. You want your readers to leave your article knowing what they can do to put your ideas into action and see results.
Here are some tips for making your content actionable:
- Include how-tos and step-by-step procedures.
- Ask questions and address people's concerns.
- Include CTAs to let readers know what to do next.
- Include statistics, storytelling, and images.
- Make it personal. Tell your story and motivate readers.
Just one last thing: when creating content, always keep Google’s guidelines in mind.
16. Make Certain That You Have a Descriptive URL
Descriptive URLs assist with your SEO efforts and make it easier for customers to find your website. Furthermore, descriptive URLs make it easier for searchers to understand what your content is about. Furthermore, it allows search engines to deliver relevant content to the right people.
More descriptive URLs can increase click-through rates because users are more likely to click on a link that accurately represents the page content.
You can use tools like SemRush, Google AdWords Keyword Planner, or Moz's Keyword Explorer to find popular keywords related to your business to help you create more descriptive URLs. Then:
- Use simple, straightforward language that accurately reflects the page's content.
- Avoid using unnecessary words or symbols such as & or%.
- Check that each URL is distinct and does not duplicate another page on your website.
- Keep URLs as short as possible while maintaining readability.
17. Title tags, meta descriptions, and image tags should all be added.
Adding title tags, meta descriptions, and image tags to your pages is a critical component of an SEO checklist. These tags provide information about your page to search engines and can help them rank higher.
Title tags, you see, are one of the main factors search engines consider when determining a web page's rank.
There are also meta descriptions. You've probably seen them before. They're the short blurbs that appear beneath your title in search engine results pages (SERPs), and they're your chance to entice people to visit your website.
Finally, one of the simplest ways to improve your SEO is to add image tags to your images. Image tags inform search engines about the content of your image, which helps them rank your page higher in search results.
18. Use Schema Markup to Target Rich Snippets
Using schema markup is one way to boost your website's ranking. Schema markup is code that you add to your website to inform search engines about the meaning of your content. This allows search engines like Google to better understand your content and rank it accordingly.
Rich snippets enable you to include additional information in your search results. Snippets can be found in a variety of formats, including movies, recipes, and maps:
Because of improved click-through rates, these rich snippets can help you stand out from the competition and attract more visitors to your site (CTRs). This indicates to search engines that you have high-quality content, which can help you rank higher in SERPs.
19. Have a Plan in Place to Report on Ranking Success
You've worked hard on your SEO checklist, but are you missing anything? Perhaps tracking your ranking success?
You're doing great if you've made it this far, but you won't know for sure unless you're tracking your progress (rankings).
When creating a report, you should include information such as:
- Your technical SEO efforts as well as your overall technical health
20. Begin Developing a Link-Building Strategy for Completed Content.
You're almost done with your SEO strategy checklist. But there's one more thing.
You should now begin developing a link-building strategy for all of your fantastic content in order to boost your SERPs even further.
How do you get started, and why is link-building important?
Aside from improving your SEO, link building can improve organic search results and conversions.
Here are some simple pointers to get you started with link building right away:
- Create high-quality content and publish it as a guest post on authoritative blogs.
- Start a resource directory on your website
- Make certain that your content is well-written, useful, and relevant to your intended audience.
- Investigate which websites might want to link to your content and contact them directly.
- Link to authoritative sites in your articles, and notify authors/website owners.
Following these simple SEO tips can help your website rank higher in search engine results pages and improve your online visibility. Although this SEO checklist covers the fundamentals of search optimization, it's critical to stay current on the latest SEO trends to ensure your website maintains its high ranking.
While trends change, constants such as competitor keyword research, minimizing image size, optimizing for mobile, and using free tools to analyze keywords are all aspects of your SEO checklist that will serve you well in the long run.
Use this article as a guide, and keep in mind that SEO is a long-term project, not a one-time event. Continue to work on it, and your site will most likely reap the benefits over time.
Lastly, if this seems overwhelming for you and you need time to work on your business, then look at an SEO agency like BizzDesign and let us do the work for you and return monthly reports to you showing your continued growth. We will have a plan that suits your budget.