The Ultimate 72 Point SEO Checklist For 2019

  • by Eric Lancheres: Last updated March 20, 2019

This by far is the most comprehensive checklist you'll find online and if your goal is to rank higher on Google for 2019, then this checklist is for you.

Let's see what it covers:

On-Page Essentials For Improved Quality Score

Google is hungry for information, so why don't we simply feed the Google machine and give it what it wants?
There are specific elements that Google's algorithm is designed to look for within your page.

Let's take a closer look to find out what these are:

  • Use a W3 Validation Theme

Check the theme for errors using the W3 validator.

  • Use Natural Page Titles

Make sure you aren't using exclusively a keyword (with nothing else added)

  • Multiple Articles With Same Keyword

Combine similar & redundant articles covering the same topic.

  • Avoid Broken Links

Use tools such as the Traffic Research Site Quality plugin and Screaming Frog SEO to locate broken links and other issues.

  • Avoid Deprecated Code

Although most deprecated code is still supported by search engines, it's a good idea to update to more recent code.

  • Avoid Infinite Loop Pages

Broken redirect chains can cause havoc with Google crawlers and be significant issue.

  • Avoid Overlapping Text

Code errors can cause text to 'explode' out of the window or overlap images / other paragraphs.

  • Avoid Images Exploding Outside <divs>

Avoid having images rendered off-page or over text.

  • Avoid Excessively Long Page Load Times

Excessively long load times can harm your user experience and hurt your rankings.

  • Avoid Server Crashes

A website that continuously crashes will take time to recover in rankings on Google.

  • Avoid Broken Google .xml Sitemaps

Broken sitemaps will waste the Googlebot's resources and prevent your site from being properly indexed.

Content Optimization For Increased Rankings

Google now has the on-page elements it requires, so now it's time to focusing at further optimizing the page.
We do this by considering how we apply our keyword and related terms to the page.

Let's take a quick peek at what this covers:

  • Keyword in Title Headline

Include your keyword in the title headline along with power words to encourage clicks.

  • Keyword in H1 Headline

Include your keyword in the H1 headline to let Google understand what the page is about.

  • Related Keywords in H2 Sub-headlines

Include related keywords within your H2 sub-headlines to add additional relevance to your content.

  • Keyword Image in File Names & Alt-text

Include your keyword (and related keywords) within your image filenames and alt-text.

  • Keyword in URL Slug

Include your keyword within your page’s URL slug. Google also looks at this to get an idea of what the page is about.

Avoiding Content Penalties:

Before optimizing your page, there are few things to look out for.
Over optimizing your keyword can mean getting hit with a penality, which is something that must be avoided at all costs.

Let's take a look at the things we want to avoid:

  • Ads Between the H1 Headline

Do not include ads between the H1 header and the body of text (Google doesn’t like it).

  • Forcing Your Audience to Scroll Down

Don’t force your audience to scroll down to begin consuming your content (keep content above the fold).

  • Too Many Thin Pages

Avoid having too many thin pages within your website (sub 450 words).

  • Excessive Opt-in Forms

Avoiding having excessive opt-in forms on a single page.

  • Copying Content From Other Websites

Avoid copying content from other websites. It’s not nice and Google does not like it!

  • Duplicate Content

Avoid having duplicate content within your own website. It wastes Google’s crawling budget.

  • Ads That Look Like Part of Main Content

Avoid ads that look like they are part of the main content.

Advertisements should be clearly labeled and not confused within the content.

  • Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing for the sake of ranking on Google should be avoided. It’s against Google’s guidelines.

Staying Safe With Good Backlinks

Backlinks are one of the most powerful ranking factors.
Get it right and you are flying, however, get it wrong and you can end up in big trouble.

Here's what you look for when sourcing backlinks:

  • Links From Sites Within Your Industry

Get links from websites within your industry. These are also known as topically related backlinks.

  • Links From Topically Related Pages

Get links from topically related pages. This goes beyond the niche of the site as a whole, but rather the topic of the specific page that links to your page.

  • Contextual Backlinks

Get contextual backlinks (links within main content of page), these seem to work best.

  • Backlinks From Trusted High Authority Websites

Get backlinks from trusted high authority website. These are sites that are trusted by Google and getting a link from them means Google is more likely to trust you too.

  • Backlinks From Pages That Ranking on Google

Get backlinks from pages that rank on Google and actively receiving traffic. If they are ranking and your content is related, then you will rank too.

  • Backlinks With Related Anchor Text

Backlinks with related anchor text provides and passes more relevance which helps Google understand what your page is about.

Troubleshooting Backlinks:

As much as backlinks can help rankings, they can also tank them.
Google has become very good at detecting backlink manipulation and with manual reviewers more common, it has become even easier to spot the practice.

Here are 4 practices you should avoid when building backlinks:

  • Repeating The Same Anchor Text

Get links from websites within your industry. These are also known as topically related backlinks.

  • Receiving Backlinks From Shady IP Addresses

Get links from topically related pages. This goes beyond the niche of the site as a whole, but rather the topic of the specific page that links to your page.

  • Receiving Many Links in Short Time Frames

Get contextual backlinks (links within the main content of the page).
These seem to work best.

  • Avoid Losing Backlinks

Get backlinks from trusted high authority website. These are sites that are trusted by Google, therefore getting a link from them means Google is more likely to trust you too.

User Experience To Boost SEO

Your site should retain the user for long periods of time and encourage page views, as this sends Google a good signal.
Give your users what they are looking for and Google shall reward for it.

Let's take a look at the 5 user experience signals we want to achieve:

  • Below Industry Bounce Rate

When your users land on your site, make sure they aren’t clicking off to search again.

  • 0-1 Second Engagement Time

Check the 0-1 second engagement time. This tells you how many users instantly click off your website.

  • Above Average Pageviews Per Visitor

Encourage your users to consume multiple pages on your website. This will increase the chances of them buying from you and reduce the odds of them returning to Google for another search.

  • Above Industry Time on Site

Typically, the longer users stay on your website, the more interesting your site is to users.

  • Above Average Click-Through Rate

Enticing titles can help increase click-through rates and improve rankings. This is one of the most important ranking factors.

Importance of Site Navigation

This could fall under the category "user experience" as it's somewhat related.
The easier it is for your visitors to navigate your site, the easier they can find what they are looking for.
Give your users what they are looking for, don't make them work for it!

Let's see what it covers:

  • Dynamic Navigation for Categories

Include dynamic navigational links that are related to your main content. This helps the user find what he's looking for on your website.

  • Breadcrumb Navigation

Breadcrumbs help the user locate themselves on your site and increase the size of your SERP listing on Google.

  • Internal Links Within Content

Internal links to relevant content helps retain users on your website and contributes to a high quality article.

  • External Links Within Content

External links are used as references within high quality articles.

  • Site-wide Categories Navigation

Provide easy navigation to your top categories to improve the user experience (and help the link juice flow through to the right pages).

  • User Sitemap (For Humans)

A user sitemap is designed to help human users as opposed to Google (xml)

General Static Elements

Non of these are ranking factors, however, they are indicative of an authorative site and sometime required depending on the type of webiste you have.

Let's find out what these static elements are:

  • Privacy Policy

This won't make you rank but all websites should have it!

  • Contact Us

Include an address and phone number if possible. Google crawls and stores this information.

  • About Us

Optional, but users love to read this page when they aren't sure about you & your website.

  • Terms of Service

This page won't make you rank but is a requirement for most websites.

E-Commerce Elements

Not all websites are information or affiliate based. Some are online webstores otherwise known as e-commerce sites and the rules can be slightly different between them.

Let's look at what they should cover:

  • Shopping Cart

Terms such as "cart, shopping cart" tell Google you're an ecommerce store.

  • Add to Cart

Add to cart is another e-commerce store indicator.

  • Shipping Information

Having a page dedicated to shipping information is important for users.

  • Refund Policy

Include a refund policy if you're running an ecommerce store.

Information Sites Elements

Much like e-commerce sites, these are elements you want to add to your information and / or affilate site. They are not direct ranking factors but still useful to have.

Let's take a look at what these elements are:

  • Disclaimer

Disclaimers are important on health, financial and other sensitive sites.

  • Disclosure

Affiliate disclosures are a legal requirement in some countries.

  • Writers / Authors (If Applicable)

Include information about the writer on your posts for your users.

Local Sites Elements

Minimum requirements are needed if you want to rank your local site.
You want to consider these if you have any chance of showing up on Google My Business.

Let's take a look at the minimum requirements:

  • Mailing Address

Be sure to include a mailing address for a local site. This will be used for citation building.

  • Phone Number

Include a phone number. This will be used for citations and for customer calls!

  • Contact Email

Contact email. Include a contact email if possible. Just having a form is fine as long as you have a physical address & phone number.

Troubleshooting Checks

Minimum requirements are needed if you want to rank your local site.
You want to consider these if you have any chance of showing up on Google My Business.

Let's take a look at the minimum requirements:

  • Use a W3 Validation Theme

Check the theme for errors using the W3 validator.

  • Use Natural Page Titles

Make sure you aren't using exclusively a keyword (with nothing else added)

  • Multiple Articles With Same Keyword

Combine similar & redundant articles covering the same topic.

  • Avoid Broken Links

Use tools such as the Traffic Research Site Quality plugin and Screaming Frog SEO to locate broken links and other issues.

  • Avoid Deprecated Code

Although most deprecated code is still supported by search engines, it's a good idea to update to more recent code.

  • Avoid Infinite Loop Pages

Broken redirect chains can cause havoc with Google crawlers and be significant issue.

  • Avoid Overlapping Text

Code errors can cause text to 'explode' out of the window or overlap images / other paragraphs.

  • Avoid Images Exploding Outside <div> Tags

Avoid having images rendered off-page or over text.

  • Avoid Excessively Long Page Load Times

Excessively long load times can harm your user experience and hurt your rankings.

  • Avoid Server Crashes

A website that continuously crashes will take time to recover in rankings on Google.

  • Avoid Broken Google .xml Sitemaps

Broken sitemaps will waste the Googlebot's resources and prevent your site from being properly indexed.