21 Jan The Only WordPress SEO Checklist You’ll Need: 21 SEO Tips for 2021
Who can successfully launch and grow a business without investing in a powerful search engine optimization (SEO) strategy? Absolutely no one!
Today’s competitive and consumer-driven market dictates that brands strive to stand out from the crowd. The best way of doing this is to take your website to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) with a top-notch SEO strategy.
This is important considering that nearly 64% of marketers are already actively leveraging and investing in SEO. Also, roughly 50% of marketers believe SEO has been instrumental in helping them achieve their marketing objectives.
Typically, SEO involves a series of steps that can be categorized into:
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
- Technical SEO
While on-page SEO deals with optimizing your website layout and content for search engines, technical SEO involves improving the site architecture, speed, security, etc. Off-page SEO, on the other, refers to all the steps you take outside your website to take it to the top of relevant SERPs.
In this blog, we’ll outline a comprehensive 21-point checklist to help you build a powerful SEO strategy for your WordPress website. Let’s get started.
On-Page SEO Checklist
In this section, we’ll discuss a few useful tips and techniques you can use to develop an on-page SEO strategy that’ll stand the test of time.
1. Install the Yoast SEO Plugin
Unless you’re living under a rock, you already know about the amazing benefits of WordPress’s Yoast SEO plugin. Make sure you download and install it on your website (if you haven’t done that already). It’ll come in handy when you’re optimizing your website content for specific keywords.
2. Configure Google Search Console
From identifying your top-performing keywords to monitoring your website traffic – Google Search Console helps you with everything. Make sure you create your Google Search Console account and configure it for your website. If you are looking to improve your WordPress Google Core Web Vitals Scores, then you need to check out WPCoreWebVitals.
3. Configure Google Analytics
Google Analytics is another free tool that helps you monitor your website traffic, as well as the performance of various web pages. You can easily configure it for your website by creating an account and pasting a small code snippet in your website’s source code.
4. Be Smart About Keyword Research
Use keyword research tools, such as SEMrush, Ahrefs, KW Finders, etc. to identify and validate the most relevant and popular keywords in your niche. Also, use Google Trends to find trending topics and keywords related to your niche. Make sure you strike a balance between trending and evergreen keywords.
5. Identify Trending Topics
Use tools, such as BuzzSumo and AnswerThePublic, to find the topics, themes, and questions that’ll attract your target audience.
6. Publish Awesome Content
This one is a no-brainer for on-page SEO. Whether you’re creating product/services pages or blog posts, make sure your content is original, insightful, and relevant to your target audience. Also, it should address their pain points and queries and be free from misspellings and grammatical errors.
If you don’t have the right skills and resources to create high-quality content, it’s a good idea to hire blog writing services. It’s also recommended that you develop a rock-solid SEO content strategy to maximize traction.
7. Optimize Your Content
Firstly, make sure your content satisfies the search intent associated with the focus keyword. Next, try to include the focus keyword and its variations in different parts of your blog post/website content. Here are a few parts where you should include the focus keywords or keyword variations:
- Title tag
- Meta description
- Headings (H1, H2, H3)
- Image al text
- Web page URL
Also, it’s a good idea to optimize the length of your content. The latest studies show that the average length of Google’s first page results is 1,447 words. However, you should carefully assess the topic and your audience’s need before choosing between long-form and short-form content.
8. Structure Your Content
Break your content into short paragraphs, each containing 3 to 4 sentences. Group related paragraphs under meaningful subheadings to facilitate scrollability and scannability.
9. Use Other Content Formats
Enhance your blog posts with multimedia content in the form of:
- Audio clips
If you’re adding images to your blog post, don’t forget to provide keyword-rich alt text and descriptive filename. Also, use an image optimization plugin to compress large image files without compromising their quality.
10. Create Evergreen Content
Of course, you want to piggyback on the trending topics to drive increased website traffic. However, evergreen content pieces will fuel your SEO strategy in the long run. Identify topics that will always be useful and relevant to your audience and create content around those topics.
11. Create a FAQs Page
Identify the most common questions your audience is likely to ask about your business and collate them to create a FAQs page for your website. It can help you rank for local and voice search queries.
12. Don’t Forget to Link
Include links to relevant, credible, and trustworthy content from authoritative sources in your blog posts. It helps enhance the user experience and tells search engines that you want to provide accurate and valuable information to your audience. Also, judiciously add internal links using relevant anchor text in your blog posts.
Off-Page SEO Checklist
It’s now time for us to discuss a few useful off-page SEO tactics.
13. Leverage Guest Posting
The easiest way of adding genuine and high-quality backlinks to your website is to contribute guest posts on authoritative blogs in your niche. Identify the most popular and authoritative industry blogs and reach out to the authors/owners with an irresistible pitch.
14. Watch Your Competitors
Use competitors research tools, such as SpyFu and Site Explorer by Ahrefs, to monitor your competitors’ inbound link profiles. Identify websites and blogs that have added links to a competitor’s content and reach out to the respective site admins to explore link-building opportunities.
15. Mention Influencers in Your Content
Identify relevant industry thought leaders and influencers and include links to their content in your blog posts. Next, let them know that you’ve used their content as a reference. In most cases, they’ll likely share your content in their networks, thus maximizing reach and traction.
16. Join Relevant Industry Podcasts
If guest blogging isn’t your cup of tea, identify relevant and popular podcasts in your niche and chime in as a guest speaker. Ask the host to include a link to your blog/website in the podcast description.
Technical SEO Checklist
This is often the most overlooked aspect of SEO. Let’s discuss the steps you should take to up your technical SEO game:
17. Create an XML Sitemap
An XML sitemap helps search engine spiders crawl your website and index various web pages. If you’ve installed the Yoast SEO plugin, this step should be easy and straightforward.
18. Improve Your Site Speed
Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to find out what you can do to increase your website speed. Also, you can install various optimization plugins to compress images and source code. Lastly, make sure your choose a reliable web hosting service for your WordPress website.
19. Prioritize Mobile-Responsiveness
Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool to assess where your website stands in terms of mobile responsiveness. You’ll likely have to work with a web developer/designer to ensure that your website is responsive across different devices.
20. Don’t Ignore Website Security
Secure websites tend to have an upperhand in search engine results. At the very least, you should install an SSL certificate on your website to protect user information. Also, choose a hosting service that provides you with advanced security features, such as malware protection, DDoS protection, etc.
Another tip for SEO is to conduct audits often which involve using log aggregation tools for identifying errors and pinpoint where actions need to be taken. You can find out more on this topic here.
21. Add Schema Markup
This helps search engines understand what your website is about and return more informative results to users. You might have to hire a developer to add schema markup code to your website.
Do you have any other useful SEO tips for content creators and marketers? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.