7 Point SEO Checklist For New Websites & SEO Audits

SEO Checklist


SEO optimization is critical for driving traffic to your website. The SEO checklist below will help you do just that. While it isn’t a complete list, these are some of the most important points when it comes to SEO optimization.

Use Google Analytics

We’ve all heard the saying “measure twice, cut once”. Well, Google Analytics will certainly help you with the measuring part. It tells you information about the people that visit your site and can point you to areas that you may need to address. 

For instance, you may have a high bounce rate. This could mean that you need to adjust the content on some of your pages. 

To elaborate, Google Analytics gives you a multitude of features that you can use to tweak your site’s SEO. For example, with this tool, you will be automatically alerted about new trends that are showing up. 

Google Analytics also lets you access Smart Goals, Smart Lists, and Session Quality data. This data can help you to drive more conversions. 

In addition, the Analytics interface gives you access to reports like Audience reports, conversion reports, and acquisition reports. These can tell you how initiatives that you implemented are performing. 

You’re also able to take the data you get and visualize it according to your business needs. For example, there are advanced filters available that help you to visualize your data according to parameters that you define. 

There is even an included diagnostic tool that will alert you to unexpected events or metrics. Moreover, you will also have access to predictive analyses and even audience demographic data. 

This powerful tool also works with other Google products such as Google Adsense and Google Surveys 360 which can also be useful when performing SEO.

Follow Best Practices for URLs

I know that it can be easy to ignore how URLs are formatted but have you ever noticed that some URLs tell you pretty much the full story about what to expect on a page before clicking on it? This is not by coincidence. 

The author of that page put some effort into this so that you would be able to quickly identify that their content is what you want to look at.

Make sure to include your primary keyword in your URL. That is really important for showing potential viewers what your page is about. In addition, include it at the front of your URL. This helps viewers to immediately pick up on it. 

Also, while it’s important for your URL to be descriptive, keep it as short as possible. This means that you can go ahead and omit words like “the” in your URLs. Shorter URLs are easier for viewers to interpret.

Publish Long-Form Content

Publishing long-form content is invaluable for many reasons. One of the most tangible reasons is that long-form content tends to rank better on search engines. In fact, content longer than 2000 words tends to outperform shorter content. 

In addition, longer form content usually leads to more time spent on your site. The content has to be well written of course. Long-form content is also more likely to be shared on social media

Long form content also helps to show your authority on a topic. It’s hard to right a substantial amount about something unless it’s something you’re knowledgeable about. Readers pick up on this and respect long-form content for this reason.

Have a Solid Keyword Strategy

If you’re brainstorming for keywords, Google can help (of course). If you start typing a keyword into Google’s search bar, you will notice that a number of suggestions pop up. These are keywords that are commonly searched for.

You can also use tools such as Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer to help you to discover keywords. In addition,  you should try to make use of low competition keywords wherever possible. KWFinder is a useful keyword research tool for this. It gives you keywords that aren’t used frequently and are therefore more likely to be found.

You should also look into question keywords. These are great for blog posts and can show you content that people would be interested in reading because they want these questions answered.  Answer The Public is an amazing tool for finding question keywords.

Including your keyword in H1, H2, or H3 tags also helps your post to rank well under that keyword. You should also add alt text to images to ensure that search engines can display your image and post when someone makes a related search. 

Have a Good Link Building Strategy

In order to build traffic, you will need to also have a solid link building strategy. One way in which to achieve this is through guest posting. However, make sure to only guest post on respected sites in your industry. Don’t publish guest posts on any and every website.

You can also try to replicate your competitors’ links. You can do this with Ahrefs. Ahrefs can show you opportunities for replicating these links. These can include guest posting, link roundups, forum, and directories among other strategies.

Ahrefs can also help you to discover backlinks that you lost. Sometimes this happens because site owners unintentionally stop indexing their website. In cases like this, it’s a good idea to reach out to the site owner to let them know that their site is no longer being indexed. 

In addition to these other strategies, your site might be mentioned on another site but not linked to. If you discover cases like this, try reaching out to the author of the post and asking if they could add a link. Ask nicely of course.  

You can also share your content with influencers in your industry. This can help to spread the word about your site. By forming relationships with influencers, you can leverage their network to help spread the word about your website.

Improve Website Speed and Performance

Improving the speed and performance of your website is important because a website that is easy to access quickly doesn’t prevent a barrier to your audience. If your website runs slowly, then that makes it less likely for people to want to remain on your website. There are a number of things that can be done to optimize your website. 

You can use Ahrefs’ Site Audit to tell you how fast your entire website loads. Page load times should be under 1 second. A great tool for assisting with this is Cloudflare’s CDN. This tool cache’s your website so that your hosting server doesn’t have to load it up every time a visitor’s web browser requests it. Cloudflare’s service also helps to mitigate against DDoS attacks. These days, no hosting provider is invulnerable to being hacked, however, Cloudflare’s service can help to put your mind at ease.

You could also see if you can enable server-side caching. This acts in a similar way to Cloudflare’s service, except that it is managed on your server.

Most content management systems also have plugins that help to optimize the performance of websites by doing things like compressing images. For example, Smush for WordPress optimizes and compresses images. 

You should also look into minimizing HTTP requests. This can be done by combining CSS and JS files. Reducing the number of images used helps too. 

Another important aspect of performance is mobile responsiveness. This refers to the ability of a website to adapt to the dimensions of the device screen it is being accessed on. With a large percentage of online traffic coming from mobile devices these days, websites need to be responsive so that users are able to access the information on websites without it being unreadable. 

Pay Attention to Sitewide On-page SEO Best Practices

One of the most important things to include in your SEO checklist is to write a compelling, informative title tag and description. This helps you to rank better and it also helps people to find your website more easily.

It’s also not a bad idea to link to relevant internal and external resources. Web pages that do this rank higher than those that ignore this. 

You should also add some schema markup to help your page get understood better by search engines. 

Another thing that will also help your website is the creation of a sitemap. Sitemaps map out the content on your site in a way that search engines can understand exactly where the content on your site is. This makes it easier for these search engines to crawl and index your pages. 

You should also create a robots.txt file. This is a text file that tells search engines how they’re allowed to access your website. You might want to prevent search engines from crawling certain sections of your site. If this is a case, then you definitely need to have a robots.txt file. 

Final Words For This SEO Checklist

As you can see from this SEO checklist, just having your website online isn’t enough. After going through the trouble of creating a website, you should do your best with your SEO strategy to ensure that it performs to its fullest potential. The tips in the checklist above will help you out if you’re just starting out with a new website or even if you’re carrying out an SEO audit on an older website.

Need help with your SEO? Check out our affordable SEO services and get in touch if you think we’d be a good fit. We would be honored to partner with you!

About The Author

Dustin Reed

Dustin Reed, is the owner and senior web technician for Innovative Solutions Group. He started working at Innovative Solutions Group in 2011 and took over as owner in 2016. He takes great pride in the fact that he truly enjoys doing what he does best, Building Professional Websites! During his 10 years working at Innovative Solutions Group, he has been responsible for many different aspects of the business ranging from creating new accounts/domains on Innovatives server to responsive(mobile-friendly) template creation. Some of his other responsibilities/strengths are WordPress website design, CSS/HTML coding, creating visual animations using Jquery, page layout, and troubleshooting many different types of problems that may arise. When he is not busy working at Innovative Solutions Group, he enjoys doing all of the great outdoor activities that the beautiful state of Montana has to offer. Such as, fishing, camping, hiking and enjoying a day at the lake during the summer.

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I have been a customer of Innovative Solutions Group since 2013. Dustin is so wonderful to work with. He is patient, professional, and very knowledgeable. Anytime I reach out to the office, they are extremely responsive and address my need VERY quickly. I can't recommend this company enough!!! I am so grateful that I am able to have a successful web-based business, because of them!!Diana FlutieJune 29, 2021
I've worked with Dustin Reed at Innovative Solutions Group now for 2 1/2 years, and am so happy I found them. I came to ISG so frustrated. I'd had my website rebuilt by guys in Pennsylvania, and they never listened to me about anything--from a logo they designed that I didn't like, but they plastered all over the site, to how the site would operate. Dustin and I sat down and within 4 minutes he'd dealt with my most important issues. He continues to be resourceful, making my site much more profitable, and if quick to respond to problems. ISG happens to be close to my home, but I would recommend them to anyone dependable, professional service.eileen ClarkeFebruary 19, 2021
Dustin is great. Quick to respond to any inquiries and reasonable pricing.Nobe Eyecare AssociatesApril 7, 2020
I have been with Dustin and Innovative Solutions for over a year now. Dustin and his company have taken my business to a whole new level. With what they have done with our website and how people find us is amazing. We have grown 10 times over because of Innovative. If your in need of the next level of success in marketing, your in great hands here. You will not be disappointed. Thank you Dustin and the team!!Troy KennettJanuary 15, 2020
Great, courteous and fast service. A very honest business that will not overcharge. Highly recommended!Doseof RealityJanuary 3, 2020
Cynthia MonteilSeptember 18, 2017
Excellent service. We have been with Innovative since the launching of our site. They not only designed the entire site with the functionality we wanted, but have hosted it reliably no matter how high the traffic spikes. I would recommend Innovative to anyone looking for a professional, reliable and very responsive team.Susan Duclos (All News PipeLine)September 6, 2017
This group is amazing to work with. We started our partnership a year ago and we could not be happier!Amber DJuly 25, 2017
Work was done in a very timely matter and Dustin was great to work with!Jacob WanderseeJune 19, 2017
I used Dustin at Innovative Solutions to initially just host my website. After working with him I decided to do a pretty significant makeover on my site. He did a great job, was super responsive and has Fletcher in the Design Department to help with graphics and such. He answered inquiries after hours and is very reasonably priced. I have used quite a few web people over the years and Innovative Solutions is undoubtedly who I will continue to use.Gary GavinJune 9, 2017
Super helpful! From the very beginning the designer was patient and offered great suggestions. Very customer friendly. They wanted the site to be perfect for me. Also, ease of billing. Thank you for creating a great site.Serapha CruzJune 3, 2017
I owned the company for over 20 years, and Dustin treats customers in a very courteous and professional manner. That why I'm going back to Innovative for help with our latest personal web project.Daniel DeiningerMay 22, 2017