The Extreme WordPress SEO Checklist of 2014
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a plan of actions that can be used to improve the search engine ranking of a website. The key element of SEO is to increase organic traffic (target specific traffic from search engines) to your website / blog. WordPress is one of THE most authoritative content management systems your website can ever have when it comes to SEO. It is essential to spend considerable time on your WordPress SEO as choosing to ignore such a valuable tool may lead to negative rankings on the search engines.If you are choosing to optimize your website for the best user experience and increased traffic, it always helps to have a checklist or a strategy to follow in order to attain the most benefits out of your valuable time.
It is the reason i have created the Extreme Top 50 WordPress SEO Checklist of 2014. This checklist is beneficial for people who are starting a new website, or want to optimize a live website.This checklist follows a step-by-step list of things that need to be accomplished, in order to create the best infrastructure for your website.
[highlight background=”red” color=””]NOTE: It is worth mentioning before jumping into the nitty-gritty’s of website optimization that on-page SEO tasks yield diminishing returns. In simple terms, there will be lots of quick benefits from fixing the easy and obvious mistakes at the start. As you delve further into the checklist, situations may get a bit tough to tackle and more technical (as problems become less obvious).The benefits for the same are not very noteworthy in the short term.[/highlight]
Extreme WordPress SEO Checklist of 2014
Before we start, it is important that you analyze your current website’s SEO rankings in order to understand the changes at the end of the checklist. Get a detailed report from Analyze about the present SEO rankings of your website and save it to a PDF for future reference. It will help you in measuring the results later on.I would suggest reading the whole thing and applying as much of this checklist to your website as you can. By following all the parts of this detailed checklist, you will not only understand the concept of the entire picture but will have a deeper understanding of how the web works. – SEO is the Science of Synergy
ON PAGE SEO CHECKLIST
The front-end of your website (Content) and the back-end of your website (HTML) are easily the most accessible and controllable SEO elements. They serve as the best pivot for starting your SEO measures. The idea is to make all the pages in your website Search Engine and Human friendly by making use of all contents and tools, available at your disposal.
For SEO purposes, it is best to strategize one or two target keywords for every page in your website. If you are considering focusing every page with more than two keywords, it might be the right time to step back and understand that a page with so many keywords might just lose its focus. Plan and divide all your crucial keywords into separate pages to maintain Page POV. Ready? Let’s go! Start by optimizing the On-Page elements of your website through the checklist provided below.
1) Creating The Perfect Title Tag
The title of your website is most important for your ‘on-page’ SEO success. Always try to integrate a title that is appropriate for the search engines and looks user-friendly too. There has to be a balance between ‘just’ stuffing keywords into your title and making it rhyme for your visitors. You might have observed that whenever you search in Google for a particular keyword, websites with those keywords loaded at the front of their Title Tags always appear first. If you are using Yoast SEO, All in one SEO or any other SEO Plugin then you don’t need to worry about the word count. You will get great help from plugin tool tips and hint section.
For Example: Let’s assume you are looking to rank the keywords “good habits” and you are having problems deciding between the following Title Tags:
NOTE: It is clearly visible from the above screens that Google has opted to show those websites that have the keywords at the starting of their Title Tags . Spend considerable time in making Title Tags beautiful; these are easily the most important yet overlooked element of On-Page SEO.
2) Make the URL Search Engine and Human Friendly
URL’s play a significant role in defining the action of search engines for your website – both humans and search engines choose websites that have an easy to read/find URL. The URL’s of a website should be optimized in such a way that the ‘words’ mirror the content of specific pages of that website. URL’s should contain easy to understand words, keywords for individual pages and must never contain illegal characters like ‘underscores’ ‘percentage symbols,’ etc. Your page URL may not be long like this, but it is still important to fix the URL structure – to make it search engine friendly. You must be wondering how an URL will help the SEO of your page.
It’s simple, just like the Title Tags of your page; Google uses your ‘page URL’ to decipher what your page is all about. Thus, it is a good idea to include your important keywords for the page in the ‘page URL.’ Google will choose to trust those pages which have easier to read URL and the URL’s are keyword intensive.
TIP: Don’t forget to remove all unnecessary dates and categories from the URL structure to make it clean and easy to spot.
- USE MULTIMEDIA EFFECTIVELY TO RANK
Multimedia is that part of your website which helps in retaining the attention of your visitors. Multimedia aids in giving a better explanation to your website content and websites with properly optimized images are loved by search engines as well as the visitors, who show their gratitude by sharing your content across social media platforms.
However, without proper optimization, multimedia can do more harm than good for your website.
Here is a checklist to certify that you are on the path to salvation, when it comes to using multimedia effectively for your SEO campaigns.
Multimedia also increases the superficial value of post or article. Content with higher superficial value has more chances of ranking on Google.
<put this is a box/>
Make it a point to include at least one multimedia element (video, audio, images and lists) in every post to increase its SEO value.
- OUTBOUND LINKS HAVE GREAT EFFECT ON SEO
Sharing is caring. Google respects all websites who respect their page ranks as well as the page rank of other websites. The Internet is a socializing platform and Google wants to see you as a dynamic part of this platform.
Don’t be selfish. Always link to external sources (Outbound links). If you choose to ‘no follow’ outbound links from your website, Google will take it as a mere act of selfishness.
<put this in a box/>
Remember to include at least 2 outbound links to external websites (famous blogs or news portals) in every piece of content you broadcast.
- DON’T IGNORE META DESCRIPTION
It is possibly the most disregarded aspect when it comes to SEO for your website. It is noteworthy to mention that some websites choose completely to ignore the use of Meta Descriptions – You should not make this mistake.
Meta description can be defined as that phrase which tags along with your website link in the search engines. It is essential to fabricate a unique and keyword intensive Meta description for all the important pages of your website. Choosing to ignore so may lead to users completely ignoring your website link when it pops-up in the search engines.
<insert image here/>
<put this in a box/>
Creating a Meta description should be made a part of your post creation routines, so that you never overlook this seemingly insignificant and ‘easy to forget’ aspect of SEO.
- KEYWORD RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS
Integrating Keywords (keyword research) can be done through in-depth keyword researching, analyzing and choosing the best keywords that will drive organic traffic from search engines to your webpage.
It is the most important aspect while doing SEO for your website and if not done correctly can result in all your efforts going down the drain. Use the Google Adword Keyword Tool to research and find out the best working keywords for your website, before inculcating them in your posts and titles.
NOTE: It is also important to include your main keywords at the beginning of your blog posts.
Why you ask? Because Google pays utmost attention to the placement of the keywords in your articles – If a keyword appears on the first few lines of an article, Google will understand that the article is relevant to that particular keyword as it is mentioned at the start.
<put this is a box/>
Always include the target keyword in the first few lines of the Article / Blog Post
- THE IMPORTANCE OF H1 TAG IN SEO
The H1 Tag of your page is like the sub-heading of your page.
Normally all websites have one H1 Tag (Which should be user-friendly and search-engine-friendly), but some WP themes default to two tags and use H2 as the page header)
Check if your page has a proper H1 tag by looking at the page source and spotting the following code. If it is there, then your job is done, if it is not there, insert a H1 Tag into your page source.
Make sure all your pages have a H1 Tag
<insert image with H1 Tag in page source and how to insert if not there/>
<Put this in a box/>
The blog post title should always be in a H1 Tag.
- WEBSITE SPEED AND PERFORMANCE
You may not be aware of this, but Google pays very little attention to website speed as a ranking factor (about 1%). This may seem insignificant, but for humans, optimizing website for speed and performance is the main thing otherwise you will tend to lose valuable visitors.
The Users love websites that are responsive in nature and have a fast load time. Statistics shows that many users hit the ‘X’ button even when a website is loading, due to its slow loading time.
Providing a fast experience for users is mandatory to boost the conversions of your website along with a slight boost in SEO rankings.
You can easily evaluate the speed of your website by using the Google Website Speed Tool.
<insert image of Google Page Speed Insight Tool Here/>
<put this in a box/>
Remember to address all the issues of slow page load for the best user experience in your website. WordPress Plugins – W3 Total Cache Tool and WP Smush It can help you in delivering faster load speed.
<Insert images of W3 Total Cache Tool and WP Smush It Tool>
- TITLE TAG MODIFIERS ARE NIFTY TRICKS OF THE TRADE
Sometimes people search for really long set of keywords. Owing to the unpredictable nature of these keywords and their varying lengths it is impossible to optimize your page according to these keywords.
What can be a possible fix to this situation?
Such long keywords can also be ranked by using Title Tag Modifiers to your website.
<put the below text in a box/>
Try putting words like “Best” “Guide” “Review” “2014” “Top” etc. as Title Tag Modifiers for your webpages.
- NEVER FORGET THE SOCIAL SHARING BUTTONS
If your article has useful content for the readers, they are bound to like and share them in the social networks. You can speed up this process by inculcating Social Sharing Buttons into your website.
Check whether your social sharing buttons are attractively displayed in your blog post. There are many free plugins out there to choose from.
<insert picture of blog post with social sharing buttons here/>
<put this below text in box/>
Ensure that the Social Sharing Buttons Appear at the Top and Bottom of your Blog Posts.
- CONTENT IS EVERYTHING
Our researches indicate that Google chooses to display those links in the first 10 search results which have 1500+ words of Content.
<insert image showing the word count from a random search on Google with word count for each/>
<put this in a box/>
Make it a point to write at least 1500+ words of your most competitive words that you are trying to rank in Google.
- DON’T LET THAT TRAFFIC BOUNCE
Google simply hates websites with high bounce rates. If people seem to be continuously bouncing from your website in search results, it will be a clear signal to Google that your website is not hosting quality content. Once your website gets flagged for inappropriate content or low-quality content, Google will push your website down the rank drain – trust us when we say this, it’s quite a hard way up from the rank drain and you should avoid this at all costs.
One of the best solutions to slashing the bounce rates of your website is by using Internal Links at the starting of your posts. Visitors are much more click-savvy when they come to your website, than they are half way through your article.
<Put this below text in a box/>
Wikipedia is one of the best examples of websites with Internal Links at the starting of their article.
<insert picture of Wikipedia with internal links/>
<Put this in a box/>
Insert as many Internal Links as you can at the starting of your article, without cashing on the overall quality of the article.
- LATENT SEMANTIC INDEXING KEYWORDS TO THE RESCUE
You may have observed that when you type a particular word into the search box in Google, a lot of optional words are displayed in a list by Google along with your target keyword. Those optional words are LSI Keywords.
<insert picture of Google search box with LSI keywords/>
For Examples if you are writing about “Good habits” then you would probably want to mention words like “for kinds, “bad” “healthy” “personal” etc.
<Insert picture of Searches related to Good habits from www.google.com/>
The above words in Italics are LSI keywords for your target Word.
<Put this below list in a box/>
Finding LSI Keywords for your target keywords is very easy:
- Search for your target keyword in Google.com
- Scroll down to the bottom of the result page
- There is a list of highlighted words under “Searches related to your keyword”
- Those are the LSI keywords.
<Put this below text in a box/>
Make sure all your articles have at least 1-2 LSI Keywords.
WAY TO GO! YOU MADE IT THROUGH THE ON-PAGE CHECKLIST. ARE YOU READY TO DRINK THE OFF-PAGE SEO JUICE?
- SPEND CONSIDERABLE TIME IN MAKING BACKLINKS
Backlinks serve as a crucial factor in manipulating the search engine ranking of your website. Significant amount of time should be taken to build Backlinks for your website.
There are multiple factors that should be taken into consideration for making Backlinks:
- Quality: The position of your backlink and the authenticity of the content of the backlink play a significant role in portraying the quality of your backlink to search engines. Try to place your links in high authority websites with great Page Rank. Always optimize the Meta Tag Description for every back link to your website.
- Text: When you are making text backlinks, ensure that the text you link your website to is directly related to your services. If you add vague or unimportant words to your website, this will hurt the SEO of your website than help it.
- Number: This is all but a number game – the more quality backlinks point to your website, the higher are its chances to rank in search engines. Make an excel sheet with all the present backlinks to your website and spend time in scrutinizing each of them for best results. Use all that you have learnt about content development to create the best backlinks.
Remember, 1 Quality backlink is better than 10 Low Quality backlinks.
<put this in a box/>
Create new backlinks from time to time for higher visibility of your website in search engines.
Use our Extreme Guide to Creating Backlinks to in-depth knowledge of link creation.
- MAKE YOUR WEBSITE TRUSTED BY GOOGLE
Your website should be connected to all your social media accounts. If it is used in combination with your Authorship and Geo Tags – Google will understand that the website is run by a human and not a Bot – this adds ranking to your website.
Some factors that are highly regarded when it comes to trust monitoring are:
- Authority: The best way to establish an authority online is to connect your website with your Social Media Accounts, Add HTML GEO tags and Author Tags. Make best use of all SEO techniques learnt to create quality content and get links from others. Post frequently on your website.
- History: Websites that have a domain registered for 3+ years are highly regarded by Google as trusted websites. Always pay for the .com registration of your website well in advance to add some weight to your webpage.
- Identity: Try to link your identity with as many places as you can online. This has a positive effect on the overall weight of your website.
<put this in a box/>
Make sure your website is linked to all your social media accounts, Add HTML GEO tag and Author Tags to your website.
- NEGATIVE SEO STACKS UP AGAINST YOUR RANKINGS
There are no black hat tricks to online fame. If you have ever indulged into such activities that are listed below, it is advisable to undo all that you can to dodge the penalty if your website has not been flagged by Google already.
- Back Link Abuse: Remove all paid backlinks to your website, if any. Backlinks can only be earned over time. There are no shortcuts here.
- Spam: Never ever ever ever (and if there is any ever after ever) hire a blog spammer to spam your links into various websites. Doing so does not help your websites reputation in any way. Always use the power of content to win love of your readers and deliver only those things / services to the people that they can vouch on and share with others.
- Piracy: Don’t ever add unauthentic or unauthorized content to your website. They could be in the form of video, music, photos, text or anything else. Posting cool freebies is definitely a good idea, but always give credit to the source for your share and check if your share is not against the policies of the source.
<put this below text in a box/>
Ensure that your website is not linked to any illegal activity or content.
AWESOME! LOOKS LIKE YOU MANAGED TO WADE THROUGH THE OFF-PAGE SEO LIKE A PRO. ARE YOU READY TO START WITH CORE CODING CONCEPTS OF SEO YET?
CORE CODING AND CONCEPTS
- SITE MAP
A sitemap is that page of your website which categorizes and stores all the pages of your website in a list format. Your website should also have a HTML Sitemap which links to every page. It should be there in every page, normally in the footer. You should also create an XML sitemap for search engines.
<Insert image of a HTML sitemap here>
- THE ROBOTS.TXT FILE
This file should always be there; even if it has to be left empty it should be there. It is a file created by webmasters to tell search engine robots how to index the pages of your website.
<insert image of a sample robots.txt file/>
- STATIC PAGE INDEX
If your website is such that the content on your homepage constantly keeps changing, it is a good idea to have a set of Static Content on the page to not confuse the search engines.
<insert image of a news website with static page index/>
- WWW RESOLVE
Make sure the website with and without the www in the address bar reaches the same position.
<insert image to show how this is done/>
- SETUP NECESSARY 301 RE-DIRECTS
In case you are migrating from an old website to a new one, it is necessary to setup all the mandatory 301 re-directs so as to not lose the valuable traffic from the old website.
<Insert image showing how to setup 301 re-direct/>
- GOOGLE ANALYTICS
Setup an account with Google Analytics if you haven’t done already. It will give you crucial information on all the SEO related statistics of your website.
<Insert image of Google Analytics>
- GOOGLE WEBMASTERS TOOLS
The XML Sitemap needs to be submitted in the Google Webmasters Tools. Create an account if you don’t have one already.
<Insert image of where the XML Sitemap has to be submitted/>
- 404-ERROR PAGE
The 404-Error Page, also known as the ‘Page not found’ is displayed whenever a person asks for a page linked to your website, which is not available. There can be many explanations for such errors but, mostly they happen due to careless linking or dead pages which have been removed from your website but the backlinks have remained.
Creating a custom 404-Error Page for your website is a great idea, so that visitors are not greeted with the boring and customary 404-error pages which look very dispelling and unattractive.
<put below text in box/>
Make a custom 404 Error Page for your website if you don’t have already.
- WORDPRESS AND LANGUAGE
Declare the language of your website and try to get it converted into as many languages as possible to increase the reach of your website.
Ensure that your website has the latest version of WordPress installed for best experience.
- CLAIM YOUR VANITY ULRs
Though it may look insignificant, but claiming your Vanity URL on major networks is vital, not only for the future SEO of your website, but also to monitor its online reputation. It ensures that no one else can take your brand name on other network accounts. Websites with the most numbers of networking presence have higher chances of dominating the search results in search engines
Claim your vanity URL for all the networking websites listed below.
A typical example of your Vanity URL would be: www.xyznetwork.com
<put the below list in an image for better looks/>
List of obtainable Vanity URLs are as follows:
- RESPONSIVE WEBSITE
Ensure that your website theme is responsive so that it can be accessed via smartphones and tablets as well. Choose a responsive theme for your website, if you have not done it already.
<insert image of responsive website here/>
EUREKA! YOU HAVE NOW GAINED THE PARAMOUNT KNOWLEDGE OF EXTREME SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION. ARE YOU READY TO EVALUATE YOUR PROGRESS?
Not only does powerful SEO depend on the implementation of changes but also on the measure of the impact, and those changes have on your website over a period. Seeing and experimenting with keywords, tracking their statistics to understand what is best suited for your website’s needs – these don’t come in one day. It requires years of practice and an in-depth understanding of the SEO landscape.
However, we have reached the conclusion of our ‘Extreme WordPress SEO Checklist of 2014,’ and we can safely say that you have been able to do most of these things, if not all from our Extreme Checklist.
At the beginning of the checklist, we had asked you to create an Analysis of your website’s SEO ranking. Now, it is time to equate it with the ranking of your website after you have implemented these changes. Again visit Analyze to generate the present SEO report of your website and compare it with the previous report. The results will speak for themselves.
I hope you enjoyed the read.