SEO Content optimisation checklist

  • Below is a checklist of everything you might need to do.

    There's also a Google Doc version of the checklist.

    • Use Google Trends, the Google Adwords Tool, and the Siteimprove SEO module (Research/Keyword Discovery) to research and identify long-tail keyphrases. (You will need to be signed into a Google Ads account or Siteimprove to access these tools.)
    • Think about the intent behind a search based on these key phrases. What is the user trying to achieve? Keep this in mind so that the content you create matches user need.
    • Your primary keyword/phrase is at the front of your title.
    • Your title engages with modifiers such as 'How to' or 'Complete guide to'. (Consider if adding the year of publication is important for your content.)
    • Your URL contains your primary keyword (usually the URL is generated from the field title of the page in the CMS). Note: It's not always a good idea to change the URL of an existing page that already ranks well. If you do want to change the URL of an existing page, you'll need to create a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one.
    • Your meta description is unique, relevant, engaging and short. Aim for 150 characters (desktop users see 200 characters, but mobile users will see 172 or lower) and include a CTA (call-to-action). A good meta description could improve the click-through rate to your page (which will boost rankings).
    • Your keyword appears early on in your opening paragraph
    • You have used synonyms judiciously (a word or phrase that means exaclty or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language, for example, shut is a synonym of close).
    • You have used Hemingwayapp.com to pick up misspellings and jargon.
    • Your readability is ARI grade 9 or below (again, check this with Hemingwayapp.com).
    • Keyword density is between 3-5% (to check this use: https://www.internetmarketingninjas.com/seo-tools/keyword-density/
    • Internal links are meaningful and based on relevant keywords/phrases and active verbs where possible. Ideally, internal link text is an exact match (to the content being linked to) or a partial match. A 'naked' URL is acceptable eg 'https://www...' Generic phrases, such as 'click here', are not.
    • Links to relevant internal pages surrounding your keywors will strengthen the authority of your content.
    • Links to landing pages will signal to search engines that these pages are important. (However, be wary of including too many internal links, the more links there are, the less authority that is passed on to each page.)
    • Outbound links to relevant high authority sources are included. (This helps Google understand what your content is about. The more google understands who you are and what you do, the more likely it is to guide users to your site.)
    • The length of your final article is around 1000 words or more. (Studies have found that longer content performs better and ranks higher. The average Google first page result contains 1,890 words.)
    • Images, that are relevant, engaging and add to yoru content/message have been included. (Images can hold your reader's attention and decrease bounce rate but should only be used where these add to the content.)/li>
    • Image file names feature your primary keyphrase.
    • Your image alt text tags are populated (especially important for images used as a link as this is the text Google then uses as the anchor text).
    • You have made it simple to share your content. (This could include adding social sharing buttons to your page and includng snippets that can be easily tweeted.)
    • Backlinks (links from another site back to ours) are considered. Use Google Search Console or Sitiemprove to check existing backlinks. Use a tool such as open Site Explorer to check backlink authority
    • Use Siteimprove to check for broken links that need fixing (broken links cause your bounce rate to go up which is a negative SEO factor).
    • Your page has been optimised for fast page loading (eg your images are optimised and you have chosen the best hosting platform for any other media files). Check this using google's page Speed Insights tool: https:/developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
    • Make sure your page loads quickly and any CTAs/buttons are 'finger friendly' for mobile users. (use: search.google.com/test/mobile-friend).