33 steps SEO checklist to scaling your marketing strategy

In the initial days of our startup, I had no clue about SEO. 5 years later, SEO is a crucial part of our marketing strategy. I’ve built a robust 33-step SEO checklist based on my learnings. Today, I am sharing it with you 🧵
Part 1: Setting Up 1/ Set up Google Search Console Google’s free tool to help you monitor your SEO performance. Has the most accurate data. Can help you: – Monitor keywords you rank for – Find website errors – Submit sitemap Frequency: One-time
2/ Set up Google Analytics Google’s free tool to help you monitor website traffic. Pro-tip: Connect Google Analytics with Search Console to get access to deeper insights. Frequency: One-time
3/ Create and submit a sitemap Sitemap helps Google find pages on your website easily & effectively. You can submit a sitemap manually through Google Search Console or setup an automated script to update & submit your sitemap regularly (recommended). Frequency: One-time
4/ Make sure your website uses HTTPS HTTPS is a must for modern websites. While it isn’t a heavy ranking factor, Google will prioritise HTTPS webpages over non-HTTPS ones. Moreover, Chrome & Safari will warn users against browsing non-HTTPS websites. Frequency: One-time
5/ Have a clean site structure A balanced site structure helps Google navigate your website easily. Eg. for e-commerce sites, every product page can be mapped to a category, and have linked pages like reviews, alternatives etc. Frequency: One-time
6/ Add default title & meta tags Title & meta description tags are key elements of on-page SEO. It’s a good practice to add default title & meta tags so that you never encounter missing tags error. Frequency: One-time
Part 2: Keyword Research 7/ Come up with a list of seed keywords Keywords, topics or even broad themes you already know or have read about. Eg. if you target remote workers, your seed keywords can be – remote work – telecommuting – digital nomad Frequency: Once every X months
8/ Use online communities to get keyword ideas – Wikipedia: Table of contents. – Quora: Questions & related questions. – Google: Autocomplete & People also ask for. – Reddit: Discussions in specific subreddits. Also, use a tool like Keywordit. Frequency: Once every X months
9/ Use Google autocomplete to get specific suggestions – Type something on Google & you’ll see predictions that can be your seed keywords – To get more results, type in letters sequentially. For ex. “funding a”, funding b” etc. Frequency: Once every X months
10/ Use a keyword research tool to expand the list I’ve used Ahrefs & SEMRush love both of them. – Enter your seed keywords in keyword explorer – Ahrefs: “phrase match”, “having same terms” – SEMRush: “keyword variations”, “related keywords” Frequency: Once every X months
11/ Filter keywords for low difficulty Every tool will have a keyword difficulty (KD) score. Filter your list by a low KD, say 20. KD is only a heuristic & helps you get an initial list. You have to do manual work to filter the list further. Frequency: Once every X months
12/ Filter keywords for low-to-mid volume You rank faster for low volume keywords vs. high volume ones. Plus, high volume keywords usually have high competition. It helps in short-term to put min & max volume filter. Frequency: Once every X months
13/ Manually check for search intent The only reliable way to confirm search intent is to manually check the top 10 results for: – Content type – Blogs, ecommerce pages, company website – Format – Listicles, tutorials, opinion pieces Frequency: For every new article
14/ Check website authority for top 10 results Your aim is to kick out one of the top 10 results. So ideally you should have at least 1 or 2 results in top 10 that have lower authority than your website. More the better. Frequency: For every new article
Part 3: Content Creation 15/ Write for humans Writing high-quality content is a must to get SEO results, and to retain your ranking & traffic despite Google’s changes. While you optimise content for Google, you must always write for humans. Frequency: For every new article
16/ Focus on solving the searcher’s problem Checking for search intent is key while doing keyword research. But more importantly, you need to create content, which then solves for the searcher’s exact problem. Frequency: For every new article
17/ Focus on readability General pointers for writing on the web apply: – Powerful headlines – Clear subheadings – Short paragraphs – Short sentences – Bullet points Recommended tool: Hemingway app Frequency: For every new article
18/ Check for grammatical errors Recommended tool: Grammarly Frequency: For every new article
Part 4: Publishing 19/ Create SEO-friendly URLs Simple rules to follow – Short slugs, preferably with your keyword – No numbers, special chars, connecting words – Reader friendly Example ❌ /21-top-code-editors-of-2021 ✅ /top-code-editors Frequency: For every new article
20/ Write an SEO-friendly title – Concise & relevant to what your page is about – Contain keyword in a natural & non-over-optimized way – Has max of 1 keyword and 1 related keyword – Hack: Make it roughly similar to already ranking sites Frequency: For every new article
21/ Write an SEO-friendly meta description – Effectively summarises the content, and is catchy – Contain your target keyword(s) – Should be around 150-160 characters long – Pro-tip: Should not contain double quotations (“”) Frequency: For every new article
22/ Use a mix of internal & external links Internal links – Helps Google know your website structure – Page authority flows across pages External links – Connects you with other quality websites in the same domain Frequency: For every new article
23/ Alt tag & name for images – Reader friendly alt tags & image names – Both should contain keywords – Pro-tip: If there are lots of images on the page, make sure to avoid keyword stuffing Frequency: For every new article
25/ No sub-domains Google treats them almost like separate websites. Always use sub-folders. Frequency: For every new article
26/ No orphan pages Orphan pages are pages on your website that are not linked to any other pages. As a rule of thumb, each page on your website should have at least 1 internal link. Frequency: For every new article
27/ Make your website fast – Speed is an important part of user experience – Google prefers to show search results from fast websites – Aim for 90+ score on for both desktop & mobile – More importantly, benchmark your speed vs. your competitors Frequency: For every new article
28/ Make your website mobile-friendly – Mobile responsiveness & speed are key factors in Google’s rankings – Making your site mobile friendly should be a conscious decision from the start, and not an afterthought Frequency: For every new article
29/ Find & fix website errors – Perform regular website audits using tools like ahrefs or SEMRush – Fix all errors, and aim to minimise warnings too Frequency: For every new article
Part 6: Link Building 30/ Write guest posts Best way to increase your website’s authority. Set up a process to: – Research opportunities – Automate outreach – Create outlines – Write content Frequency: Once every X months
31/ Write content to attract links organically – Everyone loves linking to data & analysis – Publish guides & in-depth content in your niche – In addition, do an outreach asking to link to your content. Don’t just wait for organic links. Frequency: Once every X months
32/ Build a structure for internal linking Ex: Parent-child structure a) /<product> — Parent b) /<product>/<feature> — Child – all child pages link to parent – parent links to every child page Set rules for every new article. Ex. Min 2 internal links. Frequency: One-time
33/ Replicate your competitor’s links – Use a backlink checker tool – For forums & directories, make direct submissions – Outreach: Ask to link to your content clearly stating the advantage. Ex. in-depth content, broken links etc. Frequency: Once every X months