About 51% of all website traffic starts with an organic search. In fact, over 90% of online activities start with a search engine, too. With a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, you can rank higher on search engines like Google.
A higher ranking will position you in front of potential customers. You can then boost brand awareness, generate leads, and improve your ROI.
It’s not enough to start stuffing your content with keywords, though. Instead, check out this SEO checklist for WordPress websites. With this 2021 SEO audit checklist, you can set yourself up for success.
Otherwise, you could neglect essential ranking factors. If your ranking drops, consumers might struggle to find your business online.
Give your website the boost it needs with this basic SEO checklist today!
1. Keyword and Audience Research
Before you can start creating content or optimizing, it’s important to gather audience and keyword research. Otherwise, you’ll fail to create content that appeals to the user’s intent.
Google’s search engine algorithm and machine learning abilities allow it to better understand consumers. Google now strives to determine what consumers expect to find during a search. By appealing to the search intent, you can create a positive user experience.
Potential search intents include:
With navigational searches, the searcher is looking for a specific website or web page.
For transactional searches, they might use words like “buy” or “coupon.” These searchers want to make a purchase.
Informational searches might include questions. Consumers might even type a single word, like “WordPress.”
Commercial searches can include words like “top,” “best,” or “reviews.” These consumers are looking for more information before making a purchase.
Local searches can include words like “near me” or a city name.
Understanding the search intent will help you create content with your readers in mind.
First, determine who your customers are based on psychographics and demographics. Segment your target audience into smaller personas based on:
- Marital status
- Household income
- Buying behaviors
- Pain points
Once you determine who your customers are, determine what they search for online. Use tools like SEMRush, Keyword Planner, or Google Trends. Focus on keywords with a high search volume and low competition.
You’ll use these keywords to determine what content to create.
2. High-Quality Content
Google prioritizes unique, fresh, high-quality content when determining rankings. It’s important to focus on quality over quantity. Otherwise, completing the rest of your SEO checklist might prove futile.
Try to create different forms of content, including:
- Blog posts
Make sure to avoid duplicate content on your website. Otherwise, you’ll lose a chance to rank.
Improve each post’s readability as well. Otherwise, people could leave without reading your content. A high bounce rate could have a negative impact on your SEO ranking.
Improve your copywriting by using shorter sentences and paragraphs. Avoid jargon and grammatical errors as well.
3. Keyword Placement
As you review your on-page SEO checklist, consider your keyword placement. Your target keyword should appear in the post’s:
- Page title
- Opening and closing paragraph
- Body text
- Image alt text
- Meta description
- An H1 tag
- The title tag
Avoid overstuffing your content with your keywords. Instead, use synonyms and secondary keywords to improve your rankings.
4. User Experience Design Trends
Your website performance is an essential component of your SEO audit checklist. If your website is difficult to use or slow, people will leave. Your bounce rate will rise, causing your SEO ranking to drop.
Look for a WordPress page builder expert that understands user experience (UX) design trends. Google prioritizes giving its users the best possible experience.
For example, you can add white space to give your content room to breathe. Make sure your navigation is organized as well. Remove any broken links or low-quality images.
About 90% of shoppers won’t return to a website after a bad experience. Meanwhile, 53% of mobile visitors will leave if a page takes longer than three seconds to load. Bad mobile optimization annoys almost 50% of users, too.
Fast Site Speed
One of the most important on-page SEO checklist items to consider is your page load times. A slow website could frustrate users. They’ll leave without clicking around, impacting your bounce rate.
Use Google PageSpeed Insights to determine what’s causing your site to lag. You might need to remove plugins or compress images.
Improving your load times can increase the visitor dwell time. A higher dwell time can boost your SEO ranking.
You can improve dwell times with:
- High-quality content
- Engaging headlines
- Strong opening paragraphs
- A simplified page layout
- White space
- Improved readability
Work with a WordPress website design and development professional who can improve your load times.
People interact with brands twice as much on mobile devices. With that in mind, Google now uses mobile-first indexing to determine rankings.
As you review your SEO checklist, visit Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Make sure your site is optimized for smaller screens. If not, you could miss out on mobile customers.
Make sure your website is secure, too. Look for “HTTPS” in front of your domain name. If you don’t see “HTTPS,” it’s time to get an SSL certificate.
5. Google Web Core Vitals
As you work through your on-page SEO checklist, talk to a web developer about Google’s Web Core Vitals. Appealing to these vitals can improve the user experience. For example:
- Choose better hosting
- Use page caching
- Optimize images
- Use a content delivery network
- Enable browser caching
You can learn more about Google’s Web Core Vitals here.
6. Internal and External Links
Backlinks are the second most important Google ranking factor. In fact, 91% of websites get no organic traffic from Google. Why?
Namely, about 55% of these pages didn’t have backlinks.
Backlinks send readers from another website to your content. It’s important to gather backlinks from high-authority websites. The more backlinks you generate, the more likely your SEO ranking will improve.
Don’t forget internal and external links as well. Link to high-quality resources within your content to improve your credibility. Use internal links to boost your clickthrough rate.
Your 2021 SEO Checklist: 6 Ways to Boost Your SEO Ranking
Google’s search engine algorithm changes throughout the year. By maintaining your SEO checklist, you can boost your ranking and reach more customers. Otherwise, consumers might struggle to find you online.
You don’t have to work through your SEO audit checklist alone. Instead, consider working with a WordPress website developer.
Contact us today to get started.