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When optimizing your website to increase traffic, it helps to have an SEO checklist or plan to follow in order to get the most out of your time and effort. That’s why I’ve to put together this detailed SEO Checklist updated for 2017 with SEO best practices that help increase search engine rankings for targeted keywords. It’s actually more of a blueprint which you’ll find helpful whether you’re starting a new website or optimizing an existing one. It also doubles as an basic SEO audit checklist–it’ll show you how to benchmark your current results in order to monitor search engine ranking improvements moving forward.

One thing that needs to be mentioned before we dive into the details of website optimization is that on-page optimization tasks produce diminishing returns. In other words, you’ll benefit greatly from fixing the easy and obvious mistakes early on, but as you start to tackle the more technical and less obvious problems, you won’t get as much benefit from doing so. With that in mind, remember to take a step back and ask yourself if your time could be better spent elsewhere, rather than fixing every single on page seo error found on your website. Do as much as you can on your own and get help for the rest. Without further delay, here’s the Ultimate SEO Checklist for 2017.

1. Google Analytics: Setup Google Analytics and add your tracking code to your website in order to start measuring website traffic and other important metrics. For instructions on how to install your tracking code and set up some basic goals and traffic reports, use this setup page and the Google Analytics Training Academy. Some alternatives to GA include Clicky, KISSmetrics, and Piwik.

2. Google Webmaster Tools: Add your website to GWT in order to keep tabs on search queries, crawl errors, security issues and more. To learn more, read this
helpful guide.

3. Sitemap: Create an XML sitemap and submit it to Google Webmaster Tools.

4. Robots.txt. Create a Robots.txt file.

5. WordPress SEO plugin: Upload and install the WordPress SEO by YOAST plugin. To learn how to use this plugin at its full potential, read this detailed guide.
An alternative to WordPress SEO by YOAST is the All-in-one SEO pack plugin.

6. Page load speed: Run your website through Pingdom’s Speed test tool. Use this as a benchmark to gauge your page load speeds again after optimization is

7. Website audit: Run your website through Hubspot’s marketing grader to see where your website stands before beginning optimization. Download the results and
keep them for future reference.

Don’t skip this step. Making decisions without data is a surefire way to lose the SEO game.

Once you’re done the initial benchmark phase, it’s time to find keywords.

1. Recommended tool
2. Develop buyer personas
3. Browse related searches
4. Expand your keyword optimization list
6. Narrow down your keyword list
7. Choose target keywords


1. Create an editorial calendar
2. Use trends to find new compelling topics
3. Use a blog title generator
4. Vary the medium
5. Syndicate
6. Re-purpose
7. Title tags
8. Meta descriptions
9. Permalink structure
10. Headings
12. Images and more…

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