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SEO checklist: how-to & template

Prepare every piece of content for better performance in organic search

We use an SEO checklist to finalize all written content. This includes new material as well as older, published pieces that need a refresh.

The tasks in the checklist will prepare your content to be…

  • More visible to search engines
  • More accessible to readers
  • More targeted for the keywords that matter to your brand
SEO checklist

Click the button below to duplicate the template into your Google Drive


Why we created this checklist

We created this to streamline our production processes.

Even though these are tasks we’ve completed many times, the checklist makes the whole process more reliable.

  • It’s comprehensive. All core SEO areas are covered in this one checklist.
  • It’s focused. This is not an audit checklist for an entire site. (If that’s what you want, you can use our site audit guide.) Instead, this is a list of the details for publishing written content.
  • It’s teachable. The directions are clear enough for you to hand off the task to people with less experience or context, like junior staff or freelancers.

How this checklist works

When we use this checklist, we start at the top and make our way down to the bottom, item by item.

Here’s a quick look at how each area covered here is useful for optimizing search performance.

  • Metadata. This includes the bits of data that search engines need to identify your page and understand what it’s about.
  • Subheadings. H2 and H3 tags need to be in service of the reader, supporting the structure of the argument while also aligning with target keywords.
  • Linking. Internal and external linking has a huge influence on conversion rate optimization. Linking strategically to different pages in the sales funnel. Choosing external links sparingly, only for the most relevant (and evergreen) pages.
  • Images. Images can be tricky in terms of file size, relevance, and accessibility. A useful image is an accessible image that helps clarify the written content – and doesn’t slow down your page speed.
  • Calls To Action. CTAs can have an outsized effect on your conversion rate. The success of CTAs is affected by three components: language, placement, linking.
  • Copy. Eliminating fluff, clarifying vagaries, cutting dated references, with the goal of creating the most clear, useful, evergreen content possible.
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