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"Justin at Alchemy Marketing is a marketing mastermind. He has worked with our company on every aspect of marketing including PPC, graphic design, mobile website optimization, media buying, billboard procurement and design and mass mail outs to name a few. Justin is very data driven and has a knack for pulling out insights that help our business optimize our advertising budget. I would recommend Alchemy to anybody looking to grow their online presence and drive more traffic to their website."

Tom Tilaro, owner
leatherfurnitureexpo.com

"Justin has been a pleasure to work with. His expertise, creativity, and promptness keep us happy customers. 90% of our customers come see us because of how well our google ad words campaign is managed. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for his website development and ability to utilize online marketing. Thanks Justin!"

David Anderson, owner
flooringhq.com

"Justin and his crew at Alchemy Marketing are the bomb-diggity! Everything I need, and everything I envision, comes to life quickly and effectively through their expertise. When I'm not sure what I want or need, Justin's suggestions always pointe in the right direction!"

Karen Pelot, owner
pelotandassociates.com
Alchemy Online Marketing
2708 Hazelhurst Ave
Orlando, FL 32804
(407) 809-4090

Updated 2017

The SEO Checklist

Increase your web traffic and search visibility in Google, Yahoo & Bing using the complete SEO checklist. Register for an account to save your progress and come back later – it’s free! Give back to the community by sharing your feedback & tips in the comments.

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Getting Started

Save your progress and come back later at anytime.

Google Analytics is a freemium web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. Visit google.com/analytics and install the tracking code between the tags of your website.

Tutorial Coming Soon

Previously called “Google Webmaster Tools”, Search Console is free Google product for webmasters to check indexing status and optimize visibility of their websites according to best practices. Visit google.com/webmasters/ to get started.

Tutorial Coming Soon

Logged into Google Search Console, navigate to Settings (gear icon) > Google Analytics Property and connect your analytics to view Search Console data in Google Analytics.

Tutorial Coming Soon

Bing Webmaster Tools (similar to Google Search Console) is free Bing product for webmasters to check indexing status and optimize visibility of their websites according to best practices. Visit bing.com/toolbox/webmaster to get started.

Tutorial Coming Soon

Rank tracking services will allow you to track your SEO efforts over time by comparing your websites’ organic search rankings in Google for different keywords. I recommend Whitespark’s Rank Tracker.

Tutorial Coming Soon

Heatmaps give a visual representation of where users are clicking on different webpages and how far they are scrolling. These insights aren’t found in free services like Google Analytics. I recommend crazyegg.com.

Tutorial Coming Soon

Advanced

Optional Do you have a Google AdWords account for paid advertising in Google? If so, visit Google Analytics > Admin
> AdWords Linking > +NEW LINK GROUP to share Analytics data (like ‘bounce rate’) with Adwords.

Tutorial Coming Soon

Optional For many lead gen businesses, tracking calls back to their advertising source is crucial for optimization. I personally use calltrackingmetrics.com and their white label services.

Tutorial Coming Soon

Optional Now that you’ve set up Call Tracking, connect your Call Tracking platform with Google Analytics to great goals you can track. In CallTrackingMetrics, visit Settings > Integrations > Google Analytics > Settings to connect your Analytics. Then create an ‘Event’ goal in Google Analytics with the Category input set to ‘Calls’.

Tutorial Coming Soon

On-Site SEO

Ensure that your business’s Name, Address & Phone number (NAP) displayed on your website is consistent with your Google Business listing and all other online citations. Spelling inconsistencies and miss-matching phone numbers should be reconciled.

Tutorial Coming Soon

Organize your website content into logical hierarchies using header tags. Ensure one <h1> tag per page (typically this is the page title), and sub-categories of the content divided up by <h2>, and <h3>, <h4>, .etc beyond that.

Tutorial Coming Soon

Ensure target keywords are present in your page title, meta description, and meta keywords. I recommend using Yoast SEO for ease of use and recommendations for character length.

Tutorial Coming Soon

Write a description ‘alt’ tag for every image on your website. These ‘alt’ image descriptions are read by browsers and Google alike and displayed if an image fails to load. A description of an image if it fails to load creates a positive user experience.

Tutorial Coming Soon

Ensure that your pages’ URLs are concise, but contain target keywords. Avoid being too long or spammy looking.

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When appropriate, ensure that content on your webpages links to other pages of your website. Internal links create both a positive user experience and also gives Google a roadmap to the content hierarchy of your website–which may help prioritize certain pages in the SERPs.

Tutorial Coming Soon

Google penalizes content that is duplicated across the website. Ensure that your website is not duplicating content word-for-word from other parts of your website or from other websites. However, it’s okay if other websites are copying your content if your website is the original source.

Tutorial Coming Soon

Installing a blog is a great way to contribute content to your website that may not otherwise fit well into your site’s navigation. Content can organize chronologically or by categories and has the added SEO benefit of targeting long-tail keyword searches.

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If you have social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc., consider linking to these accounts either in your header or footer global navigation.

Tutorial Coming Soon

Create a privacy statement that explains the ways in which your website gathers, uses, discloses, and manages a customer or client’s data. Link to this privacy statement in your site’s footer.

Tutorial Coming Soon

Advanced

Ensure your images are saved with descriptive file names before uploading to your server. Avoid filenames like image00456.jpg in favor of descriptive filenames like city-skyline-dusk.jpg.

Tutorial Coming Soon

Technical SEO

A CDN (Content Delivery Network) is a network of servers around the globe that will improve site load time by choosing servers closer to users geographically. I recommend Cloudflare and their free CDN solution.

Tutorial Coming Soon

Caching will drastically improve page load times by saving data (HTML, images, etc.) when it’s first loaded so that it can load quicker if requested again. For WordPress, I recommend using WP Super Cache plugin

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Large images sizes are one of the biggest culprits driving down your page load speed. Ensure your site’s images are compressed without noticeable sacrifice to picture quality. For WordPress users, I recommend using WP Smush Pro for an automated way to bulk compress your site’s images.

Tutorial Coming Soon

Minifying your code will remove excess white spaces that aren’t integral for executing properly, increasing page load speed. For WordPress users, I recommend Hummingbird plugin to automagically minify your files.

Also, consider removing excess CSS code that is not being executed. Here is a good article on how to increase load time by finding and deleted unused CSS code.

Tutorial Coming Soon

According to a 2014 announcement, Google prioritizes pages using HTTPS encryptions. HTTPS/SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) provides a safer browsing experience for users. Many hosting providers can install an SSL Certificate on your website for you.

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Find all instances of 404 errors on your website and redirect those error pages to more appropriate landing pages (or to the homepage). I recommend using a product like Screaming Frog to download a report of your site’s 404’s, then edit your site’s .htaccess to add 301 redirects.

Read My Tutorial

A sitemap is exactly what it sounds like – a map of your website and the order of its pages. In order for engines like Google and Bing to index your site, they have automated crawling methods that check for all of the pages and store what they find. However, these methods aren’t perfect, so creating a sitemap to guide the indexing process helps to ensure that all of your pages are found and indexed correctly.

I currently use the Google XML Sitemaps Plugin for WordPress.

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Once you have completed the Create a Sitemap section of The SEO Checklist, submit it to Google to ensure that your website is fully and correctly indexed.

Visit your Google Search Console Account > Select Your Website > Crawl on the left side bar > Sitemaps > Add/Test Sitemap > Enter the Sitemap > Submit

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Once you have completed the Create a Sitemap section of The SEO Checklist, submit it to Bing to ensure that your website is fully and correctly indexed.

Visit your Webmaster Account > Dashboard > “Sitemaps” Widget > Submit a Sitemap

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Surprisingly, web hosting services aren’t required to backup your websites for you, so if something goes wrong, it’s on you. You can schedule times to backup manually, but I recommend using Updraft Plus for WordPress to set up automated weekly backups of all databases and files.

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SCHEMA is a markup language you may add to your webpage that is read by all search engines to more accurately contextualize elements on a page. Think of SCHEMA as a common vocabulary to help identify things like author names, review ratings, dates, etc. For example, the review stars that you see under certain Amazon products in a Google search is SCHEMA at work.

To get started using SCHEMA, I recommend using Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.
Using this tool, follow the steps to identify specific elements on your webpage, and Google will generate the necessary HTML for you.

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Ensure there is a language tag above the <head> of your website to ensure that Google is only serving your content to users that speak your target language. If your site is in English, confirm that the language tag <lang=”en-us”> is implemented on your site to prevent Google from serving your content to French speakers, for example.

Pro tip: If your website serves content in multiple languages, use the Hreflang attribute to help Google identify the correct version of your webpage for a user’s primary language.

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A favicon is the small icon or logo that is commonly displayed in the tab on the top of browsers nect to the page’s title and next to bookmarks. Having a favicon shows your professionalism and differentiates your site from the users’ other open tabs or bookmarks. Favicons are typically 16×16 pixels and can be installed by being linked in the section of your HTML. There are even plenty easy-to-use favicon generators, so you don’t have to be graphic designer to create one.

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Mobile-Friendly

Test that your website is mobile responsive using Google’s Mobile Friendly Test. Ensure your website is using responsive CSS coding to dynamically display the right layouts for varying size screens. Clickable elements, such as links, should be sized properly and with enough spacing to accommodate fingers.

Less optimal: If your root domain is not using responsive CSS and instead using a subdomain for mobile (ie. http://m.example.com), signal the relationship between two URLs by tag with rel=”canonical” and rel=”alternate” elements. Read more on using sub-domains has an alternative to responsive CSS here.

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Citations & Directories

Create a Google My Business Account using the same Google Account that is linked to your Google Search Console. From here, you can claim your business and follow the steps to verify. Once completed, you’ll be free to manage all aspects of your Google Business listing.

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Search for your business on Bing Places for Business and click Claim. From there, you can manage all of your business’s information. You can also add your business if it isn’t already listed.

I recommend signing up for Moz Local who will automatically claim your Bing listing as well as other top-tier directories.

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Head to Yelp’s Business Page and search for your company. Find your listing and click the claim button. From there, you’ll be prompted to create a Yelp Business Account. Once claimed, Yelp may call the listed business number to verify that you’re the one claiming the business.

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Improve local SEO by ensuring your businesses information is listed completely and accurately on many directory websites like yellowpages.com, yelp.com, foursquare.com, and more. I recommend using online services like MozLocal & Whitespark Citation Building for reasonably priced outsourcing.

Read My Tutorial

Whitespark Citation Building
Moz Local
Express Update

Search for your business name in the Apple Maps app. If your listing isn’t present or has errors, tap the ‘information’ icon at the top-right to “Add a Place” or “Report an Issue”.

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Advanced

Head over to Angie’s List Business Center to find your company by searching the name and zip code. Once you have found your business, select it and create your account for future use.

There are over 550 business categories, but among the most popular are home remodeling, roofing, plumbing, and medical services.

Coming Soon

Thumbtack is a great resource for you to get leads and clients as well as build backlinks to your site. Fill out the questionnaire at Thumbtack Join as a Pro to get your business listed.

Thumbtack has many different industries, but a few notable ones are photography/videography and health-related services such as physical therapy.

Coming Soon

Linkbuilding

By sponsoring a local sports team, charity, or other nonprofit organization, you have a chance to gain a link while making an impact in the community. Additionally, you may find that organizations that you already sponsor may not be linking to you, but are willing to if you just ask.

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A great way to get links is to find any mentions of your brand on the web and ask the author to link the branded text back to your site. However, be careful how you word your email because they don’t have to link to you, even if it’s a direct quote.

Moz’s Fresh Web Explorer is a good tool to find any existing mentions of your brand on the internet.

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I recommend using a blog directory such as Best of the Web Blogs or Blog Search Engine to discover local blogs, forums, and subreddits to become active on. Ensure that your contributions are genuinely useful and don’t come off as overly promotional or as blatant advertisement for your business. On the other hand, encourage these niche and local blog owners to link back to your website where relevant. Keep systems and schedules that ensure you are regularly discovering and checking in on local niche bloggers.

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Creating linkable content is all about creating value. If you create a truly valuable asset, links will happen more organically and you’ll have a mutually beneficial reason to outreach for backlinks. Similarly to the Niche Infographic section of The SEO Checklist, strive to create a blog post/checklist/how-to guide/etc. that is unique in its design, voice, information, accessibility, or aggregation.

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Many news stories require expert testimonies or interviews when they’re based around a very specific subject. Being an expert that can be quoted in the article may likely earn you additional exposure and possibly a link through the publication. PR Newswire’s Profnet is a paid membership in which you can register yourself as an expert and have the media come to you if a big story breaks in your area of expertise.

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The sites that are linking to your competitors may also be willing to link to you. I recommend using Moz’s Open Site Explorer Tool to discover every site and directory that links back to your competition. With a list of those domains and webpages, you’ll be able to comb through individually and consider whether your business could also get links on these sites – even if it means reaching out directly to their authors and webmasters.

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Besides the obvious fact that you’ll gain the adoration of many broke students and their families, scholarships are also a linkbuilding opportunity. Many schools have scholarship sections on their website, so you can use this to link back to a landing page on your site with more information.

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Social bookmarking sites such as Reddit, Digg, and StumbleUpon are websites that allow user created content. Because the content is user generated, businesses have the ability to post backlinks to their own site. Therefore, the SEO impact of social bookmarking has unquestionably gone down in the past few years. It’s best to just become an active user on the sites related to your company’s niche and drop a link to your site only when it will add genuine value and won’t be seen as spammy or overly promotional.

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.Edu websites are a highly trusted source of backlinks. If you have a passion for speaking, donating, or contributing in other ways to your alma mater as an alumnus, research the ways in which you can become involved that would earn you a link on the university’s website.

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By creating a useful and shareable infographic about a specific topic, you’re creating a linkable asset that may generate links as well as grow exposure through new audiences. Outreach and share your infographic to niche blogs, subreddits, or news organizations that would find your infographic valuable.

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Join the discussion by posting comments on related blogs, forums, and subreddits, including a link back to your site. Tread carefully with this tactic as it can be frowned upon and viewed as spammy on certain sites. Make sure that you’re on-topic with your comment and don’t come off as self-promoting or advertising. If your comment comes off that way, there’s a chance that it will be deleted by moderators.

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Just like you understand the value of testimonials for your business, other companies do too. That’s why reaching out to provide a testimonial for a product or service that you use may ultimately lead to a feature or link on their website. If you’re going to write a testimonial, take the time to write one that speaks to the entire customer journey. A high-value testimonial like this will add more value to their business and will increase the likelihood of your testimonial being featured.

Read My Tutorial

Reviews & Reputation

If you’re following the SEO Checklist in order (you should be), then you’ve already created accounts for many review sites such as Google Business, Yelp Business, and Angie’s List. So, now it’s time to start getting some reviews! This can be done by simply asking your customers for reviews and making it as easy as possible. Ideally, direct your customer to a quick link or on-site widget through a follow-up email or SMS.

If you are incentivizing your customers to review your business, only ask for honest testimonials and don’t manipulate customers into writing only positive reviews. That’s not cool.

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While it may be tempting to focus just on the positive reviews for your business, ensure that you respond to every review that you receive, including the negative ones. Responding to all reviews shows your professionalism to potential customers and gives you a chance to address any mistakes or issues that may have caused the bad review.

Coming Soon

Social Media

Head over to Facebook Business > Create a Page > select your business type > fill out form > Get Started. Easy as that. Your page is now completed and you can start posting away!

Invite your friends, family, and past customers to follow your page. Only use this platform to share valuable content and avoid being overly spammy or self promotional or people may unfollow you.

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Create an account for your business from the Twitter homepage. Be prepared to enter a username, email address, password, and profile picture for your account. Once created, you’ll be free to start posting and running ad campaigns.

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Once you have created your own personal LinkedIn account with your business’s verified email address, head over to LinkedIn Business. Click Create a Company Page > enter company name and LinkedIn URL > Create Page

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Download the Instagram app on your iPhone or Android. Since Facebook owns Instagram, you have the option to sign up with your Facebook account, but I recommend using your business email as this will be your company’s account. Sign up with a phone number or email > enter email address > enter business name and password > create username > add profile picture. You’re all set to start sharing amazing photos and videos!

Pro tip: Instagram users are very discerning and critical of low-quality content. As a general rule, if the content isn’t extremely high quality, best not post it at all.

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Foursquare is an online directory that lists businesses and allows customers to check-in and share their location with friends in real time.

I recommend setting up FourSquare through MozLocal. See The SEO Checklist > Citations & Directories > Build Citations for more information on MozLocal.


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If you have a personal account, log out of it and head to Pinterest Business. Join as a Business > Fill out the form including your Business Type and Website > Continue and now you’re ready to start Pinteresting!

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Additional Tips

Write copy that focuses on how the products and services of your business will benefit the customer directly. Remember that the customer is the hero of the story, not you. Visit the Customer Focus Calculator to test your website’s copy.

Read The Tutorial

Instead of customizing or editing core files of your WordPress site (like functions.php, header.php, or style.css), use a Child Theme to prevent conflicts within your code that may occur while updating to newer versions of your theme, WordPress, or plugins. A Child Theme uses duplicated files from your Parent Theme that don’t get overwritten during an update. This means that all of your hard work and customization won’t be lost.

Coming Soon

Having the copyright year of your website updated is crucial to showing users that you own the material and that the site is
routinely updated. Make sure that the year is updated. If someone else does these tasks for you, reach out to them.
It’s an easy, yet very important change to make.

This can, and should, be done automatically with a little bit of coding. I simply put “Copyright © <?php echo date(“Y”); ?>” into the footer.php to ensure that it will be changed every year without having to manually do it.

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Monthly & Recurring Tasks

Ensure that you’re running the latest version of your CMS platform (i.e. WordPress). Updating from an outdated version may improve your site security and reduce any potential conflicts with plugins. Many platforms will notify you when a new version is available, so log into your dashboard and follow the prompts to update.

Note: Updating your platform may cause conflicts with any customized plugins or theme, so backup your website and database before updating.

Shortcut

I use WordPress
I use Joomla
I use Open Cart
More coming soon.

Updating outdated plugins may improve your site security and reduce any potential conflicts with your platform or theme.

Note: Be aware that updating a plugin may overwrite any customization made to that plugin.

Shortcut

I use WordPress
I use Joomla
I use Open Cart
More coming soon.

I recommend using an automated site security tool like Sucuri’s Website Security Platform and Firewall. Their services will notify you sooner of security breaches and help remove malicious code.

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Keeping the backend of your site clean makes it easier to manage and improves site speed, so schedule regular intervals to review and delete unused plugins and themes.

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Sometimes an idea just doesn’t work out and you’re stuck with the remnants in the form of a draft. These can add up fast and may clutter the backend of your website. Go through your drafts, ensure you won’t want or need them in the future before deleting them. Who knows, maybe there’s a hidden gem in one of your drafts that you simply forgot about.

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A high bounce rate on a page is a red flag that something may be wrong with how the page loads or that the content isn’t matching users’ expectations. I recommend visiting Google Analytics > Behavior > Overview > view full report to review your highest trafficked pages and compare their bounce rates to look for red flags.

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Broken internal links are hyperlinks on your website that for whatever reason no longer correctly link to their intended page.
Often this happens when a page that is linked to gets deleted or the URL structure changes. I’m sure you understand why broken links are bad – they negatively affect both SEO and conversion rate. So, it’s best practices to regularly check for and fix broken internal links. This can be done manually, but I recommend using one of the many online broken link checkers like Atomseo’s Tool or Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider.

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Assuming that you have a blog with a comment section, there’s a high chance that you’ll get spam comments. Review your articles’ comments and ensure that users aren’t just trying to drop a link to their site. Not all comments with links are spam, though. Use your best judgment to determine if the comment and link are on-topic and add value to your article.

Coming Soon

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Find all instances of 404 errors on your website and redirect those error pages to more appropriate landing pages (or to the homepage). I recommend using a product like Screaming Frog to download a report of your site’s 404’s, then edit your site’s .htaccess to add 301 redirects.

Read My Tutorial

Continually check your website using Google’s Mobile Friendly Test. This is especially important whenever you make changes to your site. Set up a recurring reminder on your calendar to check the mobile friendliness of your site as well as checking after changes to ensure your users are seeing what you want them to see.

With so many different size phones and tablets out there, it can be difficult to ensure your website displays properly on all screens. I
recommend dragging the width of your browser to different sizes to quickly check responsiveness across different device widths.

Coming Soon

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Did I miss something? Suggest a tip in the comment section below.