What is SEO and how it works in 2021: Full SEO checklist guide to rule google!

In this article, you’ll get the most detailed SEO Checklist for FREE!

So, if you want,

Higher Ranking.

Converting Traffic.

Then, I promise that you are the most perfect place for that.

So, without any further ado let’s directly dive into this article.

What to do after starting a website?

Here are some great plugin and tools that you should definitely set up before starting your website.

1. Set up your google search console.

Some YouTube SEO experts say that Google Search Console helps google to know that your website exists.

However, this is not true google can recognise your website without submitting it on google search console but submitting it just fastens the process.

Free SEO Checklist 2021 to rank your website on number 1 in 2021

Google Search Console is not just a tool to submit your site to google or to monitor errors of your website.

But it is a very powerful SEO tool for you as well.

It tells you on which keyword your website is showing up on Google.

Some useful features of GSC (Google Search Console):

  • See which keyword brings more impressions or clicks.
  • Submit a sitemap.
  • Fix the website errors.
  • Manual indexing.
  • Lot’s more.

In short if you are serious about ranking on google then the first step to it is setting up GSC.

Bonus: In GSC, see those keywords which are bringing more impressions and very less number of clicks.

And, accommodate it inside your SEO title, meta description, body of your article and permalink as well.

It will tell google that you have optimized your post for that keyword and would help you to ranker and get more clicks.

2. Set up the Bing Webmaster Tools.

After setting up, GSC set up the Bing Webmaster Tool as well.

Now, most of the SEO experts including the Neil Patel says that ruling Google is equals to ruling Google itself.

But that is not fully true.

Free SEO Checklist 2021 to rank your website on number 1 in 2021

However, till now upto third of all the searches are done on Bing search engine. So, it makes it worth optimizing for.

Also, it has some 90 features as well as build in keyword research tool too.

3. Setup Google Analytics.

Google analytics is one of the best way to know how people interact and find your website.

Free SEO Checklist 2021 to rank your website on number 1 in 2021

Some great features of Google Analytics are:

  • See how much traffic you are getting from google.
  • Find the pages that bring the most traffic on your website.
  • See if your website’s traffic is increasing or not (and by how much).
  • Identify the sources of your traffic.
  • Your website’s bounce rate, page views and time on site.

Pro-tip: You can connect your Google Analytics and Google Search Console together to see valuable SEO tips inside your Google Analytics account.

4. Install Yoast SEO (WordPress Users).

Yoast is the most famous and value providing Yoast SEO on this whole planet.

How to use yoast SEO plugin in wordpress

It is so because even in the free version it completes your whole on page SEO needs.

Also, it not helps making your content readable and on page optimised but also it helps in the technical SEO stuff such as robots.txt and sitemaps.

Keyword Research Checklist.

Keyword Research is the basic building blocks in SEO.

However, it is not advised to do keyword stuffing which can cause a problem in ranking of your website.

There are in total four types of keywords.

  • Branded Intent: This is a type of keywords are keywords which is generally the name of a famous person such as, Neil Patel or Brian Dean.
  • Informational Intent: It tells that the people who are searching on Google want to gain knowledge of something.
  • Commercial Intent: This is the most lucrative and converting audience which would surely convert but want some knowledge first.
  • Buyer Intent: This keyword is a sure shot conversion because the people searching for it mostly gets converted.

If you are selling some product you can use commercial intent keywords.

And if you are making any informative content then use informational intent keywords for it.

You might ask that why commercial intent keywords should be targeted instead of buyer intent one in product related posts?

It is because for most buyer intent keywords the company website appears on the first position.

Also, people don’t just type buyer intent keywords much because before buying the product they want to have ample details about it.

And that is the reason why I prefer commercial intent keywords more.

Here are some super methods of doing keyword research that I personally use as well.

1. Discover Long Tail Keyphrase from “Google Suggest”.

One of the best way to get Long tail keywords is to get it from google suggest.

Free SEO Checklist 2021 to rank your website on number 1 in 2021

Here is the way to use it:

1: Type the keyword in Google.

2: Don’t press enter or “Google search” button.

3: Incorporate these search terms in your heading, content, meta description.

These are “Google suggest keywords”. These keywords come in straight from google search so you know that people are searching for them.

It means that they are great keywords to optimize site for google.

Pro Tip: Check out Keywordtool.io because it gives you a wide variety of google suggest keywords for different related keywords of the phrase you have entered there.

2. Solid Keywords with Google Keyword Planner.

The Google keyword planner is Google’s official keyword research tool.

Keyword Planner : How to use it for keyword research

However, this is mainly designed for Google adwords. This is quite good for SEO keyword research as well.

After all the data it fetches is from google itself so it accurate as well.

3. Tap Into Online Communities.

Online communities are a great way to find the untapped keywords that any of the keyword tool can’t give you.

Some great online communities are reddit, quora and forums are the best things to get these untapped keywords.

You can get the forum according to your niche by the following syntax.

“Niche + Forum”.

Here is a video from Brian Dean of Backlinko:

4. Identify Low Competition Keywords with Ahrefs.

Ahrefs is a premium buy keyword research and SEO tool available in the market.

It is according to many SEO experts is the best SEO tool available in the market.

I personally use it from a genuine group buy seo tool website because it is quite expensive from its own website.

Free SEO Checklist 2021 to rank your website on number 1 in 2021

It just cost 300 Rs which is a very minimal amount and also nowadays in order to get ranked on google you need a good keyword tool which is ahref.

There are many options for keyword research such as:

  • Keyword difficulty.
  • Search Volume.
  • CPC.
  • Estimated Visits.
  • Word count in Keyword.

Also, the great advantage of this tool is that you can easily set the limit of the options that I have listed above.

For example, if you want to only have keyword which has more than 3 words can be easily set with this tool.

This will help you to get low competition keywords.

Pro tip: You can make backlinks with the help of this tool through ahrefs backlink checker from your competitors website.

Click here to buy Ahref at 300 rs

5. Find “Questions” From Answer The Public.

Question keywords are becoming the integral part of the SEO strategy in 2021. You can use them as FAQ or can also use as the main heading or sub headings as well.

(For example: “How to do SEO”).

And the most easy way to find it is from the Answer the Public.

This free tools gives the questions that people search online.

How to use answer the public seo tool
Free Seo Checklist 2021.

Also, you can use the questions generated by the google search as well.

Incorporate and answer these questions within your content.

Pro Tip Most of you might know that it is really hard to find good Vs. keywords.

But if you are able to find these then these are really gold keywords.

And you can easily find these keywords from Answer the Public just press Ctrl + F and type vs and click enter.

It will highlight the vs section of ATP which will give you a lot of great low competition vs keywords.

Free On Page SEO Checklist.

Now the time has come to learn on page SEO proven techniques.

If you want to implement these techniques then you need a blog and here is an A to Z guide on blogging by me!

1. Include your Keyword in Permalink.

The permalink or the URL is the first thing that helps crawler of google to understand the content of the page.

And a keyword rich URL means better click through rate of people.

See the keyword of this post. I have made a post with target/main keyword SEO checklist and used the same URL as well.

Simple as that.

2. Use Short URls.

Use your URLs as short as possible from two to 4 words. Also, use only dashes between the words.

Free SEO Checklist 2021 to rank your website on number 1 in 2021

An analysis of backlinko of 11.8 million URLs showed that short URL rank better and outrank long URLs as well.

3. Front Load Your Main Keyword In Title.

It is not a hidden truth that you should use your main keyword in the SEO title.

But not many people don’t know where it matters the most.

Free SEO Checklist 2021 to rank your website on number 1 in 2021

In short and sweet words put it at the starting for better results.

For example if, I am using SEO checklist 2021 as my target keyword. Then, I would surely put it at the starting of the SEO title.

4. Title Tag Modifiers.

The sad truth about the majority of the keyword research tool won’t give you the long term keywords.

So, how can you find it or I should say make it because by adding tag modifiers you can add long tail keyword keyphrase.

Title tag modifiers to increase your ranking on google

Some modifiers are:

  • Best.
  • Current year (2020, 2021 etc).
  • Guide.
  • Checklist.
  • Review
  • Top 10 or 5 etc.

For example see my title tag which is “What is SEO and how it works in 2021: Full SEO checklist guide 2021

The words that I have marked in bold are the title tag modifiers.

5. Use Your Target Keyword in First 100 Words.

When the crawler visits your website it puts its full focus on the first 100 words of your content.

So, if you put your target keyword there it would help the crawler to know on which content the page is based on.

However, some plugins in wordpress such as Yoast suggest that you should use your target keyword in the first paragraph itself.

See my main keyword is in the first paragraph which is free SEO checklist 2021.

Free SEO Checklist 2021 to rank your website on number 1 in 2021
Free Seo Checklist 2021.

You can use it but if it doesn’t make any sense there and your are just forcing it there then I will suggest not to use it.

For example in my post of reasons to use social media marketing. I have used its main keyword “why social media marketing is important” in the first paragraph itself as you can see in this picture.

6. Use Your Keywords in H1, H2 and H3 Headings.

Make sure to include your main keywords in at least 2 – 3 subheading of your blog post.

You may have seen I myself has used it in this blog post.

For example, one subheading of this post is free on-page SEO checklist which contains my main keyword free SEO checklist in it. It is in H2 tag.

Also, I should tell you that if your main keyword is in bigger heading tag more importance is given to it by google.

Free SEO Checklist 2021 to rank your website on number 1 in 2021

I know it may sound complicated, so let’s take an example that you have written a blog about how to use social media marketing and its main keyword is social media marketing.

Now, take two possibilities that in scenario you have used this keyword in H2 tag and in next scenario it is used in H3 tag.

Which one would rank higher on google for this keyword?

It would be H2 because google gives more priority to the keywords in H2 tag than H3 one.

Google priority list.


It doesn’t make any big dent in the google algorithm for ranking. However, when it comes for search engine optimisation every bit matters.

7. Have a Correct Heading Order.

This tip is for new bloggers because they make this mistake which lead to lower ranking of their website on google.

Correct heading order in your blog post matters a lot because first thing it improves the reader reading experience and also maintains content hierarchy.

Heading order to follow in blog posts

So, here is the correct order for heading in your blog post:

  • H1 tag only in the main heading.
  • H2, H3, H4 can be used many times.
  • Start with H2 and then decrease to H3, H4, H5 etc as the sub-sub headings.

8. Optimize Images.

As, many people including my mentor Mr. Neil Patel says that a image says thousand words.

However, bad luck for google and blind persons who can’t see the images like the human with eye can.

So, to help google and blind persons to understand images you have to optimize and add keywords to the title and description of images as well.

Free SEO Checklist 2021 to rank your website on number 1 in 2021

And in return it would help your website to rank on google images and google as well.

Here are the tips to optimize images:

  • First, put you main keyword in the the title when you are saving an image which your are going to use in your blog.
  • After, that when you have used this image on your blog post don’t forget to use your main keyword in the meta description of the image as well.

9. Use Synonyms or LSI keywords.

5 to 10 years back there was a concept called as “keyword stuffing”.

It means that if you use the same keyword a lot of times it would help you to get ranked on this keyword.

However, google is now smarter than ever in 2021.

So, if you want to rank on google don’t use the same keyword for 1000 times. Rather than use its synonyms or google suggestions keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI).

However, it is a good practice to use the main keyword a few times in the blog post and use its synonyms as well.

How to use LSIgraph.com to generate LSI keywords
Free Seo Checklist 2021.

For example, a keyword is “How to make money online”. Some of its similar keyphrase are:

  • How to make money online for free.
  • How to make money online for beginner.
  • Make money online from home.

You get the idea right!

Now, you can use some google suggested keywords that I have previously mentioned in this blog post.

Also, you can use LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords from the tool LSIgraph.com.

You just have to put the your main keyword and you’ll get LSI keywords related to it. Then just add some of them in the heading or subheadings of your post.

10. Link to Other Websites.

Make sure that do have the link of 5-8 websites on your blog post.

For example in this list of SEO tactics, I have linked to websites like backlinko or neilpatel.com which is one of the great and quality marketing sites.

Free SEO Checklist 2021 to rank your website on number 1 in 2021

Also, if you are linking to some website with do follow link you can mail them and ask to share the link of your post on their social media or ask them to link your back as well.

It tells google that you are trying to create a trustworthy environment between the websites that is on google. And it will help you to rank higher.

11. Use Internal Links.

This is super duper important for the growth of your website.

Whenever, you are publishing content do link 3-5 other content within your blog posts.

Pro tip: Use keyword rich anchor text as internal link for better results.

For example, see how I used the keyword “why social media marketing is important” within my content.

12. Unique and Valuable Content.

This tip is super important because most of the SEO ‘gurus’ will tell you to write unique content on your blog.

But the catch is that they are very less legit SEO people which will tell you to make valuable content.


Here’s what I mean,

Unique Content means that if you are writing article on a topic such as “Paleo Diet” then you have to write about this in your own language.

You can take the topics that are already mentioned in the article ranking on Google in Top 10 for this term.

But on the other hand, a content becomes truly valuable if your content have

  • A unique tip that is not mentioned in top 10.
  • Case study.
  • Branded name technique.
  • Original research paper.

And if you are in a B2B space like me then you should take inspiration from Brain Dean from Backlinko.

He has freaking created a list post of all the 200 ranking factors of Google.

It tells how much his content is unique and most importantly valuable which is the main reason of his dominance on SEO industry.

Technical SEO Checklist.

Technical SEO has hitted me hard in the past and through this blog I will ensure that you won’t get beaten by it. Just follow these tips:

1. Identify Crawl Errors.

A crawl error as the name suggests means that the crawler of google has some problem in seeing that page.

Also, if they can’t see the page they won’t rank it too.

Free SEO Checklist 2021 to rank your website on number 1 in 2021

You can easily see these errors in Google Search Console’s “Coverage” report.

If you see these kinds of error on any of your website’s page then I would recommend to fix it ASAP!

2. Find Out How Google Sees your Page.

Sometimes there are some problems in which the user can see your page but Google can’t.

And if Google can’t see it then it won’t rank that post.

Free SEO Checklist 2021 to rank your website on number 1 in 2021

You can see if google has indexed your page or not by using Search Console’s “Inspect URL” feature on the top.

It will tell you how google sees your page. And if your page is not indexed then you can use the feature of manual indexing as well.

3. Mobile Friendliness.

Google has made an algorithm of “Mobile First Indexing”.

It means that your website first index for mobile version then for desktop version.

If you website isn’t optimized for mobile then you are losing a big portion of your ranking.

How to check that your website is mobile friendly or not through google search console

Pro tip: Use AMP to reduce the loading time of your website so that you can index faster on mobile devices.

You can also test mobile friendliness of your website on Search Console’s “Mobile-Friendly Test”.

Put the URL of your website and get the answer as “Yes” or “No”.

4. Broken Links.

Broken links can really hurt your SEO practices.

These are the links of your posts on some other website which you have removed from your website but is still on the other website.

It hurts your ranking very badly.

Broken links can hurt your google ranking

However, how to remove it is the main question. The best way for it is to use DrLinkCheck.com.

It is free to use and scan your website for broken link.

5. Secure It with HTTPS.

HTTPS is a now confirmed Google ranking signal and also adds additional security of your website.

So, in 2021 you are not on HTTPS then you surely move yourself to it.

Or if you are new user then start you website with HTTPS.

6. Loading Time of Your Site.

Does your site load fast enough?

If not it could be a sign of problem for your website and can also hurt your ranking as well.

In shared hosting like me the ideal time for load of a site is around 2 to 4 seconds.

To check your loading time and other metrics such as Largest Contentful Paint etc you should head over either to Page Speed Insights or to Gtmetrix.

First let’s talk about Page Speed Insights.

It is a free tool from google itself and it helps you to know what are the errors that are causing error in your web metrics as well as loading time.

Tools to check the speed of your website

You just have to put the URL of your website there and you’ll get the results straight.

The next tool is gtmetrix.

This tool checks your site from the perspective of the real human user who visit your website and that is the best things about gtmetrix which other speed checker tools doesn’t have.

You can also change the location where they are checking the speed of your website.

And if you ask me which tool I prefer page speed insights or gtmetrix. Then, I will always chose gtmetrix over any other tool.

Off Page SEO Checklist.

Now, in 2021 if you want to rank on the first position in google then link building is a must.

Google has even confirmed that backlinks are one of their 3 top ranking signals.

However, building links to the great high quality sites is not easy (that is the reason why most SEO experts skip it).

In this section I’ll tell you how to do link building.

1. Guest Posting.

Guest posting is a great way to get backlinks super effectively.

The right and wrong way to do guest post.

Right way: Publish the guest post on the respected sites in your niche.

Wrong way: Publish guest post on any site which has a “write on us” page.

However, the best website to do guest post is the one which give you backlink as well as good traffic too.

Guest posting can help get you backlinks as well as decent amount of traffic
Free Seo Checklist 2021.

So, here is the two way how to make guest post:

  • Do guest post on those site which have reputation in your similar niche.
  • Guest post should be meant for backlink as well as decent traffic.

2. Take the Competitors Backlinks.

Why reinvent the fire when fire has been invented by other people?

Same is in the case of link building as well.

Why you should have to kept other website similar in your niche asking for backlinks when your competitor have done it?

For this you have to use link analysis tool.

I personally use Ahrefs.

If you want to buy it then you can visit this page to get it in 300 Rs.

The steps to find backlinks from Ahrefs are:

  • Go to the tool.
  • Put your competitor’s URL there.
  • Finally, try hard to get as many links as you can.

Same procedure is with a freemium tool on moz.com called link explorer.

How to use link intersact feature of ahrefs to create backlinks
Free Seo Checklist 2021.

Pro tip: You can use link intersect feature of ahrefs to get to know which site gives backlinks to two of your competitors so that you can approach them too.

You have to mail them to their mail in this format:

“Hey XYZ,

I got to know that your website has linked to this article on (article topic) from (competitor’s website name).

I have similar kind of post on my website (Link to your article) which has X,Y and Z topics which this article from (competitor’s website name).

It would help your audience to get more insight (topic of your post).



I know it is tough but it will increase your ranking as well.

3. Link Roundups.

Now, this technique is from Brian Dean of Backlinko. Sorry sir for copying your content😁.

There are many website which publishes daily, weekly or monthly content only the purposes for giving links.

LInk roundup feature to get links of your post easily

These types of blog post are called round ups.

You can have your place there by finding these kinds of website and sending out mail to them.

Here are some string to find them:

“your keyword” + “link roundup”

“your keyword” + roundup

“Keyword” + “best of”

“your keyword” + this week

Next step, pitch your content to the owner of these sites.

Here is the script:

” Hi XYZ,

Recently came across to your Saturday roundup. Great stuff!

I am reaching out to you because I have recently published a blog that might be a good fit (topic of your blog you want link for with link inserted).

Either way, keep up publishing the awesome content.



In this way you’ll get the link.

4. Become a Podcast Guest.

Podcast have become a great part of today’s world. People are doing it one spotify and Youtube.

However, some of the people are doing it on their website as well.

It is quite similar to guest post but this type is not as article.

You have to find those people who does podcasts on their website.

How podcast can help you get links of your blog easily!
Free Seo Checklist 2021.

Then, similar to guest post pitch them for podcast and also tell on which topic you’ll give podcast on.

And if they liked then you’ll get a sweet backlink and traffic as well.

Yes, I know it is somewhat difficult but it totally worth it.

5. Mention Influencer and Reputed Bloggers in Your Post.

This is the simpler way of either getting links or social shares.

Here are the steps for it:

  • Mention influencers or reputed blog of your niche in your blog.
  • Publish it and then send them mail asking for either social share or backlinks.

Here is the structure of that mail:

“Hey XYZ,

I have recently mentioned your (social media account or blog) in my blog post.

(Link of your blog post mentioning them)

As you can see, in this blog I really liked (find some good things about their social media or blog and write it here) on your blog or social media account.

If you liked this article, then don’t forget to share it on your social web as well.

Keep up the good work.



Free Seo Checklist 2021.

Most of the time the person would be happy to share it on their social media.

Frequently Asked Questions.

What are SEO requirements?

1. Have a proper wordpress hosting and domain.
2. Website should be mobile friendly.
3. Website should be fast enough. You can minify CSS and JS to do so.
4. Have HTTPS.
5. Well optimised images on blog posts.

Are lists good for SEO?

Lists is quite good for readability of the readers and also increases the user experience which increases SEO of your website.

Is SEO easy to learn?

SEO is easy as well as hard to learn. The easy and hard thinking is a relative thing if you have interest in SEO. Then it is easy for you but if you don’t have interest then it is difficult.

Can I learn SEO by myself?

No, you can’t because to learn something you don’t know you require a teacher to teach you that. I prefer Neil Patel, Kritish Vyas videos on youtube to learn SEO.


So, here is the full checklist that you will require if you want to start learning SEO.

In this article I have also covered some advanced tips too so for this effort every social share is appreciated.

Also, do note these tips or bookmark this website to regularly read these kind of guides free of cost.

Also, comment down the point which you liked the most from this blog post.

And if you have any query regarding SEO, blogging or have any query related to this post then the comment box is empty fill it.

Also, if you want me to do the SEO, blogging at your website at free of cost then you can contact me on [email protected]

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