Google rankings For competitive keywords, like Keyword, Research, Tools and SEO Campaign – I’m Brian Dean, the founder of Backlinko and in this article I’m Going to walk you through my entire SEO checklist step-by-step keep reading. When I first got started with SEO, I had no idea what I was doing So I started to search for things like how to get higher Google rankings and how to SEO my site and Despite following all the advice that I read, my traffic didn’t budge, It was really frustrating (, growls ).
I hate you, Google. Today my site brings In hundreds of thousands of visits per month, mostly from Google and major media sites, like Entrepreneur, have called me “ an SEO genius” My secret. I developed a repeatable, step-by-step SEO process and that’s exactly what I’m Going to share with you right now, So let’s kick things off with Step. # 1 of this SEO, Checklist Set Up Essential SEO Tools and Plugins.
Your first step is to Make sure that you have three important SEO tools: Set up and ready to go The first tool that Every site needs to have is the Google Search Console This tool makes it super easy to track your site’s Performance in Google, It can also help you find Technical SEO problems that are holding you back, But most important of all the Search Console shows You, the exact keywords that you rank for and Where you rank for them and unlike third party tools, this data comes straight from Google, so you know it’s legit.
The next tool you wan na Set up is Google Analytics. Google Analytics is the best way to see how people find And use your website, but that’s just scratching the surface With Google Analytics you Can do all sorts of cool stuff like find pages on your Site that bring you traffic identify the exact websites That send you traffic, your site’s Bounce Rate, Paid Views and Time on Site and lots more. Finally, if your site runs on WordPress, you need to install the Yoast SEO.
Plugin Yoast is by far the most popular Seo plugin on the planet and for good reason, Yoast makes it super easy. To make your WordPress site SEO friendly right, outta the box, And now it’s time for the Second, step in this Checklist Find Keywords That Customers Search For It’s no secret; that keyword Research is super important. The question is: how do you find keywords that your customers search for Here are three simple techniques? First find long tail, Keywords with Google Suggest To use this technique type The keyword into Google, but don’t press, enter Or the search button Instead take a look at the Keywords that Google shows you Google only suggests keywords that people are actually searching for.
So when you see a Google Search suggestion you know that lots of people Are searching for that term Next find keywords with The Google Keyword Planner, The Google Keyword Planner – is Google’s official Keyword, research tool: This tool is technically Designed for Google ads, but it’s still super useful For SEO keyword, research To use it just enter a seed keyword and check out the suggestions. That the tool spits out – That’s all there is to it Finally spy on online communities.
Fortunately, this isn’t As creepy as it sounds, I’m talking about reading Threads on sites like reddit, Quora and online forums, All you need to do is Head over to the community and find questions that Crop up again and again, For example, I noticed that A big chunk of the threads on the Paleo sub-reddit are all about Paleo and Keto desserts. So if you ran a site in the Paleo niche terms like best Paleo, desserts and Keto, friendly desserts would be great keywords to target With that, let’s jump into Step.
# 3 Keyword-Optimize, Your Content, So you’ve installed all Of the important SEO tools and you’ve found a handful of keywords Now, it’s time to actually Optimize your site, Here’s how first use your keyword in the first 100 words of your page, Google puts more weight on terms that show up at the top of your page, so make sure you use Your keyword once here, For example, on this post For my site, you can see that I use the term SEO Tools right off the bat Next use your keyword in the Beginning of your title tag Just like with your page’s content, Google puts a little bit of extra weight on terms that show up Early in your title tag, For example, my main keyword for this post is SEO case study and, as you can see, my title tag starts off with that keyword.
Third use short URLs that Include your target keyword: Why is this important? Well, a recent SEO industry study found a correlation between short URLs and higher Google rankings, so you’ll wan na keep your Urls short and sweet, For example, this post on my site uses a super short URL, and that short URL is one of the main reasons that this page ranks number one in Google for my target keyword SEO techniques Last up, you wan na use your keyword in A H1 H2 or H3 tag Honestly H-tags aren’t Really that important, but every little bit helps Especially if you’re trying to target competitive keywords, For example, my main keyword for this page is Content Marketing Tools.
So I use that exact keyword inside of an H2 tag, simple Moving right along. Let’s Quickly blast through the fourth step in this SEO, checklist Find and Fix Technical Seo Issues and Errors. The truth is technical SEO. Problems can tank your rankings, so if your site has Technical SEO problems you’ll wan na find and fix ‘Em right away, here’s how First make sure that your Site is mobile-friendly, As you might’ve heard, Google now runs on a mobile-first index.
Which means if your site isn’t optimized for mobile Devices it won’t rank What the heck. I can’t click anything. Fortunately, you can easily see your site’s mobile-friendliness with the Google Mobile-Friendly Test Just pop in a page from your Site and Google will tell you whether or not your Page is mobile-friendly Next ID crawl errors. A crawl error just means That Google is having trouble indexing all the content on your site and if they can’t index your page, it’s not going to rank.
You can easily find crawl errors in the Google Search Console. Using the Coverage Report Finally improve your site’s page speed. Your site’s loading speed is A confirmed, ranking factor Now to be clear. In my experience, page loading speed isn’t going to Make or break your rankings, but in general the faster Your site loads, the better To evaluate your site’s loading, speed check out Google’s PageSpeed Insights and WebPageTest.
Org Both tools give you a benchmark for how quickly your site loads. They also hook you up with recommendations to help you speed things up nice And now it’s time for our next step, Create Content Designed to Rank in Google, There’s no denying it if You wan na rank in Google. You need to publish great content, but what is great content exactly Uh? It’s content, that’s great. In my mind. Great content is content that actually ranks in Google, and now I’m going to show you exactly how to create the type of content that ranks on the first page of Google.
First create awesome content, With the Skyscraper Technique, The Skyscraper Technique – Is a three-step formula for creating amazing content? In fact, I used this technique to double my search engine. Traffic in two weeks, Here’s the three-step process First find a piece of content in your industry. That’s popular Next create something even better and finally promote that content. For example. Last year, I noticed that lots of people are writing.
About SEO for Ecommerce, so I decided to take what was out there and make something even better. Specifically, I spend 20-plus hours on an 8,000-word post called Ecommerce SEO. The Definitive Guide I promoted this post on social media and using email outreach And this three-step process brought in a massive spike in traffic. It also helped me crack The top three results for my target keyword: Ecommerce SEO; Second, break your Content down into chunks, because here’s the truth, No one and I mean no one likes reading giant walls of text like this.
That’s why I always break Things down into chunks, because it makes my content Super easy to read and skim and because my content is easy to read my Bounce Rate, a key Google ranking factor is super low. More on that later, Next make sure to cover everything there is to Know about your topic When I recently analyzed over a million Google search Results: one thing was clear: Content that covers an Entire topic in depth ranks above content that Only covers part of a topic, For example.
Remember that Ecommerce guide I mentioned earlier Well that ultimate guide could’ve been a lame blog post, like five Ways to get high rankings for your Ecommerce site, but I decided to create something that covered everything there is to know about optimizing. Ecommerce, Sites which helped my page hit the first page of Google, in record time, Besides making your content in-depth, you also wan na use lots of Multimedia on your page, I’m talkin’ about stuff Like images polls, visual content, articles, Charts and infographics, For example, I use lots of screenshots visuals and articles in Pretty much every post.
Finally, you want to double down on content formats that Are working best right now, I recently teamed up with BuzzSumo to analyze almost one billion blog posts. So what did we find? Well, there was some good News and some bad news: Let’s get the bad news outta the way The bad news is that most Content is completely ignored. In fact, we found that 94 % Of all published content gets zero external links, That’s right, zero.
Now for the good news, There are certain content formats that attract more backlinks than others. We found that why-posts what-posts and infographics get Significantly more backlinks than other content formats, For example this. Why Post has been linked to over 50,000 times. Obviously, you can’t Just publish a why-post or an infographic and Expect the links to roll in, but our data shows that sticking to these three content – Formats can increase the odds that people link to your stuff.
Speaking of links, it’s Time for the last step in this checklist Build Links to Your Website So are backlinks still important for SEO Heck yeah. In fact, a recent study by Stone Temple Consulting Found that backlinks are still one of Google’s most Important ranking factors The bottom line, if you’re serious about ranking in Google You need backlinks and lem me walk you through a handful of link-building strategies that are working great right now.
First, up build backlinks, Using link roundups Link roundups are one of My all-time favorite ways to get backlinks. Why? Because the entire point of a roundup is to link to amazing content. So if you publish something Amazing on your site, there’s a good chance that you could get a link from a roundup. For example, here’s a roundup In the marketing space They link to the best content about SEO and content marketing that came out over the last week or so Lucky.
For me, I had recently published a giant guide to SEO and because my post was a good fit for their roundup, they happily linked to me Next build links using Strategic guest posting, So why do I say: strategic guest posting and not just guest posting? It’s not to sound smart! That’s because guest posting can work, but you need to be strategic about it and if you do guest posting the wrong way, your site can get slapped.
With a Google penalty, So how do you do guest Posting the right way, The right way is to Publish your guest post on a respected site in your niche. The wrong way is to publish guest posts on any website that has A Write For Us page, even if the site has Nothing to do with yours, A good rule of thumb that I follow is to only guest post on sites that are going to send me targeted traffic and related to my site.
For example, here’s a guest post that I published on the Buffer blog Buffer’s blog focuses More on social media and my site is about SEO, but those two topics are related enough. If I publish the same post, On a site about cute cats, that would look shady to Google. Anyway, I got a solid Backlink for my post and it brought in a decent chunk of targeted traffic to my site. The next strategy I wan na show you is to go on podcasts as a guest.
This is one of the most underrated link-building techniques on the planet, Just like with a guest post, You get a nice contextual link from your podcast appearance, but unlike a guest post, There is much less legwork, You don’t need to pitch. Topics or work with an editor Just schedule your interview and show up and provide value. That’s it Because this strategy is so easy. I’ve actually appeared on Over 70 podcast episodes over the last few years.
Last up, we have the age-old strategy of mentioning influencers in your content. This process couldn’t be any simpler. First mention influential Bloggers in your post, Then let’em know about it Seriously. That’s it, For example, a while back. I published this giant list of SEO tools. Now I could’ve published this post and hoped and prayed that People actually see it, so I decided to be proactive, So I reached out to each person to let them know that I mentioned them and, as you can see most of the People that I reached out to were happy to share my post Now before we close out this article, it’s time for a quick bonus step Tap Into Advanced SEO.
Techniques and Strategies At this point you’ve got the basics down. So lem me walk you through a handful of advanced SEO tips and strategies that are working really well right. Now, My first advanced SEO tip is to delete what I call zombie pages. Zombie pages are pages on your site that don’t bring in any traffic and, as it turns out, Google hates sites with lots of zombie pages. In fact, a Google employee recently stated that they prefer to rank sites that have a small number Of high quality pages over those that are bloated with lots of pages that Don’t provide any value, That’s why I make sure that every page on my site is awesome.
In fact, Backlinko generates over 300,000 visitors. Per month and to date, I’ve only published around 70, total blog posts. How is this possible? It’s because when it comes to content, I focus 100 % on quality, not quantity. To be clear, you don’t Wan na start deleting pages like a crazy person. This is a process you wan na Do slow and carefully so use Google Analytics To find a handful of pages that don’t generate any traffic, then delete them or redirect Them to another related page, Wait a week or two to see how it goes Then, over the next few months, slowly delete more and more zombie pages.
For example, the team At Proven.Com noticed that they had almost 50,000 pages indexed way more than they thought, As it turned out a lot. Of these extra pages were zombie pages that Didn’t provide any value so they deleted them and thanks to this and a few other SEO, Improvements, they made Proven’s organic traffic. Significantly increased Our next advanced tip is to boost your organic Click-Through rate, As you might’ve heard, Google Pays very close attention to how many people click on Your site in the search results If people skip over your site and click on the other results, your rankings can drop like a stone, but if lots of people Click on your result, Google considers your page a Great result for that keyword and you’ll get a rankings boost.
In fact, a Google document states that “, when you click on a Link in Google Search “ Google considers your click “ when ranking that search result.”. So how do you improve your Organic click-through rate Scan the first page search results for your target keyword and imagine what someone searching for that keyword would want to click on Then optimize. Your Title tag and description to match what a searcher wants to see.
For example, if you search for article SEO you’ll notice that most of the results are guides and tutorials, In other words, people that Search for this keyword don’t want a handful of tips. They want a complete guide and to show people that my Result was a thorough guide. I made sure to include the word guide in my title and description. The last advanced SEO tip I have for you is to keep your content up-to-date Back in the day.
I’d publish a new post and never think about it again and, as time went on my Content got really outdated. I had old screenshots Outdated strategies and overall content that Just looked kinda dated so early last year, I Started a huge project Go back and update every Single post on my site, Like I said earlier, I Only have about 70 posts, but that’s still a lot of content to go through and update.
Fortunately, I didn’t Need to update all 70, I only had to update about 20 posts. So how did it go Well after I’d update a post, I’d notice, a huge spike In search engine traffic, and even though the Traffic eventually dipped, it was still much higher Than before the update, For example, a few months Ago I updated this post, Even though I updated That, post months ago, that page still gets 30 % more organic traffic than before the update, And thanks mostly to These content updates my site’s overall organic Traffic is up 24.
6 %, which means 249,000 more people visit my site. Every Year than before, crazy, So that’s it for my SEO checklist. If you learned something New from today’s article make sure to subscribe to my Youtube blog right now, Just click on the button below this article and if you want exclusive Seo and traffic techniques that I only share with subscribers head over to Backlinko.Com and sign up for the newsletter it’s free Now I wan na turn it over to you Which strategy from this Article are you going to try first, Are you going to update your old content or try link roundups? Let me know by leaving a Comment below right now: Okay, ready! Is he in the shot, ( keyboard clicking ), Here’s my hometown? Okay, I was like who said that ( laughs ), If your site isn’t mobilized, oops, Usually it’s higher at the end, It’s kinda on here.