SEO Checklist to Rank on First Page
Posted: Oct 25, 2019
As you may or may not know yet, SEO can make a huge difference. You’ll wonder to know that SEO can bring hundreds of thousands of visitors per month, mostly from Google and major media sites, including all other popular search engines.
In this blog post, I’m going to show you my complete SEO checklist for 2020. This is the same checklist that Brian Dean (Entrepreneurs call Brian Dean, SEO Genius) has used to get first page Google rankings for competitive keywords like ‘keyword research tools’ and ‘SEO campaign’.
I’m going to walk you through the 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 frustrating!
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 number one of this SEO checklist.
Step 1: 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:
#1 The free Google Search Console tools
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.
The most important of all, the Google 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 want to set up is:
#2 How to use Google Analytics for WordPres
GA 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
- 5 pages on your site that bring traffic
- Identify the exact website that sends the traffic
- Your site bounce rate
- Time on site and lots more
Finally, if your site runs on WordPress, you need to install the:
#3 Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress CMS
Yoast is by far the most popular SEO plugin on the planet. And for a good reason, Yoast makes it super easy to make your WordPress site SEO friendly, right out of the box.
Now it’s time for the second step in this checklist
Step 2: 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 3 simple techniques:
#1 Find long-tail keywords with Google suggest
To use this technique, type a 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 suggest 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.
#2 Find keywords with the Google Keyword Planner
Google keywords 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. Finally,
#3 Spy on online communities – Reddit Quora
Fortunately, this isn’t as creepy as it sounds! I’m talking about reading threads on sites like reddit, Quora, and online forms.
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 or all about paleo keto desserts.
So, if you rent 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 number 3
Step 3: Keyboard Optimize Your Content
You’ve installed all the important SEO tools, and you’ve found a handful of keywords. Now it’s time to optimize your site.
#1 Use your keyword(s) 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 in the first part.
For example, on this post, too, I’ve used the keyword ‘Complete SEO Checklist for 2020’ in the second part.
#2 Use your keyword(s) at the beginning of every title tag
Just like with the content of your pages, 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 ‘Complete SEO Checklist,’ and as you can see, my title tag starts with that keyword.
#3 Use short URLs that include your target keyword
You might have a question, why is this important?
Well, a recent SEO industry study found a correlation between short URLs and higher Google rankings. You have to keep your URLs short and sweet.
The Short URL is one of the main reasons that this page is doing so well and driving us the most traffic.
#4 Use keyword(s) in an H1, H2 or H3 tag
To be honest, H tags are important. But every little bit helps, especially for trying to target competitive keywords.
For example, as mentioned, my main keyword for this page is the ‘Complete SEO Checklist’. So, I have used the exact keyword in h2 tags.
Simple moving right along let’s quickly blasts through the fourth step in complete SEO checklist
Step 4: Find and Fix Technical SEO Issues and Errors
The truth is technical SEO problems can tack your rankings. So, if your site has technical SEO problems, you want to find and fix them right away.
#1 Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly
As you might hear, Google now runs on a mobile-first index. This means if your website is not optimized for mobile devices, they won’t rank.
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.
#2 ID crawl errors
Crawl errors just mean 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.
#3 Improve your website’s page speed
Your site 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 fast your site loads the batter.
To evaluate your site loading speed, check out Google’s page speed 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.
And now it’s time for the next step:
Step 5: Create Content Designed to Rank in Google
There’s no denying, if you want to ranking in Google, you need to publish great content.
But what is great content exactly?
Its great content! In my mind, great content is content that 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.
#1 Create awesome content with the skyscraper technique
The Skyscraper technique is a 3-step formula for creating amazing content. Many bloggers have used this technique to double their search engine traffic in almost no time.
Here’s the 3-step process:
- Find a piece of content in your industry that’s popular
- Create something even better
- Finally, promote that content
For example, if people are searching for ‘SEO for ecommerce’, then you have to type in the keyword on Google, pick up the top 10 blog posts that appear in the search results, and using these ten posts create your own super thorough and detailed content.
After you’re done with creating the content, promote the post on social media and using email our reach.
#2 Break your content down into chunks
Here’s the truth, no one and I mean no one likes reading giant walls of text. That’s why I always break things down into chunks because it makes my content super easy to read.
And because my content is easy to read my bounce rate, a key Google Ranking factor is super low.
#3 Make sure to cover everything there is to know about your topic
As per the analyzation of over 1000000 Google searches, it has been found that a content that covers an entire topic in depth ranks above content that only covers part of a topic.
For example, remember that ‘ultimate guide on backlinks (above)’, I mentioned earlier, did so well it covered everything there is to know about backlink.
Besides making your content in-depth you also want to use lots of multimedia on your page. I’m talking about stuff like images polls visual content video charts in infographics.
For example, I use to like the screenshots visuals and videos in pretty much every post.
Finally, if you want to double down on content formats that are working best right. A recent study from Brain Dean with Buzzsumo says that they analyzed almost 1 Billion blog posts, so what did we find:
Well, there was some good news and some bad news.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way the bad news is that, most content is completely ignored. We found that 94 percent of all published content gets 0 external links that’s right 0.
Now for the good news, certain content formats attract more backlinks than others. We found that ‘why post’, ‘what post’, and ‘infographics’ get significantly more backlinks than other content formats.
Speaking of links, it’s time for the last step in this checklist:
Step 6: Build Links to Your Website
Do backlinks are still important for SEO?
Yeah! 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 and Google, you need backlinks.
Let me walk you through a handful of like building strategies that are working great right now.
#1 Build backlinks using link roundups
Link roundups are one of my all-time favourite ways to get backlinks. Why? Because the entire point of round-up is to link to amazing content.
If you publish something amazing on your website there’s a good chance that you could get a link from a round-up.
#2 Build backlinks using strategic guest posting
Please note, 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, what you need to be strategic about it.
If you do guest posting the wrong way, your second gets slapped with the Google penalty.
How do you do guest posting the right way?
The right way is to publish your guest post on a respected site and your niche.
The wrong way is to publish guest post 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 posts on sites that are going to send me targeted traffic and related to our website.
For example, this is also a guest post that I’ve published on this website because this blog focuses on digital marketing or related space. My website belongs to digital marketing too. This way, I can bring in a decent chunk of targeted traffic to my website.
The next strategy I want to show you is to:
#3 Go on a podcast 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 set pitch topics or work with an editor; just schedule your interview and show up and provide value That’s it.
Last, we have the age-old strategy of mentioning influencers in your content; this process can be any simpler.
#4 mention influential bloggers in your post and then let him know about it
Seriously that’s it!
For example, whenever I publish a blog post, I use to reach out to those people that I’ve mentioned in my blog post. And they share my post.
Final Words to Conclude:
SEO is important for a website for rankings on Google. It is equally important to keep in mind what comes under SEO. This is why I’ve gathered information from the web and created this blog post.
This blog post covers all you need to consider while doing SEO for your website.
Pascal Grenier has been a wedding photographer since 2004 and is also passionate about writing on various subjects such as photography, real estate, investments and SEO.