Effective SEO checklist for beginners

EFFECTIVE SEO CHECKLIST FOR BEGINNERS

seo checklist for beginnersIn this post I’m gonna show you
my complete SEO checklist. In fact, this is the
same checklist I’ve used to get first page Google rankings
for competitive keywords, like Keyword Research
Tools, and SEO Campaign.

SEO checklist, step-by-step, 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. I hate you, Google.

Today, my site brings in hundreds 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 gonna share with you right now.
So let’s kick things off !

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 haveis the Google Search Console. This tool makes it super easyto 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 wanna
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.

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 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 lots of people
are searching for that term.

Next, find keywords with
the Google Keyword Planner. The Google Keyword Planneris 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 is all about Paleo and Keto desserts, so if you run 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 keywordin the first 100 words of your page. Google puts more weight on termsthat 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 wanna 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 wanna 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 tryingto target competitive keywords. For example, my main keyword for this pageis Content Marketing Tools,
so I use that exact keywordinside of an H2 tag, simple. Moving right along, let’s
quickly blast throughthe fourth step in this SEO checklist,Find and Fix Technical
SEO Issues and Errors. The truth is, technical SEO problemscan tank your rankings,so if your site has
technical SEO problems,you’ll wanna 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 runson a mobile-first index,
which means if your siteisn’t optimized for mobile
devices, it won’t rank. What the heck, I can’t click anything. Fortunately, you can easily seeyour site’s mobile-friendlinesswith 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 gonna rank. You can easily find crawl errorsin 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 gonna
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 wanna 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 contentthat actually ranks in Google,and now I’m gonna show you exactly howto create the type of content that rankson the first page of Google. First, create awesome content
with the Skyscraper Technique. The Skyscraper Technique
is a three-step formulafor creating amazing content. I used this technique to double my search engine
traffic in two weeks. Here’s the three-step process:

First, find a piece of contentin 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 mediaand using email outreach,
and this three-step processbrought in a massive spike in traffic. It also helped me crack
the top three resultsfor my target keyword, Ecommerce SEO. Second, break your
content down into chunksbecause here’s the truth. No one, and I mean no one likes readinggiant 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 guideI 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 wanna use lots of
multimedia on your page. I’m talkin’ about stuff
like images, polls,visual content, videos,
charts, and infographics. For example, I use lots of screenshots, visuals, and videos 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 BuzzSumoto 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 stepin this checklist, Build
Links to Your Website. So, are backlinks still important for SEO?Heck yeah, in fact, a recent studyby Stone Temple Consulting
found that backlinksare still one of Google’s most
important ranking factors. The bottom line, if you’re serious about ranking in Google,
you need backlinks, and lemme 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 waysto get backlinks, why?Because the entire point of a roundupis 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 publisheda giant guide to SEO, and because my postwas 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 poston a respected site in your niche. The wrong way is to publish guest postson 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 gonna send me targeted traffic, related to my site. For example, here’s a guest postthat I published on the Buffer blog. Buffer’s blog focuses
more on social media, and my site is about SEO, ut 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 wanna show youis 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 episodesover the last few years. Last up, we have the age-old strategyof 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 information, 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 lemme walk you through a handfulof 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 surethat 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
wanna start deleting pages like a crazy person. This is a process you wanna
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 tipis to boost your organic
click-through rate. As you might’ve heard, Google
pays very close attentionto 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 resultsfor your target keyword, and imaginewhat someone searching for that keywordwould want to click on. Then, optimize your
title tag and descriptionto match what a searcher wants to see. For example, if you search for video SEO, you’ll notice that most of the results are guides and tutorials. In other words, people that
search for this keyword doesn’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 youis to keep your content up-to-date. Back in the day, I’d publish a new postand 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 trafficthan 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 peoplevisit my site every
year than before, crazy.

So that’s it for my SEO checklist. If you learned something
new from this today, make sure to subscribe to my
YouTube channel right now. Just click on the button below this video, 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 wanna turn it over to you. Which strategy from this
article are you gonna try first? Are you gonna 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? Here’s my hometown. Okay. I was like, who said that ? If your site isn’t mobilized, oops. Usually, it’s higher at the end. It’s kinda on here.