Do you want to rank your website on Google's First Page?
Here’s a 25 step SEO checklist, we’ll start with a basic understanding of SEO and then head on the steps.
For that, we need to first know about SEO fundamentals.
SEO- Search Engine Optimization is used by business owners to optimize their websites and get more traffic. It increases the visibility of your website therefor attracting more traffic to it.
What makes SEO better than Paid advertising?
SEO brings organic traffic to your website whereas paid advertisements are not very cost effective. This is what makes SEO a lot better than paid advertisements! Since the traffic is organic and comes off as a result of searching particularly.
How to top search ranking on Google:
According to the latest research ranking on google in 2022 depends on a lot of factors, you have to find the right keyword, you need to have better on-site SEO, improve your page layout and design, and a lot more that goes into it!
For your ease, we have categorized these 25 steps under four main headings. Let’s discuss the 25-step SEO checklist to have a better ranking on google one by one.
Here's how to rank on Google:
Keyword targeting means using relevant keywords related to your product and services on your website.
This is done with a lot of key research depending upon your business that your target audiences use in search engines. We can further subdivide Keyword targeting into the following points to learn better about it-
1. Working smarter, not harder:
One of the fastest ways to improve your google ranking is by working on your on-site SEO. You need to look into smarter ways to do it rather than investing a lot and getting peanuts out of it. Here are a few things that you can keep in mind to smartly go your way up on google ranking-
● Use your keywords at the beginning of your title tag. This is also known as frontloading your keyword. It is a matter of time that google puts more emphasis on keywords that show up earlier.
● Make sure your content is up to 1800 words, google search history tells that websites with larger content are rated higher.
● Add up your keyword at least 3 to 4 times in the content. This isn’t about keyword stuffing but a better-put keyword count has ranked above on search engines compared to one that has the same keyword lesser time in it.
2. Begin with the Seed:
A Seed keyword usually comprises a single word or a combination of two words, seed keywords get more searched, every month.
Now the question is- How do you find the right seed keywords for your content? Well, it does require a little bit of research but different sources can help you with creating the right seed keywords for you.
If you need to pay more attention to your keywords it is recommended to add LSIs to your content, LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. These are words that cover up the overall context and are related to your actual keywords.
For example- If you are writing about cars then your LSIs would be “automobile, engine, road, tires, automatic transmission.”
Starting bigger with LSIs will not only help your content reach out to more audiences but also make your website ranked higher on search engines.
A single keyword can have various LSIs, this is what helps with covering an entire topic. It is important to find the right LSI keywords for your content.
3. Decide your Keyword theme:
Once you’re done with deciding the right seed keyword for your content, then you have to select a theme for your keyword. Keyword themes are words and phrases that match your content with Google.
To make it more effective it is recommended not to use more than 20 keywords per group. A good high-value keyword theme can help you get more traffic to your website.
The more long-tail keywords your website rank for, the more qualified traffic and leads you will receive from Google.
What makes a keyword theme more effective?
There are a few points that if kept in consideration can make your keyword theme more effective.
● Make sure your keyword theme does not contain any punctuation marks.
● It must not contain any URLs
● Do not add any phone number to it.
● Must not exceed a limit of 20 characters.
Later on, you can change your keyword theme if you’re not getting the desired results.
4. Leverage the competition:
SEO ranking is a very competitive business, it is not a piece of cake to be on top ranking in google search engine.
But if you keep your competitors in mind while picking up your keyword seed and theme! More importantly focus on their hidden keywords that they can already be ranked for you can have a better ranking on google.
So what exactly are these hidden keywords that can be such a huge risk to you from your competitors?
Hidden keywords are text that cannot be seen by regular visitors but can only be seen by robots and spiders. The main theory behind hidden keywords is that search engines will index the words that are not visible, hence making the page denser with keywords.
To make it easier for yourself, instead of looking for well-hidden keywords through trials and errors you can simply take advantage of your competitor’s efforts and use the same ones.
Here’s how you do it-
· Find your competitor’s URLs, ones that are ranked with your keywords already.
· Find other relevant keywords ranked on google by the same URL.
Now the question is, Is using hidden keywords good for you in the long term?
Well in the short term, yes, it may benefit you and produce good results but all search engines have implemented filters that are capable of this type of spam.
In some cases, websites with an excessive number of hidden keywords can be suspended for spam by all search engines. This is why using hidden keywords is not appreciated a lot.
5. Find the Right Keywords:
While we have hundreds and thousands of options for keywords to choose from it is extremely vital to pick the ones that weigh the highest on search engines.
Over 50% of buyers do their research on google before purchasing.
The search engine giant takes those search phrases and keywords to find related results.
If you master the art of choosing exactly the right keywords, you can win your target audience. It can help you with focusing on only the data that you need.
Three thing to keep in mind:
- Search volume. Dos the keyword have enough search volume (The higher is the better)
- Relevant to your business: Is the keyword related to my business and my audience?
- Possibility: How difficult to rank for that keyword?
Content writing is an important part of digital marketing, it won’t be wrong if we call it the backbone of digital marketing that includes blog posts, articles, scripts for videos, and podcasts.
“Content writing is planning, writing and editing web content, generally for digital marketing.”
Now we’re going to see how content writing adds up to your SEO ranking step by step.
6. Creating Value:
Content SEO refers to the term where specific content helps your webpage content to get a higher ranking in search engines.
Know that whatever content you are putting up for your keyword, there are a hundred more similar or better content options for the audience for the same keywords.
So How do you make your content better than the competitors?
You can work with a few tips to make sure your content surpasses others’
●Write content for your audience first. Though this may seem like a very basic tip it is very tricky for content to be exactly according to the interest of the target market.
●You want to create informative content but keep it interesting at the same time. Do not just post about your product only, but try to keep it related to the industry you belong to.
●Make impactful headlines.
●Use keyword-rich phrases. This does not mean overdoing the keyword count but an added number of keywords in a particular phrase are what makes high-value content.
●Add images to your post, if your content is plain words it may seem a little dull to the audience so a pop of image is always beneficial.
7. Align with the right intent
Search intent is the main reason why a person would search for specific content. It is the purpose of an online search. There are three basic types of search intents-
· Informational intent
· Commercial intent
· Navigational and transactional intent
Over years google has worked a lot on improving its algorithm to determine people’s search intent.
You may think you can only try to guess a person’s intent to search. But to tell you the truth, there’s a very simple way of determining keyword intent. Follow these three steps to detect intent.
- Lookup for SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), it can give you some important insight into the searcher’s intent.
-For commercial intent, you can use google ads to determine the extent of intent. “Related searches” in google help determine the right intent too.
- For existing content, analyzing your analytics can be helpful. Instead of constantly creating new content, if you invest more time in analyzing the analytics of existing one, it will help you know if the content resonates with the target audience.
Google has already tested a keyword probably thousands of times so it has a pretty good idea of what exactly a person is looking for when he uses a certain keyword.
For example- If you search for Christmas trees on google, it will give you the following as a result of this intent:
· Images of Christmas trees
· Shopping for Christmas trees
· Related search for Christmas trees.
. Links for websites for Christmas trees
8. Be the One stop solution
The eighth step in google SEO ranking is to be a one stop solution, now what exactly does it mean when we say to be a one stop solution.
In literal words being the one stop solution means your link satisfies the customer’s needs and they don’t need to search any further. It can only be possible if your link provides them with the absolute result.
So make sure when people search for your keywords they find the results they’re looking for. Here are a few tips on how to be the “one stop solution”:
· Provide complete information.
· Your style and intent should align with the user’s requirements.
· Be authoritative
· Make sure the experience you offer is unique and better than what your competitors have to offer.
9. Focus on Complete Information rather than the Length:.
Quality over quantity. We’ve heard this phrase from the beginning of time in progressive marketing.
Over time, content writers have realized that it is not about the number of words your content contains, 300 words or 3000 words? That is not the question anymore.
What comes into consideration is covering the whole topic under a specified number of words, which makes it easier for the readers to grab the required information.
What is complete information?
“Complete information gives you a new, data-driven content-led framework for engaging your customers in an omnichannel world.”
In simpler words, complete content qualifies for the following qualities-
-Completely satisfies the user’s requirement. (Is a last click for the user)
- Provides good supporting content to the main content.
- Is evidential, as supporting evidence for the information.
- Answers additional related questions too.
From Google’s perspective, complete content does better than one that is lengthier but provides limited information. Hence it is ranked higher and performs better on search engines.
10. Smart Topic Modelling (Without a Computer):
Topic modelling is an unsupervised machine learning technique that can scan and detect a set of words, documents, and phrase patterns within them. Google's job is to find what your website and your content about. Humans can do that easily but it's hard for computers AKA Google
A topic contains a cluster of words that frequently occur together, topic modelling acts as a text-mining technique to discover the probable topics in a document.
Topic modelling can help with organizing and understanding a large collection of data usually with unstructured bodies.
How does topic modelling work?
Topic modelling simply counts down words and groups them into infer topics within unstructured data. With topic modelling, you can easily distinguish what each set of text is talking about.
Difference between Topic modelling and Topic classification:
Both topic modelling and topic classification are topic analysis techniques. So what makes them different from each other?
Topic modelling algorithms can be used when you’re short on time and don’t want to go into too much depth for fine-grained analysis. Topic classification on the other hand is an accurate insight, by doing a detailed analysis.
For smart topic modelling without a computer, you aim to make content more complete and you don’t need a bunch of computers to optimize your content.
Here’s the basic process to make more complete content:
-Focus on your keyword in your URL, title tag, page title, main content of the page, and images or video added.
- Use your secondary topics to support your keywords.
- Add up “related questions” to your content to ensure your link is the last click.
- Enhance the main content with useful supplement content.
- Link out resources if needed. It will keep your content to the point and short while providing more information at the same time.
11. E-A-T your Authority:
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. For a better ranking on Google, SEO marketers need to know about E-A-T guidelines. E-A-T is part of Google's algorithm that relates to Google's search quality.
E-A-T does not directly affect your content’s ranking on google but yet it does matter to your ranking. It’s a little confusing to understand but in simpler words, Google uses E-A-T to determine what content is high-quality and should be ranked higher.
Why is E-A-T important for SEO?
E-A-T provides guidelines about the content that it is
· Helpful for users.
· Created by an expert
· Is trustworthy
· Is up-to-date
So if your authority is by E-A-T, more traffic is expected on your website since the trust factor takes its lead for customers.
Here’s a seven-step checklist to be more authoritative and trustworthy-
- Introduce yourself to the visitors. Your website visitors must know who you are to build the trust factor. For this- Add an “About Us” page to your website.
- If you’re taking help from other writers, make sure to work with experts, people who know their job with words. With tons and tons of content on google, writing is not just a requirement these days; good writing is what takes you to rank higher.
- Do not confuse your readers about the purpose of your content. The topic should be crystal clear. People must immediately know what the point of your content is.
- Update your content regularly. This may sound very basic but it is very important to keep your content updated regularly for the readers to see your website is well maintained.
12. CTR starts here: Be the first click:
Just a few minutes ago we discussed how you should try to be the last click for a person’s search but this one goes along with it, you need to try to be the first click as well.
This can help people with a shorter search time when the first click stands for the last one they needed. It puts a great impact on readers when you are the first link they click on and they’re completely satisfied with the content and end up making it the last click as well.
It is important to know that not every time a person chooses you to be their “first click”, it will increase your click count known as CTR (click-through rate).
CTR- Click-through rate is the percentage of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page or advertisement.
Why is CTR important?
CTR helps you identify what your customers want. It helps you understand your customer when you’re trying to reach a target audience.
Google has some tips for you to improve your CTR-
· Have an influential title.
· Meta description
· Rich snippets
· Image and video results.
On-page SEO is also known as On-site SEO. It is the process of optimizing web page content for search engines and users to improve rankings and user experience.
13. On page: Master the basics:
To be on top of search engines organically today, you need to realise the importance of optimising for various factors that the search engines consider very important, such as technical, on-page, and off-page.
On-page SEO also known as on-site SEO is a broad topic and we cannot deny its importance. Since Google is still using the old school methods to grab on to your keywords, using high-value keywords and rich titles can still not be competitive enough.
It is evident from google search results that if you search for a competitive keyword all the top-ranking pages will have almost the same starting keywords in their title tag.
If you are new to SEO you should make sure your website is friendly to search robots like Googlebot.
What exactly is on-page SEO?
By definition, On-page SEO is “The process of optimising pages on your site to improve rankings and user experience.”
On-page SEO helps search engines with understanding your website and its content, it can help you identify whether your content is satisfactory for the searcher’s query or not.
14. Schema All the Things:
Schema markup is a code that you can add up to HTML for your website. It is also known as Semantic vocabulary or Microdata.
Its main purpose is to standardise HTML tags to be used by webmasters for creating quality informative results about a certain topic of interest.
Why is Schema important in SEO?
While Schema might not appear directly on-page for the users it is important for two main reasons-
· It can help Google understand your content better, with the additional content hence boosting up your content.
· Schema can also help you with your click-through rate by adding up some rich snippets to your content.
Now, What value can Schema markup add to your content? Schema markup is usually used to add information about values in these categories!
- Creative work
- Medical entity
15. Make it fast, Make it sing:
To attract more traffic to your website it is very important to make sure your website is user-friendly and fun for the searcher to use. Mere information is not the only catch these days, if your website is slow and shows excessive pop-ups! It can be a red signal for the searcher and they may not ever come back to your website!
So to ensure a good experience apart from content you need to work on:
· Speed: Website speed is an important factor, it may be minor but puts an impact on anyone who visits your website.
· Pop-ups: let's just admit, we all know pop-ups are annoying, and you don’t want to make a visitor’s experience bad only because of these pop-ups. Try to avoid aggressive pop-ups to reduce the risk of lower ranking.
16. Over-Optimization: Titles, URLs, Stuffing, and Links:
Sometimes too many SEO improvements especially all at once can also put your ranking to risk. Over-optimizations lead to a lack of diversification in your SEO element.
Over-optimization used to work in the past when people had lesser knowledge of SEO but with advanced tech knowledge and rapidly improving google search engine, it can be a flaw if you overdo SEO.
How do you know if your website is over-optimized or not?
Here are some signs that you might be over-optimizing your website:
· Excessive use of internal links with designated keywords. Yes! While it may seem helpful for the searchers to have in-site links for related keywords, adding too many links can tend to take it towards over-optimizing.
· Non-relevant keywords. This happens when you try to grab the attention of searchers that are not relevant to your keywords. Don’t try to do that! It will rather put your website at a risk of lower ranking than help it boost up.
· Keyword stuffed footer. The website footer is located at the bottom of every page on the website, below the main content. Many people make the mistake of stuffing their website footer with keywords. Google devalues footer links, and due to their location at the end of the page, they are least likely to even get as much attention.
17. Internal links, Relevance, and User engagement:
Internal links are important and help Google understand your content better to rank it. There are four main types of internal links:
- Contextual links
- Navigational links
- Footer links
- Image links
Once one of your pages is ranked high on google SEO you can connect several different pages of the same theme to it to ensure their value as well.
User engagement is a term for all the ways we can measure how a user is interacting with our website’s content. User engagement is directly proportional to the amount of time they spend on a website, so How can we improve user engagement for our website?
Let’s discuss four ways you can boost your website’s user engagement!
I. Virtual reality:
For online businesses virtual reality is becoming an important tool to enhance user engagement, for example, a beauty and makeup brand using the tool of virtual reality to let customers try on lipsticks and other makeup products will be far more engaging than a plain listed website.
II. Interactive Tools:
Through interactive tools, we simply try to capture the attention of the website visitors. These tools help website owners have more traffic for a longer time. You can add up simple questionnaires or build user-friendly surveys to keep users busy on your website for longer.
III. Video Content:
Videos are doing far better than photos in present times. People are more attracted to video marketing as it seems to be more real and trustworthy. As a website owner, your only concern can be:
What if the videos are taking too long to play and this loses visitors’ interest in the website? Well, the point though is valid but it is worth the risk! Videos are more engaging and entertaining, once a user starts watching a video on average he is expected to spend at least 2.6 times longer time on the website.
18. Linking Internally for the Reasonable Surfer:
We have already talked about how we can link similar pages together but it is important to make sure to optimise our linking.
“An internal link is a hyperlink between two pages on the same website.”
Links are important in ranking signals but not all links are the same, Google does not consider all links the same.
Internal links are like wires, imagine your home as an example. Good use of internal links can help build an SEO-friendly website architecture.
What are the benefits of internal linking?
Internal links improve user experience and conversions in many ways here are a few benefits of internal links for your SEO ranking:
· Discovering New Content: Links are a great source for Google to discover new content on your website.
· Each type of internal link adds value to your website differently.
· Body content links. These are one of the most important types of internal links since they carry a lot of information.
How you link can be just as important in determining the benefit of those links. Here are a few linking guidelines for a new page we create.
- Link to your most topically related content. Relevance to the main topic is very important. Users are more likely to click on your links if they find them relevant.
- Instead of linking in sidebars or navigation, try to link within your main content.
- Use text that is aligned with your keywords but tries to avoid using exact words as your keyword. Partial matching is preferred more.
- You can also add links to any updated content, this helps users see progress and the continuous work and efforts that go into your website.