SEO Checklist (How To Rank High On Google)

We want to get as much (targeted) eyeballs / traffic to our websites as possible. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps our websites to show up high (ideally on page one) in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP).

But how to rank on Google, BING, Yahoo & Co is an ongoing battle with new tactics, tricks and shiny objects all the time, right?

Google regularly introduces algorithmic changes, presents totally new, unexpected ranking factors or some SEO "guru" discovered a new "SERP ranking secret" - oh, and it just so happens he sells the secret in a new SEO ranking course.

I'm a big fan of the 80/20 principle. If you consistently apply a few, basic but evergreen SEO best practices and combine that with solid keyword research, then you're already ahead of at least 80% of your competition.

Why? Because ranking in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) is actually not that complicated.

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On Page SEO

This is everything you can do ON your site / blogpost. Let's look at each one:

Meta Title

  • come up with an attention-grabbing, interesting title
  • title will show up in the SERPs (blue/bold/bigger/LINK text to your post)
  • can be different to your blog post or page title (but should be the same most of the time)
  • place your keyword within the title
  • usually limited to 60 characters

Meta Description

  • create an interesting description (put yourself in the shoes of your audience)
  • meta description will usually show up in the SERPs under your title
  • place your keyword within the meta description (ideally early in the description)
  • usually limited to 160 characters

Slug / Permalink

  • be systematic about it
  • make it short and to the point
  • include your keyword if possible

Internal Link Strategy

  • create links pointing to other pages and relevant content on your website
  • don't overcomplicate, apply where possible but don't overdo it
  • again, think about your reader/audience - make consuming your content a great experience
  • use relevant, related anchor text but no tricks, no gimmicks - visitors will thank you

Page Structure

  • make related content easily accessible
  • create a logical, organized site (and article) structure
  • keep both simple and relevant
  • don't overcomplicate
  • use only one h1 headline per article
  • choose a suitable category

Images + Alt Text

  • incorporate relevant images in your articles, but don't overdo it
  • always create an "alt text" for all your images

(Rich) Media Embeds

  • use video embeds where possible
  • must add value, otherwise no point in doing it
  • use common embed practises, ideally YouTube, no proprietary video player softare etc.

External/Authority Links

  • link to external sources and authority sites if suitable
  • one to three links would be ideal, but focus on what's best for your reader (user experience)

Comments

  • ask for comments within the last paragraphs of your article
  • publish and moderate comments as soon as possible
  • add value for readers and/or thank the commentator
  • add frequent questions to FAQ, link to relevant conent
  • make it easy for visitors to engage

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Off Page SEO

This is everything you can do OFF your website that will help with website rankings.

(Re-)Submit Your Sitemap + Fetch as Google

  • inside of Google Search Console / BING Webmaster Tools
  • add the permalink of your article (request indexing of new content)
  • (re-)submit your sitemap
  • always do this after consistently publishing new content and you'll train the search engine bots/crawlers to visit your site more regularly
  • always perform this after updating/revamping existing content

Error Checking / Handling

  • regularly check for (crawl-)errors
  • fix any errors as soon as possible
  • resubmit pages after fixing the errors

External Link Building / Incoming Link Strategy

  • guest posting
  • being engaged in (niche-related) discussions, blog commenting
  • authority-type backlinks via outreach, guest posts, broken link strategy, etc.
  • don't overthink, especially in the beginning

General Guidelines

  • keep things simple, don't overcomplicate
  • consistently apply and stick to these important basics
  • your site will gain authority over time
  • an excellent user experience is the priority
  • always think value for your visitors
  • regular, fresh content is king (consistency)

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Stay awesome,

Your Online Business Dude

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