SEO Checklist: 74 Step Process for Mammoth Rankings
This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.
A comprehensive SEO checklist that will help improve your search engine optimization process for every single blog post you write from here on out. Here’s what we’ll cover:
• Content and audience research.
• Preliminary keyword research.
• Competitive analysis.
• Relational keyword research.
• Content creation and optimization.
• Promotion and link acquisition.
Step 1 USE BUZZSUMO TO FIND HOT TOPICS
A recent study from Buzz Sumo found a positive correlation with inbound links and social share count.
Search for a broad keyword phrase (ie. learn guitar).
Look for high levels of social sharing and more than one authority site.
Create two lists of keyword phrases.
List 1: Closely related words (ie. play guitar).
List 2: Modifiers ( ie. ‘how to’, ‘best’, ‘top’).
Step 2 GOAL ALIGNMENT CHECK
Your keywords should target an audience that fulfills a conversion goal. Ask yourself these questions:
Does my topic align with my website's bottom line?
Are my keyword targets what my audience is looking for?
Step 3 PRELIMINARY KEYWORD RESEARCH
Before you invest your time in keyword research, dive shallow before you dive deep.
Use the ‘multiply keyword list’ function in Google Keyword Planner.
Insert your closely related words under list 1.
Insert your modifiers under list 2.
Export your keyword data.
Reverse your lists and generate new data.
Export your keyword data again.
Step 4 COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS
Picking your battles is a golden rule in the game of SEO. Find targets you can compete with by analyzing keyword difficulty.
Download MozBar for Chrome or Firefox.
Google your keyword search queries.
Analyze the Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) of the top 10 results. Run a self-check by asking these questions:
Do most results have moderate to low DA and PA?
Are most results from media giants?
Have most results actively optimized for the keyword in question?
Analyze page titles.
Analyze keyword density.
Step 5 IN-DEPTH KEYWORD RESEARCH
You should now have a good idea as to which keywords you’ll be optimizing for. The most effective keyword research is focused on a specific niche topic. It’s easier to rank and you’ll drive in a hyper targeted audience. Let’s generate more keywords.
Copy keywords from Google’s ‘related search results’.
Google your search query and scroll to the bottom of the page.
Copy the keyword phrases into Keyword Planner or your excel sheet.
Use LSIs (synonyms) to capture more keyword rankings.
Google your search query and look for bolded words that are not exact word matches within your query. (ie. Fast = Quick, Learn = Learning).
Copy the keywords into Keyword Planner or your excel sheet.
Multiply your keyword phrases with KeywordTool.io.
Take your medium to high traffc keyword phrases and enter it in at KeywordTool.io.
‘Copy All’ and paste into your favorite keyword research tool.
Step 6 GOAL ALIGNMENT CHECK #2
If your content isn’t going to propel you closer to your end goal, you’re wasting your time. Here’s a quick self check:
Will my content work towards my bottom line?
Are my keywords targeting the audience I want?
Step 7 ORGANIZE KEYWORDS FOR YOUR CONTENT
Keywords are about relationships. They should fit your content and not the other way around.
Remove phrases that do not make sense when used in a sentence.
Look through your content outline and assign relevant keywords where they fit best.
Use forums to find the exact language your target audience is using.
Use Quora to find pain points from your target audience.
Step 8 CRAFTING YOUR CONTENT
Your content should be for realpeople first and search engines second. Ask yourself these questions when creating your content.
Am I serving my target market’s intent?
Have I used my primary keyword phrase in the first 100 words of my post?
Is my content thin? Studies show longer content (>2,000+ words) rank better in the SERPs.
Am I providing exceptional value or is it the same as every other article out there?
Step 9 ON PAGE OPTIMIZATION
Page speed, Meta titles and Meta descriptions are worth optimizing for SEO. Your Meta tags and social tags contribute massively to your click through rate.
Optimize images (file name, file size) using tools like Jpegmini and PunyPNG.
Create an attractive headline using examples from Buzz Feed.
Create attractive social share images using Canva.
Optimize social share settings using Wordpress SEO by Yoast.
Test page speed using Pingdom tools.
Step 10 Promotion
Successful online marketers spend 20% creating content and 80% promoting it.
Email your subscribers. Ask for a comment and share.
Post and promote on social media.
Reach out to experts you mentioned in your post.
Join engaged Facebook and Google Groups.
Find and reach out to niche relevant sites.
Google: “intitle:link roundup [KW_Phrase]” or other variations.
Reverse engineer links of top ranked competitors using Ahrefs.
Contribute to forums by adding value to the conversation.
Comment on other blogs and add value to the post.
Contribute on Quora by coherently answering the question. Don’t forget to include your link.