What’s up SEOs check this out!! Are you ranking on top of the SERPs? There isn’t a single silver bullet for higher Google rankings. You need a process, a strategic one consisting of multiple tactics and techniques that build onto each other, because without a process it can be the difference between a number 1 ranking and a page nothing ranking. So in this SEO tutorial I’m going to walk you through 10 detailed steps that will help you get more number one Google rankings.
The first thing I need to tell you is that this tutorial isn’t going to be full of random tips. I have a lot of very detailed steps for you so lets get started by zooming in on this SEO tutorial.
10 Point SEO check List
Your main goal is to rank your product and category pages higher, and the main way you are going to achieve this is by using a blog to fuel your rankings and revenue. With that in mind lets jump into our 10 point SEO check list.
1. Topic Research and Competitor Analysis
Step one is to do topic research in a quick competitor analysis. An easy way to find topics is to use a keyword research tool like Ahrefs keyword explorer, you type in a general keyword related to your search, and then you run the search.
Since you will be creating helpful content for our blog, you want to find keywords that either have informational intent, like how-to search queries, and other keywords that will likely show content-based results in Google search.
When using the keyword explorer you want to include your main keywords and add words such as “how to”, “tutorial”, “best” and “ideas”, and right away you will see a list of topic ideas that might be suitable for your blog.
Before we further narrow the result set down, you need to ask yourself three questions.
A. Does the topic have business value?
Whether or not your topic has business value depends on whether the people who are looking for information on this topic, be interested in purchasing your products or services?
Looking at the keyword results returned by the keyword explorer, you want to include search terms that have high search volume, and exclude the ones that include search terms that do not fully line up with your business.
B. What are my chances of ranking for this keyword?
First make sure that the click-through rate for your long tailed keyword is relatively high to your search volume. You do not want to spend a lot of effort on a keyword that has a click-through rate abnormally lower than the search volume since this will not pay much dividends.
You also want to check on the amount of backlinks of sites that are competing in the top 10 results. Note that backlinks are not everything as the count will also include poor links. 10-25 quality backlinks from content related sites will go a long way, but regardless, it is good to have an idea of how much you might need in order to get a listing in the top 10 results.
C. How does Google view the search intent for this topic?
Just by looking at the titles of the top 10 ranking pages, we can tell what kind of results they are. Let’s say they are all blog posts. Since Google is ranking all of these list posts it is probably a good idea to stick with the format so we can be sure to serve the searchers intent. Search intent is extremely important for ranking #1 in Google.
You could also be dealing with a completely different type of search results, in which the top 10 is being dominated by e-commerce product pages from Walmart, Target, Amazon and more. Search intent should be at the forefront of your topic and keyword choices, so don’t try to squeeze in keywords where they don’t belong.
2. Do Keyword Research and turn it into a Blog Outline
So we have our main topic or primary keyword phrase, lets take “SEO software reviews”. What you want to do next is check for keywords that can be found only in the top 8 or so results for competitors sites. The reason for doing this is to weed out all the keywords that delude your keyword density throughout your post.
With the new list you can manually filter through them and look for valuable subtopics. In addition you want to search for so-called “content gaps”. Basically what you have to do is figure out all the keywords that the top 10 websites in Google rank for. This will provide you with a list of very relevant keywords. There are many keyword spy tools such as Spyfu that allow you to quickly obtain this data.
So now you have a list of the most relevant keywords for your niche, you may talk about “keyword explorer seo software” in one section, and about “backlink building seo software” in another section of your blog. But what it boils down to is that keyword research has been covered so let’s move on.
3. Create content that is better than your competition’s
What makes good content:
It must serve the searchers intent. Just ask yourself: why is someone searching for this term in Google, and what do I need to do to solve that problem. So you need to get into that mentality to be the absolute best helper you can be.
Now, when it comes to creating content personally I like to work backwards. So since our goal is to solve problems and serve the searchers intend, I start with a conclusion.
For your conclusion, just keep it short and make sure that you are delivering on your result. Now that we know what we have to deliver, I get up to the body and ask myself, how do I get someone to this conclusion.
Now I’m not going to write out the entire piece on this, but I want to share some SEO copy writing tips, that should help to keep your visitors engaged.
A. Create scannable content
The way you and I read blog posts and even social media posts is by scanning. We literally scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll and if something catches your attention than what do you do? Right, you scroll back up.
You can make your content more scannable by adding headings, subheadings, breaks within the text like using blog quotes, custom boxes, images, graphs and videos.
B. Write in short sentences and short paragraphs
Writing short sentences and short paragraphs also adds to making your content scannable. On top of that it keeps readers engaged in constantly moving and processing. So there’s some kind of progress that is being made, and progress is good. On the DebbySEO blog most of the paragraphs are 2 to 4 lines long, with an 18 point font.
C. Write in fifth-grader like language
Language that’s easier to understand will keep your visitors around for longer. Think about it. If this SEO tutorial was chock-full of technical marketing jargon or advanced SEO techniques like link sculpting, canonical issues or doorway pages, then you would have probably jumped out of the doorway and onto another page.
There’s a free tool called Hemingway editor, that helps improve readability, and it also improves your readability grade. Now depending on who your audience is, I would opt for a fifth- to ninth grader level.
D. Create an introduction
The last part of your content is to create an introduction. Your introduction is a super important part of your content. It reels the real people in and hook them hard. In general you want to connect with the reader fast, and let them know that you understand where they are. So give them a preview of what you’re about to show them, and get them amped up and wanting more.
An example: If you are struggling to get links, then you probably don’t have anything on your website particularly deserving of getting links. The truth is that there are certain types of content that earn links much more easily than others. These are known as linkable assets.
Linkable assets are not solely created to attract links. There are many other benefits such as social shares, brand awareness, monetization, etc. In this article we will be looking at what kind of contents work well as linkable assets, how you can create such content yourself, and how you can earn links with them.
Try to keep your introduction short, on point, and always use points like you and I to help build that conversation with your readers.
4. Optimize your content (on-page SEO)
By now you should have a pretty good piece of content to work with. The first thing you can do is add internal and external links in your posts, and internal links will be the ones that go from this page to another page on your domain. They help share the link equity among the pages within your own website (1).
Three types of internal links that we should discuss:
A. Internal Linking
Add internal links from the post you are working on right now to other relevant posts of your website.
This is simple. As you are editing and refining your posts, add hyperlinks to link to other pages of your website.
B. Add internal links from your new posts to your existing pages
You can find relevant pages in Google by typing site:domainname.com + query that represents your post.
C: Add links to your products and services pages
And if you remember our goal is to rank our product and category pages. The thing with products, category and services pages is that nobody wants to link to them. But they do want to link to helpful content like the blog post you just created.
If you perform a backlink check on a random e-commerce site, you will find that the number of referring domains is significantly higher for content based pages as compared to e-commerce pages.
To top it off the backlink profiles of e-commerce category pages with a lot of referring domains are mostly spam links… By using internal links from your blog you can slowly but surely power your revenue generating pages by leaking link equity over to them.
So for example we could add links to our product pages on the different brand and model names as anchors.
Adding external links (if you haven’t already)
According to a study by Ahrefs which studies 2 million random search queries, pages that link to DR70+ sites generally have a higher ranking as compared to pages that do not.
Now I wouldn’t force external links, but don’t be afraid to link to other website that adds additional value for your visitors. Also, if you link to a WordPress blog you might earn a pingback (linkbuilding).
Finally visit Google auto-suggest keywords and see if there is anything that you missed. Just go to Google and type in your keyword, and you’ll see some suggestions below. You will likely find keywords that are not yet included in the keyword explorer report and which make great additions to your list.
Next I run the search for my query and scroll to the bottom of my page. You can dig through the results and see if there are any related searches for your post. Now you may wonder if any of these searches have search volume. If you go back to the keyword explorer you should be able to pull up all such details without effort.
5. Create a breathtaking title and publish
Headline is everything. It’s the one thing that stands between your visitors and your website. On social, the headline is usually the deciding factor before someone clicks through, and in Google search, it’s the main thing that stands out (2).
To find good headline ideas try something like this:
Search in Google for your common keywords and look for commonalities within posts like number or adjectives that you think will enhance your headline.
Another cool way is to see what viral sites like buzzfeed do. They spend a lot of time refining and testing their headlines so use their ideas as inspiration. Just go to Google and type in “site:buzzfeed.com seo ranking” and you will find a few very clickable headlines.
6. Improve Page Speed
For best results you want to get your PageSpeed under 1 second, or fast enough that it won’t cause people to leave before your site loads (3)
Getting your PageSpeed under one second is tough. You basically have to:
1. Minimize third party tracking scripts
2. Minimize media
3. Have stellar hosting
4. Be a technical wizard.
Now you don’t need to get all your pages to load under 1 second in order to rank on the first page of Google. But on the other hand you don’t want it to be so slow that it deters people from going to your page.
Google officially stated that site speed will be included in the ranking algorithm, and more recently they mentioned that site speed will be used for mobile search rankings.
But what’s even more important is that PageSpeed impacts revenue. Hubspot’s infographic on PageSpeed shows that if your website makes $100.000 per day, a 1 second improvement in PageSpeed can add an additional $7.000 per day in your pocket.
In Google it shows that if PageSpeed goes up from 1 second to 3 seconds, the bounce rate increases with 32%.
Without getting to technical here are a few ways in which you can improve your PageSpeed:
If you are a WordPress user than you can use caching plugins like W3 Total Cache, and there is also a great plugin called ShortPixel which compresses your images when you upload them to your server.
Once you have implemented your speed optimizations you can use a tool like GTmetrix or Pingdom to test your PageSpeed. Just paste in your address, choose the location which you like to start your test from, and initiate the process. From there you will get a great speed as well as more optimization tests.
Now your page is loading lightning fast let’s move on to step number 7!
7. Promote your content
It goes without saying that you should promote your content to your blog subscribers, email lists, social media followers and any niche forums you are a part of (4).
The one I want to touch on for the purpose of SEO is link building through email outreach. This is what’s going to give you that boost that you need to rank number one on Google.
I’ll quickly break down a common tactic and give you a solid email outreach example.
First I need to find people that have linked to your competitors, and this is really easy to do. If you don’t have a paid subscription to a keyword explorer tool you can visit Google and enter: “links:competitorsdomain.com” to pull up the list.
From here you can use a tool like hunter.io to reveal the email addresses of those who make a solid link prospect, and email each person with a benefit rich pitch.
Rather than being like: “Hi, I noticed you linked to this person, can you link to mine instead?” try something helpful and speak in a more natural language.
Here’s an example: “Hey (name), I just saw your post on (this) and noticed you mentioned the (your product keywords). Did you hear the software got recalled? It’s causing problems on people’s computers. Here’s a link to an article I published covering the details and some other (product keywords) that were JUST released. (add your link). It might be worth updating that part on the recall or removing it altogether. Cheers, Joe.”
So let me break this down. First I address them by name. Then I tell them why I am contacting them and the context of the rest of the email. Then I give them a fact about something they mentioned and something that’s actually interesting. Then I give them a resource on it so yes, they are going to have to read part of my awesome post. And then I suggest that they update their article, and if they update, of course they link to me. But I’m not being pushy at all by telling them that they could also remove it, which they probably don’t want to do because it requires re-working the content, or cutting out a good chunk of text.
Below are a few blunt outreach tips I will leave you with:
1. Keep it short.
2. Talk to them like a human being.
3. Don’t be needy.
4. Have a really good reason to contact them.
I have some really great posts on linkbuilding and backlinking analysis so I really recommend reading those posts later because we still have two steps left. So now you’re gaining links, social shares and getting all sorts of comments, and you are ranking on the first page of Google, but you can’t seem to crack any position higher than seven. So what’s next?
8. Analyze stats in Google Analytics for underperforming content
After a few months have past since I started ranking on the first page of Google for my target keyword, I would login to Google Analytics and go to the “all pages report” and make sure that the dates are set to the past few months to get a decent set of data.
Next I would find that page that is underperforming and check on the average time spend there by your visitors. The goal here is to check whether or not the underperforming page has an average visitor time higher or lower than average, so we can can tell whether the visitors are engaged with the content or not.
If you find lower than average times here than it may be worth looking at your post with a fresh set of eyes. Ask yourself, are people leaving because I am not serving search intent? Are they leaving because my content is objectively bad?
Go back to your post, assess the situation and make some optimizations to reach your target goals.
9. Analyze stats in Google Search Console for underperforming content.
Next go to the search analytics report in search console. Make sure all of the check boxes are checked, so you can see all the data in the table. Then set the queries filter by clicking and selecting filter queries. You can enter in a keyword for example “seo audit” and it will return results for your seo audit page.
When checking details you will be able to see things such the average ranking on search engine result pages and the clickthrough rates (CTR). If the CTR is well below average you want to go back to your post and rework things such as the title and better descriptions, or go back and reassess search intent.
Now if all things check out and you still can’t rank higher, than chances are you need more links. And there’s one more thing that you can do, which brings us to our last and final step.
10. Relaunch your content
There are very few topics that are truly evergreen. You and I live in a fast paced world with arguably the fastest technological advancements humankind has ever seen. Now how exiting is that?
So rather than letting your content deteriorate for years and eventually lose your top rankings, you should update your content regularly. I have seen a significant boost in search traffic on many different blogs simply by updating the old content.
If are selling a product, I would definitely want to update this for 2020, 2021, 2022 and so on. I would likely want to remove all the products that are no longer relevant today, and add new ones.
After you have updated the post, change the publishing date to the current date, today, and re-promote your new guide.
No-one said that SEO is easy or that it won’t take time, but when you do it with this 10 step process, you can refine and scale your SEO strategy to reach guaranteed results. And I will be posting a lot more material to dig deeper into specific strategies mentioned in this post, like link building and content gaps.
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