There’s a lot to keep track of when running a site and one of the most important things is to get recognized. The web is a big place and getting noticed is a chore. And since it’s such a competitive market the only real measure of how well known you are is Google, more precisely the first page of Google.
All these numbers are really glaring neon signs pointing out that you need to put your site in the top 10 search results, otherwise things will not bode well.
Much has been said about the Google algorithm and everything that’s taken into account when displaying search results, but if it can be boiled down to one statistic, it would be SEO rating.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, as its name suggest represents how optimized a site is to be featured higher on results lists. You’re probably thinking it’s all about the brand and to some extent it is – type in Nike or Microsoft and their homepages will be prominently featured. However, people rarely tend to be so specific.
Most of the time people simply use keywords, key phrases (commonly questions), and terms they’re specifically searching for. In those instances, there is no proverbial homepage, but instead, individual pages of a site that’s configured specifically to tick off the important boxes that search algorithms are designed to look at. So how do you get your SEO ranking up?
Boosting your SEO ranking is a process and there are no quick and easy solutions, so it’s understandable that it seems daunting especially for newcomers. But what if we said that we could offer you a cheat sheet. Something that tells you exactly what to do and how to do it which will ultimately result in your SEO spiking. Let me introduce you to the SEO Checklist from SEOBUDDY, your ultimate DIY SEO tool.
SEO for everybody
Big hitters on the market will have a team/department, or at the very least one person dedicated specifically to maintaining their web presence. If you’re struggling to make it on your own, you probably don’t have the same luxury. So, what’s so special about a checklist of all things.
Firstly, a checklist is a great format – it’s concise, easy to follow, and easy to use. The alternative to a checklist would be a 300+ page manual you’d probably put down before you reached the third chapter. A checklist, as its name implies, is a list, so you can navigate in a flash picking and choosing content that’s important to you at any given time.
Secondly, you’ll get to follow your progress. As we’ve said, boosting your SEO rating is a process, and since there’s no magical button to click, there will be some moving parts you’ll have to coordinate simultaneously. Not only that, but tasks will get more complex as you progress from the foundational ones to more advanced ones. Using a checklist, you’ll be able to keep track of everything you’ve done and recognize everything that you’ll get to. There probably isn’t a universally perfect way to plan your actions, previously done tasks, and to-do list, but a checklist of this magnitude comes dangerously close.
Finally, this SEO Checklist will not only show you what you should do but will also give you suggestions on how to do it. A helpful suggestion in situations when you find yourself stumped about how to proceed will be an invaluable time-saver. You don’t even have to follow everything to the letter – seeing an option on how things can be done might get your creative juices flowing and you can come up with an even better solution for yourself.
Let’s get to this list we’ve been talking about up until now. The checklist is comprised of eight columns that will, each in their own way, guide you towards your goal of SEO excellence.
The self-explanatory “Title” column represents tasks you should complete in order to gain the desired SEO boost. These are all tried and true actions, and this is the reason for using the SEO Checklist in the first place. You won’t need to search the web for various strategies, tips, and tricks. Everything you need to do is highlighted here in 102 rows of pure knowledge. Aside from the title of the task, fields also include a detailed comment that discusses why an action made the list and what you can hope to gain after implementation.
Every checklist, no matter the field, is designed to function best if followed completely – the task urgency isn’t fixed i.e., you can complete them regardless of the order in which they’re featured on the list. Nevertheless, the suggestion is to follow the list as close as you can for a reason. Think of it as a diet and exercise plan. If you adhere to only parts of it, you’ll get some results since you are putting in the time and watching what you eat. However, if you stick to the letter, you’ll maximize your potential and get the most out of the process.
The fields in the status column give you a dropdown menu you’ll use to follow the completion process for any given task. There are four to choose from overall – not performed, done, in progress, and abandoned. The status column is important because with so many tasks at hand, some of them being done simultaneously and some of them depending on others, it really hard to keep track of everything if it’s not noted.
Once more we have a pretty straightforward column. As you would expect, tasks vary wildly based on how difficult they are to complete. Some are truly tasks, complete in a couple of hours, while others full-blown processes that could take days and even weeks to plan, prepare, and execute. In most cases, the harder the task, the bigger the impact on your overall SEO score, but it’s not exclusively set up this way.
You’ll be present with more than a few no brainers like “Keep URLs short” that have a major impact but are easily executed. The point is you shouldn’t shy away from something just because it’s labeled “hard”, but at the same time, you need to prioritize what’s worth doing now and what later.
Just a moment ago we mentioned the impact an action from the list could have on your overall score. Well, you won’t have to figure out that reach yourself – it’s displayed right next to the action/task column. Once again, this will be one of the columns you look to for prioritizing your work.
Everything you can do independently and has a high impact designation should be done as soon as possible.
We’ve said that boosting your SEO is an arduous project, and for that reason, you won’t be doing everything at once. To get a leg up and develop an SEO business plan, find impactful tasks, and complete them to get a boost right away while you’re working on everything else.
A majority of things you can do to improve your site is free. Whether we’re talking about little changes to titles and headlines or changing the source code. Most of it you can do and, as such, there’s no cost to it. Naturally, if we’re to get into the technical aspect of it all there are bound to be gaps in knowledge for the average user, but those tasks are few and far between, and if you’re persistent you could do them yourself eventually.
If you need outside help, then cost plays an important factor as all of the top SEO consultants have different rates.
On the other hand, there are a few tasks you won’t be able to do simply because they’re connected to outside services you must subscribe to, or buy in order to use. The good thing is that you can do well even without them, so if you’re on a budget this is not the end of the world. Unfortunately, each of them has a high impact rating, which means you will be missing out if you’re not taking advantage of them.
In every facet of life, you need the right tools to do the job, so why should web management be any different. People often resort to using the best SEO tools. The aptly named “tools” column features everything you’ll be needing in order to complete a given action/task. These can vary from looking up something in one of the included manuals to the names of platforms that provide specific services you can’t do yourself.
With the checklist, you’ll get 44 step-by-step documents that detail the standard operation procedure (or SOP) for specific actions you can do yourself. Although intended for everyone, these are primarily aimed at beginners just starting their journey into the world of SEO. The SOPs represent one of the great things about the SEO Checklist where we’re once again pressed to highlight the fact that there are no loose ends here.
Literally, everything you need is provided and while you certainly can reach out to outside sources for additional data and information, there is really no need to do so. To top it off, everything is packaged in such a non-threatening way so nobody will be scared away and will instead be eager to jump in.
The last column covers a multitude of things. You’ll be presented with links to video tutorials, blog posts, websites for key services, links to the manual, etc. This is your “extra credit” content.
Whether you’re looking for concrete information on how to do the task that’s given, or are simply looking to expand your knowledge the SEO Checklist has you covered.
We’ve covered how the SEO Checklist functions vertically, but is it structured horizontally? Well, it’s divided up into nine sections:
The foundation – it all starts here. Before doing anything else you really should concentrate on getting everything done from this section since everything else simply builds upon it. The great thing is that, aside from backlinks monitoring, everything is free, so all the stuff you need the most is readily available to you.
User experience – you won’t get ahead if your users leave your site unhappy. This section is all about finding out what your users need/want and then providing it for them. Featured are actions such as creating SEO friendly URLs and keeping them short to using social networks. Some of the suggested actions might seem obvious and rudimentary, but this is the real deal – you’re reminded of everything, so nothing can be lost on you.
Content – it isn’t enough that your content is good. It also needs to be SEO optimized. What keywords you’re using and how often you update your pages all play a role in your overall results, even more so than some other sections do. Since search engines primarily search for specific content it’s only natural that your content will have a high impact on your SEO rating.
Content should be your top priority once you’ve got the foundation part handled. One unfortunate thing worth mentioning is that because of the high impact and extremely specialized tools you’ll need to maximize your potential, most of the actions in this section are handled by platforms that provide you with various services. Some of these, like keyword research you could potentially do yourself but chances are you won’t get the same result and the time you’d lose outweighs the financial burden.
Performance – a site needs to run smoothly if you want a high SEO score. Performance, mainly speed is a major factor in Google’s algorithm which makes it a top priority for you as well. Using a proven hosting service, resizing your images, optimizing your database – these are all bigger and smaller things you can and should do to keep those loading times low and that SEO ranking high.
On-page SEO – these are all little things that when added up make for a big impact. Basically, we’re talking about everything a user might notice on the frontend. Usually, they’re not functionally troubling (everything will work at least to a point) and are more like nuisances, however, we all know everybody hates nuisances.
Off-page SEO – you need to put in the work to get visitors to your site. Relying just on your pages popping up on Google isn’t a sound strategy. That’s why you’ll be getting suggestions on alternate paths to your pages such as guest posting, connecting your pages and site to a brand, using social media, etc. Never settle and become one-dimensional, instead, diversify and throw as wide a net as you can out there.
Technical SEO – sooner or later things were bound to get technical. Don’t be scared though, this won’t be a deep dive into your coding skills. Instead, you’re suggested to double-check broken links or use redirects properly – technical things that a visitor probably won’t even notice until they’re not running the way they should.
Local SEO – building a solid local foundation is always a good idea, even if you’ve outgrown the neighborhood. There are two ways to go about it – you want to be promoted by locals (five-star reviews and such) and at the same time you want to be promoting the neighborhood to everyone else. That way anyone that is interested in your, for example, location (which you’ve duly promoted), will see you as the top-rated local prospect.
Setup your first WordPress site (bonus) – this is a bonus section that deals with some of the nuances of setting up a WordPress site. It doesn’t revolve around SEO exactly, but good advice is still good advice.
After everything we’ve gone through, if you’re still having second thoughts let us remind you again that the SEO Checklist doesn’t come as a single list but as part of a bundle that also contains the aforementioned SOP collection, SEO Checklist ebook, a premade Trello board with a 52-week planning calendar, one-month plan on SEOBUDDY and the Content Distribution Checklist.
All of these have a direct or indirect purpose to boost your SEO make your site much more recognizable and ultimately build you a brand that everyone will know about.
Also, if there ever was a time to invest in your SEO, it’s now, since using the promotional coupon code “WEBFACTORY” you’ll get an additional 25% off on your purchase making this really the perfect gift to give yourself and your site this festive time of year.