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SEO Checklist: 45x Ways To Increase Your Search Traffic

YouTube video

(Download the SEO checklist here)

If you want to increase your search traffic this year, pay attention.

Because this SEO checklist is going to show you 45 different ways that you can increase your search traffic:

seo checklist google analytics search traffic

Now people like to make SEO complicated, but it really only boils down to 3 layers-

  • Technical
  • Content
  • Links

So I am going to show you how to win at each of those areas this year…

What Will I Learn?

How To Use My SEO Checklist

3 layers of SEOThink of your SEO as building a house.

You want to lay a good foundation and then you can begin adding more layers which eventually builds a solid house.

The SEO checklist below is designed in the same way. First by taking care of your technical foundation, then moving onto the content and link building layers.

Just follow the SEO checklist from the top and work your way down but remember, all of the best tips are in the video.

SEO Basics Checklist

The very first thing you need to tackle is some of the SEO fundamentals.

This section covers some of the important tools and plugins you need. Don’t skip over this section because basic errors like these are the most common errors I see from clients.

1. Set Up Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a very powerful SEO tool and 100% free (we all love free SEO tools right?)

Google Search Console tracks your website performance in the search results and gives you insight into how Google looks at your website.

google search console

You can use Google Search Console to:

  • Identify any errors on your website
  • Track your performance in the SERPs
  • See what keywords are bringing your the most traffic
  • See and fix your Google page experience scores
  • Submit your website site map

And so much more. Google Search Console is a must-have tool for all website owners.

2. Install Bing Webmaster Tools

Bing Webmaster Tools is very similar to Google Search Console but specifically for the Bing search engine.

You need to set it up to increase your Bing SEO.

bing webmaster tools

Is Bing as popular as Google?

No, not even close. But Bing gets about 1 billion monthly visitors and has a search engine market share of 7.89%.

It’s worth getting yourself set up on Bing Webmaster Tools properly and optimising your website for it.

3. Set up Google Analytics

If you’re not tracking your performance, how will you know if you are improving or not?

Google Analytics tells you all about one of the most important parts of your website:

Your audience.

seo checklist google analytics search traffic

You can learn so much about improving your SEO from how your audience engages with your website. Google Analytics allows you to measure:

  • Leads and conversions
  • Traffic sources
  • Visitor demographics
  • Marketing data
  • Top performing content
  • Website engagement

Setting up Google Analytics won’t take you more than 10 minutes and it’s one of the best analytics tools available for anyone serious about their SEO.

Want to get more from Google Analytics? Follow these 10 Google Analytics Hacks.

Install An SEO Plugin

Does your website use WordPress?

Then you need to install either Rank Math or Yoast SEO.

Both have great features but Rank Math has overtaken Yoast in terms of what it offers.

yoast seo vs rank math seo

The truth is that Rank Math:

  • Has better features
  • Is easier to use
  • Doesn’t slow your website down

…Which makes it the best SEO plugin for WordPress. Rank Math also helps you handle a lot of the technical SEO and on-page SEO stuff that otherwise would be difficult to do.

Read my complete Rank Math review to see why I ditched Yoast.

5. Create & Submit A Sitemap

Google is good, but they aren’t perfect.

You need to ensure that Google finds and indexes every single one of your pages to:

  • Maximise your SEO
  • Increases your visibility online

The best way to do that is to submit your XML sitemap to Google. An XML sitemap is a file that contains a complete list of all your website URLs on it.

Submitting your sitemap to Google is like handing them a complete map of your entire website. All of this is done through Google Search Console.

How To Create A Sitemap
First, you need to find your XML sitemap. Websites host XML sitemaps on different URLs, so the easiest way to find yours is through trial and error.

Try typing your domain into a web browser and add the following endings:

  • /sitemap
  • /sitemap.xml
  • /sitemap_index.xml

For example:

https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/sitemap_index.xml

xml sitemap

In most cases, one of them will work and you’re good to go. Still can’t find your sitemap?

You will need to create one yourself. WordPress doesn’t create its own sitemaps automatically. Use Rank Math or Yoast to create one easily that you can submit.

Now that you have your sitemap, it’s time to submit it to Google.

Login to your Google Search Console account and click Sitemaps. Enter your website’s Sitemap URL and Click submit.

add new sitemap

If the sitemap was submitted correctly, you should see a “Success” message under status.

successful submission

The good news is you only have to submit your sitemap to Google once.

The file will automatically update on its own and Google will always have an accurate record of your website URLs.

6. Generate A Robots.txt File

Robots.txt files tell search engines which URLs you don’t want to be indexed.

robots txt file example

There are some pages of your website that you don’t want others to find in search engines. These include:

  • Website login pages
  • Checkout pages
  • Confirmation/thank you pages
  • Some PDF documents

A robots.txt file will help keep search engine robots out of the wrong pages and also ensure people only find the pages you want them to see at the right times.

The easiest way to generate a robots.txt file is to install Rank Math.

rank math robots txt

It will create one for free and you can customise it however you want.

Technical SEO Checklist

Most people underestimate how important technical SEO is to your success and focus too much time and budget on link building.

But Google is all about delivering an excellent user experience and there’s some thing’s we must pay attention to.

So these next SEO checklist items ensure your website has all the right technical SEO optimisations you need.

7. EAT Signals

The best way to learn about EAT signals is by watching the video below. It will skip to the exact section you need to watch:

YouTube video

Without strong EAT signals, it can be difficult to rank.

EAT stands for:

  • Expertise
  • Authority
  • Trustworthy

Put simply – EAT signals prove to Google that you are a real and trustworthy business that they can confidently send traffic to.

How To Add EAT Signals To Your Site
Watch this video to learn the easiest ways to add EAT signals to your site.

Essentially these are the two most important ways to improve your EAT signals:

Business Name, Address & Phone Number (NAP)

You need to clearly add your business name, address and phone number to your website.

In SEO this is called NAP. It is essential for every website – especially if you run a business with a physical location.

example name phone address

These 3 elements help build trust with Google and create confidence that there is a trustworthy person and team behind the website.

More trust = more traffic for you.

Add your NAP details to your websites:

  • Footer
  • About page
  • Contact page

These are the places that people will look to if they want to learn more about your business or get in contact with you.

What if you run an online store or affiliate website and don’t have a physical address?

Get permission from your accountant and add their physical address to your website. You can also rent a virtual address online, usually for a few dollars per week.

Struggling for a phone number?

Use CallRail and pre-record an answering phone message if someone calls. Then have any messages you receive sent to your email inbox.

Bonus tip: Use an organisation structured data generator and add it to your homepage, contact page and about page.

About Page

Your about page showcases who’s behind the business.

Google and website visitors should be able to see exactly who operates the business.

This is what you need to do:

  • Add an image to the page of the business owner and team members
  • Include a bio for important team members
  • Link bios to each team member’s LinkedIn profile

about the team

What if you run an “anonymous” affiliate website?

  1. Find someone who will be the face of the business for you.
  2. Ask them to record a video that talks about the website and its purpose.
  3. Add the video to the website and write a short bio for the person.

Don’t forget to include a headshot image and get the person to sign a release form (see the video for more) so you can use them as the face of the business moving forward.

8. Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile Friendly

Mobile-friendly websites are non-negotiable in SEO.

Google released their mobile-first indexing update for all sites back in 2019. If your website doesn’t have an optimised mobile version, it won’t rank.

Want to test if your website is mobile-friendly?

Use the free Google mobile friendly test tool:

mobile friendly testing tool

It will quickly tell you if your website is optimised for mobile or not.

9. Make Sure Your Site Is Fast

Does your website load fast?

Website load speed is a known ranking factor and slow websites make for a poor user experience. In 2021, the Google page experience update placed even greater importance on site speed.

google page experience update news

Lots of people underestimate how much website speed can affect your SEO. It’s one of the first things we tackle with every new client and it almost always boosts organic traffic.

You should head over to Google Search Console and look at the Page Experience report:

google search console page experience report

Ideally, you want to be posting as close to 100% good URL’s on both the mobile and desktop reports.

If you’re struggling to speed up your website, use these 6x free ways to increase website speed and get your site loading like lightning.

10. Find & Fix Crawling Errors

Google can’t properly index your website if you have crawling errors. That’s why you need to identify and fix them as quickly as possible.

The best way to find and fix crawling errors is by using a powerful SEO tool like:

  1. Semrush
  2. Ahrefs

These tools will do in-depth audits and identify any current crawling errors you have.

semrush crawl report(screenshot from SEMRush)

They will even give you suggestions on how to fix the crawl errors making it as easy as possible to take care of them.

Found some errors?

Take the time to fix any errors that you find and investigate what’s causing the issue. Depending on how big your website is, this could take some time but it’s worth the effort.

11. Find & Fix Indexing Errors

Just because Google can crawl your website doesn’t mean they can index it.

Indexing errors occur when Google can’t add parts of your website to their database. But if key parts of your website aren’t indexed, they can’t rank in the SERPs.

The most common indexing issues are:

  • Submitted URL marked ‘noindex’
  • Submitted URL blocked by robots.txt
  • Submitted URL not found (404)
  • Redirect Error

Google Search Console makes it super easy to identify any crawl errors that Googlebot has noticed when crawling your website.

Login to Google Search Console and click on the Coverage report:

google search console coverage report

Here you will see a list of any crawl warnings or errors on your website or you can use the SEMRush trial to run an audit on your site.

Spend time working through any errors you find. Indexing is one of the most overlooked and straightforward reasons your website doesn’t rank in the SERPs.

12. Use HTTPS For More Security

HTTPS is a known lightweight ranking factor.

https ranking factor

It has been a ranking factor since 2014. There is no excuse for not having a secure website today. It affects-

  • Your website SEO
  • The security of your site
  • Your user’s data security

The point is that Google views HTTPS as an expected part of your website.

John mueller https tweet

So you need to make sure that you have an SSL certificate and your website is secured. You can see if your website is HTTPS secure by looking at your home page in a browser.

http vs https

But not every website host offers the same quality of security for your website. There are a lot of factors that can affect the quality of an SSL certificate.

Use the SSL Labs test to see what grade your SSL certificate gets.

ssl report grade a

It will analyse a number of factors to determine how well your website is protected. You’ll get a letter grade rating from A+ to F.

13. Eliminate Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is content that appears on different websites, or multiple pages on a single website.

This often occurs when content, landing pages or product pages are duplicated and quite often you’ll find entire staging sites creating duplicate content problems.

duplicate content

The problem is that Google will only ever rank one of those pages containing the duplicate content. And it’s impossible to predict which one.

You need to get on top of any duplicate content errors so the right page ranks in Google.

How To Find Duplicate Content
The easiest way to detect duplicate content is using the Screaming Frog SEO tool.

screaming frog seo tool

Download the free version and add your website to the Screaming Frog search bar.

crawl the site for duplicate content

Click on the Content tab and filter for Near Duplicates and Exact Duplicates.

content tab duplicate content filters near exact

This shows you every page with duplicate content on it.

Found duplicate content?

Implement canonicalisation to avoid search engine confusion over duplicate content. This ensures that the correct page ranks and Google ignores the others.

You might want to consider using the noindex tag if a page you’re not intending to rank is contributing to duplicate content problems.

14. Check For Canonical Tags

Adding “rel=canonical” tags to your page is a great way to prevent duplicate content.

They also show search engines you’re aware of the duplicate content, which will help you avoid the negative side-effects of having duplicate content.

where canonical tags go

You can experience duplicate issues on lots of your website pages. The most common one will be your home page.

For example, your home page URL could be:

  • http://www.domain.com
  • https://www.domain.com
  • https://domain.com
  • http://domain.com

That’s 4x different potential variations of your home page. How will Google know which one to index and rank in the search results?

Use a plugin like Yoast or Rank Math (my preferred tool) to fix this issue.

How To Add Canonical Tags With Rank Math
Click on the page or post where you need to implement canonicalisation.

For Rank Math users, click Advanced and add the URL that you want to be indexed in the Canonical URL box.

rank math canonical url

How To Add Canonical Tags With Yoast
The process is similar for Yoast users. Click the gear icon and add the URL you want to be indexed in the Canonical URL box.

yoast canonicalisation

This ensures that the right URL is indexed and you don’t run into any duplicate content issues with Google.

15. Fix All Your Broken Links

Broken links can really impact your SEO negatively.

Why?

Because it creates a bad user experience for your visitors. Lots of broken links can also indicate that you don’t take care of your website.

fix your broken links with screaming frog

That’s a reputation you don’t want.

How To Find Broken Links
The best way to find broken links is with Ahrefs. Let me show you how.

Use Ahrefs Site Audit to scan your website.

ahrefs site audit

Go to the internal pages report and click on Issues.

found 404 errors

This report shows you all of the broken links Ahrefsbot found on your website. Now you need to fix the pages or redirect the URLs so that they aren’t broken anymore.

You can also use Screaming Frog to run a crawl and find broken links:

fix your broken links with screaming frog

Just click the Client Error (4xx) report on the right hand side to find a list of all the broken links on your website right now.

16. Add Structured Data

Structured data is markup that helps search engines understand your website content better and display it in the search engines.

For example, every time you see the review stars in SERPs, that’s because that website has structured data.

review stars in serps example

The most common type of structured data is schema markup. You can use that to feature-rich results in the SERPs for your:

  • Organisation information
  • Articles
  • Products
  • Reviews
  • Recipes
  • Breadcrumbs
  • FAQ’s
  • How To’s

Use Schema Markup Validation to see if you already have structured data on your website.

Implementing schema can be tricky but the free RankMath plugin makes easy to add a range of different schemas to your site.

rank math schema generator

You can also use my free FAQ schema generator to display frequently asked questions in the search results.

FAQ Schema Generator tool

Make sure you are taking advantage of all of the available structured data opportunities you have using the most common options I listed above.

17. Fix Orphaned Pages

Orphaned pages are pages on your website that aren’t linked to from any other page or section of your website.

This means that users can’t access them and Google may not find them.

Fixing orphaned pages is easy, you just need to identify them. Use Ahrefs or Semrush to do a website audit.

orphaned pages semrush

This will identify any orphaned pages that don’t have links pointing at them.

Once you have identified the pages that have been orphaned, you need to link to them from other relevant pages on your website. That’s it, all done!

Keyword Research Checklist

Good keyword research is the foundation of your SEO. Get it right and your sales can explode. But get it wrong…

And you will be struggling to rank.

Use this section of the SEO checklist to create a keyword strategy and find quality keywords that your target customers are searching for.

18. Build A Keyword Strategy

Most people just jump into keyword research without ever giving any thought to strategy.

You don’t just want to find good keywords and start writing content to target them. You need to be intelligent about the keywords you choose for your campaign.

The easiest way to put a solid keyword strategy together is by using my free Intelligent Keyword Research Template.

intelligent keyword spreadsheet

This tool helps you put together complete keyword strategies in minutes, rather than days.

Here’s how it works:

You simply add your competitors to the spreadsheet. In less than 5 minutes, it will spit out a personalised keyword strategy based on your competitors. That’s it!

Click Here To Download It Now.

This is the easiest way to put together a sustainable keyword strategy to generate consistent traffic over time.

19. Use ‘Google Suggest’ To Find Long-Tail Keywords

You don’t need to pay for quality keyword research tools.

There are tons of free keyword research tools available, you just need to know which ones to use and which ones to avoid.

One of the best places to get more long-tail target keywords is from Google suggest.

Google Suggest (also called Google autocomplete) is the suggestion you see when typing in the Google search box.

google suggest

But manually searching every keyword in Google takes a lot of time.

That’s why I use Soovle.

soovle seo tool

Soovle is a free tool that scrapes the Google Suggest keywords and provides you with information much faster. This makes the process easier and more scalable.

Take the keywords from your intelligent keyword sheet and paste them into Soovle.

Within minutes you will have hundreds more long-tail keywords to target!

20. Find Solid Keywords With Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is the official keyword research tool from Google.

It is technically made for Google ads, but it’s one of the most powerful keyword research tools for SEO if you know how to take advantage of it properly.

google keyword planner

Best of all, it’s completely free!

Who wouldn’t want to use a tool that contains data from Google themselves? It should be the most accurate data you can get on keywords.

Follow my Google keyword planner tutorial to learn how to use it properly and uncover more high-quality keywords for your campaign.

21. Use AnswerThePublic To Find’ Question Keywords’

One of the most powerful ways to do keyword research is to uncover question keywords that your target audience is searching for.

How do you do that?

Use AnswerThePublic.

answer the public

AnswerThePublic allows you to type in a target keyword and get a complete list of questions people are asking.

Not only does this provide you with more target keywords but you know what you need to answer in your content to help your audience. This is a must to rank high in the SERPs and convert site visitors into customers.

Want to take AnswerThePublic to the next level?

Combine it with Keywords Everywhere to see the exact search volume for each question inside the tool.

answer the public with keywords everywhere

This makes it easy to choose keyword questions that will drive search traffic to your site.

22. Look Into Online Forums & Communities

The last step for keyword research is to tap into online forums and communities.

Here you can listen to what your target audience is talking about and find a gold mine of target keywords. These are keywords that even advanced keyword research tools would never show you.

The two most popular forums to look at first are:

  • Reddit
  • Quora

Type your target keyword into the search bar and start looking through discussions.

reddit keyword research

Look for words or phrases that people use frequently. You can also identify topics that people are trying to learn more about.

Reddit and Quora are good for starting out. But ideally you want to find niche forums and communities where your target audience hangs out.

The easiest way to do that is by using Google.

Simply Google: Your Target Keyword + “forum”.

niche forums

This should bring up a couple of niche forums for you to jump on.

Now just look through the topics on these forums and start identifying keywords you can create content about.

Content Checklist

Here’s the deal:

If you want to rank big on Google you need to create great content. So I have provided a list of things to make your content stand out and rank higher.

23. Steal Featured Snippets

Have a page that ranks on page 1 or 2 of Google? Then you’re in the position to steal a featured snippet. And pulling it off isn’t as hard as you think.

Here’s how it works:

Look at the current featured snippet for your target keyword in the Google search results.

featured snippet

Take note of whether it is a:

  • Table
  • Bullet point list
  • Short paragraph

Also, take note of what website Google is pulling the featured snippet from and spend time analysing that page.

Pay attention to the words being used and where they appear on the page and in the featured snippet:

in article snippet

You can see from the example above that it’s actually a table in the article that’s being displayed as bullet points in the featured snippet.

Now go back to your piece of content and replicate what your competitor has done.

Once you have implemented the changes in your content, submit the URL to Google.

Watch this short video clip to learn more about stealing featured snippets

24. Use Questions To Hook Your Readers

Here’s the truth:

Your audience gets bored quickly. If you don’t keep them engaged, they won’t stick around to read your content.

What’s the best way to keep your audience’s attention?

Use good questions to hook them. This SEO copywriting secret changed the way I approach writing content forever.

SEO Copywriting Questions

You see humans are hard-wired to find the answers to the questions they’ve just been asked. They have a need to close the information loop.

We just don’t like being left open-ended.

That’s what makes questions so powerful. When you ask a question, your audience can’t help but read the next section so that they have the answer.

Powerful, right?

Ensure you ask questions in your content regularly. This will hook your readers all the way to the end. Learn more SEO copywriting techniques here.

25. Structure Your Content With H1, H2, H3 Or H4 Tags

Heading tags help create a structure within your content so it can easily be understood.

This is important for your readers and your SEO.

header tags in SEO

Think of it like this:

  • Headings get people to click onto your page
  • Subheadings keep them moving down the page

Your subheadings should always sell the next section of your content. Your job is to make your audience excited about the next thing they will read.

You should watch this video to learn more about how to do this along with some other sneaky hacks!

26. Use Short Sentences & Paragraphs

Big chunks of text are off-putting.

large block of text

People are in a hurry and don’t want to read huge blocks of text. They want to skim through your content and find the information they are looking for as quickly as possible.

The best way to overcome this is by using punchy sentences that can be consumed quickly. Your paragraphs should never be more than 2-3 sentences.

Ensure you have plenty of “white space” on the page.

This makes it super easy to read and your visitors will enjoy your content even more.

27. Add A Clickable Table Of Contents

A table of contents provides links to different sections on the content, highlighting the headings. I use them in all of my posts.

table of contents example

A clickable table of contents will help your audience quickly find what they’re looking for. It’s a simple value add that will make your content more engaging.

What’s more?

A table of contents can help you win site links in the SERPs.

table of contents in google serps

This gives you:

  1. More visibility
  2. Increases your organic click-thru rates in the search results

On this SEO blog, I use a WordPress plugin called Table of Contents Plus.

table of contents plus plugin

You simply add a shortcode to each piece of content and it automatically creates a table of content for you.

28. Use Multimedia (Images, Videos, Gifs)

You will have noticed that my posts include a lot of multimedia.

Here’s why:

Images and videos help break up the text and make your content more appealing.

Visuals can help your audience to learn quickly whilst also keeping them engaged:

It’s easier for your audience to understand what you’re talking about and helps keep them engaged.

pay attention

But that’s not all…

Search engines love multimedia. Images and other forms of multimedia can help your content rank higher.

Ensure that each piece of content you create includes:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Gifs
  • Infographics

And any other form of visual content that adds value. This will increase your engagement and rankings at the same time.

29. Use Schema Markup

Want more rich snippets?

Ensure that you implement schema markup on each of your website pages.

It can help improve your visibility online and even help your content rank higher because search engines understand it better.

Use an SEO tool like Rank Math and Yoast.

rank math schema

They will both automatically add the appropriate schema markup to your pages for free.

30. Pay Attention To The Length Of Your Content

You already know that long-form content ranks better. The average blog post that ranks on the first page of Google is 1,447 words long.

average word count

The ideal length of content changes from niche to niche and even depends on the topic you cover.

So how long should each piece of content be?

To answer that question, I use Surfer SEO.

surfer seo content editor

Surfer SEO will analyse the top 20-pages ranking in the search results and give you a range of how long your blog should be. It takes all the guesswork out of content writing and optimisation.

It will even tell what keywords and phrases to include in your content to rank higher.

Check out my Surfer SEO review to see exactly how I take advantage of this powerful SEO tool to win the 1st position in the Google SERPs.

31. Keep Your Content Up To Date

It’s important that you keep your content fresh and up to date because if a post becomes too old, you will notice that it will start to drop in rankings.

You must regularly update old content, so it continues to rank high.

fresh content

Set a reminder for every 6-12 months to review old content.

Then check each of your posts and see where you can add more content. Sometimes it will involve rewriting entire articles.

And that’s ok. It’s just part of the process, especially in a fast-changing industry.

Updating old content ensures that your content is:

  1. Always fresh
  2. Ranks higher for longer

Watch this video to learn the easiest ways to update your content and score some quick SEO wins at the same time.

On-page SEO Checklist

Never underestimate the power of on-page SEO.

It can sometimes be the difference you need to rank in the top 3 so below I am going to cover the most important on-page SEO optimisation you need to address.

So you might want to check out the full on-page SEO checklist as well.

32. Write Compelling Meta Descriptions

Think of your meta description as an advertisement for your page.

You need to take advantage of every one of those 160 characters to win the click.

So writing compelling meta descriptions is a great way to improve your organic search click-thru rates and get more traffic.

optimised meta description example

Your meta-description should:

  • Let the person know what your page is about
  • Contain your primary target keyword
  • Be compelling

Meta descriptions are a factor that Google pays attention to. Ensure that yours are optimised for search engines and humans.

33. Include Your Keyword In The Title & URL & Tags

Add your target keyword as close to the front of your page title and title tag as possible.

keyword in h1

heading tag with keyword

Your URL should also be your primary keyword.

keyword in url

This makes it super easy for Google to understand what your content is about and categorise it properly.

34. Keep Your URLs Short

Your URLs should all be short.

Why?

Research has shown that pages with short URLs rank best in Google. Ideally, your URLs should only be your primary keyword.

keyword in url

Most SEOs agree that your URL should be no longer than 73 characters.

But please be aware if you updated existing URL’s you are risking any existing search traffic to that page, even if you setup a proper 301 redirect.

Check out my advice to create the best permalink structure for your site.

35. Use Internal Links

Internal link building is more important than most give it credit for.

Google has said that the number of internal links pointing to any page is a signal about the importance of that page. They also use:

  • The anchor text
  • The text around the link

…to better understand what a page is about.

why internal links are important

Put simply: Internal link building matters…A lot.

If you have never paid attention to internal link building – now is the time.

How To Find Internal Link Opportunities
First, you need to check your top linked internal pages. Login to Google Search Console, click links, then look at your top internal linked pages report.

internal links

By default, Google will assume these are your most important web pages.

Your goal is to take your most profitable organic search traffic pages and make sure they are as close to the top of that report as possible.

Download the internal links report and delete the following:

  • About page
  • Contact page
  • Category pages
  • Pages listed in the main navigation

Your top web pages should be your most important pages. If they aren’t, you need to fix them as soon as possible.

Watch this video to learn more about how to do that.

36. Link To Relevant Resources

Your blog posts should include at least 2 external links to other relevant resources.

Why?

Because it proves to Google that your content is:

  • Well-referenced
  • Trustworthy

Link to relevant & external resources
Linking to other high authority websites that Google already trusts improves your website’s credibility.

More credibility = more trust with Google. And this can lead to higher rankings overall.

37. Optimise Your Images

Everyone knows that image SEO is important.

But people don’t realise just how big of a difference it can make. Ensure that your images:

  • Include relevant alt text to describe them
  • Are named appropriately
  • Have been compressed for faster loading
  • Have optimised exif data (see this video)

Most people’s images will have a default name like – IMG0435430.jpg. They then leave the alt text blank. This doesn’t really help Google.

The name of your images should be descriptive and each word should be separated by hyphens. They should look something like this: link-building-win-rates.jpg.

image name and alt text

Your alt-text should also describe the image and be similar (if not the same) to the image name.

Then Google can easily understand what the image is about and therefore categorise it faster.

Next you need to focus on keeping your images lightweight. To help with image compression I use Shortpixel.

shortpixel image compressor

It’s a lightweight plugin that automatically compresses your images as you upload them.

This will keep your page load speeds running efficiently and Google happy.

Link Building Checklist

If you want to drive more organic traffic you need to focus on off-page SEO and link building

While off-page SEO is often thought of as just link building, there is a lot more to it than that. Use this off-page SEO checklist to:

  1. Build your website’s authority
  2. Dominate the Google SERPs

38. Are You Using Blacklisted Backlinks?

Blacklisted backlinks are sites that are:

  • Known guest post farms
  • PBN’s
  • Sold via cold outreach
  • Have “write for us” pages

Bad and spammy backlinks can negatively affect your SEO and in the worst cases, lead to harsh Google penalties.

Take it from me… Google penalty recovery is hard work. That’s why you need to ONLY build high-quality links.

The good news? You can easily check each of your backlinks to see if any of them are blacklisted for free by using the LinksThatRank backlink blacklist tool.

links that rank backlink blacklist

Simply copy and paste your backlinks and the tool will let you know if any of them have been blacklisted. You’ll also get a reason and screenshot as to why the link has been blacklisted.

39. Which Pages Should You Build Links To?

I highly suggest you watch this video to understand this section better.

But if you’re not sure which pages you should build links to, I’m going to simplify it for you.

Look at the keywords you are currently ranking on the first 3 pages of Google for:

To make this quick and easy, use the Ahrefs or Semrush trial.

Now pick the keywords that are most commercially relevant to you. These are the keywords that will bring direct sales and leads to your business.

filter for commercially relevant keywords

The key to success is focussing on the keywords that will bring the most value. You should end up with a small list of keywords that have a higher potential to bring leads and sales.

The pages that rank for these keywords is where you should be focusing your link building.

40. How Many Links Do I Need To Rank?

The best way to figure out how many links you need to rank is with this video.

Now that you have your target pages to build links to, the next step is to work out how many links you need to build to rank in the top 3.

Here’s the truth:

Link building is time-consuming and costly. You don’t want to build any more links than you have to. So pay attention to these next steps.

First make sure you have access to Ahrefs or Semrush. My personal choice is Ahrefs.

Search for your target keyword and see if you can find similar authority sites to your website that are currently ranking in the top 10.

how many links power the serps

Found some?

This is a good sign.

Now take a look at the top 3 ranking websites and analyse the backlink profiles of their individual pages. Your goal is to figure out what links are powering the top 3 search results.

number of dofollow links

Remember – filter the reports so you are only looking at dofollow links. Notice how many dofollow links each top 3 page has and what authority the links are.

Once you have done this for each top 3 ranking page, you will have a good idea of your backlink gap. Sometimes it will be hundreds of links, but usually it’s just a handful of links.

You can now work out how much it’s going to cost you and whether it’s worth attacking that keyword or not.

You really should watch this video to learn how to do this the right way.

41. Build Links With Events

Event link building is a powerful way to build great links and gain off-link exposure at the same time.

You can often build these links for relatively low prices while gaining high levels of exposure for your business.

niche example

Here’s how it works:

You want to find relevant events (physical or online) that you can sponsor.

After sponsoring the event you will get listed on the “sponsors page” and receive a backlink back to your website. Depending on your industry or niche, will depend on the types of events you should sponsor.

How To Find Sponsorship Opportunities
Search for them on Google and include well-known event hosting companies. Here’s some examples of what you can search for:

  • site:events.com inurl:registration +”sponsors”
  • site:craigslist.org +” sponsors”
  • site:meetup.com + “donation”
  • site:eventbrite.com + “become a sponsor”
  • site:eventbrite.com -inurl:support -inurl:blog +”link to your website”

find events to sponsor

It will take a bit of time to find the right events, but it will be worth it.

When you find one, apply to be a sponsor, pay the fee and wait for the link to be placed.

42. Use Testimonials For Homepage Links

Want high-authority homepage backlinks?

Testimonial link building is an effective strategy that I have been using for years.

Just tell the tools, products and services that you use how much you love them, and you’ll likely get them featured on their website.

surfer testimonial

They will then provide a link back to your website underneath your positive comment just like this DR61 link I got from the Surfer team:

surfer seo testimonial link stats

Read for the best part?

You probably already have everything you need to get started. There is a simple 5 step process to build testimonial links:

  1. Create a target list of products/services
  2. Find the contact information for each provided
  3. Pitch your testimonial offer by email
  4. Write a great testimonial
  5. Bonus step – back it up with video

That really is all there is to it! And you can do this for almost any niche or industry.

To get a more in-depth guide on each step, check out my complete testimonial link building tutorial post.

43. Appear On Podcasts

This next link building strategy isn’t just for links. It will increase your:

  1. Business brand
  2. Website traffic
  3. Authority

…while building high-quality links for free!

What am I talking about? Podcast jacking. Podcast Jacking is when you find relevant podcasts and pitch to them.

Your goal is to:

  • Be featured as a guest on popular podcasts
  • Provide tons of value to those audiences

podcast jacking

The best part? All of it can be automated.

Here’s how the process works:

  • Find Your Target Podcasts
  • Get the podcast contact details
  • Send your pitch
  • Record the podcast
  • Share it with your audience

Where does the link building come in?

Most people will publish podcasts on their website and link to the guest’s website. This can net you some really high-quality and authoritative links.

The part that will take the longest with this process is putting together a list of podcasts on which you want to be interviewed.

The best way to do it is to search for a well-known competitor and find podcasts they have been interviewed on.

podcast search results example

If your competitor has been interviewed, there is a big chance the podcast will also interview you.

Check out my complete podcast jacking guide to learn how I land interviews on high authority podcasts on autopilot.

44. Crowd Funded Link Building

Crowdfunding is one of the most unknown and underutilised link building strategies.

Here’s how it works:

Lots of startups are looking for funding and donations for their new business. When you donate to the business, they’ll feature you as a supporter on their site and give you a link.

Crowdfunding Link Building quick guide

A donation can be from $1 up to thousands of dollars, it’s up to you. This is a great way to get links back to your website for a relatively low cost.

How To Build Links With Crowdfunding
There are two ways to build links with crowdfunding:

  • Donor links – You get featured on their website because you donated
  • Package links – Getting a link is part of the package you get when you donate

crowd funding link building

You can use any major crowdfunding website you want for this method. I have had the most success with:

The easiest way to find crowdfunding link building opportunities using advanced searches in Google such as:

  • site:[indiegogo.com] inurl:projects + “link to your”
  • site:[indiegogo.com] inurl:projects +”donor page”

Be prepared to spend some time searching through the results to find good opportunities.

Spend some time making a list of affordable crowdfunding projects you can donate to. Then start building those links.

Check out my full crowdfunding link building tutorial to learn more.

45. Publish High-Quality Guest Posts

One of the most natural and arguably best ways to build links is publishing guest posts.

Let me be clear:

Guest posts are still not classified as a “white hat” link building SEO strategy. All link building is against Google’s guidelines.

Building links is against Google guidelines

But guest post based link building is about as natural as it gets.

This process behind guest posting is simple:

  • Find relevant high authority blogs to reach out too
  • Get their contact details
  • Pitch them a guest blog post
  • Write a high-quality piece of content that includes your link
  • Get the content published and promote it to your audience

The key to finding success with this SEO strategy is building relationships with high domain authority websites. You don’t just want to be guest posting on every website that has a “write for us” page.

warning about write for us pages

Be strategic.

Find high authority websites that are respected in your industry. Focus on building relationships and adding value to their readers.

This is how you will be successful with guest posting long-term.

If you need help with guest posting, check out one of these recommended guest posting services.

Download The SEO Checklist Now

Want to save this SEO checklist for later?

Download It Here.

SEO isn’t a race. It’s all about consistently doing the right things again and again.

Remember:

Good SEO takes time. Don’t think you have to get everything done in one day.

Download the SEO checklist here so you always have a copy of it with you. Whenever you have a moment to work on your SEO, you can whip it out and get to work quickly!

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