Complete SEO Guidelines to Rank New Websites: SEO Basics, Keyword Research, Content, Tech SEO, Backlinks


Here is my complete SEO checklist that I use to rank new websites

SEO Basics ✅
• Set up Google Search Console (GSC) and Bing Webmaster Tools
• Set up Google Analytics (GA)
• Install and configure an SEO plugin (WordPress)
• Generate and submit a sitemap to GSC and Bing
• Create a Robots.txt
• Check Webmaster Tools for any manual actions
• Make sure the site is indexed

Keyword Research ✅
• Identify the competitors
• Find the main keywords
• Find long-tail keyword variations
• Create a keyword map
• Analyse the page intent of ranked results
• Make a list of questions being asked
• Check the target keyword difficulty

Technical SEO ✅


• Ensure the site is using HTTPS
• Check for duplicate versions of the site
• Check for crawl errors and fix them
• Improve site speed
• Check for broken internal and external links
• Find and fix HTTP links on HTTPS pages
• Use SEO-friendly URL structure
• Add schema markup
• Check the page depth
• Check for redirects (301 & 302)

On-Site + Content SEO ✅
• Check & fix duplicate or missing title tags
• Check & fix duplicate or missing meta descriptions
• Find & fix multiple H1 tags
• Improve title tags, meta descriptions and page content
• Perform a content audit and prune low performing content
• Add alt tags to images
• Improve internal linking
• Check for keyword cannibalisation
• Update content to ensure its still relevant

Off-Site SEO ✅
• Audit competitor backlinks
• Perform link intersect analysis
• Find and reach out to unlinked mentions
• Look for new link building opportunities
• Optimise Google My Business listing (GMB)

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Pretty cool list!

Do not forget to analyze hidden backlinks with a hidden backlink checker such as Linxact. Hidden backlinks are hosted on websites that hide their outbound links from backlink checkers but not from Google. Black Hat SEO users often hide outbound links of their Private Blog Networks (PBNs).

The only place I've ever seen "hidden backlinks" mentioned is comments from you. Googling the term returns the site your promoting and nothing else. Care to share a source for your claims?

Forgive the skepticism, but this and other comments you've made seem an awful lot like an ad for a service with which you're in some way affiliated. Also, you have 26 upvotes compared to like 5 for the next top rated comment. Seems sus.

EDIT: check the post history. Nothing but shilling this bogus service for the last two weeks. Hidden backlinks are not a thing. Don't waste your money on this. If anyone has a reliable source that says otherwise, I'm happy to change my opinion. Until then, I'll be calling attention to this shill whenever I see it spouting nonsense.

You're not familiar with Black Hat SEO aren't you? This term is pretty standard. Blackhatworld is full of it. Just search that forum. Ask someone who builds Private Blog Networks (PBN)s.

I just think that many people, especially White Hat SEO users like myself, are not aware that backlinks are hidden from them. That's it. I like what Linxact is doing and at this moment there is no other service. If there would be another hidden backlink checker, I might recommend that one, but there is not.

Regarding the upvotes: My comment was one of the first comments here, if not the first. This thread has more than 200 upvotes. After all, my comment has some value. This is nothing.

Here's my question, once you've done the keyword research and know you're ranking, what's the best process to improve it?

Outside of H1, meta, etc. is it to add content to existing pages or blogs?

It goes a little beyond just optimizing titles, descriptions, and headers. It's creating and curating content that resonates with people and answers their questions and concerns. For my industry, it's all about reviews, comparisons, and educating on our products (a LOT of people are quite adamant that XYZ is better than ABC).

Other things to consider:
• Image optimization
• Schema optimization (especially when you're doing wiki-type of content, recipes, step-by-step pieces, etc)
• Core Web Vitals (make your site easy to use, light in content, and quick-loading)
• Finding out what your competitors are doing and making your content 10X better (yes, this is subjective, but find out where they are failing and you make your stuff fill in those cracks)
• Don't get spammy, make it natural and you'll start getting more short, medium, and long-tail keywords into your content naturally
• Do NOT do any link building schemes (Boostability is awful with this)

Great list

Here are items that don't matter or are missing and important

Multiple H1 's do not matter per John Mueller. You will not be penalized for this. I don't recommend having multiple h1's but there is nothing wrong with it. The primary H1 should not be an exact match to the meta title. Google recently announced that they will change the SERP title depending on the context of the query. Google ranks pages and passages from pages. If the page title doesn't represent the selected passage being shown they will use other text from the page.

Be sure that all of your headings are structurally relevant to text that follows and can be used as a Search Engine Result Page (SERP) title for that passage. That means one and two word headings won't fly. Every heading should be rewritten and topically relevant for possible use in the steps. Headings should be no longer than 66 characters and include topically relevant phrases.

E-A-T – You make no mention of the focus on it. It is not a ranking factor itself but the components of it indirectly are because they affect user perception which affect plenty of metrix that are ranking factors.

Schema Markup – Schema is fairly easy to implement, once you understand how to use it. It benefits your SERP presentation. It is also a great way to hand feed Google detailed information exactly outline what the page is about before the page is even crawled. Chrome has an awesome extension for this call schema builder and tester.

Wiki data backlinks – As part of E-A-T and topical relevance, Google uses wiki data to define entities. For example if your primary keyword phrase is influencer marketing, lookup influencer marketing on wikidata, find the definition and link directly to it near the beginning of your article

Topical Relevance – You make no mention of topical relevance and focus on keywords only yet that is very <year>. Keywords are for search. Many creators then create keyword laden content that is neither complete or quality. Google expects different phrases to be mentioned I. Content that would occur in a normal conversation. For example, if your article is about banks, you may stuff your article with savings bank, mortgage bank, savings and loan, community bank. This does not establish quality to Google any longer. Google expects all of the associated words as well.. savings, deposit, interest, lockbox, cd, loan, mortgage, teller, vault. None of those words would be sourced in your keyword search. This helps to establish topical relevance to google. One article will not establish expertise and is watered down topical relevance. Create a broader silo article that briefly summarized and links to additional more specific in-depth articles about the subtopics.

Site Focus – Typical content or site Click Through Rate (CTR), Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness (EAT) or does exactly what you do, focuses on themselves, their opinions and the companies perceptions of reality. The choose a theme and design and then stuff the messaging and content in awkwardly. This is backwards. First you must clearly understand the buyer personas. Next you need to clearly define the messaging that you want to focus on. Messaging dictates design in most cases and the look and flow will seem natural. Then you need to gauge competitors and measure what topics that your audience is seeking answers to the most. What are they seeking answers to? Creating a site and content that no one is interested means the site will stay empty just like the empty cities in China

Images and Media- the page needs to include optimized images and other forms of media which will help it appeal to a wider audience and breaks up monotonous walls of text

Social Proof & Testimonials – Consumers don't give a shit about how good a brand says it is but they will trust a recommendation from a stranger. These need to be included on sites in the 21st century as it helps establish trust as well

Monitor Off-site sentiment – when Google evaluate a site for E-A-T, they specifically will search for: your -inurl:your they are looking to see what people note on your site are saying about the site and business. For example: a negative bbb complaint not responded to can rank your rankings and traffic.

I'm sure there is more

Fantastic comment. Thank you.

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