– Today, I’m gonna show you

my complete SEO checklist.

In fact, this is the

same checklist I’ve used

to get first page Google rankings

for competitive keywords,

like Keyword Research

Tools, and SEO Campaign.

I’m Brian Dean, the founder of Backlinko,

and in this video, I’m

gonna walk you through

my entire SEO checklist,

step-by-step, keep watching.

When I first got started with SEO,

I had no idea what I was doing.

So, I started to search for things,

like how to get higher Google rankings,

and how to SEO my site, and

despite following all the advice

that I read, my traffic didn’t budge.

It was really frustrating.

(growls) I hate you, Google.

Today, my site brings

in hundreds of thousands

of visits per month, mostly from Google,

and major media sites, like Entrepreneur,

have called me “an SEO genius”.

My secret, I developed a repeatable,

step-by-step SEO process,

and that’s exactly what I’m

gonna share with you right now.

So let’s kick things off with Step #1

of this SEO Checklist,

Set Up Essential SEO Tools and Plugins.

Your first step is to

make sure that you have

three important SEO tools

set up and ready to go.

The first tool that

every site needs to have

is the Google Search Console.

This tool makes it super easy

to track your site’s

performance in Google.

It can also help you find

technical SEO problems

that are holding you back,

but most important of all,

the Search Console shows

you the exact keywords

that you rank for, and

where you rank for them,

and unlike third party tools,

this data comes straight from Google,

so you know it’s legit.

The next tool you wanna

set up is Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is the best way

to see how people find

and use your website,

but that’s just scratching the surface.

With Google Analytics, you

can do all sorts of cool stuff

like find pages on your

site that bring you traffic,

identify the exact websites

that send you traffic,

your site’s Bounce Rate, Paid Views,

and Time on Site, and lots more.

Finally, if your site runs on WordPress,

you need to install the Yoast SEO Plugin.

Yoast is by far the most popular

SEO plugin on the planet,

and for good reason.

Yoast makes it super easy

to make your WordPress site

SEO friendly right outta the box.

And now it’s time for the

second step in this Checklist,

Find Keywords That Customers Search For.

It’s no secret that keyword

research is super important.

The question is, how do you find keywords

that your customers search for?

Here are three simple techniques.

First, find long tail

keywords with Google Suggest.

To use this technique, type

the keyword into Google,

but don’t press enter

or the search button.

Instead, take a look at the

keywords that Google shows you.

Google only suggests keywords

that people are actually searching for,

so when you see a Google

Search suggestion,

you know that lots of people

are searching for that term.

Next, find keywords with

the Google Keyword Planner.

The Google Keyword Planner

is Google’s official

keyword research tool.

This tool is technically

designed for Google ads,

but it’s still super useful

for SEO keyword research.

To use it, just enter a seed keyword,

and check out the suggestions

that the tool spits out.

That’s all there is to it.

Finally, spy on online communities.

Fortunately, this isn’t

as creepy as it sounds.

I’m talking about reading

threads on sites like reddit,

Quora, and online forums.

All you need to do is

head over to the community

and find questions that

crop up again and again.

For example, I noticed that

a big chunk of the threads

on the Paleo sub-reddit

are all about Paleo and Keto desserts,

so if you ran a site in the Paleo niche,

terms like best Paleo desserts

and Keto friendly desserts

would be great keywords to target.

With that, let’s jump into Step #3,

Keyword-Optimize Your Content.

So, you’ve installed all

of the important SEO tools,

and you’ve found a handful of keywords.

Now it’s time to actually

optimize your site.

Here’s how, first, use your keyword

in the first 100 words of your page.

Google puts more weight on terms

that show up at the top of your page,

so make sure you use

your keyword once here.

For example, on this post

for my site, you can see

that I use the term SEO

tools right off the bat.

Next, use your keyword in the

beginning of your title tag.

Just like with your page’s content,

Google puts a little bit of extra weight

on terms that show up

early in your title tag.

For example, my main keyword for this post

is SEO case study, and, as you can see,

my title tag starts off with that keyword.

Third, use short URLs that

include your target keyword.

Why is this important?

Well, a recent SEO industry study

found a correlation between short URLs

and higher Google rankings,

so you’ll wanna keep your

URLs short and sweet.

For example, this post on my site

uses a super short URL, and that short URL

is one of the main reasons that this page

ranks number one in Google

for my target keyword, SEO techniques.

Last up, you wanna use your keyword

in a H1, H2, or H3 tag.

Honestly, H-tags aren’t

really that important,

but every little bit helps,

especially if you’re trying

to target competitive keywords.

For example, my main keyword for this page

is Content Marketing Tools,

so I use that exact keyword

inside of an H2 tag, simple.

Moving right along, let’s

quickly blast through

the fourth step in this SEO checklist,

Find and Fix Technical

SEO Issues and Errors.

The truth is, technical SEO problems

can tank your rankings,

so if your site has

technical SEO problems,

you’ll wanna find and fix

’em right away, here’s how.

First, make sure that your

site is mobile-friendly.

As you might’ve heard, Google now runs

on a mobile-first index,

which means if your site

isn’t optimized for mobile

devices, it won’t rank.

What the heck, I can’t click anything.

Fortunately, you can easily see

your site’s mobile-friendliness

with the Google Mobile-Friendly Test.

Just pop in a page from your

site, and Google will tell you

whether or not your

page is mobile-friendly.

Next, ID crawl errors.

A crawl error just means

that Google is having trouble

indexing all the content on your site,

and if they can’t index your page,

it’s not gonna rank.

You can easily find crawl errors

in the Google Search Console

using the Coverage Report.

Finally, improve your site’s page speed.

Your site’s loading speed is

a confirmed ranking factor.

Now, to be clear, in my experience,

page loading speed isn’t gonna

make or break your rankings,

but in general, the faster

your site loads, the better.

To evaluate your site’s loading speed,

check out Google’s PageSpeed

Insights and

Both tools give you a benchmark

for how quickly your site loads.

They also hook you up with recommendations

to help you speed things up, nice.

And now it’s time for our next step,

Create Content Designed to Rank in Google.

There’s no denying it, if

you wanna rank in Google,

you need to publish great content,

but what is great content, exactly?

Uh, it’s content that’s great.

In my mind, great content is content

that actually ranks in Google,

and now I’m gonna show you exactly how

to create the type of content that ranks

on the first page of Google.

First, create awesome content

with the Skyscraper Technique.

The Skyscraper Technique

is a three-step formula

for creating amazing content.

In fact, I used this technique

to double my search engine

traffic in two weeks.

Here’s the three-step process.

First, find a piece of content

in your industry that’s popular.

Next, create something even better,

and finally, promote that content.

For example, last year I noticed

that lots of people are writing

about SEO for Ecommerce,

so I decided to take what was out there

and make something even better,

specifically, I spend 20-plus hours

on an 8,000-word post

called Ecommerce SEO,

The Definitive Guide.

I promoted this post on social media

and using email outreach,

and this three-step process

brought in a massive spike in traffic.

It also helped me crack

the top three results

for my target keyword, Ecommerce SEO.

Second, break your

content down into chunks

because here’s the truth.

No one, and I mean no one likes reading

giant walls of text like this.

That’s why I always break

things down into chunks,

because it makes my content

super easy to read and skim,

and because my content is easy to read,

my Bounce Rate, a key

Google ranking factor,

is super low, more on that later.

Next, make sure to cover

everything there is to

know about your topic.

When I recently analyzed

over a million Google search

results, one thing was clear.

Content that covers an

entire topic in depth

ranks above content that

only covers part of a topic.

For example, remember that Ecommerce guide

I mentioned earlier?

Well, that ultimate guide could’ve been

a lame blog post, like five

ways to get high rankings

for your Ecommerce site,

but I decided to create something

that covered everything there is to know

about optimizing Ecommerce

sites, which helped my page

hit the first page of

Google in record time.

Besides making your content in-depth,

you also wanna use lots of

multimedia on your page.

I’m talkin’ about stuff

like images, polls,

visual content, videos,

charts, and infographics.

For example, I use lots of screenshots,

visuals, and videos in

pretty much every post.

Finally, you want to double down

on content formats that

are working best right now.

I recently teamed up with BuzzSumo

to analyze almost one billion blog posts,

so what did we find?

Well, there was some good

news and some bad news.

Let’s get the bad news outta the way.

The bad news is that most

content is completely ignored.

In fact, we found that 94%

of all published content

gets zero external links.

That’s right, zero.

Now, for the good news.

There are certain content formats

that attract more backlinks than others.

We found that why-posts, what-posts,

and infographics get

significantly more backlinks

than other content formats.

For example, this why

post has been linked to

over 50,000 times.

Obviously, you can’t

just publish a why-post

or an infographic and

expect the links to roll in,

but our data shows that sticking

to these three content

formats can increase the odds

that people link to your stuff.

Speaking of links, it’s

time for the last step

in this checklist, Build

Links to Your Website.

So, are backlinks still important for SEO?

Heck yeah, in fact, a recent study

by Stone Temple Consulting

found that backlinks

are still one of Google’s most

important ranking factors.

The bottom line, if you’re serious

about ranking in Google,

you need backlinks,

and lemme walk you through a handful

of link-building strategies

that are working great right now.

First up, build backlinks

using link roundups.

Link roundups are one of

my all-time favorite ways

to get backlinks, why?

Because the entire point of a roundup

is to link to amazing content.

So if you publish something

amazing on your site,

there’s a good chance

that you could get a link from a roundup.

For example, here’s a roundup

in the marketing space.

They link to the best content about SEO

and content marketing that came out

over the last week or so.

Lucky for me, I had recently published

a giant guide to SEO, and because my post

was a good fit for their roundup,

they happily linked to me.

Next, build links using

strategic guest posting.

So, why do I say strategic guest posting

and not just, guest posting?

It’s not to sound smart.

That’s because guest posting can work,

but you need to be strategic about it,

and if you do guest posting the wrong way,

your site can get slapped

with a Google penalty.

So, how do you do guest

posting the right way?

The right way is to

publish your guest post

on a respected site in your niche.

The wrong way is to publish guest posts

on any website that has

a Write For Us page,

even if the site has

nothing to do with yours.

A good rule of thumb that I follow

is to only guest post on sites

that are gonna send me targeted traffic,

and related to my site.

For example, here’s a guest post

that I published on the Buffer blog.

Buffer’s blog focuses

more on social media,

and my site is about SEO,

but those two topics are related enough.

If I publish the same post

on a site about cute cats,

that would look shady to Google.

Anyway, I got a solid

backlink for my post,

and it brought in a decent chunk

of targeted traffic to my site.

The next strategy I wanna show you

is to go on podcasts as a guest.

This is one of the most underrated

link-building techniques on the planet.

Just like with a guest post,

you get a nice, contextual link

from your podcast appearance,

but unlike a guest post,

there is much less legwork.

You don’t need to pitch

topics, or work with an editor.

Just schedule your interview,

and show up and provide value, that’s it.

Because this strategy is so easy,

I’ve actually appeared on

over 70 podcast episodes

over the last few years.

Last up, we have the age-old strategy

of mentioning influencers in your content.

This process couldn’t be any simpler.

First, mention influential

bloggers in your post.

Then, let ’em know about it.

Seriously, that’s it.

For example, a while back,

I published this giant list of SEO tools.

Now, I could’ve published this post

and hoped and prayed that

people actually see it,

so I decided to be proactive.

So I reached out to each person

to let them know that I mentioned them,

and as you can see, most of the

people that I reached out to

were happy to share my post.

Now, before we close out this video,

it’s time for a quick bonus step,

Tap Into Advanced SEO

Techniques and Strategies.

At this point, you’ve got the basics down,

so lemme walk you through a handful

of advanced SEO tips and strategies

that are working really well right now.

My first advanced SEO tip

is to delete what I call zombie pages.

Zombie pages are pages on your site

that don’t bring in any traffic,

and as it turns out, Google hates sites

with lots of zombie pages.

In fact, a Google employee recently stated

that they prefer to rank sites

that have a small number

of high quality pages

over those that are bloated,

with lots of pages that

don’t provide any value.

That’s why I make sure

that every page on my site is awesome.

In fact, Backlinko generates

over 300,000 visitors

per month, and to date,

I’ve only published around

70 total blog posts.

How is this possible?

It’s because, when it comes to content,

I focus 100% on quality, not quantity.

To be clear, you don’t

wanna start deleting pages

like a crazy person.

This is a process you wanna

do slow and carefully,

so use Google Analytics

to find a handful of pages

that don’t generate any traffic,

then delete them, or redirect

them to another related page.

Wait a week or two to see how it goes.

Then, over the next few months,

slowly delete more and more zombie pages.

For example, the team

at noticed

that they had almost 50,000 pages indexed,

way more than they thought.

As it turned out, a lot

of these extra pages

were zombie pages that

didn’t provide any value,

so they deleted them, and thanks to this

and a few other SEO

improvements they made,

Proven’s organic traffic

significantly increased.

Our next advanced tip

is to boost your organic

click-through rate.

As you might’ve heard, Google

pays very close attention

to how many people click on

your site in the search results.

If people skip over your site

and click on the other results,

your rankings can drop like a stone,

but if lots of people

click on your result,

Google considers your page a

great result for that keyword

and you’ll get a rankings boost.

In fact, a Google document states that

“when you click on a

link in Google Search,

“Google considers your click

“when ranking that search result.”

So, how do you improve your

organic click-through rate?

Scan the first page search results

for your target keyword, and imagine

what someone searching for that keyword

would want to click on.

Then, optimize your

title tag and description

to match what a searcher wants to see.

For example, if you search for video SEO,

you’ll notice that most of the results

are guides and tutorials.

In other words, people that

search for this keyword

don’t want a handful of tips,

they want a complete guide,

and to show people that my

result was a thorough guide,

I made sure to include the word guide

in my title and description.

The last advanced SEO tip I have for you

is to keep your content up-to-date.

Back in the day, I’d publish a new post

and never think about it again,

and as time went on, my

content got really outdated.

I had old screenshots,

outdated strategies,

and overall, content that

just looked kinda dated,

so early last year, I

started a huge project.

Go back and update every

single post on my site.

Like I said earlier, I

only have about 70 posts,

but that’s still a lot of content

to go through and update.

Fortunately, I didn’t

need to update all 70,

I only had to update about 20 posts,

so how did it go?

Well, after I’d update a post,

I’d notice a huge spike

in search engine traffic,

and even though the

traffic eventually dipped,

it was still much higher

than before the update.

For example, a few months

ago, I updated this post.

Even though I updated

that post months ago,

that page still gets

30% more organic traffic

than before the update.

And, thanks mostly to

these content updates,

my site’s overall organic

traffic is up 24.6%,

which means 249,000 more people

visit my site every

year than before, crazy.

So that’s it for my SEO checklist.

If you learned something

new from today’s video,

make sure to subscribe to my

YouTube channel right now.

Just click on the button below this video,

and if you want exclusive

SEO and traffic techniques

that I only share with subscribers,

head over to

and sign up for the newsletter, it’s free.

Now, I wanna turn it over to you.

Which strategy from this

video are you gonna try first?

Are you gonna update your old content,

or try link roundups?

Let me know by leaving a

comment below, right now.

Okay, ready?

Is he in the shot?

(keyboard clicking)

Here’s my hometown.


I was like, who said that (laughs)?

If your site isn’t mobilized, oops.

Usually, it’s higher at the end.

It’s kinda on here.


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