SEO Checklist 2019 — How to Get More Organic Traffic (Fast!)

SEO Checklist 2019 — How to Get More Organic Traffic (Fast!)

– 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. Okay. 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.

Danny Hutson

100 thoughts on “SEO Checklist 2019 — How to Get More Organic Traffic (Fast!)

  1. Hi Brian, Love your videos….great info! Do you have any advice for the best way to structure a YouTube channel that uploads multi language videos. Is it better to have a separate channel per country or just use language playlists? Thanks

  2. Brian you're the best! Too bad you're so popular now, probably it's hard to get a hold of you to ask for an advise.. 🙂

  3. Hi Brian, I am so glad I discovered you! I just started a blog. I want to know how did you get your first link. I have contacted several bloggers, seems like people don't even want to reply if you have 0 rankings, lol. I don't know if you already covered this topic, because I haven't watched all your videos yet. Please kindly attach the link if you already have. Thanks a lot for your great video!

  4. I am going to focus on quality and not quantity. I will try to include infographics, engaging images, and focus on the "why" aspect of our industry. Sharing "what" and explaining that we handle the "how" Thanks for the video! Really helped! (:

  5. Many thanks for the great information. We are going to work on it. In the Netherlands there are a lot of companies who can make SEO text but they ask a lot of money for it. Do you think somebody can make a good SEO text by himself if he watch a lot of videos and learn from the internet about it? Greet from the Netherlands.

  6. So what came first, the egg or the chicken? Neil Patel or Brian Dean? Someone is copycatting someone here! You have a bald held like Niel, you sound the same, and use the same body language and video style.

  7. Hi Brian, is bounce rate a Google Ranking factors? As I understand SEO, Every bits help but I don't believe it's a ranking factor. Would love your response. Thanks for the great video as always. Jubayer

  8. Can't thank you enough for all the valuable content that you consistently provide. Question regarding updating older posts. What sort of updates do you recommend you make to older posts so that Google views the updates as valuable, thus worthy for an increased ranking? ie, changing pictures along with the name of the image, adding an additional copy, etc. etc.? Thanks again, looking forward to your response. Cheers.

  9. Thanks for such I formative video. I am new here. I learned a lot from you videos. Kindly help me to promote my channel.

  10. Hi! My site on WordPress CMS. Could you suggest a plugin to display the last updated date of the post?

  11. So you explain that it's better to work for months creating a mega 8500+ word blog than creating eight, 1000 words blogs. This is new information. I've always been taught the latter.

  12. Hey! I admire your channel and your videos a lot.
    I just have one real question that I'm really struggling with.
    I want to start a new channel in my local language, I'm not sure should I create one more channel with the same gmail account that has my main channel or should I use completely new gmail account for the new channel ?
    which one is better ? Please suggest. 🙂 🙂

  13. Another great video about SEO, Brian. I always look forward to watching your new video. Great content. Great advice, hints and tips

  14. Awasome video..Brain,,
    I have a question for you..(what video editing software are you use??) pls.. tell me..

  15. i just really love your gester and techniques. I got so may zombie pages on my website…. i will gonna delete that page so that google wont say bullshit just for one poor content page. Thanks buddy once again.

  16. I'm just wondering if this is something that us, as the general public – who aren't creating our own websites, really know about. I've only come on to this by looking at a job that I'm planning on applying for, that wants the candidate to have a strong knowledge of this. I didn't even know what SEO was until about an hour ago and then I was thinking to myself "Of course. It's so obvious for anyone wanting to create a website that you'd want to know about this". I guess I'm just thinking out loud but it's quite interesting actually. It makes sense for companies to do this. I was also thinking that they could cheat by creating fake views – I came across something that mentioned ones that had been generated and weren't real. I mean that's all so sneaky.

  17. What do you mean by deleting pages? Is that synonymous with posts? I'm a blogger and was just wondering what that tip meant. I enjoyed this video and the tips I'm going to get started on are podcast appearances and guest posting. Thank you

  18. Thank you Brian, stumbled on this video and this was so informative. I am a novice about SEO but you have taken me halfway really appreciate. Looking forward to more great SEO tips and lessons.

  19. Awesome Video. But, we are a bespoke fashion label and have claimed the Google My business listing. We don’t have a website as we concentrate more on instagram and fb by posting our work regularly and that is where the chunk of our businesses come from. We want to rank up on google maps when anyone in our town searches for a fashion designer catering to bridal outfits. We have an idea about the keywords used by customers here but we really want to increase the “Views” “Searches” and “Activity” . This we monitor through the “Google My business” app.

  20. Thanks for this buddy! Will update my existing site 1st. I can already tell how much work needed on my own site.

  21. This guy is simply a legend. People put up hours and hours long video to explain SEO but he summed it up in 20 Minutes. Thanks.

  22. Thank you so much! Been looking for MONTHS for a simple and easy to follow guide like this one. You saved me a lot of money and a massive headache.

  23. I am not sure "Bounce Rate" is a ranking factor for google. Can anyone double check this? I had tools reducing bounce rate drastically such as hubspot scripts etc. Can you double check that Brian??

  24. The content is good. Unfortunately, you are using the same technique as Neil Patel – start shouting then tail off towards the end of a sentence.

  25. Hi Brian,
    every time I watch your videos I think 'he always thinks how to cut, write and speak for every second in the video'. It's impossible to lose attention in your videos and I guess your watch time on YouTube is really great! 😀

  26. your study brought me here, I found it on google though. It is a good idea for any youtuber to make a blog and post their content in transcript form so that people might be directed to the video through the website. Another golden Idea. smart guy.

  27. Thanks Brian, I’m ranking my articles using everything you teach (they were not ranking before). Your stuff is awesome.

  28. Hats off to Brian Dean for actually creating a video in 2019 and uploading it, unlike the guy (not even gonna name him) who preys on noobs and retitles videos from 2017

  29. Content is important. Quora, forums and social media are great platforms to look at what your target audience is searching. Obviously, if you provide them with relevant solutions, they will connect to you and ask more people to do so.

  30. Hello Sir, My Question is about Youtube. I Want to ask, Is it okay to change the niche of your after gaining some subscribers. I channel was about a game. But now I want to start creating programming videos. Do you think that it will effect the growth of my new videos about Programming. I am caring about the subscriber I am currently having. I am thinking that, If my channel is about Gaming, then I start uploading programming videos then youtube will think of the programming videos as gaming video and my videos will show up to people who like gaming instead of people who are intrested in Programming which would decrease the growth of that video. Do you think that it is right? Please Reply

  31. Thank My Boss … i following your instruction and Neil patel Instruction and i got my result , I ranked my Niche website with in 3 month Thanks

  32. hey brian can you tell what’s difference between buyers persona , target market and target audience and How to make buyers persona For B2C

  33. That's a great video about SEO! Everything is so simply and clearly explained , I am sure a newbie can do his/her website SEO, without an expert help!

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