How to Rank in 2020: The Only SEO Checklist You’ll Need

In 2020, digital marketing and advertising platforms have become matured and much more predictable. Ranking a website is a fairly structured process that can be done well when you follow the right steps used by SEO experts. A lot of the upheaval that characterized previous years has now waned. To rank in 2020, here’s the SEO checklist to get you started.

SEO Checklist

Why Do You Need an SEO Checklist?

SEO checklist is vital when it comes to making sure all of your pages are well-optimized and up-to-date to the current practices.

You might not need a checklist if you’re only optimizing one page, but imagine if you’re working on dozens or even hundreds of pages. You’ll want to keep it consistent and fruitful. And an SEO checklist will be able to help you get the job done.

Ready? Let’s dive in and check out the list!

SEO Checklist to Rank in 2020

On-page optimization, also known as on-site optimization, is referred to as the SEO done INSIDE your website. This includes optimizing your content, improving your website speed, making it mobile-friendly and responsive, and more.

While off-page optimization, you guessed it, is the SEO done outside of your website. This includes building backlinks to boost the authority of your post or page, building trust with your audiences, driving traffic through social media platforms, and more.

1. Creating Content With Keywords People Actually Searched For

Now we’re talking. Content writing is one of the most important parts when it comes to building your authority and visibility. You need content to showcase your expertise in your business.

Let’s take a healthcare website for example. Would you trust the brand if all their website has are products and nothing else?

Probably not.

You want to read the blog posts and learn more about their knowledge and expertise, build trust in the brand before the products.

Now, let’s come back to the topic.

Finding the right keywords can be challenging, but there are tools like KeySearch, Ahrefs, Google Keyword Planner to help you with that.

Once you found keywords with decent search volume and low competition, that’s when the works start. Writing content based on the keyword, optimize it, doing internal links, and much more, ultimately promoting it to potential readers.

seo checklist online traffic

2. Get The Title Tag, Meta Description & URL Right

During the content writing process, it’s important that you make sure you get the title tags, meta description & URL right.

Make sure they include the keywords you’re targeting for, without appearing too spammy. Keyword stuffing is a thing of the past, and the constantly-evolving Googlebot knows how to differentiate it years ago.

These elements play significant roles when it comes to showing relevancy to Google, and that your article is worth ranking for particular keywords.

There are some plugins in WordPress that can help you get the job done – Yoast and RankMath. These plugins also make sure you’re sticking to the best SEO practices while crafting your content. And they’re free!

3. Improving Website Speed

Website speed is like a gate for visitors, and we all know internet users nowadays lack patience. Imagine asking a visitor to wait 15 seconds or more, just to load up your landing page, what would happen?

Yes, they’d leave before they see anything.

You have less than 5 seconds to pitch your website to new visitors, and if your website takes longer than that, most people leave without a second thought.

So how do you judge the website speed and optimize it?

Luckily, there are free tools like GTMetrix and Pingdom to help you with determining your website speed. From the reports, you’ll know the issues that are dragging down your site speed. All you have to do is to address them one by one.

And if you don’t know how to?

Again, the world is getting easier for tech newbies. Assuming that you’re using WordPress to manage your website, which you should, there are plenty of plugins like WPRocket and W3 Total Cache to help you with those issues.

If you’re looking to take it further, you could tweak your website to be fit for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which loads up way faster for mobile users.

However, the downside for this would be that you’ll not be able to show ads, which is bad news if your main way of monetization is through Google Ads. But you’ll get to rank easier and higher on mobile searches, so it depends on what you prioritize.

seo checklist website speed

4. Make Your Website Mobile-friendly & Responsive

Here are two simple ways to know if your website is mobile-friendly and responsive.

First, squeeze your browser horizontally as much as possible, and see if the layout changes. Second, access your website from your mobile phone and see if you have to scroll horizontally to explore the content fully.

If the user interface adapts to your screen size, then your website is responsive.

Most of the themes on WordPress are mobile-friendly and responsive these days, so make sure you’re using one that’s up-to-date. If not, then perhaps it’s time to change a new look for your website!

Here’s a comparison of the desktop view and mobile view of the responsive iMarketing website.

seo checklist responsive websites

5. Building Referral Links To Your Website (Backlinks)

Imagine creating a piece of content that you think is so valuable and unique. No one else provides as much value as your article does.

But does it matter if there’s no one to read it?

We’ll talk about promoting the article to social media users later, but let’s touch on the organic traffic first. By this, I mean readers who reach your website through Google searches.

Other than on-page optimization which we talked about previously, it’s important to build backlinks to the articles that you want to rank.

Backlinks from higher authority and relevant websites show that your article is indeed valuable and provides insights that no one else offers. 

Backlinks building can be done by writing guest posts for bigger websites, building a good relationship with other websites, asking clients to give testimonials on their sites and link to your site, and countless more.

Let your creativity rolls in!

6. Building Trust With Your Audiences

When you’re creating content, it’s important to make sure you write with E-A-T in mind, which refers to ‘Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness’. This shows the readers that you are indeed qualified to provide values and advice which are accurate and reliable.

2020 also sees a turn in product promotion. With Gen Z shoppers slowly dominating the online market, it’s important to know what they’re looking for when buying a product.

If you’re interested in knowing what Gen Z shoppers are looking for, here’s an article to help you.

However, it still boils down to knowing your audiences along the way of building trust with them.

Make full use of the Insights tools that come with Facebook, Google Analytics, Instagram, and others. These tools give you a deeper understanding of where your audiences come from, the age groups, their active hours, their devices, and much more.

Having good customer service is vital in this era. Modern shoppers prefer interacting with the business before making a purchase, that’s the best place you build a good relationship with potential buyers.

Once you build a good trust relationship with your customers, the sales will roll in continuously as long as you’re constantly improving your products and keep people updated.

7. Promoting Your Content Through Social Media

Utilizing social media is crucial for your business nowadays. With 25.5 million monthly active Facebook users in Malaysia alone, there’s no reason you should not include it in your social media marketing efforts.

Social media is also a great way of building trust with your potential customers. Having a solid page on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can be extremely convincing when appealing to new buyers.

And if you did not click the article mentioned just now, Gen Z shoppers prefer researching a brand online before considering to make any purchase. Millennials who grow up with the internet also tend to do the same.

With good followers counts on your pages, it’s much easier to promote your new content and products.

Another way of promotion is influencer marketing. This involves an influencer on social media with a big number of followers with good engagement promoting your products or brands in exchange for payment. It could be a one-off payment or commission-based.

seo social media marketing

Wrapping It Up

Hopefully, this SEO checklist gives you an idea of how SEO is like. It’s a team effort and is best done by professionals who know what they’re doing.

The algorithms on Google and social media are constantly changing, so having experts who are up-to-date is vital to growing your business’s online presence. Check out all our services and see how we can help you now!

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