The Complete “Keyword Ranking Steps” Checklist For 2022
I have put together the most comprehensive “keyword ranking steps” checklist on the internet.
The best part?
Whenever you want to rank for a new keyword, ALL you will need to do is go through this list.
Let’s get to it…
Table of contents
Section A: BEFORE YOU START RANKING FOR A KEYWORD
Step #1: Analyse Where You are Starting From
Before you rank like a master, you need to know where you are starting from.
To do this, fantastic tools out there will analyze your entire site in minutes, then tell you all about keywords you are already ranking for or not.
What I have been using for a while now is Semrush. These guys are one of the top measuring tools out there.
It will show your website’s keyword ranking blueprint at a glance. I mean, seriously:
It gets better:
You can also check out your competitor’s keywords/backlinks/skeletons in the closet, which will be helpful in the rest of the steps on this list.
The last part is to download in excel format what keywords you are already ranking for so you can look back on it later and compare results.
This is super needed as you do NOT want to spend tons of time trying to rank for a keyword to realize your rankings have not moved an inch.
Semrush, or most other measuring tools, allows you to download keyword results in excel format.
Just download and put it to the side(save on a separate file) to come back later.
Another great tool that you can use is Google Search Console.
It shows you a lot of what Semrush does, but it is much more granular as it displays the exact amount of impressions/clicks for every word on your site so:
When gathering data from Google Search Console, focus on all keywords you rank for in positions 5 to 10.
There is a better chance that your rankings for these keywords will improve with a more minor content-creating effort.
Remember, the lower you rank for a keyword, the more time it will take to rank higher for that exact keyword.
Step #2: Make Sure You Have Your Keyword List Ready
Now that you have used a tool to let you know where you are ranking-wise, it’s time to put together a list of keywords you will be aiming for.
Aim for phrases connected to your business, but I say aim for local terms related to your business.
Instead of “plumber,” search Google for “plumber in Queens, New York.” or the location of your office.
Look at the first page, and scroll past the ads that look like this:
Here’s the exciting part…
Once you do this search, Google will show you exactly who your competition is.
You will see everyone on page 1 of Google ranking for the keywords you want.
It gets better:
Once you see all the websites listed on page 1 of Google, you need to use one of the previously mentioned tools like Semrush and literately download all the keywords they are ranking for!
Get the keyword list from your keyword tracking tool, and voila! It will look like this:
Once you have your keyword list, aim for the 3-word keywords or longer.
Good keyword target: “toilet plumber Queens.”
Wrong keyword target: “plumber.”
Can you aim for one-word keywords? Absolutely. Will you be able to if you are a new website or a website with little authority? nope
Step #3: Make Sure Your Keywords Are Targeting The Right Intent
To randomly have a list of keywords(even locally targeted keywords) without understanding search intent can be costly to your efforts.
There are 2 ways to understand the intent of a keyword.
1-Why are people searching for this?
2-Looking at Google search results, specifically the “Related searches” or the “people also searched for” sections of a Google search result.
Let’s say the keywords you aim for are “Toilet plumber in queens.”
Once you search, you get many “How to” type results in Google like this:
Specifically, in the “people also searched for” and “related searches” sections:
This then lets you know the search intent is how-to content.
What’s the bottom line?
For this type of search intent, you will need to create content like “how to unclog your toilet in 3 easy steps.” or Google will not pay much attention.
The best part?
Once you create this content, you can direct people who click on it in Google search results to your services as the best plumbing services ever.
Tip 1- Create a 5-minute Youtube video of you explaining the steps for your “how to unclog your toilet in 3 easy steps.” then add it to your page.
Doing the above increases the chance your website traffic will grow for these specific keywords.
Tip 2- Find secondary keywords or “shoulder niches” by going to Wikipedia or Reddit. Wikipedia has a wealth of information on every topic.
For example, let’s say I want to rank for the word chocolate, and I search for that word on Wikipedia:
Just from this search, here are some other related words I can expand on, all on one page of my website:
-History of chocolate
-Types of chocolate/composition
-Best chocolate based on what country it is made
-Effects on health
Tip 3- Check out keyword-specific discussion groups on the internet
In Google, search for “Chocolate” + “Powered by Disqus” or
“Chocolate recipes” + “Powered by vbulletin”
The above will allow you to spot specific keywords that are maybe new to search intent which, as mentioned before, is super important.
Tip 4- Use Google Trends. Go here, and search for the keyword you want to rank; it will look like this:
The results above show when a keyword is searched for the most, i.e., summertime, Christmas, during black Friday.
This is important because you can predict what keywords related to your niche will have a spike in search
The best part?
You can optimize all content you have for the keyword before the spike hits. This will give you a greater chance of ranking.
Step #4: Prioritize Flawless Page Structure
To rank for a keyword, one of the most important things Google pays attention to is… Page structure
This is something that is ignored more often than I care to admit.
Page structure within keyword context is how the keyword is handled once someone is on the page.
-The page on your site that includes the keyword has a title tag
-The page on your site that includes the keyword includes meta descriptions
-The page on your site that includes the keyword has main headings
-The page on your site that includes the keyword has links within the page to other pages on your site that provide even more information about the keywords.
-The page on your site that includes the keyword loads faster than the speed of light.
Just remember, for speed, the greener the better:
-The page on your site that includes the keyword has a word total of at least 2000 words.
The above is mostly a general rule as the real key here is to add as many words as needed to fully inform on the keyword at hand. Sometimes it’s 2000 words, sometimes less.
Section B: AFTER YOU START RANKING FOR A KEYWORD
Step #5: Analyze And Keep Track Of User Experience Signals
Once you add content to your site to rank for a specific keyword, just search for your website URL in a tool like semrush, it will look like this:
Doing this type of search will allow you to see if you rank for the keyword in question.
From here on, paying attention to precisely what number position the keyword you are ranking is, as well as if it goes up and down in that position, is very important.
Google Search Console is one of the best tools to use for UX(user experience) signals. It shows you how many clicks per page are happening on your site.
Make sure you have exciting or eye-catching calls-to-action buttons. Things like color hues(blue is super popular) on each CTA button can make the difference between a click and a bounce.
Make sure your hyperlinks are added using different colors. Also, make certain hyperlinks are looong enough to be visible and identifiable by the user as they scroll through your content.
Don’t ask for a TON of information on sign-ups. A good rule of thumb is asking for just a first name and email address.
Step #6: Add High-Quality Backlinks
Now that you started ranking for keywords, It’s time to add rocket fuel to how fast you reach page 1 on Google.
You do this by adding high-quality backlinks to the pages with your keyword. This is also known as Off-page SEO.
Picture 2 websites with a very similar type of information or content. One of them has 12 high-quality backlinks, while the other has 22 high-quality backlinks.
The website with 22 backlinks will rank higher. Notice I said high quality.
Make sure the backlinks you get come from reliable websites.
These websites usually have a domain authority of 30 or higher in tools like Semrush or Moz.
Tip 1- When getting a backlink, you aim to ensure that the backlink comes back to the page on your site with the keywords you are ranking for.
This is super important because it will be one of the determining factors of how well that keyword ranks.
Tip 2– Got a backlink from a high-authority site? then keep an excel spreadsheet so you can go back and obtain another backlink from the same site later.
The aim of backlinks is to get as many high backlinks coming back to each and every one of the pages of your site as possible.
Keeping records of each backlink site will help with this.
Step #7: Make Sure You Are Aware Of Google Algorithm Updates
I speak from experience here. Make sure you are on top of Google algorithm updates.
If you don’t, you will lose ranking on keywords overnight, again speaking from experience.
You need a reliable place to stay informed regarding the updates, so click here.
Tip 1- Get your backlinks from reliable sources. Re-read the above section on backlinks.
Tip 2- Emulate whoever is coming up on page 1 of Google for your industry.
This does NOT mean copying their content, as this will get you in trouble with Google.
It means paying attention to their content layout, web page structure, and the order in which they organize their images.
You don’t get to page 1 of Google overnight
Make sure you learn from whoever is on page 1 and apply what you are learning to your own website.
Here’s My #1 Takeaway Lesson
Ranking for specific keywords is not a hard-to-understand process(just follow the steps on this list)
What makes it difficult is the time it takes to see results as the process needs to be repeated over a long period (usually 9 months to a year before you hit page 1 in Google)
That’s it for now.
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