link building

On Page SEO & Off Page SEO – Ultimate Checklist for 2019

  • Boobalakrishnan
  • |
  • 10 June , 2017
  • |
    • 11 min read

Creating a blog has become very important for every business. The actual challenge, though, comes when you are faced with the Herculean task of making your post pop up on the top page of all leading Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) plays a pivotal role in spiking up your web page's ranking and making sure it receives the exposure it truly deserves. Read on for some foolproof techniques to optimise your page and drive all your targeted traffic right to it. You may also find it useful to view the Digital Bytes knowledge series on the Social Beat YouTube Channel.

On-Page SEO Checklist

Here is a list of on-page factors that matters the most:

Title Tag:

As per Google’s algorithm, the length of the title tag should be 55 to 60 characters. If it crosses this limit, only the first 60 characters will show up in the SERPs. So ensure that the title is crisp and conveys everything it needs to in the first 60 characters itself.

Meta Description:

Meta descriptions are often used to give us a brief explanation of the blog post. Make sure you include all the necessary keywords in the description. The length of the Meta description is limited to 155 to 160 characters. Similar to the title tag, even if the length of the Meta description crosses 160, only the first 160 characters will show up in the SERPs.

Craft a compelling title, meta description:

How Google displays your result determines whether people want to click on your listing or someone else's. The snippet is your opportunity to say, "Come click me instead of those other guys." If you can optimize this, both from a keyword perspective using the words and phrases that people want, as well as from relevancy.

URL Length:

Google identifies web pages mainly by the URL and the title. So, to rank higher on Google, you need use your focus keywords on your URL. Additionally, try making your URL as short and sweet as possible. Unless your post is an event-based blog, avoid mentioning the year in your URL as Google tends to categorise it as outdated content. This, in turn, decreases your ranking.

Heading (H1):

The heading of your blog post needs to be in the H1 tag and should contain the exact keyword match. This helps Googlebot in ranking your post as high as possible in SERPs.

Sub Headings (H2):

The subheadings of your blog post need to be in the H2 tag. If you are focusing on more than one set of keywords in your post, use the other keywords in your subheadings for better SERP ranking.

Use LSI keywords in the body and headings:

Once you have completed your keyword research, perform a Google search for those keywords. This will give you a set of keywords, under the top results, titled “Searches related to”. These keywords are called Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords and are the most frequently used keywords by visitors. Using these keywords in your content and heading will rank your post better.

Keyword Research:

In addition to the primary and secondary keywords that we mostly target in our optimization efforts, the of LSI keywords in the content will help users understand better by getting answers to their problems for the respective search queries and aid in ranking.

Find what Google believes to be relevant to the keyword searches:

The first thing is to figure out what Google considers to be related to the keywords searches. What does Google think is the content that will answer this searcher's query? You're trying to figure out intent, the type of content that's required, and whatever missing pieces might be there. If you can find the gap and fill that gap with answering the ‘what’ they expected in that search query, this will help to improve the ranking position

Keyword Density:

Keyword Density is the number of times your focus keyword has been used in your content. A high-ranking post should primarily have a keyword density of 1.5% based on its length.

Use Multimedia (Image, Video and Infographics):

All Digital Marketers know that content is king. It keeps the visitors engaged in the post and has the potential to make a post go viral. To keep your visitors glued to your blog, make sure you give out more information in a lesser span of time. Images, videos and infographics are your best bet, as they help in better understanding of the content.

Content Google can easily crawl and parse:

Google’s bot should be capable of understanding the content that is on the page in a readable text format.  To recognize images and visuals, videos or embeds or anything else that you've got on the page, use them in a way that they are going to help the bot index them.

Alt tag:

The images in your blog post play a vital role in ranking your page as well. Insert the keywords in the alt-text used to describe the images to make them show up on Google searches and, in turn, rank your page higher on Google.

Use Keywords in first two lines (within 100 words):

Apart from the fact that your keywords need to be frequently used in your post, the placement of the keywords is also important for better SEO. Use your keywords in first 100 words of your content for higher SERP ranking.

Use Outbound Links

Outbound links give Google a better understanding of your content based on the links provided to other web pages.

Use Internal Links:

Internal links help in keeping your users engaged in the blog by providing old links related to the current article within the same website.

Content is King:

Quality and quantity are both important for good content. A blog post without any one of these will not help in keeping users engaged, which will lead to a decrease in SERP ranking over the course of time. To understand this concept better, let's take the example of Alice and Bob. Alice's blog is ranked in the first position, but her content lacks quality whereas Bob's blog is currently ranked in the 4th position, but his content keeps his users engaged for a long time. Google will analyse this behaviour and automatically rank Bob's blog higher than Alice's due to better content.

HTTPS for domain

Using HTTPS for your blog will make it secured. It also helps in increasing your visitors’ confidence and trust in your content.

Responsive Design:

As per the latest Google algorithm, a web page needs to have a good responsive design, to adapt to all platforms such as mobiles and tablets.

Site Speed:

The speed at which a web page loads fully is of paramount importance. Site speed should not be compromised by data speed.  You could have the latest website design, but if your site does not load quickly, you will lose you customer then and there. So improving your sites page speed should be of utmost importance.

Page load time is essential for better ranking:

Content, visuals, and UX are great aspects of a page. But in the case of  poor loading time of your web page, the purpose to retain a user is lost. Hence, constantly keeping a close watch on the speed of your website is important. The faster it is, the easier it is for the user the navigate through the site.

Robots.txt:

Robots.txt helps to block unwanted information in the web page.

XML sitemap:

When Google indexes the page, it can be seen in the XML sitemap through the following links:

  •     domain.com/sitemap.xm
  •     domain.com/sitemap_index.xml

On-page Grader:

The on-page grader is a Moz tool to ensure your web page is optimised. It gives you a closer insight into the things which need to be done to get a grade A web page. The tool focuses on the following factors to get a higher SERP ranking.

  •   Checks the accessibility to search engines
  •   Avoids keyword stuffing in document
  •   Avoids keyword stuffing in page title
  •   Avoids multiple page title elements
  •   Checks broad keyword usage in page title
  •   Checks if the exact keyword is used in the document text at least once
  •   Checks only one canonical URL
  •   Checks for sufficient characters in content
  •   Checks for sufficient words in content
  •   Checks if the exact keyword is used in page title
  •   Checks if the keyword is at the beginning of page title
  •   Checks for keywords in image alt attribute
  •   Checks keywords in the Meta description
  •   Checks optimal page title length
  •   Checks optimal use of keywords in H1 tags
  •   Checks if URL uses only standard characters
  •   Checks if external links are used
  •   Checks if keywords are used in your URL
  •   Checks the Meta Descriptions
  •   Use Static URLs
  •   Avoids keyword stuffing in the URL
  •   Avoids too many external links
  •   Avoids too many internal links
  •   Includes a rel canonical tag
  •   Minimises URL length
  •   Only one Meta description
  •   Optimal Meta description length

For example, on-page SEO is optimised for this URL http://backlinko.com/on-page-seo is B grade

Structured Data Error:

Structured data error is a webmaster error. Fixing this error is also one of the effective ways of optimising your website. Though this is not a ranking factor, it helps in eradicating all errors on the website.

Mobile Usability Error:

Fixing the mobile usability error is of utmost importance as the Google Penguin update gives more priority to mobile devices and most of the traffic driven to a website is through mobile. Fixing this error addresses the following concerns:

  •     Clickable elements too close
  •     Content wider than screen
  •     Viewport not set
  •     Text too small to read

Html Improvements:

These errors can be found under the "HTML improvements" tag in "Search Console". These errors pop up when the title and meta description are missing and a duplicate title and meta description is placed on the web page.

Advanced On-Page SEO Checklist:

Once the above-mentioned checklist is completed, you can work on the advanced on-page checklist for advanced content optimisation for more traffic and higher rankings.

Answer Related Questions:

First, find the related questions appearing in SERPs by using your focus keyword. Then, write the relevant answers for those questions. To understand this better, let's take Alice and Bob’s example again. Alice is ranking in the first position but she didn’t answer any related questions. Bob, on the other hand, is ranking in the 10th position but he has answered the related questions. So, his website pops up in the top position without ranking and gets more traffic as well.

Knowledge Panel:

This panel is mainly obtained from human edited data, like Wikipedia. It appears on the right side of the Google results page.

Local Pack:

While showing results for the focus keyword, Google lists the location on Google maps. So, if your business location is already marked on Google Maps, it is more beneficial for you.

Reviews:

Sometimes reviews with stars and ratings are displayed in SERPs when your business is related to products of a particular kind.

Image Pack:

Images are displayed as results when Google sees the need for visual content. To display your image in those results follow these useful pointers:

  •     Descriptive file name
  •     Descriptive alt text
  •     Human-readable URL
  •     Optimised image size
  •     Title attribute included

Twitter Card:

In 2015, Google began displaying tweets directly in Google results, mixed in with organic results.

Open Graph:

In open graph, Google displays your results with concerned social media links, like Facebook. Open graph meta tags allow you to control what content shows up when a page is shared on Facebook.

Breadcrumb:

Breadcrumbs provide better navigation within the web page. Using this in your blog will also help in better Google ranking.

Search Box:

At times, Google will present you with the ability to do a search within the pages of a website, directly from the results page. When doing so, Google will offer a search box under the results description with the word "Search" followed by the name of the website displayed in light grey.

Site Links:

To help refine your search, Google may display the featured pages of a site as independent and clickable links within the result. Displayed under the result's description, these links take you directly to a page within the site.

AMP (Mobile):

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are an open source initiative from Google that focuses on enhancing the speed of a mobile page. It uses stripped-down variations of a web page to improve its performance and can be identified with a lightning symbol in the top right corner. If your blog page has AMP, it will load extremely quickly. Since page speed is of utmost importance, AMP is crucial for all blog pages.

 Custom 404 Page:

A 404 page is what your target audience lands on when they click a broken link. This is a non-existent page. Your server will throw a standard 404 error, however, that is not the most attractive one for users. A custom 404 page can be branded with your site to provide helpful information.

Off-Page SEO Checklist

Local Listing:

Listing your business with Google is a great way to ensure that people can see you on the internet. This helps with local SEO and when we build backlinks in specific regional listings, Google will understand which region is targeted.

Social Bookmarking:

Social bookmarking sites are the best way to promote any website, event or brand in a shorter span of time. Marking a link to social bookmarking sites plays a very effective role in creating traffic and getting higher ranking in SERPs.

Some of the most popular social bookmarking sites are StumbleUpon, Scoop it, Reddit, Youmob, Pearltrees and Savenkeep to name a few.

Image Submission:

Image sharing sites help in improving your website traffic. If you are optimising your content, then it's only for the web search. But nowadays image search is also improving, so people have begun to submit their images to image sharing sites. Mentioned below are a few good high PR image sharing sites, which will help you improve backlinking through images:

  •     Instagram
  •     Flickr
  •     Pinterest
  •     Tumblr

Audio Submission:

Uploading audio files is another prime SEO activity which is useful in promoting your website. You can backlink these files to high PR audio sharing websites for effective SEO. Few of the audio sharing websites are mentioned below:

  •     SoundCloud
  •     Podbean
  •     Podmatic
  •     Mobypicture

Video Submission:

Video submission is one of the most prominent and powerful methods of promoting a website. While uploading a relevant video, make sure the title and description contain the focus keyword for better ranking. Few examples of video submission sites are:

  •     Myspace
  •     Flickr
  •     Dailymotion
  •     Vimeo

Web 2.0:

You can create a blog and directly post it on high PR Web 2.0 sites. Getting natural backlinks is one of the key SEO strategies to increase traffic and, eventually, the ranking of a website or blog. There are many sources of natural backlinks, which are favoured by Google. They include High Pagerank Dofollow web 2.0 websites, such as:

  •     Blogger
  •     Weebly
  •     Wordpress
  •     Hubpages

Profile Creation Sites:

Profile linking websites have improved the level of engagement of users. They offer much better distinctiveness and enable the visitors to interact with the website in an easier manner. Profile creation is a method which offers a brand new strategy to SEO professionals for the best SEO services and link building services. They also significantly provide a more substantial perspective to present creativeness as well as improved the interaction standard of audiences. It is extremely simple to make a "Dofollow" profile backlink.

Classified Submission:

High PR classified submission sites are an easier way to generate leads and promote your products online. Classified submission sites are very effective for link building, boosting the ranking in search engines and generating more leads for your business.

PPT Submission:

There are lots of benefits in using PPT sharing sites. You can easily share your PDF files online on these high PR PPT submission websites. These highly authoritative PPT Sharing and submission sites are frequently updated on a regular and daily basis. That's why search engines like to crawl these sites more often. Getting do-follow backlinks from PPT submission sites will get your targeted keywords optimised, and it will help in increasing your site visibility in search engines.

Participate in Quora:

Quora is a great way to drive traffic and get backlinks to your blog. The Quora community consists of an incredibly large number of users discussing a wide variety of subjects and topics. If you haven't yet, then you should join Quora right away and start participating in discussions. You can start replying to questions and mention a post of your blog or the homepage of your blog, as long as it is relevant to the question.

Next Level in Off-Page SEO

1. Question and Answer sites:

Question and answer sites are great to get some relatable insight into issues which are too specific to perform a Google search. For example, if you want to know the reviews of a product, you can Google it and get a pool of information and a wide range of websites to refer to. This information might tend to get too generic and may not be able to address your concern to the point. Question and Answer sites, on the other hand, give you a more personalised response based on other user experiences. However, it does have a drawback of not providing certified information, like in the case of medical scenarios. Nevertheless, it is a useful platform to get relatable responses from users based on prior encounters.

2. Guest Blogging:

Google provides an abundance of opportunities for guest posts. You can use any other of the following combinations on Google to find blogs which are open to guest posts. Just type in your focus keywords followed by any of the below-mentioned words to get a list of blogs you can post into as a guest:

  •     Guest post
  •     Guest post guidelines
  •     Submit a guest post     

3. Comment linking:

Building backlinks by commenting on other relevant websites and get the benefits of both traffic and rankings.

4. Competitor Backlinks:

Steal your competitor's backlinks by using tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, Majestic and SEO Spyglass. Spying on your competitor's backlinks can give you an idea of what domains are linking to their posts and thus you can target those sources too.

5. (.edu and .gov) Backlinks:

.Edu and .Gov Backlinks are high-quality backlinks. These backlinks are helpful in building more backlinks

  •     Backlinks can bring in highly targeted, valuable traffic from referring websites.
  •     Backlinks are great for branding in the sense that they get your target audience familiar with seeing your brand associated with the products or services that they are looking for.
  •     Backlinks give the impression that you're an authority in your given industry.

6. Broken Link Building:

Dropmylink will help you find broken links. Here are some search strings you can use organically:

keyword + “resources”

keyword + intitle:resources

keyword + intitle:blogroll

keyword + “blogroll”

site:.gov keyword + “links”

site:.edu keyword + “recommended sites”

keyword + “related links”

SEO is an ever changing, however, these On-page and Off-page SEO techniques will help you stay ahead in the game and help your blog rank.  


21 SEO Link Building Techniques for 2016

  • Abhishek Kumar
  • |
  • 4 January , 2016
  • |
    • 8 min read

Every brand or website targets ranking on top of search results but achieving the same requires a lot of effort over a period of time. The search engine rankings are determined by a variety of factors. Mobile-friendly nature of your website, On Page SEO, Content quality & freshness, Number of backlinks and relevance to the search keywords are some of them.

According to a recent study by Moz conducted across 150+ industry experts, the top 5 factors for search engine rankings were as follows:

  1. Domain-level link features
  2. Page-level link features
  3. Page-level keyword and Content-based features
  4. Engagement & Traffic/Query data
  5. Domain-level brand metrics

While there are various tools to help you with SEO, in this article we focus on 21 link building techniques that can play an important role in boosting your search engine rankings and website traffic. Though the number of backlinks is important but poor quality or spammy backlinks should be avoided. It can result in a negative penalty for your website by Google.

1. Create excellent link-worthy content & amplify them

Today, Content Marketing is the buzzword. Brands are churning out content in large numbers. In fact, more than 27 million pieces of content are shared every day. In such a cluttered space, it is important to create content that is discoverable, sharable and informative to your target audience. Moreover, as Moz points out, “good unique content” is not enough – you need content which his 10 times better than the best content out there. Certain content types like How To articles, Listicles, etc. are examples of Pillar posts that can help you garner a large number of references/links from external sources. Read the BuzzSumo report for more details on this.

2. Leverage Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a gaining prominence as an effective marketing channel for brands. For the uninitiated, Influencer Marketing is the new form of word-of-mouth marketing that involves partnering bloggers and social media influencers to talk about your brand – be it on their blog or social media handles. An effective way to leverage influencer marketing would be to get the top bloggers in your industry to review your product/service. Apart from giving you important backlinks, it would also help you create awareness about your product among your target audience. There are many platforms in the industry that allow you to track the top influencers in your industry niche.

The other way to use influencers is to co-create content when you don’t have internal bandwidth to create your content. It’s important to keep in mind the user and find the right influencers who can create content for those users.

3. Broken link building

Under this technique, you track the resource pages in your industry and check for broken links using tools like Check My Link. Once you make a list of the broken links on these pages, you can reach out to the page owners with the list of broken links that need to be fixed along with the links to useful resources on your website can be linked to.

4. Infographics

Visual content grab eyeballs and infographics can be a great format to build your brand and get backlinks at the same time, from people out there are who are looking for informative content in a visually attractive representation. You can also submit your infographics in a whole bunch of infographic submission websites such as visual.ly, infographick.com, bestinfographics.info, etc.

5. Surveys & Industry Trend Reports

If you are looking to create fresh & novel content ideas, Surveys and Industry Trend Reports can work wonders for you. Launch an industry survey in your niche – it can be a simple consumer preference pattern for a consumer brand or an investment survey for a financial services player. Tools like Survey Monkey or GetInsights can let you create surveys in a whiff. They also have many pre-researched survey templates for each industry which can be explored.

Create reports, share it in different industry forums, mail it to top experts for their insights before releasing the report and include the quotes / insights in the report if possible, as it adds credibility to your study. For B2B businesses, releasing industry trend reports can be an excellent way to drive traffic to the site and build authority online. These reports have a strong sharability quotient and can garner a large number of backlinks online. Offline PR can also be activated to create more awareness around the release of the industry report.

6. Skyscraper Content

Skyscraper content creation technique involves finding top performing content in your industry and adding more depth or value to the existing content. Once the content is ready, you can reach out to people linking to the existing content and share the link to your article. In order to find best performing content in your industry, you can leverage tools such as BuzzSumo, Topsy or Google Search to some extent. To read more on building skyscraper content, check out this article by Brian Dean.

7. Writing Testimonials

You can write Testimonials for products / services that you have used for your brand with a backlink to your website that demonstrates how you have leveraged that product. It would be better to write a quick case study to add more value to the testimonial.

8. Content Curation & Industry Round-ups

You can curate the top articles in your industry, take interviews of top experts or compile the insights from the latest industry report & convert it into a case study. Once the post is ready on your website, share the link with the experts and let them know you have linked to their content or have published their interview. For content curation, you can make use of tools like Scoop.It, Feedly, BuzzSumo as well as Google Alerts. Apart from gaining potential backlinks, this would also help you make your property more informative for your audience.

9. Internal Linking

Effective internal linking performs three important functions:

  • It makes your post informative for your readers by providing them relevant information for reference
  • It signals the search engine that you have more content relevant to the topic, thus boosting the site credibility for the topic.
  • Increases discoverability of your existing old content

10. Linking to Expert or Authoritative Sites

Apart from linking to your own content, you can also link out to expert articles which are ranked on top of search results. This way you are linking and connecting content to sites which already have an established authority in your niche. While linking to external sites, do not forget to use the rel=”nofollow” tag. This tag prevents the link juice from passing on to the external site. Even in this article you see we have linked to the likes of Brian Dean, Moz & BuzzSumo amongst others.

11. Leverage Q&A Forums like Quora

Platforms like Quora have rich discussion on varied subjects. You can find topics in your niche and answer relevant questions with reference backlinks to your content articles. This would provide the information to audience who is already looking for similar information and at the same provide you good quality backlinks. Quora also has a blog section where you can submit your existing blog content with a link to the original piece.

12. Repurposing old content

You can repurpose old content in different forms to allow it to reach maximum number of people. You can convert your blog article into a presentation, or downloadable pdfs, Videos or infographics and submit it on multiple platforms. You could even translate the content into different languages if relevant for your brand. For example, a presentation can be submitted on Slideshare. You can also add more juice to your already existing blog content by updating it with latest insights, images, presentation and reference links

13. Guest Blogging

Search and connect with high-quality portals or websites for guest blogging. If done properly, it can be an effective link-building measure. Avoid low-quality websites or duplicate content as part of the guest blogging initiative. It can result in penalty from Google. Even commenting on relevant blogs is still  a good practice in case you are unable to get guest blogging activated.

14. Leverage social media platforms effectively

Build an engaged community on Social Media platforms & share your content regularly to amplify the reach of your content. On platforms like Twitter, it is important to share your content multiple times. To prevent repetitive posts, use different post copies, images and stats for sharing. Your engaged follower community is more likely to share or talk about your content. Linkedin has its own blogging feature and you could repurpose your content and publish it there for increased reach. For ecommerce websites even Pinterest can be a very interesting source for quality backlinks and traffic.

15. Ask for backlinks

Last but not the least, ask for backlinks from quality source. For example, if you have great content on Personal Finance, look out for portals which list quality content from different Personal Finance resources and reach to them. If they find your content relevant, they might link back to it. Once they backlink, don’t forget to drop a thank you mail with links to other helpful content which might be useful to them.

16. Reclaim your brand mentions

Tools like Google Alerts, Talk Walker and Mention can help to track the mentions for your brand on the web. Track all mentions for your brand and see if these mentions have linked back to your website/blog. If the backlink is missing in the mentions, mail or reach out on social media and see if that can be converted into a backlink.

17. Keep an eye on your competitors

Track and analyze the backlinks to your competitor websites and check the source of their backlinks. Look at content and pages that have got the maximum links to see if you can produce better content on those topics. Watch out for aggregator sites or industry curators that link to their websites and reach out with links to your content.

18. User discussion platforms like Zomato, TripAdvisor

Platforms like Zomato and Trip Advisor drives millions of visitors to their website daily. Leveraging these platforms in the right way can help claim relevant backlinks and at the same time, drive relevant traffic to your website. Partnering with top reviewers on such platforms (for example – see our list of top food bloggers in India) to seamlessly integrate their reviews / posts with links to your products can go a long way in providing quality backlinks. Forums likes MouthShut.com even have a blog section apart from the review section; you can submit your blog content there with links to the original article hosted on your website.

19. Refresh old backlinks

Old backlinks to your website can return a 404 error over a period of time, resulting from a new site or a change in url. Even in case of new backlinking, there is a possibility that the source site might make a mistake in typing the url to your site. You can use online tools to research the broken links to your site and redirect these.

20. Feedback Site Submissions

Highly recommended for product based websites, submission to feedback sites can help drive lot of traffic to your website & also boost the conversion rates. LaunchSky, Valid8or, Product Hunt, Startup Lift and Beta List are some of the websites that can be used for review submissions.

21. Help a Reporter Out

Help a Reporter Out or HARO as the technique is better known as, is an excellent way to get backlinks from news portals. Once you sign-up on the reporter help portals like HelpAReporter, you are likely to get mails with requirements on information the reporters are looking for. You need to respond with the information from your end, along with helpful links if available.

Few Fatal Link-building Techniques to Avoid:

Sometimes, websites, in their quest to achieve quick results, resort to negative techniques which are not seen in a positive light by the search engines. I would like to list out some of those techniques which should be avoided at all costs to prevent any penalty to your website.

  • Do a proper study of the directory where you are submitting your website. Simple submitting your directory to a website for the sake of getting a backlink might not add great value to your site. In fact, Google excludes many such directories from its search engine rankings. Checking the Moz Domain Authority & Spam Score is a best case practice.
  • Never buy backlinks or establish a barter system for backlinks. Google Considers backlinks as votes ups for your website and paying for a vote cannot be seen in a positive light
  • Excessive keyword optimization in anchor texts in articles
  • Spammy comments on 3rd party blogs and forums with links to your website

Hope these techniques can prove handy to generate good quality backlinks for your website. In case you know any other method that works well and deserves to be a part of this article, please feel free to comment and let us know.


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