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Best SEO Checklist for 2018

SEO is something that you cannot avoid when you have a website, and you want to get traffic from search engines. Yes, SEO is a set of techniques that increase the visibility of a website in search engines. This is the basic definition, but when SEO is done wrong, it will do more harm than good. In 2018, things have been changed a lot as Google keeps updating its search algorithm to give the best user experience to searchers by showing them the perfect solutions to their search queries. So, you cannot just trick Google for a longer duration. Therefore, doing SEO is upgraded, and you need to change the strategies to do it. 6-7 years back, the SEO strategies which worked like a charm may or may not comply with the current scenario. Therefore, you must need to update your SEO knowledge. The basic idea is still the same, but you need to do things with a bit more care.

SEO checklistPhoto Credit: Pixabay

In the early days of SEO, you create a page with some content, and build thousands of backlinks, and you used to get the first page ranking but now, such strategy will do more bad than good to your site because Google became smart, and it blesses the sites with better content than only having better backlinks. So, there is a need for a proper combination of Good content and natural backlinks.

Doing SEO for your own site is easy if you have proper knowledge of it. If you are not aware of it, you can hire SEO companies online such as Ignite Digital or any other which are good in the industry. However, you can read this article know more about the things that you should keep in mind while hiring an SEO company

In this blog post, I am going to share a checklist that you must consider in 2018 while doing SEO for your site.

Best SEO Checklist for 2018

  1. Accessible URL

This is something that is the most important because anything will work when your page URL is easily accessible to Googlebot. Thus, use an URL that is easily accessible. It is important because until Google access the URL and check out the page content, how can it give a ranking to the particular page.

  1. Keyword Research

No matter how much SEO has been changed or will change in the future, Keyword research will always hold importance because it enables you to find out what people actually search to find particular information. And, when you know, you can include those keywords in your content. Then your content will likely to appear when users search those words or phrases in Google. However, just including those keywords in the content doesn’t guarantee you the ranking but it is a necessary step to include the important keywords.

For example, your content is about the best cotton shirts, but in the content, you don’t mention the word “cotton” anywhere, then how this content will appear when someone searches for the keywords related to cotton such as best cotton shirts, cotton shirts at low cost, etc. This is the reason, knowing the words or phrases that searchers usually search in Google to find specific information. So, Keyword research is still the most basic yet the most important part of any SEO strategy.

There are various Keyword research tools available online that you can use to research. Moreover, when it comes to finding the keyword’s competition, always check manually as well. Don’t completely rely on the tools as I have seen many discrepancies while calculating the competition.

How to check the competition of a keyword manually?

When you find some keywords with good search volume, the next thing is to check the organic competition. Most of the tools show the PPC competition so make sure your tool is showing the organic competition only if you are doing the research for SEO. List the best ones as per the competition and search volume. Now, take one keyword, and search in Google, and see which sites are ranking on the top. You will be able to find out whether very high authority sites are ranking or small sites are ranking. If there are only high authority sites ranking, the competition is very tough but if small sites are ranking on first page, the competition is easy, and you must try to outrank such small sites.

  1. Well Written Optimized Content

Google heavily trusts the sites with well written unique content. Thus, make sure you always publish the best content on your website or blog. Also, make sure you optimized them well for SEO. Optimization means using the keywords in the content, adding images and videos, better interlinking, using alt texts for images, making use of H1, H2, H3, etc. it should also be considered that keywords are used naturally and not forcefully inserted. Around 2% keyword density in the content is enough nowadays. In short, a better on-page SEO is required along with well-written content.

  1. Site’s Loading Speed

Google is working day and night to improve the user experience, and thus there are many search algorithm updates going on so that users can find the best result. Site’s loading speed is also the thing that can ruin the user experience if it is quite slow. Therefore, Google started preferring the sites with good loading speed. Thus, make sure your website and pages load fast. If your site is slow, you can make use of tools to check the score, and use their recommendations to improve the speed. Below are the site’s loading speed checker tools:

  1. Minimum Affiliate links

When Google Fred update rolled out, it hit the sites that have contents which are very rich in affiliate links. Moreover, it doesn’t imply that you stop using affiliate links but add it naturally in the content wherever necessary. If your content adds value, affiliate links are fine to include. However, it is a recommendation to use less of affiliate links on each page. A proper balance between the content and affiliate links should be there.

  1. Links

World Wide Web is built on links; therefore, links are natural ranking signals. The better backlinks your site has, the better authority it gets in the eye of Google and other search engines. Moreover, the scenario has been changed completely in recent years. In the early years, just having a huge number of backlinks helped rank a site but now, your site must have good content, and backlinks to your site should be naturally placed. It is the era of link earning than building.

linksPhoto Credit: Lynda

It is easy to say to earn link than actually earning because when you have a new site, no one wants to give links to your site even you have good content. Therefore, when you build backlinks, keep it natural. Natural means don’t use keyword rich anchor text, don’t take links from spam sites, and don’t make thousands of links quickly. The link building must be slow and steady. Moreover, write compelling content, and gradually your site will get noticed, and natural backlinks will be flowing.

This was about inbound links.

Now, when comes to outbound links, you must link to good sites, not spam sites. Always link to good resources in your content. It will help in ranking as well since your page offers the best resources to the users.

  1. Social Signals

Though social signals do not directly impact the search engine, it is good to socialize your content, so that you get more readers, and they do share that on their profile. Even many of them may link to your content when they write a related article on their blog or website.

Ultimately social signals do help you earn more links which then help you rank better.

  1. RankBrain

RankBrain is Google’s algorithm that uses artificial intelligence. This is related to the user experience.

According to an Article on Search engine Journal,

RankBrain uses artificial intelligence to embed vast amounts of written language into mathematical entities — called vectors — that the computer can understand. If RankBrain sees a word or phrase it isn’t familiar with, the machine can make a guess as to what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the result accordingly, making it more effective at handling never-before-seen search queries.

This includes some other signals that further affect your search ranking which are given below:

Bounce Rate: The number of users who come to your site but bounce away since your site didn’t offer any good to them. So, the bad bounce rate will affect your site’s ranking negatively as the algorithm is taught to give more priority to the sites that have a low bounce rate that means more users are not bouncing back just after coming to the site.
If a user comes to your site, and navigate to a few pages one by one, then the bounce rate will be low which is good. That is why good interlinking within the site’s content is recommended to make your visitors navigate through your site.

Dwell Time: Dwell Time refers to the visitors staying on the site for a particular amount of time. The more they stay, the more value your site will have in Google’s eye. That is why having a better content on your site is recommended so that when visitors come, they stay.

Photo Credit: Ferzy

CTR (Click Through Rate): CTR is the percentage of visitors who click to your site when they find it on Google search page. That means when your site comes up on Google for a search query, then if the users who see click or not. If your site gets better CTR, your site will be more valuable in Google’s eve. This is the reason; it is recommended to write catchy headlines and attractive Meta description which show up in Google search pages. People use to click on the one which looks interesting.

So in short, when more people come to your site, and they don’t stay on your site and leave quickly, Google thinks that the site is not relevant to the people, and your site’s ranking gets affected negatively.


These are some of the quick SEO checklist that you must consider if you want to rank your site. However, there are many more things that you can do for SEO, but these are the most basic and important ones to keep in mind while working on a project’s SEO.

About the author

Atish Ranjan

Atish Ranjan is an established and independent voice dedicated to providing you unique, well researched and original information from the field of technology, SEO, social media, and blogging.


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  • This is a huge list of ranking factors in 2018 and I am going to use all of them on my new website . Hope they will provide me some good results. Keep in touch Bhai.

  • Perfectly Crafted Article.Right now Google is pushing hard on their paid ads.So in this circumstances the scope of SEO is becoming harder and harder each day.I also think content length along with RankBrain(AI) will be vital for near future.

  • Hi Atish,

    Site loading speed is one of the most crucial ranking factors. No one wants to visit a website which takes ages to load. As per data, 53% of people will leave a mobile site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. So, it is important to improve webpage loading time, if you don’t want that traffic to divert to a competitor site.

    The terms like bounce rate, dwell time and CTR are very common in the websphere, but not many people know their exact meanings. I like the way how you have described them in a beginner friendly way.

    Thank you for sharing. Have a great rest of the week!

  • Hi Atish Sir,
    Thanks for sharing this informative blog with latest news related SEO.
    I like your blog and information these are very helpful for me.
    Great Job.

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