SEO Fitness Workbook 2016

Author – Jason McDonald

SEO Toolbook


In SEO, you are not competing against Google. You are competing against your competitors, and they aren't that much smarter than you.

💡As SEO becomes more and more social, you’ll want to have an open mind about social media as well.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t; you’re right.” — Henry Ford

Make an inventory of who needs to be involved in what aspects of SEO, and set up weekly or monthly meetings about your SEO strategy.

To succeed at SEO, you need to have a clear vision of your sales ladder starting at the customer need and then proceeding to: keyword search query → landing on your website → sales inquiry → back and forth → actual sale


To-Do List:

  • define your business value proposition
  • identify your target customers by segment
  • establish marketing goals
  • deliverable: a goal worksheet

Define your business value proposition
What does your business sell? Who wants it, and why?

For any business, a business value proposition is your “elevator pitch” to a potential customer-what do you offer, that they want?

Identify your target customers by segment
Segment your customers into definable groups.

List customer segments-customers who differ by type(income level, geographic location), by need (high-end low end, rent vs. buy), or even geographic location. Try to see your customers as specific groups with specific needs.

Establish marketing goals
For most businesses, a good goal is to get a registration | email address | inquiry for a free consult.

Make your website goals easy and non-threatening. One of the best early steps in the goal is something free.

Give something free in exchange for contact information
Having something free (a free webinar, a free consultation, a free e-book) is a tried and true way to make the first step of your ladder easy and non-threatening.

If you are selling something, think of a free sample or money-back offer; anything that reduces the risk of making that first buying decision.

Brainstorm your desired goals (registrations and/or sales) as well as your sales ladder, including the possible use of something “free” to make the first step easy for customers.
→ Also begin to think about how you will measure these goals.

Deliverable: A completed business value proposition worksheet

This worksheet should define your business value proposition, customer segments, search paths, desired action and sales ladder, and even how you plan to measure customer progress along the search ladder.


“Set the right expectations”

To-Do List:

  • Understand that SEO parallels getting a job
  • Understand “On Page” SEO
  • Understand “Off Page” SEO
  • Set Landing Page Goals

getting a job: resume > references > interview > job
resume = “on page” SEO = a keyword heavy, easy-to-understand website
references = “off page” SEO = lots of inbound links, and social mentions
interview = “landing page experience” = easy to understand landing pages

Main strategic factors for “on page” SEO are:

  • Page Tags. Place your keywords strategically in the right page tags, beginning with the TITLE tag on each page, followed by the header tag family, image alt attribute, and HTML cross-links from one page to another on your site.
  • Keyword Density. Write keyword-heavy copy for your web pages, and pay attention to writing quality. Complying to Google’s Panda update means placing your keywords into grammatically correct sentences, and making sure that your writing contains similar and associated words vs. your keyword targets.
  • Home Page SEO. Use your home page wisely, by placing keywords in relatively high density on your home page and, again, in natural syntax, as well as creating “one click” links from your home page to your subordinate pages.
  • Website structure. Organize your website to be Google friendly, starting with keyword-heavy URLS, cross-linking with keyword text, and using sitemaps and other Google-friendly tactics.
    💡”On page” SEO is all about knowing your keywords and building keyword-heavy content that communicates your priorities to Google.

Main strategic factors of “off page” SEO are:

  • Link Building. As we shall see, links are the votes of the Web. Getting as many qualified websites to link back to your website, especially high PageRank (high authority) websites using keyword-heavy syntax, is what link building is all about. It’s that simple, and that complicated.
  • Freshness. Like a prospective employer, Google rewards sites that show fresh activity. “What have you done lately?” is a common job interview question, and in SEO you need to communicate to Google that you are active via frequent content updates such as blog posts and press releases.
  • Social Mentions. Social media is the new buzz of the Internet, and Google looks for mentions of your website on social sites like Google+, Twitter, and Facebook as well as how active your own profiles are.
    💡“Off page” SEO is all about building external links to your site just as getting good references is all about cultivating positive buzz about you as a potential employee.

Landing Page Goals
In evaluating your website, you want to evaluate each and every page and element for one variable: do they move customers up the sales ladder? Is the desired action(registration or sales) clearly visible on each page? Is it enticing to the customer usually with something free like a free download, free consult, free webinar and the like?

Just as after a job interview, your family and friends ask whether you “got the job” after a Web landing you are asking yourself whether it “got the action” such as a registration or a sale.

The SEO success equation:

  • Pre-search: identify your customer keywords.
  • On page SEO: weave these keywords strategically into your website content.
  • Off page SEO: get links, freshness, and social mentions.
  • Post-landing: brainstorm effective landing pages that convert landings into actual sales or sales leads.


“Define your keywords”

Identifying customer-centric keywords is the foundation of effective SEO.
Your best keywords match your business value proposition with high volume keywords used by your customers.

To-Do List:

  • Brainstorm your keywords
  • Reverse engineer competitors’ keywords
  • Use Google Tricks to identify possible keywords
  • Use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner
  • Deliverable: Keyword Brainstorm Worksheet
Brainstorm your keywords

When a potential customer sits down at Google, what words do they type in?
Make a list of all the keywords you can think of.

Reverse engineer competitors

Jot down the top five competitors who appear at the top of Google for your target keywords, view their source, and then write down keywords ideas taken from their TITLE, META DESCRIPTION, and META KEYWORDS tags.

Use Google Tricks to identify possible keywords

Simply go to Google and start typing your keyword.
Pay attention to the Google Suggest or Autocomplete menu.

You can also place a space after your target keyword and then go through the alphabet typing “a”, “b”, etc.

Reference Tool -> Ubersuggest
Pulls data from Bing search queries.
It basically types through the alphabet for you and gives you keywords.

Educational vs. Transactional Keywords
Educational: keywords that are “early” in the sales ladder usually occur when a person is just learning, just educating himself about an issue and not likely to buy something. They generally have low CCP in AdWords.
Transactional: keywords that occur late in the sales ladder are when they are looking to buy something, or make an engagement. Mainly have high CCP in AdWords.
In general, you want to optimize for transactional keywords if possible.

Identify and optimize for transactional, late stage, high value keywords.

Deliverable: A completed keyword brainstorm worksheet

This document will be messy. Its purpose is to get all relevant keywords, helper words, and keyword ideas about volume and value down on paper.

Keyword Worksheet

“Organizing your keywords”

To Do List

  • Create your Keyword Worksheet
  • Measure your Google Rank vs. Keywords
  • Deliverable: Rank Measurements and a Baseline Score

Columns in your worksheet

  • Core keywords
  • Helper keywords
  • Sample search query phrases
  • Search volumes
  • Search value
  • Competitors
  • Negative keywords
  • Priority order
  • Competitive level
The art of SEO is targeting keywords most likely to generate high ROI, which is a function of BOTH volume and value.

Measure your website rank before, during, and after your SEO efforts to measure your profess and ROI. It’s best practice to measure your rank at least monthly.

Google rank: http://bit.-ly/sitemape-rank

Page Tag

To Do list

  • Understand Page Tags, HTML, and talking to Google
  • Page Tags and Poker
  • Weave keywords into page tags
  • A visual test for keyword density
  • Deliverable: a completed page tag worksheet
  • Leverage keyword density for SEO
  • Set up your home page
  • Deliverable: a completed home page worksheet

META DESCRIPTION tag and the TITLE tag are both very important tags in SEO.

I highly recommend the Yoast WordPress Plugin. It enables you to “split” the WordPress TITLE from the SEO-friendly TITLE tag, as well as easily add a META DESCRIPTION tag to your pages.

Tags in order of importance:

  1. TITLE
  2. A HREF
  3. IMG ALT
  4. H1
  6. BODY
  7. STRONG, B, EM

Download and read the Google SEO Starter Guide(http://bit.-ly/google-seo-starter). It is the best, short, official summary by Google about how to please Google.

How to write SEO-friendly content

  1. Define your target keywords.
  2. Write a keyword-heavy TITLE tag.(80 characters, first 59 will appear as your headline)
  3. Write a keyword-heavy META DESCRIPTION tag.(has 90% chance to being the visible description. 155 characters)
  4. Write a few keyword-heavy header tags.
  5. Include at least one image with the ALT defined.
  6. Cross-link via keyword phrases.
  7. Write keyword dense text.
Put the eye candy(images) for humans towards the top, and the stuff for Google towards the bottom.
Your home page is your "front door" to Google and the most important page of your website.

Important “to-do’s” for your home page:

  • Identify your customer-centric, top three keywords.
  • Repeat the TITLE tag content in the H1 tag on the page.
  • Identify your company’s major product offerings.
  • Have supporting images.
  • Create keyword-focused one click links.
  • Write lengthy, keyword-rich content for your home page.

Website Structure

To-Do List

  • Define SEO landing pages
  • Deliverable: landing page list
  • Write a keyword heavy footer
  • Use keyword heavy URLs over parameter URLs
  • Leverage the home page for one click links
  • Join Google and Bing Webmaster Tools
  • Deliverable: Website Structure Worksheet


  • Identify five or fewer major product lines that “match” your priority keyword phrases for SEO.
  • Build keyword-heavy SEO-friendly landing pages for each product line.
  • Make these “one click” from the home page via specific target keyword phrases.
  • Relegate secondary product lines to a “two click” structure: home page > gateway page > other landing pages.

Each landing page should follow the principles of Page Tag SEO: weaving the target keywords strategically into the major tags, such as the TITLE tag, HEADER tags, IMG ALT tags, A HREF tag as well as having strong, well-written, keyword-dense content.

Write a keyword-heavy Footer
It should be short, well-written, and contain only your most important keywords. Link FROM the keyword footer TO your target landing pages.

Avoid parameter URLs at all costs, as Google severely deprecates them in its search result.

Google interprets your home page as the most powerful page on your website.

Placing “one click” links from your home page, create a directory structure that is “shallow” or “flat”.

Your home page needs to communicate "freshness" to Google by having at least three fresh press releases and/or three new blog posts.
Having new, fresh content that is "one click" from the home page signals to Google that your website is alive and updated.

Join Google Webmaster Tools

  1. Create an HTML site map that makes it easy for a search engine spider to go from different pages of your website.
  2. Use the free tool to create your XML site map.
  3. Create a robots.txt file that points to your XML sitemap.
  4. Submit your sitemap.xml file via Webmaster tools.

You can login to the Google search console and “submit” your new URL to Google.

You should also set a “preferred” domain.

Website structure worksheet namely:

  1. Your target landing pages
    These are your product or service pages that match common keywords searches your customers do on Google. Inventory the ones that you have as well as the ones that you need to create, and then outline the SEO-friendly content you will write (or rewrite) and weave into the correct tag structure.
  2. Your URL structure.
    Avoid parameter (numeric, special character) based URLs in favor of keyword heavy URLs, and build a “shallow” website organization.
  3. Your Google-Friendly Files
    Make sure you’ve signed up for Google (and Bing) webmaster tools and Google Analytics.
  4. Participation in Google (and Bing) Webmaster Tools
    You should have registered for Webmaster Tools and crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s in terms of sitemaps (both XML and HTML) and preferred domain.
  5. Freshness Elements
    If you have a blog and publish press releases, great. If not, start them. Make sure that your home page has fresh, new content on at least a monthly basis – the easiest way being to post blog headlines on your home page.

SEO Audit

To Do List:

  • a keyword audit
  • a page tag audit
  • a home page audit
  • a website structure audit

Keyword audit:

  • Keyword search patterns
    Different customers search in different ways, and keywords self-organize into logical keyword groups. Each keyword group has a core keyword (e.g., “motorcycle insurance”) with helper keywords (e.g., “quote,” “rate,” “cheap”) plus some close synonyms (e.g., “motorbike,” “moped,” “Harley-Davidson” Do you know your keyword patterns? Are they reflected in your keyword worksheet?
  • Keyword Volume
    Smart SEO experts fish where the fish are: they target keywords that have the highest search volumes. Have you researched which keywords have the highest volume in your industry, using the Google Keyword Planner?
  • Keyword Value
    It’s not just about volume; it’s also about value, especially value to you and your business. The Google Keyword Planner gives you useful data on the CPC (cost-per-click) bid on AdWords, but it’s up to you to identify “riches in the niches,” the very specific searches that are of high value to your sales funnel.

Page tag audit:

  • What is the logical keyword focus of each page?
    Leaving aside your very special home page, each page on your website should have a tight, logical keyword focus. Conduct an inventory of all pages on your site, and cross-match each page to a logical, tight keyword query on Google that it can successfully target.  Next, audit whether the current tags contain the target keyword.
  • Meta Tag Audit
    The two meta tags that really matter, of course, are the TITLE and META DESCRIPTION tag. Inventory the existing tags vs. suggested improvements to the TITLE and META DESCRIPTION tags.
  • Tag Audit
    Besides the META TAGS, the A HREF, HEADER, and IMG ALT tags are important. Inventory your existing tags vs. the suggested tag improvements.
A quick, efficient technique is to write a short (< 500 characters) keyword heavy paragraph about your company, products, and/or services and paste this paragraph on every page of the site.

Home Page audit:

  • Target Keywords
    Reviewing your keyword worksheet, what are your most important, most competitive keywords? Use your powerful home page TITLE tag to convey to Google your website’s primary keyword theme, and remember it must be less than eighty characters, with only about 59 visible on Google.
  • Meta Tags
    Review and revise not only your TITLE tag but also your META DESCRIPTION tag, including high priority keywords and making sure that you respect the META DESCRIPTION character limit of 155 characters.
  • Home Page Content
    Google pays a lot of attention to the text on your home page, so verify that the keywords on your keyword worksheet actually appear at least once on your home page. At the same time, do not clutter your home page so much that it doesn’t look good “for humans.” The art of SEO is to combine the keyword heavy text that Google likes, with the pretty visuals that humans like. This is especially true for the home page, so put pictures, graphics, and actions at the top of the page, and keyword heavy text for Google at the bottom.
  • One Click to Landing Pages
    It should be “one click” down from your home page to your priority landing pages, so inventory whether a) your landing pages exist, and b) whether they are “one click” from the home page.

Website Structure audit:

  • Do include keywords in your URLs
    Are your existing URL’s keyword heavy? Do your domains, directories, file names and even graphic names contain keywords?
  • Don’t use parameter URLs
    Inventory your existing URLs and look for question marks (?), percentage signs (%), and session IDs. All are very negative for SEO, and if they exist, have your webmaster or programmer transition to static or pseudostatic URLs as soon as possible.
  • Do sculpt your links
    A strong SEO website uses internal link syntax to talk to Google. Your home page should have keyword heavy “one click” links down from the home page to your landing pages. Similarly, your site navigation should be keyword heavy and “sculpt” your links around keyword phrases.

Make sure that your website contains your Google friendly files, especially a robots.txt file, an XML sitemap, and an HTML sitemap.
Every page should link to the HTML sitemap, and the HTML sitemap in turn should have keyword-heavy links to all derivative pages.

Content SEO

To Do List:

  • identify keyword themes
  • create a content map
  • set up a blog
  • create a content marketing plan
  • deliverable: content marking plan

most common keyword themes:

  • branded searches
  • anchor searches
  • keyword specific searches/long tail
  • keyword specific searches/micro searches
  • new and trending searches

distinguish between:

  • evergreen vs time-sensitive
  • educational vs transactional
  • link bait
  • social media content

Reverse Engineering: Taking what people search on Google as your end point, and creating the type of content that has a good chance of appearing in Google search results as your starting point.

Take your keyword themes, and map out where they should be reflected on your website into your content map. I recommend you do this in Excel. Check your rank on Google searches vs. relevant search queries for each type-if you are not on page one, or not in the top three positions for a query, you have work to do.

Set up a blog

  • Micro-specific content
    Your blog gives you the easy ability to create a lot of content and match that content on the many small, fragmented and long-tail searches that make up today’s search behavior.
  • Freshness
    Google rewards sites that have new, fresh content. I recommend at least four blog posts per month for this reason.
  • Website Size
    Size does matter. Google will prefer the larger website.

Commonly needed website elements:

  • Blog
    I recommend at least 4 blog posts per month.
  • Press Releases
    I recommend at least 2 per month and if possible, use the CISION/PRWEB system to syndicate them.(approximately $350/month)
  • Anchor Pages
    Make sure that each major search corresponds to an anchor page.
  • Anchor Content
    Consider writing the ultimate guide to such-and-such or a provocative, and useful e-book.

Content Marketing Plan:

  • Quick Fix
    Adjust their TITLE tags, META DESCRIPTION tags, and content to bring that content into alignment with your logical Google searches. I usually also write a “keyword paragraph” and place on all website pages to increase keyword density and allow for link sculpting. Don’t forget to optimize the content of that all-important home page!
  • Content Inventory
    Often times, there will be a very important keyword pattern that has no corresponding landing page. Or your site will not have a blog, or you will have never set up a press release system. Inventory what you are missing and start to prioritize what needs to be done to get that content on your website.
  • Content Creation Process
    Create a content creation schedule and process. This is an assessment of who will do what, when, where, and how to create the type of on-going content that Google and Web searches will find attractive.

Press Releases

To do List:

  • make a press release calendar
  • upload your SEO-friendly press releases
  • leverage free press release syndication services
  • Deliverables: press release worksheet

At the website structure level, your best practice is to have a directory called “news” and to host each press release in HTML linked to from a primary news gateway page.

Despite the fact that press release URL’s remain “nofollow” in most circumstances, Google does tend to reward sites thast issue them.

If you use ONLY the http:// format for your clickable links, there are still a small percentage of sites that retain the DOFOLLOW link strucuture. So be sure to include links FROM the press release BACK to your site in the format of
The reality is that Google is often forced to choose between two GREAT sites to rank for a serach query but between two just OK sites. If yours is the site with a few inbound links via press releases, you can often win.

The best free service is and the best paid service is

If you have a budget, I highly recommend setting up a paid Cision account. With a yearly package, the cost per release is about $175. The paid serive get you many times the benefits of the free services.

Copy and paste the following from your press release into the syndication service:

  • Headline. Make sure it includes your target keywords!
  • Quick Summary. Write a pithy, exciting one-to-two sentence summary. This will usually become your META DESCRIPTION tag on the syndication service.
  • News Body. Copy and paste your news body. Be sure to embed a URL after the first or second paragraph, and write in the simple http:// format (since embedded links may not be retained in syndicated press releases).
  • URL / Active Link. Make sure that your press release has at least one prominent link to your website, and make sure it is in the http:// format.  News is especially good at getting Google to index new web pages on your site!
  • Contact Information. Include a description of your company with a Web link and email address for more information. This is another link-building opportunity.
  • Tags. Select appropriate tags for keyword / content issues as well as target geographies.

Commit to publishing press releases on your website and using news syndication on a regular, consistent basis. It’s better to publish one release per month, consistently.

Don’t issue more than two press release per month via paid syndication services.

To every extent possible, use press releases for “real” news with even the goal of getting “real” people to read them (including journalists) and possibly reach out to your company for more information.


To do List:

  • blog calendar
  • set up your blog for best SEO
  • write SEO-friendly blog posts
  • deliverables: blog calendar & your first blog post

I generally recommend 2 press releases and 4 blog posts per month as a solid website goal.

You cannot over blog.
As long as your blog content is fresh, original, and keyword-heavy, all blog posts will help your SEO. The more the merrier.

Tagging is incredibly important to SEO-friendly blogging.
Make sure that your blog tags match your keyword themes, and make sure that when you write a blog post each post gets tagged.

Steps to writing a good blog post:

  • Identify the target keywords. A good blog post is laser focused on a very narrow keyword, so do your keyword research first!
  • Follow “on page” SEO best practices. Make sure that your post follows all of the “on page” rules such as a keyword heavy TITLE, META description, etc.
  • Consider an action or purpose. Have a defined action for each blog post, usually by embedding a link from the blog post “up to” one of your defined anchor landing pages. Another use of blog posts such as “Top Ten Things that Can Go Terribly Wrong at Your Wedding” is link bait; people will link to informative, provocative, shocking blog posts.
  • Tag your blog post. Identify keyword themes for your blog that match those of your keyword worksheet and recognize that each blog post is part of a keyword cluster, supporting the entire website’s SEO themes.

Link Building

To Do List:

  • define your link objectives
  • beware the Penguin
  • solicit the easy links first
  • identify directory, blog, and other link targets
  • reverse engineer competitors’ links
  • create link bait
  • deliverable: link building worksheet

The best links enjoy the following attributes:

  • Good Syntax – the best links have good syntax with your “keyword / key phrase” nested inside the A HREF tag as in A HREF=“” your target keyword
  • Sheer Quantity – the best links occur in substantial quantities. More is better: all things being equal, the site with more links to it will outrank a site with fewer inbound links.
  • High Authority (PageRank)- the best links come from high PageRank websites inside your keyword communities. PageRank is Google’s determination of a website’s authority. A site such as has more PageRank than a site like; Google determines their relative authority by the number of links to that site. Essentially, you want “popular” websites to link to your site, thereby making you “popular” yourself. (Yes, it’s a bit circular).
It is link FROM other sites TO your site that matter.
Links FROM your site TO other sites, have a minimal, at best, impact.

💡It’s not who you like that makes you popular. It’s who likes you.

At a technical level, the rel=”nofollow” attribute tells Google to ignore a link; these types of links are devalued by Google.

You can, must, and should "build links".

You can use the Remove ’em tool at to check your own link footprint.

Convince Google that you are a good netizen and you are linking out as well as reciving links in.

Be sure to set up a Twitter, Google+, Facebook and other social media profiles for your companies and include links in those profiles.

Identify directory, blog, and other link targets
For directories, do a Google search for keywords such as “AddURL + Your Keywords,” “Directory + Your Keywords,” and/or “Catalog + Your Keywords.” As you browse these sites, make note of their Web Authority (use or, and the Domain Authority metric) and keyword themes that align with your own target keywords. Use the Solo SEO link search tool ( for a quick and easy way to look for possible link targets.

Reverse engineer competitors’ links:

  • Open Site Explorer by Moz ( Type your competitor’s home page into this tool, or the URL of a highly ranked site on Google. Browse to see who is linking to your competitor.
  • AHrefs ( Similar to Open Site Explorer, this free tool allows you to input a competitor URL and reverse engineer who is linking to that competitor.
  • Open Link Profiler ( This tool tracks new links to your website (or to competitors), and requires no registration and no payment. It’s totally free!

At the end of this process you should have a defined list of “link targets” sorted by PageRank(Domain Authority) and their keyword themes with your keyword community.
Take this list and then go one by one through the results, soliciting links from the various targets.

Social Media

To Do List:

  • understand social media SEO
  • get social mentions
  • set up robust social profiles
  • get Google+: Google’s favored social network
  • tweet and be tweeted
  • deliverable: a completed social media SEO worksheet
Remember that "traditional links" remain far, far more important than social shares to this day.
Links still remain the dominant currency of SEO.
Setting up a Google+ profile for each of your bloggers is a must for successful social media SEO.
Set up both a corporate Google+ page and personal Google+ pages for key employees so that Google knows you love Google+.

Local SEO

To Do List:

  • understand local search opportunities
  • claim and optimize your local social media
  • cross-link your website to your local social media
  • create a review marketing strategy
  • identify reputation management & review opportunities
  • deliverable: a local SEO worksheet

Safeguard the email address and password by which you claimed your listing, as it is very, very difficult to reset a Google+ local password.

Steps to Google+ local success:

  • Identify and claim your Google+ listing for your local business.
  • Optimize the listing description and categories with keyword-heavy content, as well as links back to your website.
  • Begin posting to Google+, especially on keyword-relevant topics.
  • Get followers and views.
  • Solicit reviews from happy customers (more about this below).

For review marketing:

  • Make sure that at the end of a successful sale, your customer is politely asked to review you on Google Places, Yelp, Google Merchant Center (Google Shopping), etc. Make “Please review us!” part of your sales process.
  • Think of using real-world promotions to encourage reviews, such as stickers, cards, brochures at your place of business that ask people to “review you” on social media sites.
  • Use follow-up emails with customers as well as social media like Facebook to thank people who have already reviewed you, and to encourage people who might.


Google Analytics is the best free Web metrics tool available today.

To-Do List:

  • define your goals
  • measure your SERP Rank & Domain Authority
  • use Google Analytics basic features
  • use advanced features in Google Analytics
  • deliverable: Google Analytics worksheet
  • deploy circular analytics for improved SEO

When designing your website for effective SEO, I recommend you identify a few concrete goals. Typical goals for most website are:

  • Registration. Getting potential customers to fill out a registration form usually for a “free consultation,” “free webinar,” or other “free” offer. The object is to get a sales lead (name, email, phone number).
  • Purchase. Getting potential customers to actually buy a product. This is typical for less expensive products that people might buy direct from your website.
In both cases, after the person completes the “action,” they should get a “thank you” form.”

The measurement process then is:

  1. Identify your target SEO keywords.
  2. Measure whether you rank on Google for them, especially in the top three or top ten positions.
  3. Use Google Analytics to measure whether you are actually getting traffic from the keywords for which your rank.
  4. Use Google Analytics to measure what that traffic does on your website (behavior), especially when and where it “bounces” off your site, and when it “converts” to your goal.
  5. Use this information to constantly improve your SEO.

To measure your SERP rank, the best free tool is (

“I usually create a tab called “sample keywords” and measure my rank on Google keyword queries before I start an SEO project, after I have implemented the “on page” changes, and every month thereafter. I then look for ranks greater than ten as bad, greater than three as in trouble and work on those priority keywords.”

“I recommend you measure your domain authority as a surrogate for Google PageRank on a monthly basis. Go to Open Site Explorer at , input your website home page URL, and note the four metrics at the top of the page: domain authority, root domains, and spam score. Record each of these on your keyword worksheet each month”

What’s important is your domain authority relative to your competitors, and whether this improves over time.

Measure your followers on Google+ and Twitter, your page views, and your review count on Yelp and Google+

If you are using WordPress, use a good plugin like Yoast for Google Analytics, and it will automatically install the Google tracking code on all your pages.

Some basic Analytics:

  • Click on Audience, to see basic data about how many visitors are coming to your website daily, where they are coming from, and basic traffic sources such as search engines vs. referring sites.
  • Click on Acquisition and browse “referring” sites such as blogs, portals, news releases, etc., that are sending users from their website to yours via clicks.
  • Click on Acquisition, Search Engine Optimization, Queries to see which keywords and key phrases are performing well for you in generating incoming web traffic. (Link your Google Analytics to your Google Webmaster Tools or Search Console for this feature).
  • Click on Behavior, Site Content, and then Landing Pages and Exit Pages to see the most popular pages for entering and exiting your website.
  • Click on Conversions, Goals, Overview to see whether traffic is “converting,” usually buying stuff on eCommerce and/or filling out feedback forms as sales leads.