Optimizing your blog posts for SEO is about more than throwing a keyword or two in the copy and calling it a day. This crucial step can help your website show up higher in search results, and maybe even snag a coveted spot on page one. The higher you are in the search results, the more traffic you’ll drive to your website — ultimately raising awareness of your brand.
Optimization starts at the initial planning stages and extends through content upload, and beyond. The next time you sit down to write a blog post, print out this handy checklist and memorize it. Or maybe just tape it to the wall next to your computer. Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to prime search engine positioning.
Select a Topic
⧠ Identify Your Audience
Know who you’re writing to and how you want to reach them. This is also useful in cross linking so you can direct visitors to the proper pages that lead them down the desired conversion path.
⧠ Determine the Purpose of the Post and How To Add Value
The post will inevitably be more search friendly if you provide content with enhanced value. Include useful information that the reader can implement into their business or role. This will also make the post more sharable and linkable, which will further enhance SEO.
⧠ Create a Title
Start with one general idea for the title of the post. This will help you keep the content highly correlated with the theme at hand and give you a better chance of ranking well.
⧠ Assign One Primary Keyword or Theme
The theme should be highly correlated with the topic and should contain top keywords for your target market. Keep an eye on the competitive nature, and try to stick with mid- to long-tail search terms.
⧠ Use the Primary Keyword in the First Paragraph
Set the tone for the post by including a strong use case of the primary keyword or thematic mention in the first paragraph.
⧠ Include the Primary Keyword or Theme in the H1 Tag
Be sure to include the primary keyword in the title, preferably towards the beginning of the text.
⧠ Assign a Few Correlated Keywords
This will happen naturally most of the time, but be sure to add synonyms and other variations of the keyword/theme in your writing. Avoid keyword stuffing, or using the same keyword over and over again.
Write Your Post
⧠ Write at Least 750+ Words
Write a minimum of 750 words for every post in order to convey the quality of the content. Longer posts are great, along with rich media like photos, graphics and video.
⧠ Add a Tremendous Amount of Value to the Reader
Always write to add value. The main goal of every blog entry should be to provide some type of intelligence or action that a user can take back to their business and incorporate.
⧠ Write for a 14-Year-Old
Keep your content simple and to the point. Readers aren’t going to appreciate or value extraordinarily long sentences or complicated verbiage.
⧠ Use Sources, But Make Sure They’re Accurate
It’s always good to include stats and valuable insight in an article, but make sure that you either link to or attribute the source, and ensure that it’s accurate.
⧠ Don’t Be Afraid to Link to Other Websites
If it supports the article and isn’t a competitor, don’t be afraid to link to an external site. Just make sure that the link is set to open up in a new window, so your visitors don’t lose their ability to continue to navigate your site.
⧠ Include Subheadings
Expect your audience to scan your post, and make sure the content is broken up with subtitles that will help the reader easily identify personal areas of interest.
⧠ Include Thematic Keywords in the Subheadings
Make sure that these keywords are not the exact same as the main H1 tag, but variations.
⧠ Make Sure the Meta Data Fits
Keep titles and descriptions within the proper character and pixel length to make sure that it shows up without being truncated in search results.
Optimize the Images
⧠ Check Image File Size
For site speed purposes, make sure that the image file is the same size as the area of the page that it will occupy on a desktop.
⧠ Fill Out the ALT-IMG Tags
Make sure that all images have the ALT tags filled out with thematic keywords.
⧠ Use the Primary Keyword in the Image File Name and Title
When adding images, use the primary keyword in the original file name and the title in the CMS.
Get Your Post Out There
⧠ Look for Cross Linking Opportunities
Identify areas of the site that are highly correlated with the article, and be sure to include a way to link to them within the main copy.
⧠ End With a Call to Action
All good blog posts are written with a goal in mind. End with a call-to-action that tells the reader what you want them to do next. This is often text, but it could also be an image that links to a top-of-funnel asset or demo.
⧠ Make it Simple to Share on Social Media
Make sure that you have “share” widgets in place and include “Click to Tweet” options for memorable posts and/or statistics that the reader can easily share.
Click here to download a PDF of this checklist so you can reference it whenever you need to!
Need help creating blog posts, developing a content strategy, or optimizing your website? We’d love to hear from you — get in touch.