Blog Post SEO Checklist
Are you looking for an accurate blog post SEO checklist?
SEO is an important practice if you’re into blogging or article publishing. It’s how you see your content on such a vast and competitive internet.
You don’t have to use SEO, but you might not get that much traffic and readers if you don’t. There are way too many blogs and websites competing against you who are using SEO to win.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization seems confusing. It can be if you don’t know where to start.
So that’s why I created this blog post SEO checklist to instruct you what to do while telling you what each process means.
So, let’s get your content ranked higher on Google and other search engines.
Blog Post SEO Checklist: Topic & Keyword Research
The blog post SEO checklist starts with your topic and selected keyword. These two things might as well be the most important parts of the process.
You need to make sure you choose the right topic to blog about. This is based on your interests, knowledge, and the blog’s overall niche. Your niche is the specific topic or industry you write about. The niche of this blog is “content creation and digital marketing” topics.
Your keyword is important for SEO. It is what you will be using throughout your blog post. Understanding everything about your keyword is vital for this blog post SEO checklist.
Choosing a Blog Topic
The first thing you need to do is choose a blog topic to write about. It will help you determine your keyword. My blog top is writing about the “blog post SEO checklist” process. This article focuses on how to use SEO with your blog posts—choosing a topic that relates to the overall topic of your blog (niche). My niche is content creation and digital marketing, so my topic makes sense.
Researching the Blog Topic
After you determine what topic you want to write about, you need to research that topic. This is where you read other posts created by those who more or less compete with you. Find the top 3 to 5 articles on your topic on search. See what information they provide and determine what information they don’t provide (gaps in content). Your mission is to provide the same information they do (but in your own words) and add something new to it to make it even more helpful and unique.
Researching the Keyword
Now you need to decide on a keyword associated with your blog topic. This keyword will be a part of your blog post title, too. Research the keyword to determine if it is low or high competition. You want to be in the medium or higher lower competition zone. Use keyword research tools to help you. I enjoy using SEM Rush, Uber Suggest, and Keywords Everywhere. Spend a lot of time understanding each metric’s meaning when doing keyword research. This might be the most time-consuming item on your blog post SEO checklist.
Blog Post SEO Checklist: Title and Headers
Your title and headers matter in SEO. They tell Google and other search engines what your content will be about.
The title is what the blog post will be named in the address bar. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the title of the blog post. Headers are best used to title sections within your blog post.
It’s important for you not to use more than one H1 header tag for each page.
Title Creation and SEO
Your title will show as the post’s name on search engine results. Your keyword should be in the title. Try using the keyword in the beginning or as close to the beginning as possible. If you also make your H1 header your title, it can be different from your page title but should still include the keyword around the beginning. Try to use a title that is searchable and grabs the reader’s attention.
Headings and SEO
It’s also good to put the keyword in other headers throughout your blog post. Put the keyword in the H2 header but not every single H2 if you only decide to use H2 headers. If you use multiple H3 headers under H2 headers (like this article), you can include your keyword in more H2 headers. The idea is to tell search engines that you’re focusing on a specific topic. But you don’t want to use the keyword too much; otherwise, it might be detected as keyword stuffing.
If you plan to use an H1, H2, and H3 sub-header placement on your blog post, use jump links at the beginning. Jump links are simply a Table of Contents for your blog post. Google has confirmed that they’re often used as a ranking factor for longer blog posts. The best way to use Jump Links is to make the links for H2 headers instead of every header. Making every header, a link could be overwhelming to the reader. You don’t need to use jump links if your blog post is under a few thousand words.
Blog Post SEO Checklist: Keyword Placement
The next topic on our blog post SEO checklist is keyword placement. This is a very important topic because it will help search engines determine what your content is about.
Luckily there are great tools available to help you place your keywords. These tools are free, too. But tools aren’t a total replacement. You need to use your visual abilities, too.
The main goal with keyword placement and density is to avoid keyword stuffing.
Yoast SEO Plugin
If you’re using WordPress as your blogging software, a great free plugin is available to help score your SEO tactics. This plugin is called Yoast SEO. It will tell you your SEO score for each blog post and page. If you use keywords too much or they are unevenly placed, Yoast will inform you of it. You can make changes, and the score will be automatically adjusted. Just make sure you read the blog to ensure that the keyword placement makes sense.
Blending in the Keyword
The keyword placement must make sense. Read your post out loud. If it sounds odd because of the keyword, then you need to modify the content until the keyword smoothly blends into the content. By not changing it, search engines will notice, and so will people. Blog posts that do not blend in keywords well are also considered spam.
When you mention your keyword too much, it is considered keyword stuffing. Google and other search engines have rules against stuffing keywords. If you violate those rules, your blog can be penalized or even removed from search engines. There is no real equation or percentage of how many times to mention your keyword. You should limit your use of it and only mention it now and then in headers or when it makes sense.
Blog Post SEO Checklist: Images and Links
Images and links matter in SEO, too. Your images help Google and other search engines understand what your content is about.
Links are also important. Your internal links can help get traffic from your post to related content that you’d like to showcase more of to your audience.
It’s also important to link to other content outside of your blog.
The first image you use in your blog post should include your keyword in its URL and within the “alt” tags of the image. After that, there is no need to include the keyword in other images. If you include the keyword in every image and post many images, it could be seen as keyword stuffing. I typically use one image multiple times in my blog post. It has the keyword in it, and that is fine.
Internal links will help your blog post in SEO. This is because search engines will follow other links to your written content. There are tactics for internally linking content, however. You should only link to content that is related to your blog post. The anchor text (the words made into a link) should also tell the reader exactly what the link will go to. The classic “click here” anchor text isn’t a good idea anymore.
External links are also important to check off your blog post SEO checklist. These links should go to websites and content related to your blog post. You also want to ensure websites you link to follow search engine optimization rules and are not spam. Linking to a bad website can hurt your website. Like with internal links, ensure the anchor text explains what the link is going to.
Blog Post SEO Checklist: Technical SEO
Add a few technical SEO factors to your blog post SEO checklist.
I won’t get too detailed on the technical aspects in this post. We can save that for another article.
But there are a few important ones that you should pass on for every post you make.
Write for Mobile First
Always write for mobile first. Preview your blog post on a mobile device to ensure it looks great. If it looks better on a desktop and not as good on mobile, you need to change it. It should look better on mobile before looking better anywhere else. Typically for every niche, more than 90% of your audience and readers are visiting using their mobile devices. Google and other search engines have already said mobile compatibility is a big ranking factor.
Site Speed and Loading
Your blog and posts should load very quickly. Your blog website overall should be quick to load on each page. The same goes for each post page you create, too. Each page should only take a few seconds to load. This is an important ranking factor for most search engines. Sometimes, a slower page is due to server issues (your hosting service) or large images. Check out GT Metrix to test the speed of your blog.
Your readers must have a great experience with your blog post. If they find it on search, start reading it, and then hit the back button, which tells Google and other search engines that your content didn’t give them what they wanted. Make your point at the start of the post, and then invite more readers for more details. The readers will typically press the back button if the post is hard to navigate.
Blog Post SEO Checklist: Final Touch
Now it’s time to finish checking off your blog post SEO checklist.
These are the final touches to ensure you deliver the best content.
It’s good to master this whole checklist on each post.
Grammar and Spelling
Grammar and spelling are search engine ranking factors used by Google and other search engines. You need to make sure you use proper spelling and grammar throughout your content. You need to talk in a personal voice, too, when blogging. It helps if you write as if you’re talking to someone one-on-one. One tool I enjoy using for this part is Grammarly which has great free and paid options.
Readability is very important for making the best blogs. Use short sentences and paragraphs for the best results. Remember that most people read on their phones. They don’t typically want to stop scrolling to read. Write in a way that allows them to scroll through and scan what you have to say slowly. Try to audit each sentence to ensure it’s worth keeping in the content.
Publish and Share
After everything is checked and checked again, it’s time to publish your post. Remember to share it, too. I like to share mine on Twitter and LinkedIn. If you have a newsletter, mention your previous posts on that.
Now that you’ve learned the blog post SEO checklist, it’s time to use it on your blog. Thanks for reading my article. Be sure to share it with others. Follow me on Twitter for more tips like this one.
About the Author
Shawn Gossman has created content, blogged, ran online communities, and shared a passion for digital marketing for over twenty years. Shawn believes the best way to help content creators, businesses, brands, and marketers is to give away more than you sell. The same advice is recommended for the readers that follow this blog. Shawn also offers a variety of services for extra help in the area of content creation, blogging, forums, and digital marketing. Learn more about Shawn Gossman by clicking here.
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