Blogs are like grandfather clocks in the way that there are many moving pieces you can’t see. Needing to have your blog search engine optimized is a must. What many people don’t realize is that it’s really easy to forget how important it can be to the success of your blog. That’s why I created my own Ultimate SEO checklist for bloggers.
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Have you read my Starting A Blog: What You Need To Do Before Launching post? If so, then you should have an idea of what SEO means. But, just in case you haven’t here is a really short recap:
SEO allows you to be found organically on search engines such as Google.
When you’re creating a website, blog posts, even uploading pictures to your posts you need to be telling Google (and search engines) exactly what you are by using keywords. You don’t want it to be a guessing game. Because guess what: Search engines won’t waste their time trying to make guesses. They like knowing what everything is and it’s the only way to make sure you’re showing up in search results.
Now that you know a little bit about SEO, let’s get on with my Ultimate SEO Checklist.
This is a list that I created for myself when I started my blog. It helps me see every part that goes into putting a post together so I don’t forget anything. And also so I can try new things and learn to be as productive as possible.
There are extra (non-SEO) parts to my SEO checklist. Those are parts you don’t need to follow, but I recommend them since I find they’re helpful.
There are 14 parts to my Ultimate SEO Checklist for creating blog posts.
- First and foremost, you need to write your post. This is self-explanatory. My posts are typically around 1k words. Sometimes more, sometimes less. It depends on the topic I’m writing about and the problem I’m trying to solve for my audience. (We talked a little bit about solving a problem in my post about starting a blog.)
- Does the content in your post match your message? For me, I try to include at least one of four things in each post I write. That way, I’m sticking to my why and message. Having this on my checklist requires me to stay aware of why I started this blog. My four things include experience, confidence, balance, and positivity. As long as I have one of these in my post then I know I’m staying on topic. In turn, it helps Google in knowing what my blog is about.
- Spelling/grammar check. This is a must. You NEED to be checking for errors. Once you have your rough draft written, go back and be sure that it doesn’t have mistakes in it. I usually read through my posts a few times throughout the process of my SEO checklist. But, I also use Grammarly too. Grammarly is a writing platform that helps proofread and check for plagiarism in your work. I use this when writing my novels too and it’s a huge help. Grammarly has both free and premium features. I highly recommend grabbing the free version at the very least!
- Add keywords. Ah, now we’re getting to the SEO stuff. What are keywords? They’re the thing that makes it possible for others to search and find your content. It’s one of the most important parts of SEO. So, basically, it’s a requirement. Without keywords, you can kiss every other part of SEO goodbye. It just isn’t going to work the same without keywords. Your keyword should be part of the following components of your blog post: blog title (include subheadings), URL, meta description. Here is a great blog post by The She Approach that tells you what to avoid when it comes to your SEO keywords.
- Use H1-6 Tags. H1-6 tags are subheadings and each number specifies the level or position of it. For example, 1 is the most important and 6 is the least important. Putting heading tags in your post allows for a better read by breaking up the content and gives your audience an idea of the different sections of your post. It helps them easily decipher what content they want to read and what they want to skip over. H1 tags are the most important of the 6 when it comes to SEO. Make sure your headings are relevant and relatable to the content. Typically I don’t go further than H3 tags because there isn’t a need for me. If you’re dipping all the way down to H6 tags then make sure it’s clear, concise, organized well, and relevant so it doesn’t affect your SEO negatively.
- Create a custom permalink. This is the link to the individual page, or in this case, blog post. Normally, when you create the title for your page WordPress will put one together for you and sometimes it may even include numbers. You do not want that. It doesn’t tell you what the post is about and isn’t relevant. Let me repeat, you do not want a bunch of numbers as your permalink. What you want is a specific name, typically the name of your blog post but you can break it down if it’s too long. Don’t forget to add your keyword to this part too!
- Interlink to other posts. Interlinking means you are linking to your other blog posts from one particular post. For example, if I had a post on interlinking in more detail now would be the perfect time to mention it and have a link accessible to my readers to click on. Then, they can learn more about interlinking. This helps SEO, traffic on your blog, and your website’s bounce rate.
- Outbound link to other websites. This holds purpose in your SEO, too. Outbound links are links that take you to other websites. Maybe I found a really great article on a different blog about outbound links. I can mention that here and my viewers will then be directed to that website/blog post when they click on it.
- Add images with a title and alt text, including the featured photo. It’s important to be saving your images with names related to what the image is when it comes to SEO optimization. That’s why I have it on my SEO checklist for bloggers. I feel like it’s something that is looked over, and it’s one thing I didn’t want to forget for my posts. See, Google doesn’t automatically know what a picture is so you have to tell it by using titles and alt text. This is another, extra way, for people to come across your post when on search engines. Always make sure you’re editing your photos once you upload them to WordPress to have a title and alt text relevant to your post.
- Is your post SEO green? If you have WordPress and the Yoast SEO plug in then when you create posts there will be an icon with SEO right next to it above the publish button. This tells you if your post has been fully optimized per Yoast’s recommendations. Make sure this is green! If it’s not green, then scroll down under your post and the Yoast plug in will tell you what fixes and changes you need to make.
- Is your post readability green? Readability sits right above the SEO icon above the publish button. You want to make sure this is green as well. Your readability plays a large part in how well your post is written when it comes to SEO. You can find the details for this in the same area as SEO; below where your post is written in the Yoast SEO section.
- Extra: Affiliate information. Affiliate disclaimers are required to be shown if you are selling things on your blog/in your posts and making a commission if someone makes a purchase with the special link you provide. I didn’t want to forget this for any of my posts which is why it is a part of my SEO checklist. I do have an affiliate disclaimer on my sidebar that shows up on every page, but it should always be noticeable to your viewers. Typically, I add it in under the first few paragraphs of my post to let my viewers know. I also use this to list what relatable affiliates I’d like to include in my post.
- Extra: Social media sharing. Have I shared my post on social media? I write my posts in advance and schedule them so this is something that I have to go back to SEO checklist to highlight. I share pins on Pinterest for each post and then try to include something about my new post on my Instagram. It’s important your sharing your new posts with your social media accounts. This is another way you can drive traffic to your blog, which then shows that your blog is important.
- Last but not least, I make sure to mark if my post is scheduled or published. This helps me more so than my SEO. But, it’s especially helpful since I schedule most of my posts. I’m able to keep track of what I have ready to go and what I need to work on. Also, if I have schedule highlights on my SEO checklist, then I know that everything else above has been completed.
I know how overwhelming it can be to start a blog. There is so much to keep up with, but having a SEO checklist offers a little more balance in the process. Having one of your own will help you stay on track and help you strive to reach those SEO goals that you have made for yourself.
Do you use use a SEO checklist? If so, what do you have on yours?