After writing and editing your blog post, you need to ensure that the blog post is SEO-optimized to increase the chances of being ranked in search engines.

Assuming that you’ve done the prep work (eg. keyword research), here’s the SEO audit checklist I personally use before I hit the “publish” button.

Also, do check out my articles on how to optimize your WordPress blog posts and rank higher on Google and how to write SEO-friendly blog posts~ You can also hire an SEO expert from Fiverr if you have marketing budget or prefer spending time on more important business matters.

[Marketing Tips] Ultimate SEO Checklist To Optimize Your Blog

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. I will earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you purchase through these links. Your support encourages me to continue blogging and help with the costs of hosting this site. Thank you!

Title

Attractive headline

Does the title of the blog post encourage people to click? Does it make them want to read the blog post?

Include numbers or punctuation

I strongly recommend that you include numbers and punctuation (like square brackets) to make your blog post stand out.

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels

Specify blog post type

Ensure that readers are able to tell the type of blog post from the title itself. For example, you could include words like “How To”, “Tips”, “Ultimate Guide”, “Review” and “X vs Y”.

Keyword-rich & SEO-friendly headings & subheadings

Do include the keywords that you want to rank for in the blog post title. You can then use alternative keywords (like long-tail keywords) in the subheadings throughout your article. Consider using keyword research and analysis tools like KWFinder to find keywords to rank for.

KWFinder - Keyword SEO Difficulty

Meta Description

Brief summary: short & concise

Meta description should be a quick summary of the blog article. You can try enticing readers and let them know what they’ll learn from reading this article.

Include keywords & CTA

Meta descriptions appear in the search engine results. Hence, do include keywords and call-to-action as well as persuasive language to encourage people to click on your blog post.

Bonus Tip: Leverage Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin

Google cuts off meta description if it’s too long. Yoast SEO prevents this with a bar below the meta description. An orange bar means that you can add more words. A green bar means that your meta description has an optimal length. If you exceed 155 characters, the bar will turn orange again to warn you.

Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin - Meta Description

Source: Yoast

URL

Include keywords

Again, do include the keywords that you want to rank for in the blog post URL. Frontload these keywords if possible.

Remove filler or stop words

Do remove SEO stop words in your blog post URL like pronouns, articles, prepositions and conjunctions.

  • a
  • and
  • for
  • how
  • why
  • the
  • to
  • numbers like 3, 5, 7 etc.
  • “.” punctuation (Google favors hyphens/dashes)

But of course, you can always run experiments. For instance, my most popular blog post actually uses “how-to” in the URL which are SEO stop words that should have been removed.

Short & concise

According to data, Google ranks URLs based on their length. Longer URLs typically rank lower than shorter ones. Therefore, try to keep your URLs short and concise.

HubSpot - Ahrefs - Number Of Characters In URL

Source: HubSpot

Headings

Keyword-rich & SEO-friendly

Just like your blog post title, ensure that the headings and subheadings in your blog article are keyword-rich and SEO-friendly. Do consider using alternative keywords so they don’t seem repetitive.

Use heading tags

When you’re writing your blog post in WordPress Editor, there are formatting options. Do use the H1, H2, H3 etc. headings. This way, search engines can easily understand the hierarchy, structure and flow of your content.

WordPress - Header Tags - Heading Paragraph Preformatted

Use periods instead of brackets

So this is a personal preference. But if my blog content is about 5 ways to… or 7-step guide, there will definitely be numbered headings. In such cases, I prefer using periods rather than brackets for my numbered headings. For example,

  • 1. Sign Up For An Account, rather than 1) Sign Up For An Account

Why periods and not brackets?

Okay, type a question into Google or simply search “how to [do something like buying a house] guide”. Look at Google’s featured snippet at the top and you probably notice that the steps use periods. This is exactly the reason why. If I want my blog post to be chosen for Google’s featured snippet, shouldn’t I be following this best practice too?

Images

Image Titles are named properly

Ensure that your image titles are named properly. They should describe the images.

Alt text

Alt text, also known as alt tags and alt descriptions, is the written copy that appears in place of an image on a webpage if the image fails to load on a user’s screen. This text helps screen-reading tools describe images to visually impaired readers and allows search engines to better crawl and rank your website. Therefore, you should use alt text to accurately describe the image.

Caption

Image captions, the words directly beneath images, may not directly impact SEO. But unlike file names and alt text, captions are visible and can add to the website experience. Adding captions will thus improve the user experience. I usually credit the image source in the caption. For example, where the image is from (website URL) and who took the photograph. You can also choose to hyperlink it to the original source too.

Enough images

Images help to break up blocks of long content and hence, give readers a break. Images can complement content too so your audience can better understand what you’re trying to say. For me, I usually include at least 1 image per heading.

Image compression

One of the key elements of SEO is page speed. Thus, you should optimize your images by compressing them. Compressing your images will result in faster page speed and better SEO. Most image compression tools offer lossy and lossless compressions. Do read more about the differences and choose the one that suits you.

Also, I strongly recommend getting software that can compress images like ShortPixel or SiteGround. Check out my ShortPixel review (pros and cons of the image optimization and compression WordPress plugin) and SiteGround review (pros and cons of the web hosting company with the best customer service).

ShortPixel - Bulk Image Optimization Processing

Featured Image

Set featured image

A featured image is the primary image for a blog post. They’re used as thumbnails when blog posts are shared on social media.

In WordPress, you can select one image as featured image.

Cause Pinterest is one of my top traffic sources, I use Pinterest pin graphics for my featured images. You can consider using the social media graphics of your top traffic source as your featured images too.

WordPress - Featured Image

Content

Useful, valuable or entertaining

Personally, I feel that blog posts should be useful, valuable or entertaining. But of course, you can have your own interpretation of what makes a blog post valuable. The key is that you need to bear this in mind when creating your blog article. It needs to provide some kind of value so readers will read it.

Scannable & easy-to-read

Blog articles are written ultimately for humans, not search engines. Therefore, you need to ensure that your audience can easily digest the content. There are some tricks to solve this:

  • Bold important information
  • Create a bulleted or numbered list
  • Break up chunks of text into shorter paragraphs

At least 1,000 words

There isn’t a fixed rule of how long a blog post should be. But personally, I try my best to reach 1,000 words for each blog post.

Research has shown that Google prefers long content to short content. In fact, the longer your article, the higher you rank (assuming that you have a good domain authority score, many backlinks from high authority sites and more).

Source: By Brian Dean via Backlinko

Add Internal & External Links

Link to other relevant blog posts

Internal link juice is the linking power that is passed on by internal linking to other internal subpages. Hence, see if you can insert links to relevant blog posts within your content.

Link to relevant articles outside your website

External link juice is the linking power that is passed on from another domain. Again, see if you can insert links to relevant articles outside your website to optimize your blog post for SEO.

Photo by typographyimages on Pixabay

WordPress Categories & Tags

Categories and tags are ways to organize and group content on WordPress. By structuring content on your website, it helps SEO. Search engines will be able to determine the structure and hierarchy of your content. So do ensure that you’ve chosen relevant categories and tags for your blog posts.

WPBeginner - WordPress Categories vs Tags

Source: WPBeginner

Announce & Promote To Fans & Social Media

After publishing your blog post, you should announce and promote it.

The first channel will be email where you let your newsletter subscribers know about this latest blog post. Do start collecting these people as early as possible (from your first blog post). You can segment this group of people by topics or content they’re interested in. This way, you’ll send an email announcing your latest blog post to the right audience (people who are avid readers of your blog and are interested in this topic and content).

Next, you can announce your blog post on the various social media channels that your brand is on. For me, that’s Facebook and Pinterest. I only post author and book related news on Instagram.

I strongly recommend that you leverage Pinterest by creating pins to your blog posts. Most of my website traffic came from Pinterest. In fact, data has shown that Pinterest has the longest lifespan of a few months (compared to Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc.). Extend the longevity of your blog posts by tapping into pins!

You can look at free stock image websites and use Canva, a free-to-use online graphic design tool with numerous templates, to create social media graphics.

Photo by Tumisu on Pixabay

Bonus Tip: Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin

When I first started blogging, I installed Yoast SEO WordPress plugin and followed the recommendations. But I got lazy so I don’t really utilize its features. But it’s still useful. I strongly recommend that you install it too~

Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin - SEO Analysis

Bonus Tip: Grammarly & ProWritingAid

SEO is about being human-centric. Do ensure that your blog content is written for humans. To do that, you need to ensure there are no grammatical or spelling mistakes. Proofreading tools like Grammarly and ProWritingAid will come in handy when you’re editing your blog posts.

Grammarly’s AI-powered writing assistant identifies spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes and checks your tone and style.

Grammarly

Used by over 2 million people to polish their writing, ProWritingAid offers world-class grammar and style checking combined with in-depth reports to strengthen your creative writing, business writing and academic writing.

ProWritingAid

Now It’s Your Turn

Hopefully, this SEO checklist is of use to you~!

 

Copyright © 2017-2024
Nicole C. W. All Rights Reserved.

Want to receive updates?

Join My Newsletter Now

 

Be the first to know about hot new releases, tips from my blog and more.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This