Blog writing is a real skill. Not only do you have to be creative and clear, but you also need to bear in mind the purpose of your blog. Namely, to get your website found by search engines. This Search Engine Optimisation or SEO checklist contains some simple but effective tricks for helping your posts appeal to Google and its rivals. The higher you rank for your chosen search terms, the more people are likely to visit your site.
If you are a small business looking to boost your organic reach, this list is invaluable. It can help you hone the way you write your blogs so that you give search engines the best possible chance of ranking you highly and grabbing the attention of people looking for information about your niche. It can also expand the range of keywords that you rank for, giving you an even better chance of gaining views.
Why is an SEO Checklist Important?
Making the first page of Google is so important for gaining organic search traffic. These are the users who find your site whilst searching for a term to do with your sector, which is why this should be a key element of your marketing strategy. These are people who are interested in what you have to sell or offer. But they rarely stray far from the first page of search results.
SEO giant Moz surveyed 1,400 online searchers to find out about their habits. They reported that “75 percent of respondents either click on the first one or two results, scan page one looking for the most relevant answer to their query, or visit multiple results from page one.” Click To Tweet
In order to stand a chance with these users, your blog SEO needs to be on point, and that is why the SEO checklist is key. By making sure you include these elements in your blog, you give yourself the best chance of bringing in decent traffic from search.
8 SEO Checklist Items to Get Your Blog Found
1. Have You Found Your Keyword?
Your keyword is a word or phrase that you want to rank for. To choose the right keyword for your post, you should look at a tool such as Ubersuggest to find out search volumes for your sector. Type in terms relating to the topic of your blog and you can find a range of related keywords and how many people look online for that keyword every month.
The trick is to be ambitious, but realistic. There is no point optimising your blog for a term that only ten people a month are bothered about, but choosing a keyphrase with huge competition will be nearly impossible to rank for. For example, you could possibly rank well for the term “Norwegian noseflute music played by a man called Gerald”, but it won’t bring in any traffic. And you will get nowhere near page one for the massively popular keyword “music”. However, optimising for “Norwegian music” seems like a realistic and achievable aim.
2. Have You Included Your Keyword Enough Times?
Once you have your keyword, you need to insert it naturally into the text so that search engines know what the blog is about. You should have the keyword in the title, the blog address, in the first paragraph of the post, in at least one subheading and a couple of times in the body of the post
There was a time when people used to ‘keyword stuff’, and try and repeat the phrase as many times as possible to boost their ranking. However, the search engines got wise to this and factored that into their results. They need to prioritise results that actually inform searchers, not those that have no substance and which are spammy. This means you have to strike a balance between using your keyword enough to be noticed but not too much to raise a red flag.
3. Does Your Blog Inform, Entertain or Add Value to the Reader?
One of the SEO blog elements that search engines look for is how long a user spends on a site they find through search. If they immediately hit the ‘Back’ button, it suggests your post did not help and, if that happens a lot, it can negatively affect your ranking.
If a blog contains interesting information, is entertaining or answers the searcher’s query, they will spend longer on the page, which sends a message to the search engine that this is a good value result. You should make sure your post offers value and grabs their attention right away.
4. Does Your Post Contain Internal Links?
This is another key point for the SEO checklist. Internal links, those that point to somewhere else on your site, can help you look great to search engines. They track the overall session time of users and the number of pages they visit. The longer they spend on your site and the more pages they visit, the more they can be confident that your site is filled with engaging content. This can help boost your rankings.
5. Does Your Post Contain External Links?
These are links to other sites. This is a good habit to get into because, the more people who do it, the more links there are for search engines to follow to find new and interesting content.
However, you are not just doing it for the greater good. As SEO firm Yoast says, if you can back up a point you make by citing a trusted source, that makes your blog more authoritative and might help it rank better. In addition, if you link to a trusted source, you can then follow up and ask them if they would be interested in sharing your article or citing some of your work in the future with a backlink that helps improve your SEO
6. Have You Contacted Industry Leaders?
Following on from the last point, once you post your blog, make sure you contact thought leaders in your niche and ask them to read it. If they like it, you could ask if they will link to it from their site. The more high quality backlinks you get, the more it impresses search engines.
It is worth pointing out that search engines do not like “link for link” swaps. They should be organic and fit naturally into the text, rather than being crowbarred in to try and play the system.
7. Does it Include an Image?
You should have at least one image on your blog post and that should contain your keyword in its alt tag. This is something you can add on all the major blogging platforms, such as WordPress and Squarespace. It simply means that the image has a chance of cropping up in a search for that term, offering more chances to gain users onto your site.
8. Have You Added a Meta Description?
The meta description is usually what appears under the blog title on the search pages of Google and other engines. It should contain your keyword to help search engines understand what it is about and it should be enticing and engaging enough to encourage searchers to want to click that particular result. Without a specified meta description, the search engine might pick any old passage from the article to display and it might not be as tempting to users as one that you write yourself.
Want Help With Your SEO Checklist?
There is a lot to keep in mind when you write a business blog. This makes it a much more nuanced task than merely scribbling down a few thoughts. To truly make the most of this section of your website, your blog SEO needs to be at full strength, which is why we offer blog and content writing as part of our outsourcing service, using the skills and expertise of our experienced professional content team.
And if you find the SEO checklist helpful and want more great templates and tips for small businesses, check out our free resources portal right now. It will make your content, social media, website and more shine!