Looking for the ideal SEO checklist for blog posts?
You’re at the right place!
In this article, we will talk about things to do before hitting that publish button that will help you optimize your content to rank better, and get more traffic & sales.
Let’s get started!
The Mega Blog Post Checklist for SEO at a Glance (2023):
- Create a clear and simple permalink structure
- Optimize Your Meta Data For CTR and SEO
- Include related internal links
- Cite trustworthy references
- Optimize for On-page SEO
- Include Table of Contents
- Create a featured image
- Optimize your images
- Create a compelling author bio
- Add schema markup
- Add quotes from experts
- Add Multimedia
- Add Charts and graphs
- Proofread your article and make final edits
- Optimize your posts for social shares
- Hit the publish button
1. Create a clear and simple permalink structure
Let’s start our blog post checklist with a task that will take the least time and has the most impact.
Google can show your permalink/ URL in the SERP like this:
If you’re not optimizing your permalink, it can create a bad user experience and confuse Google about the page’s context and relevance.
Here are some of the best practices to optimize your permalink:
- Make your URL short, clear, and descriptive
- If needed, add localized keywords in the URL
- Try to use your target keyword in the URL in a meaningful way
- Use hyphens (-), not underscore (_)
- Try not to use Year or numbers in the URL (e.g. best-blogging-sites-of-2022)
- Avoid using unnecessary words or characters in the URL
Here’s a comparison between a good and not-so-good URL structure:
- New blogger? Click here to know what is blogging and how it works or check out our top blogging books for bloggers to fast-track your blog’s growth.
- Is blogging worth it? Check out blogging benefits that you cannot miss out on.
2. Optimize Your Meta Data For CTR and SEO
Metadata (page title and meta description) is the first thing a user will notice about your brand in the SERP.
So, make sure you’re optimizing your title and description for higher clicks/ CTR.
Here are some best practices for writing meta descriptions and page titles:
- Use your focus Keyword in the title and description in a meaningful way
- Avoid clickbait or exaggerated titles, as it is against Google guidelines.
- Include power words such as complete guide, faster result, step-by-step, etc. to boost the CTR
- Keep your page title and meta description under 580 px and 920 px, respectively
3. Include related internal links
Internal linking optimization is one of the underrated blogging activities. Think of internal linking as a way to help search engines discover your other articles and pass the page rank from high authority pages to new and important pages.
Also, this helps to build connections between topic clusters and pillar pages.
Here’s how to find internal linking opportunities:
Method 1: Using the Google search operator
Google this: site:[domain] intitle:your_keyword
This will give you a list of related URLs on the same topic. Next, you can check whether these pages are internally linked with each other.
Here’s an example:
Method 2: Using pages with high-quality backlinks
First, make a list of pages on your website with quality backlinks from credible and trusted websites.
Usually, these pages hold a high level of PageRank because of the high-quality backlinks pointing to them.
Next, try to add links to other fresh or low authoritative pages on your website. Make sure to only add links meaningfully and match the page’s context.
“Look where the highest quality links are pointing to on your website. Link internally to other relevant, valuable pages from that page to pass link equity to other internal pages.”Jeremy Moser
If you’re interested in how Google measures PageRank, visit this guide on PageRank.
4. Cite trustworthy references
Citation or adding external links to blog posts is an important point in SEO checklists for blog posts.
Linking to relevant information should be on your blog publishing checklist. Adding references to helpful and related external resources helps you win users’ trust and credibility. Not to mention, it is a great search engine optimization trick.
If you mention a company, link to the company page. If you include an expert quote in your article, link to the expert’s bio page or source of the quote.
Likewise, you should always back up your claim and statistics with relevant and credible sources.
This not only helps improve user experience, but Google also considers external references as one of the characteristics of a high-quality page (according to the Quality Raters Guideline).
- If you have given proper attributes to image sources, Wikipedia citations, and links to authority sites to gain SEO juice.
- Add descriptive text while linking to external references.
- Do quality checks before linking to any website. Make sure that the source is credible and holds expertise in the topic.
- Do not forget to cloak ugly, too-long, weird affiliate links with simple and clean URLs.
- Fix broken links (if updating an old piece of content)
Ugly URL: https://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=685563&u=1051026&m=26748&urllink=&afftrack=
Clean URL: https://www.digitalgyd.com/grammarly
5. Optimize for On-page SEO
You get full control to optimize your page and article for on-page factors such as internal linking, SEO copywriting, adding related FAQs, SEO optimizing metadata, etc.
I have a detailed guide for on-page SEO techniques as an SEO checklist for blog posts that will teach you:
- Optimizing your article for the primary keyword (using keyword research tools to find keyword stats & search volume)
- Matching search intent of search queries with content
- User and SEO-friendly permalink
- Working on improving dwell time, and so on.
Consider reading that guide to know more intricate details on how to optimize your blog posts for maximum SEO benefits.
On to the next item in our SEO checklist for blog posts…
6. Include a Table of Contents
Another common blogging mistake and the next item to tick off our blog publishing checklist is, adding a table of contents.
Table-of-Contents (TOC) significantly improves content readability and scannability.
Here’s the TOC structure that we use in our articles:
Adding Table-of-Contents TOC within the article has several benefits, such as:
- Lower the time-to-value (means the user can find the important information faster by scanning the article)
- Help you win rich results (Table of contents links often show up as site links in Google, thereby boosting your CTR)
This is an example where TOC anchor links triggered the site links in the SERP:
As a result, the CTR of blog posts goes up.
7. Create a featured image
Featured images are what draw the attention of the readers to click on an article.
Adding a click-worthy featured image in articles is important for building a brand identity and grabbing clicks from social media platforms.
Google recommends an ideal featured image size of at least 1200px wide to maximize your chances of getting featured in Google Discover.
However, consider not using a large-sized image for the blog featured image as this can affect your page speed. Use image optimization tools to compress your images for faster delivery.
8. Optimize your images
Images speak a thousand words.
In blogging, images carry a thousand SEO points too. Properly optimized images can bring you a good chunk of organic traffic through image search engines.
Images help people understand the context better, break the monotonous flow of a block of text and boost your credibility (if you’re writing reviews of products and can share firsthand pictures)
Here are a few things that should be on your blog post checklist (when adding images:
- Add descriptive alt text for every image (check out Google’s guide on alt text optimization)
- Add related image title.
- Add images that reflect your brand. You can create or edit free images (from sites like Wikimedia commons) with tools like Picmonkey. Alternatively, you can create your own branded templates from sites like Canva.
9. Create a compelling author bio
Author bios are often the most overlooked aspect when publishing an article.
If you are a solo blogger, write a compelling author bio for yourself.
If you are a brand, try to give your authors their due credit in the post. Include their Twitter handle and other social buttons so your readers can connect to them personally.
A well-optimized author bio helps readers know you and gives them a reason to trust you for what you are saying. It is a big aspect that helps you boost your E-E-A-T (or experience, expertise, authority, and trust).
Here’s an author bio example that shows the credibility and expertise of the author:
Tip: Always add structured data to highlight the Author’s name and URL. This helps Google to understand who the author of the main content is.
10. Add schema markup
While you are writing blog posts or publishing articles, it is recommended to add the required structured data types. This will enhance the search appearance (rich results) of pages in the SERP.
For example, adding an article schema will accurately show
- Page title
- Author name
- Date information
- Featured image
- Last modified time, etc.
Here’s what John Muller says about using structured data:
“…we do use structured data to better understand the entities on a page and to find out where that page is more relevant.”
Some common types of schema to use in articles are:
- FAQ schema
- Article schema
- News article
- Fact check
- How-to schema
- Author schema (author name, URL, and), etc.
Explore the common schema types and guidelines on how to implement them
TIP: If you’re working on a product review website, make sure to use the pros and cons schema type (officially launched by Google).
For example, if you’re writing a product review article, then adding the pros and cons of structured data will help Google to extract the information and show the product review snippet in the SERP.
Here’s what the pros and cons of rich snippet look like:
Also, validate the structured data code using a schema validator. This helps to prevent any errors in the schema.
11. Add quotes from experts
Another often overlooked thing to do before publishing your blog post is to add more engaging elements like quotes and citations.
One of the most effective ways to get social shares, traffic, and even quality links is by collaborating with influencers in your industry.
And asking for contributor quotes is one of the strategies of collaborative content marketing.
Here’s how to do it:
Step 1. Make a list of 10-20 experts in your industry
Make sure that the person has expertise in your blog topic. For example, if you’re writing a blog post on SEO, you can consider Brian Dean from Backlinko (a trusted expert in the industry).
Another criterion to pitch someone for a contributor quote is that the expert should have some level of social media following. This will help you get more traction once your article is live.
Step 2. Collect contact information
Always try to pitch via social media channels such as LinkedIn or Twitter. This makes the connection more genuine.
Step 3. Reach out and ask for a contributor quote
Here’s an email template you can use for contributor quote outreach.
I’ve quietly been working on updating an article – that is relevant to you.
And I was looking for experts and practitioners to get a contributor quote (say 50-150 words of your thoughts) for the article.
Here’s the topic for which I am looking for your thoughts: [Put your topic here]
So if you’re interested in sharing your advice/thoughts on the above topic, it will add great value to our readers.
In favour, I would love to give you proper credit in the article with a headshot and a link back to your website/social media profile.
Here’s the website where the content will be published: [add your website URL here]
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Step 4. Publish and share the article
Once the article is live, share the page URL with all the experts who have contributed to the article.
Make sure you credit each contributor with a headshot and a link to their bio page or social media profiles.
In favor, you can ask them to share the article on their social channels.
As a result, you will notice that many of the experts will share your article with their audience (social media, newsletter, or even website)
This helps you get site traffic and brand exposure from day 1.
12. Add Multimedia
Pictures are worth a thousand words, and videos are even more.
Adding multimedia or visual elements to your article will make it more engaging and visually appealing, helping you to capture and keep your reader’s attention.
Here are some of the tips for using multimedia in your content:
- Turn your article into an infographic and embed the image file in the article
- Use related videos (either from your YouTube channel or someone else – this will improve the dwell time)
- Instead of adding meaningless illustrations, try adding a lot of screenshots to validate your points and claims.
- Embed other content formats such as Twitter threads, Facebook posts, etc.
13. Add Charts and graphs
Consider using charts and graphs in your articles to summarize and present data more visually appealingly.
Also, custom charts can be used as an SEO strategy to build high-quality backlinks.
Tip: If you have the time and effort, always work on creating custom charts and statistics-related images. Otherwise, always support your statistics or complex data with third-party charts and graphs.
14. Proofread your article and make final edits
To create valuable and popular content, you have to have a wider vision. Writing your first draft isn’t easy.
It might take 6-8 hours to produce a piece of decent and helpful content. Now that you have produced your first draft you need to turn it into publishable content.
This part of the blog post checklist is divided into sub-parts to make it easier to follow through.
1) Proofread the content
- Proofread the article: Use tools like Grammarly or any other proofreading software and comma splice checkers to wade off punctuation errors to spot typos and punctuation errors.
- Look through a fresh set of eyes: Checking our content after a couple of hours of sleep (or changing the font) helps us find mistakes that we normally miss.
- Ask someone outside the industry to read it: We often get used to industry traditions and overlook certain mistakes. When someone outside reads your content, he can quickly notice abnormal patterns in it, like over-stuffing keywords or improper tone of writing.
- Check outsource content: If you outsource content, make sure to use plagiarism checker tools to detect duplicate content or make sure to use AI content detector tools like Orginality.AI to detect content generated by AI writing tools.
2) Give proper structure to your article
One of the goals of your blog article should be to lower the time-to-value for readers. That means the reader should get to the important information faster.
And how you structure (heading 2, heading 3, etc.), your article plays an important role here.
Here are two examples to understand the better way of structuring your article:
This helps your readers pull out the required information from the article easily and quickly, leading to user satisfaction and a better user experience.
Pro Tip: Remove fluff from your content. Edit the articles ruthlessly and remove anything that isn’t adding value.
3) Format your article:
Last but not least, format your article in the WordPress editor before it goes live.
Here are some final formatting checks to do in WordPress before publishing:
- Add relevant post category
- Optimize the permalink
- Make sure you do not do keyword stuffing
- Write the title and meta description
- Check if the author’s bio is added
- Structure your content with relevant H2s, H3s, and so on
- Use long tail keywords to boost search engine rankings
- Use a catchy blog post title to draw attention and get more blog traffic
- Consider the readability score in WordPress plugins like Yoast or RankMath
- Add relevant categories and tags
- Optimize for a featured snippet
15. Optimize your posts for social shares
Social shares multiply the reach of your post. You must optimize your posts for social shares and invite your audience to share your content.
Blog post checklist for social media shares:
- Include share buttons (CTA) at the beginning and end of your posts.
- Create social media images for distributing your content on sites like Pinterest, Twitter, etc.
- Optimize your blog metadata for Twitter and Facebook. Add Twitter cards to get even more from the Twitter audience.
- Use a tool like SocialPilot or Sendible and Hootsuite to schedule your blog posts to promote them when you are busy interacting with the audience.
Now that you’ve checked off most of the blog post checklist.. it’s time to let the article see the light of the day.
16. Hit the publish button
Finally, it’s time to make your article live. But don’t follow the publish and pray approach for traffic.
Instead, look for sharing and repurposing your content on different platforms and social media channels.
This will help to get initial traction from other channels – which can speed up the indexing process in Google, Bing, etc.
If you’re posting for the first time or after a long gap, consider submitting the URL of the article in Google search console and big webmaster tools.
Conclusion: SEO Checklist for blog posts 2023
I hope you liked our article. I will update the article with a free printable download version of this blog post checklist very soon.
If you have any doubts about the do’s and don’ts before publishing blog content or any doubt regarding your content marketing strategy, feel free to get in touch.