4 million new blog posts are published online every single day.

How do you stand out from the crowd?

Ranking highly in search engines (namely Google) is arguably the best method of doing so. It’s the only way to ensure your posts actually get read. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.

A fully SEO optimized blog post is far more likely to outrank the competition. But how do you do it? What goes into effective SEO?

Keep reading for an SEO blog checklist that’s sure to improve your rankings.

Essential Blog Checklist: 5 Steps to Effective SEO

SEO is crucial for blogging success. There’s a lot to it, but you can get a long way with the basics covered. The following checklist will cover the most important SEO components that’ll get you ranking in no time.

1. Find the Right Keywords

Effective SEO begins with keywords.

You need to figure out which words or phrases people are searching for online. You can do this using keyword tools such as Google trendsor Soovle.

The best keywords are low competition (few others have written a piece related to this keyword) and popular (lots of people are searching for it). It’s the only way to show up in search.

Long-tail keywords can be the key to success. Find ‘keywords’ comprising of 4 or more words (e.g. ‘the best long-tail keywords’). These may receive less search traffic but will be easier to rank for as they’re less competitive.

Primary keywords are your focus. They’re the word(s) you primarily want to rank for. You can also find secondary keywords though. These relate to the piece and can bring in additional traffic.

2. Integrate Your Keywords

Next up you need to incorporate your keywords into the right places.

Use your primary keyword in the title, the first 100 words and a header, and your conclusion. It should also go into your URL via the permalink. Other places to consider are meta-descriptions and image alt tags.

Your secondary keywords should be scattered throughout the text and in subheadings.

3. Focus on the User Experience

The user experience (UX) is the third essential part of ranking well.

Google prefers blog posts that provide a positive experience to readers. It makes sense. Someone who enjoys what they find on Google, is more likely to use Google again, right?

Do this in a number of ways. You should write blog posts that are longer (1,000 words and above), in-depth, and provide true value to the reader. The copy should be scannable, with short and concise phraseology. Break the copy up with subheadings, images, and videos.  

Your piece should be engaging and entertaining. It should be written for humans, not search engines!

4. Incorporate Internal and External Links

Linking is another essential SEO component.

There are two types: internal and external. An internal link directs someone to another page on your own website when clicked. An external link takes a user outside of your website.

They’re both important. Internal links keep people on your site for longer. This increase in dwell time signals to Google that your site is of value. They boost your ranking as a result. External links seem counterintuitive. After all, you’re effectively directing your user elsewhere.

However, linking out to industry leading, reputable sites is a known boon for your own site.

5. Build Backlinks

Backlinks are probably the best way to earn higher rankings.

A backlink is when another website links directly to your post or website. They signal to Google that your piece is worth ranking higher. Think of them as a vote of confidence. The more you have, the higher the rank.

However, it’s quality over quantity. One link from an industry leading website is worth more than numerous links from low-quality sites.

Achieve backlinks through guest posts, commenting on other sites, contributing to other bloggers’ posts, and direct outreach to other bloggers.

Time to Get Ranking

There you have it: an essential blog checklist to master SEO.

Looking for more marketing tips? Be sure to contact us with any questions or comments.

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