How to Optimize a Blog Post For SEO – The Ultimate Checklist

If you have a website then you may have heard a term called SEO. It is one aspect of running a blog you have to be familiar with in order to get your content in front of more people.

SEO, which I will explain in detail what it is, is the key to getting the juicy free organic traffic from the search engines.

And it isn’t so hard for you to learn it if you’ve never heard it before. Once you know what you need to know that’s it – you just apply it to every post you create and let the search engine do the rest. This post will show you how to optimize a blog post for SEO.

Learning how to optimize a blog post for SEO will help:

So are you ready to learn? Also, don’t worry If you are unclear about something I talk about here or have any other questions, you can leave it in the comments section below. I’m happy to help you out.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. That means you are optimizing your blog post to rank higher to a targeted keyword phrase. 

Ever wondered how Google or other search engines come up with results to things you type in the search bar?

Well, this exactly it. Website owners write articles that target particular keywords to be able to rank for that keyword phrase.

If you don’t know what are keywords and how to do keyword research then I suggest that you read my keyword research guide.

Read: How to do Keyword Research For SEO

Why Search Engine Optimization is Important

Search engine optimizing a post or website properly will help get that content to rank higher on search engine results pages giving you more traffic to your post.

So if you want your local business or your blog about kitchen items or anything else to rank higher so more people see and find your website then SEO is something you must know!

Remember, traffic to your site = Money

Either it comes items that you are selling on your website or getting people to call or enquire about your local business.

I have created an ultimate checklist below for SEO for you to check off on pages or posts you create on your website to get maximum exposure to your content.

It might seem like a lot but really most of these only take a few seconds to a minute to do.

How to Optimize a Blog Post For SEO – The Ultimate Checklist

1. Do Proper Keyword Research

Before you create any piece of content you need to do the proper keyword research on that subject. This means seeing if there’s anyone searching for that content and what are your chances of ranking higher for that keyword phrase.

2. Keyword Phrase in Post Title

Before you write anything make sure that your keyword phrase is in the title of your blog post.

Say you want to write a blog post about cleaning a G-Shock watch and you come up with a keyword phrase that you want to target.

For Example:

Targeted keyword phrase: How to Clean a G-Shock Watch

The above keyword phrase OK as it is. But, you can also add more words to make it prettier while keeping the phrase exact without affecting SEO.

“How to clean a G-Shock watch – 5 Easy Steps” 

Both versions as a title are OK as you have included the main phrase without changing it.

3. Keyword Phrase in Meta Title

All in One SEO Meta Title and Meta Description

I’m personally using WordPress Platform to manage all my websites. And the All-in-One-SEO plugin to manage meta titles and meta descriptions.

Plugins like Yoast or RankMath or any other SEO tool is fine to do this on. 

Here it’s pretty simple. You just type the post title in the meta title section. 

I keep my meta titles to under 60 characters as any more than that usually don’t get shown on the search results pages.

If you have a long title, you might need to shave off extra characters or words so it fits within that character limit. But keep your main target phrase intact.

4. Keyword Phrase in Meta Description

How to Optimize a Blog Post For SEO - Completed Meta Title and Meta Description

Taking the example above. When you write your meta description, make sure to include your original keyword phrase somewhere in the meta description as well. This will give you extra SEO juice for your post.

I keep my meta description to under 160 characters. Again anymore than this limit usually doesn’t get shown on the results page.

5. One Internal Link Within the Post

Internal links help search engine crawlers to go through your site and read your content. This also helps you become an authority on a topic by having links to related topics within your website. 

The key to a good internal link is having great anchor text. This shows the reader what page they are about to click to.

For Example:

How to keep dogs safe in a RV 

vs 

Click here

I think we both know that the first link is the best type of internal link as it foreshadows what you are about to click on to.

I would avoid anchor text like click here, go here, etc in most circumstances.

6. One External Link Within the Post

External links are links away from your site. They are links to other websites that explain a topic in more detail. It is good to have at least one external link within your post. You don’t necessarily need to do it for every post but I use them more often than not so that it doesn’t look like you’re hoarding all the links.

You want to have link diversity in your article. Just make sure when you link to another site that they are an authoritative source and not some low-quality website with bad information. And make sure it is relevant to your blog post.

I personally use Wikipedia and other authority websites in my niche.

7. Keyword in Post Images and Relevant Alt Tags Included

When you upload your images, have the images properly titled. I always include my main keyword in the featured image of the post.

Also, make sure to include the description of the image in the alt-tag section. Alt tag was created to help people with visual disabilities by reading out what the image is about. You want to abide by that while including your main keyword. A little trick is to include the main keyword followed by a dash that describes the image.

How to SEO an Image - Bird Drinking Water

Let’s assume the blog title and the targeted keyword phrase for this image:

“How to Attract Birds to Your Garden”

My image SEO for this image will look like this:

Title: How to Attract Birds to Your Garden

Alt tag: How to Attract Birds to Your Garden – Bird Drinking Water

8. Rich Snippets for Review Posts

I use rich snippets for review posts. They are basically a bit of code that gets added to a page that shows extra details like review stars. 

They make your post stand out as well as providing some SEO juice.

You can add a plugin to your website that gives this feature.

How to Optimize a Blog Post For SEO - Rich Snippet Example

9. Embedding a Video (Optional)

Embedding a video is not necessary for every post you write. But it can certainly help with SEO as well as help your reader.

By embedding a video you are increasing the amount of time a reader spends on your page (instead of clicking away right away). Search engines like to see that having your website at the top of their results for a particular search query actually provides the answer that the reader is looking for. It’s not the only metric they look at obviously but every bit of SEO power counts.

Remember you shouldn’t just have a video for search engine optimization. You should have it because it makes sense to have it on that page or post and to increase the helpfulness of your content.

10. Social Sharing

You can see that almost every successful company in the world is utilizing social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest to reach their audience.

By regularly posting your latest content and building a following on social media platforms can benefit you financially as well as showing that you have a presence outside a single source like just your website.

11. Engagement within Post Comments

One of the key metrics that get calculated for search engine optimization is the engagement on your post. 

So within your post, encourage people to comment, ask for feedback, and ask people to share your content. By requesting this you are going to get increased engagement than if you didn’t ask for it.

Make sure to reply to your comments. Author engagement is also critical to getting those valuable engagement points.

Talking of engagement, make sure to leave a comment on this post if you found it helpful 🙂

12. URL Inspect in Google Search Console

When I write a new post/article, I go to Google Search Console and submit the URL to Google. This expedites the indexing and ranking of that page on Google. 

I mean you can always wait for Google to find your post on its own but this is something I do. And sometimes you’ll find an authority website ranking within minutes of publishing by doing it manually.

13. Submitting URLs in Bing Webmaster Tools

Again, this is the same thing as Google Search Console but for Bing and Yahoo. You are pinging both of these search engines and telling them.

“Hey, I have new piece of content, please index me”

JustOnlineBusiness.com Mobile Friendly Theme Example

Extra Things That Help Boost SEO

Mobile-Friendly Theme

Mobile-friendly themes are a must-have nowadays. With the rise of smartphones and tablets, the vast majority of your traffic will come from these devices. So make sure your theme is mobile friendly.

You can check this right now on your website by making the browser window smaller and seeing if it adjusts with the size.

Fast Loading Website

Another core aspect of search engine optimization is a fast loading website. People are impatient nowadays. Even you might have clicked away from a site that took too long to load. I know I did.

Google and other search engines look at loading speed as a key metric for SEO.

You should look to have your website load within 1 – 2 seconds to your visitors. Hosting speed is mainly linked to your web hosting provider, but it can also be other things like using a fast loading theme.

You can use the Pingdom tool to check your site speed.

SSL Certification

How to Optimize a Blog Post For SEO - SSL Example

SSL certification is data encryption for data sent and received over the internet. Google has a preference for sites with SSL and even the browsers warn people with a Not Secure warning for sites that don’t have it.

Natural Backlinks

A backlink is a link back to your website posts and pages from a third party source. 

The best backlinks are the ones that you didn’t do anything to acquire.

If you write good, quality, helpful content other people will link to your content naturally. This is the way you want backlinks to occur as other ways of obtaining them (like buying them) will hurt your website rankings.

You can also backlink to other authority sources from your content and let the owner of that website know. Hopefully, they will do the same if your content is related to theirs.

Creating Youtube Videos and Linking to Your Blog Post

We humans are visual creatures. The growth of video platforms like YouTube and Twitch is the proof of it.

A YouTube channel on your niche and having those videos link back to your website can boost SEO as well as exposing your brand to more people who use these video platforms.

Sharing Your Blog Post on YouTube Discussion Tab

I use the YouTube discussion tab like the old Google+.  Just like I would with other social media platforms I have created a YouTube channel and use the discussion tab to post about my latest articles.

So there are the things that I do personally for SEO. I have pretty much covered everything from A to Z of my exact steps to optimize my blog posts.

If you think making an income from the internet is something you are interested in then I recommend that you read the review of my #1 recommended course to learn and create your own online business.

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12 thoughts on “How to Optimize a Blog Post For SEO – The Ultimate Checklist”

  1. Hi Shaun,

    Thanks for this informative article about SEO for an article, and I think you’ve covered everything here. It’s good that we can know the tips you share here to optimize our articles on search engines such as Google, Bing, or YouTube. Therefore, I think you provide great value to your readers today. I got a question about site speed. What methods do you take to boost the speed?

    Cheers,
    Matt

    Reply
    • Hi Matt,

      Glad it helped you matt, for site speed the most important thing is getting a good web host that provides fast servers that can handle the traffic numbers a website gets. It’s OK to start with something like shared hosting but when your site grows you should look to get better hosting. Other than that, having a well-coded fast theme, having only the plugins you need installed, an image optimizer plugin, and a cached-website feature will all help improve site speed.

      Reply
  2. Hi, a very good article you have here. This is good information for newbies who want to start their online business. It’s important that they learn about SEO meta title, meta description, and others to build a good website. Thank you for sharing this info
    Lyne

    Reply
    • Hi Lyne,

      Thank you for your kind words. SEO is an important part of running a website so I hope it helped someone learn how to do it properly.

      Reply
  3. Excellent guide on blog post optimization, and please know that you’ve nailed it with this one! I would only add that you don’t have to limit yourself to one external or internal link only.

    What I usually do is try and add at least 1.5 links per every 1000 words I write, and most importantly, I try to make it seem as natural as possible. Google is smart and can recognize when you’re ‘building links’ instead of creating value for your reader.

    Reply
    • Thank you for the compliment. And I agree with you completely that you don’t have to commit to only 1 internal and external link. 1.5 links per 1000 words is a good point to use them.

      Reply
  4. Shaun,

    Great information! I have to admit, I was inputting my sites in Google after every post, but then I stopped. It seems to slip my mind more often than not. I’m so consumed with sharing the links on every social media page possible, but then I forget about Google and Bing. I have to keep in mind it’s important to rank faster and input the links on both those sources. Anyone that thinks having an online business of blogging is easy clearly hasn’t done it. It’s definitely a job, and I treat it as such!

    Thanks for sharing your information. Invaluable!

    Katrina

    Reply
    • Hi Katrina,

      You look like you are already on the right path with your website. Earning money from a blog is definitely possible but as you said, it requires work. People that are looking for a turn-key way to earn money will be disappointed with blogging or any form of building a worthwhile business. And yeah, submitting your post to Google and Bing can speed up the process of getting the post indexed.

      All the best

      Reply
  5. Hi Shaun,
    Thanks for the post. I found some really useful info here and also it’s great as a refresher. I actually didn’t know that internal links help to rank in search engines. I am definitely gonna bookmark your site. Looking forward to some new useful information.

    Reply
    • Hi OlaBee,

      Yes, internal links definitely help with SEO. They show that your website writes about related topics within a niche. Not to mention a well placed internal link will help your reader too.

      Reply
  6. Hi Shaun,
    Amazing tips for all online services providers, SEO for a blog post, or online businesses. The crucial aspect is to increase traffic and help the audience find you this is where SEO comes into the picture.
    But developing an effective SEO marketing strategy is important, your content clearly explained all minute aspects to be considered while optimizing a blog post.

    Proper keyword research is essential as it helps the right business to reach the right audience, building quality links and measuring relevancy, authority, and quality are key elements to be considered when you need the best spot on search engines and to be digitally visible.
    Thanks
    Have a Nice Day

    Reply
    • Hi Samantha,

      Yep, you got it. Also, I think if you genuinely want to help solve your customer’s problems and you do a good job of it, success will follow you. We have to remember that on the other side there is a human that is looking for a solution to a problem that led them to a web page.

      Reply

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