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Essential SEO Checklist for Blog Posts

SEO Presence

The power and prevalence of blogging has endured through the changing online landscape, and remains a vastly popular medium. Because of this, competition levels across a variety of topics is fierce, to the point that many bloggers struggle for visibility on search engines. Nevertheless, it’s still possible to reach the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) in your niche with a little SEO know-how. In this article, we focus on three main ways to effectively optimize your blog posts, as opposed to the website as a whole. However, it’s worth noting that this will also aid the overall ranking of your blog.

Effective Targeting

There are two main elements to effective targeting on your blog posts: audience and keywords. The idea behind both is to plan carefully before diving in.

Target Audience

Ask yourself, “who am I hoping to appeal to with this article?” The answer to this question will inform the rest of the process, from writing to publication. The point here is to narrow your focus, making it much easier to indicate to Google that your content is relevant. For this article, for example, our target audience is something like, “blog owner, writes own content, basic level of website management, wishes to rank better on Google.” Based on this sort of audience profile, it’s much easier to narrow down a specific topic, as well as inform your keyword choice.

Keywords

Keywords are Google’s bread and butter; well-chosen keywords are the difference between being found by interested parties and remaining in obscurity. First, choose a main keyword that sums up the topic of your post, followed by a list of supplementary keywords that pertain to that topic, or elements of what you discuss in the text. As well as your own ideas, there are plenty of keyword suggestion tools out there to help you choose, plus you can simply search for terms to see if they yield relevant results. Throughout the process, use Google’s Keyword Planner tool (or similar) to check the search volume of your keyword ideas; that is, how many people are searching those terms. Prioritize the keywords with the highest search volume, combined with a high relevancy to your topic.

Metadata

Metadata is crucial – it indicates to Google the theme and contents of your article, which allows it to present it to users searching for content on that topic. It’s comprised of two parts, both of which are displayed in SERPs: title and description. Here’s where your carefully selected keywords are most important. Your meta title should be snappy – no more than 70 characters in length – contain your main keyword at the start, and ideally be as close to the title of your post as possible. The meta title should also feature the main keyword, plus another if it can be naturally included, be no more than 156 characters, and neatly sum up your content. We recommend using a snippet tool, which helps to visualize your metadata. This way, you can align your content firmly within your intended topic area and encourage a higher ranking on search engines.

If you use a WordPress blog hosting provider like this one, this process is especially simple. WordPress not only boasts an array of excellent SEO plugins, but it also offers easy access to manually edit your meta title, description, and even optimize your URL.

Great Content

This final point could just as easily have been mentioned at the start, such is its importance – without quality, engaging content, your blog posts and website overall will struggle to climb to the top of SERPs. Even if you follow the steps above, if you’re writing is bland or is poor in quality, don’t be surprised if you’re not hitting the top page. When discussing SEO it is all too easy to forget that your primary audience is human beings, not Google. In fact, Google is constantly striving to adjust their algorithms to best reflect how users engage with online content. Therefore, above all else, make sure you have something valuable and specific to communicate and do so in a suitable style for your audience.

In addition, there are certain helpful steps to optimize the text itself. For instance, keep your paragraphs relatively short and include a call to action at the end, the latter of which will help drive engagement on your post. Also ensure you break up the body of your text into sections and utilize H2 and H3 HTML tags for sub-headings; not only does this make it easier to read, it also assists search engine crawlers to asses and rank your content. Furthermore, be sure to include links to other relevant sources, both internal and external. Internal linking is especially essential since it allows the crawlers to more easily access the rest of your content on your site. However, linking to high authority external sites can also assist receiving quality backlinks in return.

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