Blog Optimization Checklist: 10 Clear-Cut Ways to Boost SEO
When you’ve poured time and energy into a great blog post, you want it to reach as much of your audience as possible. Small changes matter when it comes to boosting blog SEO. Take a run through this blog optimization checklist before you post — it won’t take long, and it’ll help your blog get seen by the right people.
Keywords are words or short phrases that encompass what the blog post is about (see our blog: What Are Keywords and Why Do They Matter?). When you use them well, keywords can help the post rank for search queries that include those words.
Why Blog Keywords Matter for SEO
Search engine algorithms use repeated words and phrases as clues to what a webpage is about. Placing relevant, natural-sounding keywords in the blog content, title, meta description, and URL can contribute to a blog post’s search engine ranking.
How to Optimize for Keywords
Incorporate your chosen keywords into the blog:
- Headings (one or more)
- First paragraph
- Meta description
There’s no perfect word count for SEO, but the length of a blog can factor into its ranking.
Why Blog Length Matters for SEO
Search engine algorithms often deem pages with less than 300 words inadequate to rank in the search engine results. However, longer isn’t necessarily better; a 3,000-word post stuffed with irrelevant content will fare just as poorly as a short one.
Optimizing Length for SEO
Aim to write at least 500 words per blog post. Beyond that, the ideal blog length will depend on your audience. Pay attention to how your blogs perform and look for trends related to page length.
It’s in the writer’s interest to make a blog post as easy to read as possible. Spacing, formatting, and writing style all weigh on a blog’s readability.
Why Readability Matters for SEO
Making your content easy to digest will increase the time people spend reading it and encourage them to share it with others. It can also increase the likelihood the content will rank in Featured Snippets, which is a huge boost to blog SEO.
How to Optimize Blog Readability
- Add informative headings and subheadings to make the post easier to skim.
- Format lists or step-by-step instructions as numbered or bulleted lists.
- Break large paragraphs into shorter chunks. Single-sentence paragraphs are common in the blog world.
The title is your chance to convince the reader to click in 50-60 characters or less. A good title:
- Is short (search engines cut off titles longer than 60 characters);
- Is compelling (but not clickbait); and
- Promises readers something of value if they click.
Why Blog Titles Matter for SEO
A great title will drive more traffic to the blog, which significantly impacts its rankings. As mentioned above, the title should also include relevant keywords.
How to Optimize Blog Titles
Craft your title around keywords and the value readers receive from the blog. Shorten it 50 characters or less and add compelling adjectives to make it pop.
5. Call to Action
The title succeeds in persuading readers to click on your blog post. What do you want them to do once they’re there? Whatever the goal, readers are more likely to do it if you guide them in the right direction with a clear call to action.
Why a Call to Action Matters for SEO
An effective call to action keeps people on your site and discourages them from bouncing back to the search engine results page (see our blog: Understanding Bounce Rate, Long Clicks and Pogo-Sticking).
How to Optimize Call to Action
Place the call to action prominently on the blog post (the best spot will vary audience-to-audience, so consider testing different placements). It should be relevant to the subject matter of the article and the user’s pain points.
6. Internal and External Links
Internal links are links to content that is within the same domain as your content: other blog posts, product pages, contact pages, and so on. External links are the opposite: they point to other websites.
Why Internal and External Linking Matters for SEO
Interlinking helps search engine algorithms to understand the website’s structure. Links to credible, authoritative external sources help build your site’s credibility within the eyes of the all-seeing search algorithm. Both are an important part of boosting blog SEO.
How to Optimize Links
Be picky about the links you include! Credible external sites will bolster your blog’s credibility, but poor sites will do the opposite. Insert internal links should in a logical way that benefits the reader.
7. Anchor Text
Anchor text refers to the clickable text of an internal or external link. On most sites, anchor text is underlined and highlighted in blue.
Why Anchor Text Matters for SEO
Search engine algorithms use anchor text another clue to what a web page is about, both regarding your blog and the page you’re linking to.
How to Optimize Anchor Text
Good anchor text is succinct, informative, and relevant to the target page. Incorporate keywords where it sounds natural to do so.
Images are a necessity in any blog post, no matter the length or the topic. Along with their visual appeal, original images can help boost your blog’s SEO.
Why Images Are Good for SEO
Images make the blog easier to read, increasing the chance people will share it and explore the rest of your site. Keywords in image titles and file names can help give the algorithm context on your blog’s topic. Images also allow the site to rank in image searches.
Optimizing Images for SEO
Upload high-quality images with keyword-rich titles and file names. Avoid adding overly-large images, as they can bog down your site’s loading speed (see our blog: Why Page Speed Matters.
9. Meta Description
The meta description is a 160-character summary of the blog that can display below the headline on the search engine results page.
Why Meta Descriptions Matter for SEO
The meta description can be a huge factor in a reader’s decision to click through to your blog from the search engine results page. Like blog titles, meta descriptions are a chance to pique the reader’s curiosity and promise something worth clicking for.
How to Optimize Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions that exceed 160 words will be cut off, so be sure to include the good stuff in the first 160.
Spelling and grammar checkers have come a long way, but they’re still not perfect! Take time to proofread your blog before posting it.
Why Spelling and Grammar Matters for SEO
Poor spelling and grammar will stop some readers in their tracks. Few people will share an error-ridden blog with their friends, let alone peruse the rest of the site. Proofreading keeps readers on the page and preserves your credibility.First, give the blog a once-over yourself. Then, pass it to a colleague for a second look. If no one’s available to help, a free proofreading tool like Grammarly or Hemingway Editor beats no proofreading at all.