PostHeaderIcon An SEO Checklist For Bloggers

For many bloggers, clicking on the Publish button is way too easy. Often, you write a post that seems perfectly appropriate, and two days later you’re lucky to get a handful of hits. The problem usually lies in one of several points that new or overeager bloggers tend to overlook. Here are some of the most common.

Keyword research: It’s not as simple as typing up search terms you would use yourself. Read around to see if people are actually interested in the topic, and then do a few searches to make sure it hasn’t already been answered a thousand times. The more unique your post is, the more it will get around.

The headline: True, it has to be catchy, but it also has to attract search engine robots. You want to work your keyword or key phrase in and put it as close to the beginning as possible, while still sounding casual.

The slug: A post slug is part of the domain that contains the post itself. For example, a post titled “The Best Laptops for Poor College Students” might be assigned a slug that reads “myblog.com/the-best-laptops-for-poor-college-students.” For SEO purposes, what you want is a slug that contains only the important words, such as “myblog.com/best-laptops-college-students.”

Pictures and videos: We all know how much a picture helps liven up a post, but it also serves as an SEO tool. Work keywords into your alt text  and title tag—this will make it easier to turn up on relevant searches. When there’s a relevant video available, add it in—search engines equate that to being a good source of information. You can start making your own videos or embed other people’s, giving due credit.

Subheadings: Breaking up your text into schematic chunks makes it more readable. It also leads search engines down the right path: they scan the HTML tags from H1 onwards for relevant keywords. Use these tags instead of just formatting each level differently.

Linking: Both internal and external links are vital to a post’s rankings. When you’ve built up a good archive, always try to link to older posts whenever it fits—it keeps the search robots on your site a little longer. External links—those that lead to other sites—are less clear-cut on the benefits, but it’s a good way to network with other bloggers and build a good reputation.

Meta descriptions: This is the one- or two-line clip that appears just below your link on a search results page. Google only displays entire descriptions under 155 characters, but it puts keywords in bold so you may want to work them in. Try to lift it from your actual content so people can find it once they click.

The call to action: You don’t want people to just read your work and move on. You want them to buy a product, sign up to a service, or share your post—whatever your business model calls for. A brief sentence urging them to take action can make all the difference.

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