The most difficult aspect of running a blog is to successfully drive traffic to it. You need to follow strict SEO rules that are not obvious to many of us. That’s why I prepared this blog SEO checklist for you.
Blog SEO checklist – STEP 1
Setup necessary SEO tools and plugins
There are three important SEO tools that you should have set up on your blog. First of all, there is the Google Search Console. This tool enables you to track your site’s performance. It can also help you find technical SEO problems that are holding you back. It also gives you information about the exact keywords that you ranked for. And unlike third-party data, this information comes straight from Google so you know that it’s legit. Another essential tool is, of course, Google Analytics, which shows you how people find and use your website. You can also find pages and articles on your blog that bring you the most traffic, identify the exact websites that send you traffic. You can also find information about the bounce rate, the number of pages viewed per session and a lot more. Finally, if you run your blog on WordPress you just have to install the Yoast SEO plugin. It is by far the most popular SEO plugin and for good reason. Yoast makes it really easy to make your WordPress site as SEO friendly as possible.
Blog SEO checklist - STEP 2
Find keywords that people search for
It's no secret that keyword research is extremely important. The question is, how do you find keywords that your customers search for. First of all, find long-tail keywords with Google Suggest. To use this technique, type your keyword into Google and see what suggestions appear below.
Google only suggest keywords that people are actually searching for. The next step is to find keywords with the Google Keyword Planner which will show you suggestions of keywords and the numbers of searches for those keywords.
Blog SEO checklist - STEP 3
Optimize your site
Start by using your keyword in the first paragraph of your blog post. Next use your keyword at the beginning of the title tag, because Google pays more attention to words that show at the beginning of your title tag. Next thing is to use short URLs that include your selected keyword. Apparently, it has been proven that shorter URLs are more likely to rank higher. Then you should use your keyword in H1, H2, H3, etc.
Blog SEO checklist - STEP 4
Find and fix technical SEO problems
The truth is that technical SEO problems can negatively influence your rankings. So, first of all, you should make sure that your site is mobile friendly. Google now runs on a mobile-first index. It means that if your site is not optimised for mobile devices, it will not rank. You can check your site mobile-friendliness with the Google Mobile-Friendly Test.
Next, take care of the crawl errors. If there is a crawl error it means that Google has trouble indexing the content on your site. You can easily find crawl errors in the Google Search Console. Finally, work on your blog's speed, because it is a confirmed ranking factor. Maybe not the most crucial one, but it's always worth to make sure and tick all of the boxes. And in general, the faster the site is loading, the better. To evaluate your blog's loading speed you can use Google tool called PageSpeed Insights. You will find a list of recommendations to improve your site's speed as well. As you can see below, this is something that I still have to work on.
Blog SEO checklist - STEP 5
Create content that will rank in Google
In order to rank in Google you need to publish great content. But what does it actually mean? The easiest way to do it is to find a popular piece of content in your industry and then try to write a better one. This means try to cover the same subject in a deeper way and then focus on promoting it. Remember that Google likes long text, preferably containing around 2 000 words. But it cannot be a "wall of text" of course, because people will not be willing to read it. And this might result in a high bounce rate, which negatively effects Google rankings. So, first of all, break your text into parts. Second of all try to make your content more interesting by adding pictures, videos, screenshots, graphs, etc.
Blog SEO checklist - STEP 6
Build links to your blog
Are backlinks still important for SEO? Definitely yes. So how can you do that? First of all, try strategic guest posting. This means posting your guest posts only on a respected site in your niche. Never publish on sites that have little to do with yours. If you publish on sites within your niche you make sure you'll get only precisely targeted traffic to your website. Another thing you can try to do is mentioning influencers from your industry in your blog post and then let them know about it. There is a big chance that many of those people will be willing to share your post providing you with good quality backlinks.
Blog SEO checklist - STEP 7
Get rid of pages that don't bring any traffic
Delate all pages that don't bring in any traffic, because apparently, the Google algorithm doesn't like to rank sites which have a lot of such pages. But make sure to do it carefully, use insights from Google Analytics and make a decision, which pages or blog posts are worth keeping and which should be deleted. Consider improving some of your current blog posts using this blog SEO checklist before getting rid of them.
Blog SEO checklist - STEP 8
Improve your CTR from Google Search
Google values more the sites that people click on the search result. So make sure that your meta description and title tag are directly answering the needs of a person typing your selected keyword into the Google Search.
Blog SEO checklist - STEP 9
Keep your content up to date
Google algorithm like the texts that are "alive". So you want to keep your content up to date not only to keep its value for the reader but also to give a sign to Google, that it is still fresh and valueable.