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SEO Checklist for Blogging That Every Writer Needs To Know
SEO

Blogging for SEO: The Checklist Every Writer Needs

By Annie ZelmDec 22 /2020

If you write a great blog post but no one can find it, does it really exist?

Blogging for SEO is both an art and a science. There’s a formula to ensure you have the best chance of ranking in Google’s search results.

Using highly searched keywords is still essential, but SEO has evolved far beyond that—and it continues to evolve with every Google algorithm update.

To rank at the top of search engines, your content also has to provide value, be authoritative and stand out from the current top search results.

This checklist offers helpful guidelines you and your team should follow every time you write a blog post.

Blogging For SEO (And Beyond)

SEO

  • Are you using a keyword research tool like SEMrush to identify search volume and keyword difficulty?
  • Do the keywords have high relevant search volume?
  • Does the blog post have 1-2 designated primary keywords?
  • Are you using your primary keyword within the first sentence or two and defining it? This can increase your chance of getting a featured snippet.
    • Are you asking questions in your H1 that include your target keywords? 
  • Does it have a meta description that includes the primary keywords within the first 155 characters along with a call-to-action?
  • Does the blog use subheads (H2s) that include the primary keyword phrase?
  • Are the keywords used frequently but naturally throughout the remainder of the blog post?
  • Do you have a keyword density of 1%-2%? That means using your keyword once or twice for every 100 words. 
  • Are you using natural variations of the primary keyword?
  • Does the blog include at least two internal links to your website?
  • Is your primary keyword included in your URL?
  • Do any images include optimized alt text?

Writing Quality & Clarity

  • Do you have a strong, intriguing headline? (Tip: Use CoSchedule’s free Headline Analyzer)
  • Does the post achieve its intended objective? (i.e. deliver on what’s promised in the headline?)
  • Does it educate the reader?
  • Is it easy to read? (Tip: Use the Hemingway App to grade readability)
  • Does it fit with your brand’s tone and style? (Refer to brand guidelines and previously published posts)
  • Does it have a strong intro and conclusion?
  • Is it free of clunky sentence structures or run-on sentences?
  • Is there redundant or unnecessary information that could be removed?
  • Does it use active voice and avoid passive voice?
  • Is it free of typos and grammatically correct?

Accuracy

  • Does the post make any claims that seem unlikely or unverified?
  • Are statistics and facts attributed to reliable sources (either your company’s own research or an objective third-party source)?
  • Does it avoid using sources that could be considered competitors?

Download a printable version of the checklist.

Building An SEO Content Strategy

While this checklist is a handy reference, it’s no substitute for a comprehensive SEO strategy. Kuno Creative helps companies across a variety of industries identify the best keywords to target and rank for them using on-page and off-page SEO best practices.

We can help you identify what keywords your existing blogs and webpages are ranking for already and optimize them for search engines. This may include adding more content, adding subheads in the form of questions, using primary keywords more frequently, or finding new variations of those keywords. 

Improving your rankings for these "striking distance" keywords can make a big difference in your organic traffic. Let's say one of your top service pages ranks No. 15 for the phrase "employee engagement surveys." This is a core part of what your company offers, so you want people to find you first when they're searching for this. Improving your ranking from 15 to 5 will move you from the second page to the first page of Google's search engine results, where you'll capture roughly 7% of the people searching for that term compared to next to nothing if you're on the second page, according to Search Engine Journal. If you make it to the first search result, the payoff is even higher — you'll capture potentially 25% of all searches! 

Blogging-for-SEO-SERPs(Source: Search Engine Journal)

We also review your competitor's SEO rankings to find new opportunities to rank for keywords you may not have considered. 

We use all this data to help you develop a content marketing strategy to help you improve SEO and achieve your overall goals. While keywords are critical building blocks of your content strategy, it's important to remember you're not only blogging for SEO — you're blogging to answer your buyers' most pressing questions and help them take the next step in their journey. 

Does your website have what it takes to stand out in the coming year? Request a free SEO Audit to find out!

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The Author

Annie Zelm

As the content manager, Annie manages a team of brand journalists and is the driving force behind the content strategy for companies in a wide range of industries, including healthcare, technology and professional services. Relying on interviewing skills she developed in her seven years as a journalist, she uncovers insights about what motivates buyers in these industries and uses that knowledge to shape client websites and editorial calendars.
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