Even the most seasoned bloggers can forget an important step when publishing a new blog post, and forgetting a step usually means a lost opportunity to optimize your post for the search engines, to get found by your ideal clients online, and to attract new readers to your website.
Use this optimization checklist each time you publish a new post to ensure that it is ready to attract visitors, and optimized to improve your search engine rankings.
Select a single keyword or key phrase to focus on for your blog post.
To increase the effectiveness of your post and the probability it will gain traction in the search engines, focus on one main keyword or key phrase that you want your post to rank for.
Write a compelling headline and include your focus keyword or key phrase.
To attract attention to your post and get readers to click-through and read it, your headline must be compelling. To improve your chances of ranking with the search engines, your focus keyword or key phrase should be included in the headline (preferably toward the beginning in the first four or five words).
Write the content of your post and include your focus keyword or key phrase.
Your focus keyword or key phrase must appear in your content at least once. The longer your post is, the more times you want to include it. Also, think about including variations of your keyword or key phrase or similar keywords in your content as well to show depth in your content. Just don’t overuse your keyword. Avoid being seen as a “keyword stuffer or keyword spammer.”
Add at least one image and optimize it.
Posts with interesting images that support and enhance the content are read more often — Just remember to optimize your images for search engines with a descriptive name, keyword-rich title, and keyword-rich, descriptive ALT text (alternative text).
Add at least one optimized link to an older post on the same or a similar topic.
Internal links (links to other pages and posts on your own site) are critical to increasing the number of pages and posts that get indexed with the search engines. Adding a link to older posts on the same or a similar topic not only helps keep older content relevant, but it is another chance to optimize your post. Each link should use keyword-rich anchor text and have a keyword-rich HTML title assigned to it.
Format your post content to make it easy to read.
Utilize short paragraphs separated with a blank space, subheadlines, bold and italic formatting, and bulleted and numbered lists to help readers view your content as easy and quick to read.
Insert a customized and optimized More tag.
Insert the More tag to display only a snippet of your post on your main blog page, and encourage readers to click-through to read the full article, share your content, and leave a comment — Don’t forget to optimize the More tag by including your focus keyword or key phrase in the text of the link.
Assign your post a unique title.
Every page and post should use a unique Title tag that is no more than 60-70 characters in length. The title should explain what the individual page or post is about and should include your focus keyword.
Assign your post a unique description.
Every page or post should use a unique Description tag that is no more than 150-160 characters in length. The description is one short targeted sentence that includes your focus keyword or key phrase. It is typically displayed in the search engine results pages, so make sure it will attract attention and get searchers to click-through and read your post.
Select the proper category or categories to file the post under.
If your blog is like a giant file cabinet for your website, the categories are like the drawers of your file cabinet. Use your categories to organize your posts by subject/topic and make it easy for your visitors to find the information they need.
Select the tags that should be assigned to the post.
If your blog is like a giant file cabinet for your website, the tags are like the individual file folders inside each drawer. The tags can also be looked at as keywords and key phrases that are used in your content. Instead of defining keywords with the meta keyword tag, bloggers define their keywords with tags.
Implementing these strategies will increase your search engine rankings, increase traffic to your website, and in some cases you’ll notice results in one day!
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