Blog Post SEO Checklist (Our Secret Sauce)

Struggling to drive traffic to your blog? Use this blog post SEO checklist to boost rankings and traffic

A blog post SEO checklist is to a blogger what a pre-flight checklist is to a pilot.

It’s a crucial tool that allows you to run meticulous checks on all your blog article’s vitals to ensure they “take off” safely once you hit the publish button. A properly SEO-optimized blog post gains traction fast and eventually soars in the search engine rankings.

In short, high-ranking blog posts drive much-needed traffic to your blog–and SEO optimization is the vehicle.

Before you jump into the checklist, here's a video that we created to get you up and running:


  • 00:22 Introduction to SEO

  • 01:47 Getting Started

  • 02:48 Google Search Console

  • 04:36 Submitting a Sitemap

  • 06:21 Bing Webmaster Tools

  • 07:34 beehiiv SEO Features

Link to Google Search Console:
Link to Bing Webmaster Tools:

Here’s a comprehensive SEO blog post checklist for boosting your rankings and traffic.

What are the 3 Essential Elements of Blogging?

Blog Post SEO Checklist (Our Secret Sauce)

To win in blogging, you must have a strategy. Studies show that 78% of brands that succeed in content marketing have a documented content marketing strategy. It doesn’t need to be complicated; even a simple strategy will do. But winging it won’t get you results. Here are the three building blocks to successful blogging.

1. Define your audience.

Defining your audience is the first ingredient to building a successful business blog.

Don’t make the fatal mistake of trying to reach everyone with your blog. Ultimately, you won’t reach anyone, because your content will be too generic. The easiest way to define your blog audience is to align it to your customer avatar. Knowing who you are writing for helps you create content that resonates.

2. Conduct keyword research.

Once you’ve defined your audience, dig into the topics they love.

There are plenty of keyword research tools, like Ahrefs and SEMRush, that can help you discover topics your audience is actively searching for online. Intelligent keyword research anchors your blog content strategy and overall content strategy, including your newsletter and social media campaigns.

3. Create content regularly.

Content is the linchpin of blogging. Make sure you create content that:

  • Aligns with your business goals.

  • Addresses your audience’s problems.

  • Follows proven content types.

  • Supports points with data and fresh examples.

Oh, and not to bury the lead–but the content must be original.

Blog Post SEO Checklist (8 Key Tips)

Let’s now get into the SEO blog post checklist.

1. Are you targeting the right keywords?

Blog Post SEO Checklist (Our Secret Sauce)

Since keyword research is the foundation of blogging success, make sure you target the ideal keywords by:

  • Including terms your audience is using to search for content.

  • Covering related keywords and synonymous words and expressions.

  • Incorporating high-intent long-tail keywords.

  • Targeting keywords you can realistically rank for compared to the competition.

2. Is your blog headline captivating?

Blog Post SEO Checklist (Our Secret Sauce)

The success of your entire blog post rests on the quality of its title.

A blog headline is vital because:

  1. It's the first copy your reader sees.

  2. It determines whether readers click on your post on the search engine results pages.

To make your headline more appealing, use:

  • Numbers: People find numbers attractive and credible because they denote specificity.

  • Power words: Power words touch the emotions and entice readers to click, e.g. free, tested, special, introducing, warning.

  • Primary keyword: Add your primary keyword to the beginning of your headline.

3. Did you put your primary keyword in key places?

Blog Post SEO Checklist (Our Secret Sauce)

Your primary keyword captures the essence of what readers are searching for, so you must insert it in five crucial areas for maximum ranking power.

Title Tag: Include your primary keyword in your title tag to help search engines understand what your blog post is about. Put the keyword in the front part of the title tag if you can.

Headline: Front-load your main keyword to your blog headline, so readers (and Google) know straightaway what the focus of the post will be.

Introduction: Put the keyword you are targeting in the introduction for readers to confirm the post will give them what they are looking for. Add it within the first 100 words of your post.

Subheads: Add your keyword to a couple of subheads (H2 and H3 tags) to give readers the gist of the post and signal to search engines that the post focuses on the keyword.

Conclusion: Massage your primary keyword into your concluding remarks.

4. Have you identified and addressed search intent?

Blog Post SEO Checklist (Our Secret Sauce)

When a person enters a search query into a search engine, there is a reason for it.

Search intent is simply the reason behind a user's search. Maybe they want info about a certain topic, to buy something, to compare two products, or to visit a specific website. Make sure your posts give readers exactly what they are looking for. They will stay longer on your blog, which signals to search engines that your content is valuable.

5. Have you structured your post for easy readability?

A superb user experience is crucial for keeping readers on your page. Your blog post must be readable for the audience to stay on your page and enjoy your content.

To make your content reader-friendly, use:

  • Short sentences and paragraphs.

  • Subheads to break up big chunks of text.

  • Images throughout the post for eye candy and to aid understanding.

  • Bullets, bold, and pull quotes.

6. Did you write an enchanting meta description for your blog post?

Blog Post SEO Checklist (Our Secret Sauce)

The competition for clicks on search engine results pages (SERPs) is fierce. To entice browsers to click, you must write a magnetic meta description.

A meta description is a short snippet of text that appears under the blue link in the search results. A good meta description inspires browsers to click through to your blog to check out your content.

The best meta descriptions are:

  • Summative: Summarize the essence of the post, so searchers know what to expect from your post.

  • Keyword-rich: Lead with your primary keyword in your meta description, plus secondary keywords if possible.

  • Active: Drive action by using the active voice and concrete verbs.

7. Have you linked to internal and external content?

No matter how brilliant your content is, you can’t answer all reader questions in one post. That's why you must refer to other articles on your blog and elsewhere.

  • Internal Links: Link to related content on your blog. Internal linking passes page value between pages and makes readers stay longer on your site, which is great for SEO.

  • External Links: You should also link to associated content outside your blog. External links add credibility to your content.

Crucially, both internal and external links delight readers by helping them dig deeper into the topic. And, usually, when readers are happy, Google is happy too.

8. Are your images optimized for SEO?

Blog Post SEO Checklist (Our Secret Sauce)

Well-timed, relevant images are an integral part of high-performing blog posts.

Not only do they simplify complex concepts–but they also break down walls of long text that strain readers’ eyes.

But bulky and unoptimized images are notorious for slowing down page speed. It’s vital to size your images correctly and compress them, so they are lightweight while maintaining their quality. Make sure you include the primary (or secondary) keyword in your image alt tags. Also, accurately describe the image in your image alt tags.

Well-optimized images can even appear in image searches. Ranking in image search boosts traffic to your blog.

9. Do you have the right tools in your SEO toolbox?

Blog Post SEO Checklist (Our Secret Sauce)

Next up in our blog post SEO checklist, we will look at tools.

It's undeniable: the caliber of SEO tools you use determines the quality of your work. You need to have the right tools to get the best results.

Here's a quick list of the leading blog post SEO tools you can use to maximize results:

  • Free Keyword Research: Google Keyword Planner, Answer The Public, and Keywords Everywhere.

  • Content Optimization: Clearscope, Surfer SEO, and Frase.

  • On-page Optimization: Yoast SEO, All In One SEO (AIOSEO), and SEO Press.

  • Headline Analyzer: CoSchedule Headline Analyzer, Sharethrough Headline Analyzer, and Advanced Marketing Institute Headline Analyzer.

  • Image Optimization: Optimole, Smush, and Iloveimg.

  • Technical SEO: Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Screaming Frog.

  • Page Speed Test: Google PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, Pingdom Speed Test.

  • All-in-one SEO Tool: Ahrefs, SEMRush, and Moz.

How Do I Structure a Blog Post for SEO?

How to Structure a Blog Post for Maximum SEO Impact.

1. Lead with a powerful headline that drives clicks.

2. Capture readers’ attention with a colorful feature image.

3. Draw readers into the post with a punchy, intriguing introduction.

4. Break content into bite-sized, reader-friendly sections using H2, H3, and H4 subheadings.

5. Use bold text and italics to emphasize certain points.

6. Use short sentences and paragraphs.

7. Add images, charts, videos, and examples to the body of the post to help readers understand it better.

8. Compress and size images properly, so they load faster.

9. Add a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page if appropriate.

10. Tie everything together with a strong conclusion.

11. Drive action with a specific and verb-driven call to action.

What is an Ideal SEO Checklist?

When you think of optimizing a blog post for SEO, it's easy to focus on the blog post itself and ignore other factors. The perfect SEO checklist covers all three aspects of search engine optimization:

Blog Post SEO Checklist (Our Secret Sauce)

Technical SEO: Technical SEO entails issues like site architecture, page speed, crawling, indexing, and rendering.

On-page SEO: On-page SEO covers headlines, title tags, keyword density, meta descriptions, image optimization, and more.

Off-page SEO: Off-page SEO includes all activities you do outside your website to improve online visibility and rankings, e.g., guest blogging, link building, and social media promotion.

All three combine to influence the SEO performance of your blog posts.

What are the 4 Important Stages in SEO?

Blog Post SEO Checklist (Our Secret Sauce)

Here are the four steps of the SEO process:

1. Get your technicals right.

Search engine optimization starts before you write your first word. You must get the technical aspect of your website right. For Google to crawl, index, and rank your content, you must allow the Google bot to crawl your blog.

2. Find a suitable keyword to target.

Pick the right keyword as discussed earlier.

3. Create an optimized blog post.

Write a valuable post that follows SEO best practices from the headline to the CTA.

4. Build links to your blog post.

A pivotal part of getting Google to notice your content is making sure other sites link to it. Every backlink you get is a vote of confidence in the value of your content. Build as many links as you can to your blog article to enhance its chances of ranking. According to an Ahrefs study, the more backlinks a page has, the more traffic it gets from Google.

What are the Six Pillars of Blogging?

Blog Post SEO Checklist (Our Secret Sauce)

Results-getting blogging rests on these six fundamentals.

1. Keyword research

Pick a keyword with a decent search potential that you have a good chance of ranking for compared to competitors. Don’t neglect low-volume long-tail keywords that have higher conversion rates.

2. Content creation

Create original, value-packed content that applies to the needs of your audience. Write for humans instead of obsessing over what the search engine robots will think. Always pursue value first and optimization second. Find a content cadence that works for you and stick to it.

3. Content distribution

Distribute and promote your published content again and again via your newsletter subscriber list, social media platforms, repurposing content, paid ads, and more. Remember to add prominent share buttons on your posts to make it easy for readers to share them.

Follow the advice of marketer Ross Simmonds, “Create once. Distribute forever.”

Aggressive and consistent content distribution is the secret weapon to ranking blog posts.

4. Link building

External links from reputable websites are a Google ranking factor. The more links your blog post gets, the higher the chances of it ranking higher. Build organic links by producing remarkable linkable content assets like definitive guides, infographics, and original research articles. Plus, do manual link-building through guest posting and digital Public Relations tactics.

5. Content performance tracking

To see if your blog posts are on the right track, monitor their performance. Here are some key metrics you must watch like a hawk:

  • Page views: how many times people viewed a post.

  • Top traffic posts: Register the posts with the highest number of views on your blog.

  • Bounce rate: the percentage of visitors that take no further action after landing on a website page.

  • Time spent on page: records the time a visitor spent on a particular page.

  • Traffic by channel: measures how many visitors arrive on your blog from a specific channel, both free and paid.

  • SERP position: the position a blog post occupies on the search results

6. Content Refresh

Blog Post SEO Checklist (Our Secret Sauce)

Blog post writing isn’t a set-and-forget project. It’s a moving target. That’s why you must revisit your old non-performing blog posts and rewrite them. As you revamp old posts, check:

  • Search intent: Does the post adequately address the search intent?

  • Examples: Are the examples in the article current or dated?

  • Meta Description: Does the meta description lead with the keyword and tell browsers what to expect from the post?

  • Blog title: Does the blog title lead with the keyword and use emotional trigger words to entice browsers to click?

SEO Blog Post Checklist (Closing Thoughts)

Blog post SEO optimization is a multifaceted ongoing process.

There are so many aspects to consider and countless moving pieces. If you cobble up a blog optimization template, you will miss essential points and ruin your chances of ranking. So it’s always best to have a proven SEO blog post checklist to guide you, so you cover all the bases.

beehiiv allows you to combine your SEO blog, email newsletter, and social media efforts in one place. Rank your blog posts with this leave-no-stone-unturned SEO article checklist.

Launch an SEO-optimized blog on beehiiv for free today!

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