Want to make your blog SEO friendly?
The Ultimate Blog SEO Checklist – TheSeoWin.Com
Want to make your blog SEO friendly? This checklist covers the top SEO points that can help improve your blog’s performance.
Building any website or blog takes research, hard work, and dedication.
It can be daunting to assess everything you will need at the outset and everything you should track in order to ensure that your people are doing a good job.
Creating an “ultimate” blog SEO checklist doesn’t necessarily mean implementing all ranking factors at once.
It does mean implementing all of the factors meant to help you gain traction in any niche, regardless of your skill level.
However, if you are just starting out, I suggest hiring a professional or two to walk you through the process first, because one misstep can cause many issues later on.
Also, a note for other SEO professionals. I realize that some of these are not directly impactful in terms of SEO rankings directly, but there are considerations for putting some of these items here.
For example – while “correct” W3C valid coding does not necessarily mean great rankings, it does mean that your site will be cross-browser and cross-platform compatible. Also, it eliminates code bloat that may come with certain designs.
In addition, when coding correctly and focusing on a minimal mindset, it is possible to make your site’s load time much faster as a result.
Many of these items, while they may not directly impact rankings can impact other factors that in turn can impact rankings. It’s all interrelated.
And while it is possible to create a site that performs without some of these items present, it is important to note that said performance can come at a cost – that the elimination of some of these items will cause you to expend additional effort elsewhere that was not necessary.
In addition, there are many blog platforms available. From Drupal to Typepad to Blogger, there is no shortage of blogging platforms you can choose from.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at how you should build your site with this ultimate SEO checklist.
1. Are You Targeting the Right Keywords?
Targeting the right keywords is important.
If you don’t do Keyword Research to figure out what you can reasonably rank for, you are leaving money on the table.
A typical competitor analysis begins with approximately 10 competitors and keyword research across that competitor landscape in your industry.
From there, it is possible to extend this research to competitor links, and even drill down to more specific attributes if you so desire.
2. Are You Doing Any Keyword Optimization Within Your Content?
The answer to this question is usually surprising.
I have had several experiences with website audits where this sticks out like a sore thumb – the client did not optimize for any keywords whatsoever.
Contrary to some belief systems by those who don’t know any better, using keywords is not a bad thing. It’s keyword stuffing that’s bad.
Any SEO worth their salt should be using keywords naturally within the content. It is an SEO best practice.
If the keyword does not appear in the page title and meta description, how will Google assess what your page is about?
Too many pages targeting the same keyword leads to keyword cannibalization. This is a situation where multiple pages on your site are competing for the same keyword, because you over-optimized for it.
This can dilute the ability of your pages to compete well in the search results, and can lead to lost website performance, traffic, and rankings.
Make sure that you have a solid keyword research plan in place, and that you are targeting a healthy monthly search volume to keep your site sustainable.
Are You Optimizing for Supporting Keywords?
Targeting the right keywords is a good first step, but it is not the be-all, end-all panacea of optimization.
You must also include the right keywords in the right places in your title tag, meta description, and throughout the page itself.
It’s also helpful to use supporting keywords like synonyms and antonyms.
We won’t even get into the debate of Latent Semantic Indexing.
The fact is, LSI does not exist. It’s SEO bullsh!t and is SEO snake oil, and has been for a long time.
4. Are You Optimizing Keywords in Content Effectively?
Are you optimizing for low-hanging fruit or out-of-reach highly competitive keywords?
When targeting keywords, some SEO practitioners choose arbitrary metrics; usually, search volume.
The higher the search volume, the more competitive the keyword will be (usually, although there can be some exceptions depending on your keyword research data).
The term low-hanging fruit refers to those keywords that you can easily rank for without much effort. This should be one of your first targets in your optimization strategy.
Next, you want to consider medium competition level keywords. These are the not-so-low-hanging fruit opportunities that you want to get next that will be of more medium difficulty.
Next, are your significantly high competition level keywords. These are the ones that you wouldn’t expect to get rankings for until at least a year (or more) has passed.
Think 1 million or more in search volume, as these keywords are usually super highly competitive. They will require a significant amount of expenditure to get any traction at all, and will require tons of link acquisition to accomplish.
In other words, you could spend years going after these particular keywords, depending on your industry.
5. Does Word Count Have Any Consideration on Your Blog?
No, this is not what you may think I am getting at. Brute force pounding 4,000-word posts every day on Google will not necessarily make it great content.
What I mean is, are you considering how much you are writing, along with its quality, vs. the competition?
A competitor analysis of the usual SERPs will reveal what the competition is writing about, the word counts they are using, as well as the quantity of blogs they are posting every month.
If you are to beat the competition in your industry, it is important to mirror what they are doing, or figure out a way to reverse-engineer and make your content better than theirs.
Using a tool like SEMrush’s SEO content template is a great way to accomplish this goal. This tool will help you analyze your top 10 competitors for the keywords you select, and output content ideas that will help you beat them.
These competitor analyses are useful in helping you assess what kind of content you will want to write next.
6. Is Code Compatible With the Current Doctype?
You can’t just copy and paste code into another doctype and expect it to validate (or work correctly).
This often creates polyglot documents, or documents where copied code does not match W3C doctype specifications.
An example of this includes copying code from a site written in XHTML 1.0 to a site written for HTML 5.
Errors can happen. There is no way around this.
You must bite the bullet and re-code the site from the ground up. This is the only way to ensure a blog is of top quality.
Code compatibility issues also cause cross-platform and cross-browser compatibility issues.
These can, in turn, interfere with user experience, and if severe enough, can cause issues with site performance overall.
7. Does the Site Have a Fast Page Speed on Both Desktop & Mobile?
Page speed is a be-all, end-all factor nowadays.
It is currently baked into Google’s algorithm, so if you haven’t yet optimized your site for the fastest page speed, you’re losing out.
Google’s suggestion is to aim for 2-3 seconds.
But, if you want to continue to be competitive, a page speed of 1-2 seconds or less is preferable. This should place you above 90 percent of competitors on Google who are not optimizing for page speed.
8. Does the Site Have a Fast Page Speed on Both Desktop & Mobile?
This means the following:
Was the blog designed to be responsive and viewable on all resolutions, devices, and platforms?
If you are not paying attention to this, you are losing out on a substantial cross-section of your traffic who may be using the devices you are not paying attention to.
9. Does the Blog Take Advantage of Plug-ins to Optimize Images or Speed up the Cache, & Video As Well?
Use a plug-in like Smush to automatically re-size and optimize images in your WordPress blog.
Use W3 Total Cache or another similar caching plug-in to speed up slow-loading pages that may not be caching properly.
Make sure your videos all load in a reasonable time frame (less than 2-3 seconds is not a bad idea when also taking into account buffer time).
You should also consider plug-ins to make your http:// to https:// transition easier by auto-redirecting everything that’s not https://, and an easy 301 redirect plugin that makes importing of 301 redirects exceedingly simple.
10. Are Page Titles Optimized?
This means including the keyword phrase that your page is targeting at least once in a way that makes sense.
Don’t make titles too short or too long, otherwise, you risk the rest of your title tag being cut off at the end.
Make sure you are observing character limits along with pixel width limits.