SEO Checklist for Publishing Blog Posts

SEO Checklist for Publishing Blog Posts

There are many tips and tricks out there for improving your blog’s search engine visibility and getting better SEO results. Some are more complicated than others, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. There are some very simple steps you can take to improve your SEO. Here’s a checklist you can use before clicking publish on your posts.

SEO Checklist for Blog Posts

1. Change Title of Post

After writing your blog post, you may want to consider tweaking the title that’s used by search engines. This particular title is not the one you come up with when writing out your post, but the one that appears in a browser’s toolbar. See below for an example.

Browser Page Title

As you can see, the title shown in the browser’s toolbar is slightly different than the main title of the post. This title is gold for search engines and is an opportunity you shouldn’t miss out on. By adding keywords to your title, you can help your post be more visible to search engines. Just remember, the first few words are deemed the most important by keywords, so be sure to use your most important keywords at the beginning of the title.

How to Change Your Blog Post’s Title

Many templates have built-in features that allow you to designate a post’s title, description, and keywords, all of which search engines use when displaying search results. If your template doesn’t, you can use plugins like All in One SEO to change the title.

Change Post's Title using SEO plugin

2. Add Tags to Post

Post tags, different than your post’s category, offer another chance to let search engines know what keywords are important. Be sure, though, that you are consistent with the topic and add keywords that are relevant.

3. Add Description

If your theme allows you to add a description, or if you use a plugin that does the same, adding a brief description to your post allows it to be displayed when your post comes up in search engine results. If someone searching can get more info on your post from the description, they might click on your post rather than an arbitrary link without a description.

4. Custom URL

Hopefully you’re already using permalinks that go beyond the post ID number or a date and are a bit more descriptive. Normally, the permalink takes from your post’s title to create the URL. But, did you know you can customize it?

Change Blog Post URL slug

Changing your post’s slug (the last part of the URL) is a huge opportunity to use keywords relevant to your post that can help with SEO. I suggest using a phrase of 2-3 words and no more than 4 connected by a hyphen. Think of how people might search for the topic of your post and use a similar phrase. Even better, you can use keyword tools such as Google’s Keyword Tool to help you.

5. Use Headers to Break-up Text

Breaking up your paragraphs with well-placed headings is not only a good idea to help your readers scan your post, but it also gives you another chance to let search engines know about those keywords. You can see how I’ve done this throughout this post. The important thing is to format your headers using the HTML tags h1 through h6, though I probably wouldn’t go beyond h4.

6. Format Images

Images provide a few opportunities to use keywords and enhance your post. With the right tweaks, you can find new visitors who land on your post when searching for images. Here are three simple changes you can do to optimize your images.

Change Image File Name

Before uploading your image, change the file name and use your keywords instead. As an example, instead of uploading a photo of the product you’re reviewing titled IMG001.jpg, change the file name to include the product name (i.e., clorox-wipes-review.jpg).

Change Image Title and Alt Tags

Add Alt Tag

When you upload your image, if you’re using WordPress, you’ll see several fields you can fill out including title and alternate text. The alternate text (designated in the HTML as the alt tag) is important to complete so that anyone viewing your site with images turned off or a screen reader can know what the image is. You should describe the image with a couple of words. Following our example of the product review, you could have the alternate text read “Clorox wipes bottle.”

Add Title Tag

The title field, or title tag in the HTML, is the text that appears when someone mouses over the image. If no title tag is included, then your alternate text will be displayed when moused over. The title tag is also read by search engines, so again, this is an opportunity to use your keywords. You might use the same as the alternate text or you can expand upon your description. For our example, you might have the title tag read “Review of Clorox Wipes.”

These simple changes to your blog posts can go a long way in improving your SEO and helping search engines see your posts. The updates can easily be done for each post before you publish it; you’ll find it’ll become habit after a while and you won’t even have to think about what needs to be done.

Do you think this checklist will help you format your blog posts for better SEO? Do you already make some of these changes?

Download the printable SEO checklist to help you remember these tips!

About Ella Media
Ella Media focuses on connecting businesses with today's digital Latina and provides digital marketing and consulting services for large brands, small businesses, and social media savvy women.

24 Comments for this entry

January 30th, 2012 on 3:48 pm

I do all of this for SEO but, unfortunately, not every day! It is so time consuming, especially adding the tags and formatting the photos with tags as well. One thing I have to get better at is the headers to break up text. I am a storyteller and very creative and descriptive. So, at times, I feel the headers break up the flow of the story.

Thanks for the reminders!

    Ella Media
    February 5th, 2012 on 3:25 pm

    Sujeiry, I find that once you find your routine for publishing the post, it becomes second nature and doesn’t take too long. It’s especially helpful if you use a plugin to help with the title, tags, and description, and if you change the file names of the images before uploading, etc. You’re right that headers don’t always fit – it really depends on what type of post you’re writing. But, when you can, it will help.

Patty at A Day in My NYC
January 30th, 2012 on 4:08 pm

Amazing tips! I had no idea some were so simple! Thank you for sharing!

    Ella Media
    February 5th, 2012 on 3:24 pm

    Yes, they really are simple! And, they work. 😉

January 30th, 2012 on 6:26 pm

This is really interesting, there are so many ways to optimize SEO. Thanks, Melanie

    Ella Media
    February 5th, 2012 on 3:23 pm

    Yes, there’s a lot of different techniques, but I wanted to share some of the simple things we can do just within our blog posts. Good luck!

Comiendo en LA
January 30th, 2012 on 9:30 pm

Thank you for sharing! I want to try this to see how it works in my blog.

    Ella Media
    February 5th, 2012 on 3:23 pm

    I hope it works out great for you! Let me know. :)

Yvette ~ Muy Bueno Cookbook
January 30th, 2012 on 10:27 pm

All great tips!!! I’m always to sure the photo-tagging tips. Its TRULY works 😉

    Ella Media
    February 5th, 2012 on 3:22 pm

    Yes, the photos do work! I was amazed at how many people landed on my site from searching for photos.

January 31st, 2012 on 12:14 am

Such valuable tips! Thank you so much for sharing these, Mel! I’m bookmarking it.

    Ella Media
    February 5th, 2012 on 3:21 pm

    You’re welcome! I hope you see a difference in your site traffic once you start using some of these tips.

Justice Jonesie
January 31st, 2012 on 8:44 am

Yes, I do these things already and it’s great to see others doing it too! Thanks for sharing!

    Ella Media
    February 5th, 2012 on 3:20 pm

    Wonderful that you’re doing these already! Do you get a lot of traffic from searches through using these tricks?

Aunt Clara
January 31st, 2012 on 3:36 pm

Great tips, I can attest to their effectiveness, but nice to hear that I am on the right track.

    Ella Media
    February 5th, 2012 on 3:19 pm

    Glad to hear you’re already implementing these tips and that they’re working for you!

February 1st, 2012 on 9:34 am

Thanks for the great info. Definitely will be utilizing these tips.

    Ella Media
    February 5th, 2012 on 3:18 pm

    Let me know how it works out for you!

February 3rd, 2012 on 12:36 am

Totally bookmarking all this valuable information. Thanks for taking the time to put it all together (and making it easy to follow) for us, Melanie!

    Ella Media
    February 5th, 2012 on 3:18 pm

    I’m so glad you find it valuable!

Viviana Hurtado/The Wise Latina Club
February 5th, 2012 on 10:08 pm

This is chock full of crucial SEO 411. It’s clean, simple, and well laid-out. Total must read. I, for one, have bookmarked and am sharing with others!

    Ella Media
    February 9th, 2012 on 1:58 pm

    Thanks so much for your kinds words! Love hearing it’s helpful. :)

Bren @ Flanboyant Eats™
February 9th, 2012 on 1:55 pm

I have the SEO pack but I didn’t realize the title in that area could be different from the actual and real title to any post…. would you recommend going back and changing titles of bigger and more important posts that deserve more traffic, but could be lost b/c of of missing key words, etc…? Great article!

    Ella Media
    February 9th, 2012 on 1:57 pm

    Yes, definitely! Obviously, it would be brutal to go through all your posts and change the titles, but like you said, for bigger articles that you feel would benefit, do it!

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