Blog Post SEO Checklist [Free Download]

Blog Post SEO Checklist [Free Download]

Are you creating great content but wondering why you're not getting more traffic?

If that sounds familiar, you might have a few gaps in your SEO efforts.

Whether you're a blogger, podcaster, YouTuber or another type of business owner, search engine optimization can bring your more traffic, increase your visitors, and help your products show up when people start looking.

To help you master search engine optimization, I've created the SEO checklist below.

Want to listen? There's an audio version below

boost seo checklist

Before you use the checklist below, I suggest you read this post that teaches SEO basics. SEO isn't hard, and optimizing your content for search isn't impossible, but well-optimized content won't happen by accident.

Why Should I Focus on SEO?

When we need something, we search for it. SEO, or search engine optimization, is optimizing your content so it can be found.

For example, if you wanted to know how to get started with affiliate marketing, you might search Google, or ask Alexa, “How do I get started with affiliate marketing?”

Because I've optimized my content, you might get search results that point to my post, How to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing.

Your customers are searching for products like yours. SEO helps them find you and what you have to offer.

Do I Need to Hire Someone to Do SEO For Me?

You could, but most SEO companies aren't going to do much more than what you can do if you follow the checklist below.

On ellorywells.com, historically around 55% of my traffic has come through organic search. That means people are going to Google and searching for a topic they want to learn more about, and then they see a link to my website.

Will SEO Help Me Grow My Business?

Yes! By creating blog posts, videos, podcast episodes, etc., around your products and services and by leveraging content marketing to build your brand, your potential customers will learn about you and your business. If you're open and honest, they'll like you. If you talk about what you're working on, the mistakes you've made and how you're improving, they'll begin to trust you. And, when they know, like and trust you, they will buy from you.

Watch the full video here:

If you follow the SEO Checklist below, your content will be found, it will be read, viewed, or listened to, and your audience will understand how you can help them.

The SEO Checklist

You can bookmark this page and come back to it (press Ctrl/Cmd + D in your browser), or you can enter your email below, and I'll send you a PDF you can download and print.

Download the SEO Checklist!

Never published un-optimized content again. Download the 12 step checklist so you can create SEO optimized blog posts, podcast episodes, and videos every time. Get more traffic from search!

After writing over 500 blog posts, here are the things I usually do for each post to make sure it is optimized for search.

1: Create a Search-Friendly Title

For me, every post starts with a title. After coming up with a topic or an idea I want to write a post about, I come up with a title to describe it. Make sure your title is something a real person would understand and search for.

Don't be clever. Simple titles generally work best. Like the subject line of an email, the title of your post or video should tell someone exactly what they'll get by reading or watching your content.

2: Define the Key Takeaway

After you come up with your topic and title, the next step is to clearly define what you want your audience to get out of it.

If you know the point you want to get across, you'll have a lighthouse to mark your way.

Related: How to Create a Killer Lead Magnet that Converts

3: Add a Personal Story to Establish Relevance

After two years of running community surveys, I learned that my readers liked to read my personal stories. In fact, they wanted me to share more of them.

I suspect that your community will want to hear about you and what you're up to as well. So, if you have a relevant story from your personal life that reinforces your point and makes the topic more relevant, you should include it in your content.

4: Insert At Least One External Link

Include a link to an external source like someone else's blog post or video. External links to related content often indicate you've done your research. They could show your readers that someone else shares your opinion, or they could show your readers an alternative point of view.

The web is built on links to related content, and links to external sites are good for SEO.

5: Insert At Least One Internal Link

One of the best things I started doing in my content was linking from new posts back to older ones. These internal links, links that take people from one page on your site to another page on your site, are great for SEO.

Internal links keep people on your site longer, which increases someone's total “time on site.” The longer someone spends on your site, the more value Google assumes your site has to that person.

Internal links reduce bounce rates. If someone visits one page and then leaves, technically they've “bounced.” If they visit more than one page, they don't “bounce.” Lower bounce rates are good for SEO because they indicate that readers not only found what they were looking for, but that they also found something else worth reading, watching, or shopping for.

In your next post, improve your SEO, and link to older content that's related to what you just published.

6: Upload a Featured Image

Not only does your featured image show up when someone share's your content on a social network, but it's also a great place to optimize for search.

When you find or save an image that you'll use in your content, don't save that image with a filename like “DSCN1107.” That's not descriptive, and that title does nothing for SEO.

Related: Can I Use This? Picture Sites Where You Can Find Images for Your Blog

Instead, change the title of your image to something like, “Sunday food prep,” or, “blog post SEO checklist.” The file name of your image should include either the single word keyword for your post or, better yet, the three-word key phrase. Search engines can read file names, so save your images with a file name that's relevant to your content.

7: Define Single Word Keyword

A single word keyword is one word that you would use to define or describe your content. For this post, the keyword might be “checklist” or “SEO.” If you can't narrow it down to just one word, don't worry, that's why we've got the three-word key phrase.

8: Define Three Word Key Phrase

Keyword phrases are critical to your SEO efforts. Sometimes people search for a single word, but more than likely, they search for a phrase.

For example, when we traveled to Cincinnati, we searched for “Mexican food in Cincinnati.” If you want to lose weight, you might search for “how to lose weight.” If you were in the market for a new 65″ 4K TV, you might search for “best 65″ 4k tv with HDR.”

Google strips out the filler words like “in” “to” and “with” and looks for the keywords. In the example above, search engines would look for content around the key phrases of “Mexican food Cincinnati,” “how lose weight” and “best 65 4k tv hdr.”

If you've added those words and phrases to your content, that's SEO, and your content is more likely to be found. The more closely your content matches the search, the higher you'll be in the search rankings.

NOTE: The more of your keywords match what someone searches for, the better. If I searched for “what is the best 65″ 4K TV with HDR under $2000?” and your business had reviews of TVs on a post or video called, “Top 10 Best 4K HDR TVs Under $2000” your content would almost certainly be on the first page of my Google search results above the fold.

9: Add Your Three Keyword Phrase in URL/slug

Your slug for your post is the URL after the extension (ie .com, .org, .net, etc.).

For example, the slug for this post is “blog-post-seo-checklist-free-download.” My keyword phrase, “blog post SEO checklist” is right there, and it tells Google (again) what this post is about.

Related: The Entrepreneur's Dictionary of Terms

Make sure your keyword phrase is in the slug, with a hyphen (-) between each word.

10: Craft Shareable Blurb #1

The final step is to share your content. The more people who see it, the more people who can share it. For every piece of content I create, I also create shareable blurbs to use when I share it on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

My first blurb is usually related to the title and doesn't diverge much from that. I do this because not every social platform pulls the title from the post; sometimes they only pull the featured image.

Create the shareable blurb, copy the URL for your content, and a few relevant hashtags, and you're ready to share.

11: Craft Shareable Blurb #2

I create the second blurb from a question I raise during the content.

For example, the second blurb for this post might be, “Are you getting enough search traffic? Download the SEO checklist” or something like that.

12: Craft Shareable Blurb #3

The third blurb could have a number in it. Numbers are specific, and people like to know specific things to do to make changes.

So, for this post, blurb #3 could be something like, “12 things you can do now to boost SEO and get more traffic to your blog.”

Download the SEO Checklist!

Never published un-optimized content again. Download the 12 step checklist so you can create SEO optimized blog posts, podcast episodes, and videos every time. Get more traffic from search!

Putting the SEO Checklist Into Action

It's hard to follow the SEO checklist if you don't have any content to optimize. So, included with the SEO Checklist is the blog post template I've used to write over 600 posts.

download seo checklist and blog post template

After writing over 600+ blog posts, my content has taken a familiar structure. I first open with a question or bold statement that draws the reader in. After this brief introduction, I add my featured image. After an eye-catching image, I share an experience, relevant resource, and/or a personal story. Then, the meat of the post followed by a conclusion and a discussion question.

Access the SEO Checklist and Blog Post Template below. Enjoy!

Download the SEO Checklist!

Never published un-optimized content again. Download the 12 step checklist so you can create SEO optimized blog posts, podcast episodes, and videos every time. Get more traffic from search!

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