Blog post SEO checklistA couple of weeks ago I came across this widely-recommended post sharing a great blog post checklist. While it does tackle some essential SEO aspects, I decided to create a more SEO-focused version offering you a quick one-reference checklist on making sure your post is SEO-friendly enough to go live (the list is not too long because SEO is not -- and should not be -- your main concern when writing a blog post, and I mentioned only "MUST-do" points to never forget about):

The Checklist:

1. Make sure you have used relevant keywords.

2. Optimize the post URL "slug"

3. Optimize the post title tag

4. Optimize the post images

5. (Inter)link to old posts

Now, let's discuss each point in more detail:

1. Make sure you have used relevant keywords

Using the right tools for keyword research is essential for three important reasons:

  • They allow you to make your writing more diverse (by suggesting synonyms, related terms and definitions);
  • They let you brainstorm more post topics and subtopics (by suggesting related topics and neighboring terms);
  • They account for your content organic rankings.

Additional help:

  • Use this post listing some keyword research tools to start with to choose a preferred online thesaurus and dictionary to research synonyms, related terms and more!
  • Get this FireFox addon by Wordtracker FireFox addon that lets you run some basic keyword research in your browser sidebar to never leave the blog post editor page;
  • Consider using Wordstream's FireFox addon (paid) that lets you research keywords and shows you the count of each keyword in your post editor:

SEO for FireFox Wordstream

2. Optimize the post URL "slug

I use these basic rules to make sure my post URL is going to be SEO-friendly:

  • I make it meaningful (this is why I recommend using /%postname%/ variable in WordPress setting);
  • I make it short (about 5-6 words in it);
  • I make sure there are important keywords in the URL.

Additional help:

3. Optimize the post title tag

The only reason why I am listing this after the URL slug is that titles are more for people than URLs. While you are almost free to make your URLs for robots rather than people (because people pay little attention to the actual address), title tags determine your page click-through, social media success and overall performance.

This is why my rule of thumb is to optimize the title tag for the keywords (as this is still the most prominent place to put your keywords at) while still primarily thinking about its "viral" component (making it catchy and, well, cool).

Note: This is especially valid for blog post titles where rankings are (most often) not the major concern.

Additional help:

4. Optimize your post images

If you are like me, you love visual data representation and use plenty of screenshots and other types of images in every post. The good news, this makes your readers' life easier. The bad news, images may dramatically effect your page load times.

Be sure to note:

  • You need to make sure your images are optimized for the web in terms of the size;
  • You want to use "Alt" text for images for both SEO and accessibility.

Additional help:

5. (Inter)link to old posts

Internal links are crucial for rankings. Besides that, they make sure the stolen posts still have links back to your domain.

Additional help:

Any other essential steps to mention? Please add in the comments and I'll add that to the list!