Updated: May 18
You can run but you cannot hide. I think this is the phrase that describes SEO the best.
Even for the simplest or the most detailed blog post that you right, you need to ensure your SEO game is up and running. Keywords, Meta-data, Tags, Links and the entire shebang is always active and very much required. For seasoned writers, SEO is not much of a concern anymore because it kind of flows through their body like, well blood. They whip up content without being super conscious about every tiny detail because they incorporating SEO subconsciously in their content and copies.
But what about the novices? And what about the ones who are currently on middle ground. They know half of it or at least the theory part of it but putting the entire thing into practice seems like pushing a boulder up a mountain.
Get rid of problems like:
Well-researched content you so beautifully created, not showing up on Google.
Creating content consistently but not getting enough domain authority to rank as an influencer or being considered for an outreach program.
It isn't going to be easy, but we can always start with a checklist (in this case an infographic). Keep looking at it, assimilating it, make it a way of life (well, your writing life, I mean). Use this checklist to create every piece of content that comes your way. Slowly, you will see that you, too, have started using these SEO best practices without going back to the checklist time-and-again.
Let's start with the key area: Keywords
The lifeblood of your blog; the idea behind it; the one thing that the crawlers will identify your content with: Keywords. Keywords form the essence of your content. Make sure you use them well.
There is no rule that says you can only use one keyword at a time or you should have a single word as a keyword. In fact, you have higher chances of being found and being relevant and relatable if you use long-tail keywords.
Another point that you should take note of, is keyword density. Keyword density is basically the percentage of times your keyword appeared in your content. It uses a simple formula:
Keyword Density = No. of keyword occurrences / Total no. of words
Personally, I prefer Keyword Density of 1 - 2.5 %. That means in a content of 500 words, the keyword pops up 5 times (1%) to 12 times (~2.5%).
Stuffing too many keywords into your content can be a red signal for crawlers who will view your keyword stuffing as spamming. So, it makes sense to have keywords as many times as they appear normally in the content, without using it too much.
When working on the SEO title you must ensure you use the right amount of characters so that your entire title is visible on Google. Technically, a 50-60 character count can ensure that almost 90 percent of your SEO title is visible on Google.
I have kept my SEO title for my website pretty simple. As you can see, that's just my name and the primary service I provide. I prefer creating long SEO titles by breaking them up to simple phrases and dividing them using the "Pipe Symbol".
Specify service (keyword) | Location | Name of Company
Name of Blog | Niche | Name of Company
You will notice, I keep the name of the company as the last leg. This so because, users will use the keyword (the service you provide) as they key search term. As such, Google will return them with results where it finds the keyword. As such, having the keyword at the very beginning of your SEO Title improves chances of your page showing up on Google.
Another great of ensuring you get your SEO title right, is doing some research on how your competitors are framing their SEO titles. Follow the ones that are ranking high on Google SERP, as that is a clear signal of what is working best on Google, right now.
Meta Tags / Meta Description
Meta Tags are short codes that are not visible to the readers, but form an important aspect of your SEO content as they search engines reflect information about your website/content on their SERPs. They come in angle brackets <____> like, <H1>, <H2>, etc.
Meta Descriptions are basically the line that you find right beats the SEO Title on the SERPs. This line conveys the gist of what that particular link contains and what can you learn from it.
A good meta description:
Is up to and not more than 320 characters
Has an actionable voice
Matches the page content and is not misleading in any way
Using high quality images in your content is a must. Be it a short-form content or a long-form content.
This not only applies to your SEO efforts, articles, and blogs, but also to your social media posts.
When people hear information, they're likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.
There are many tools and resources that you can use to find and create high quality images to support your content. Here is a list of the easiest, free tools available online to create great visual content.
Having the right images is not the be all end all of the visual content scenario. You have to make sure that you add Alt Text to all your images. Alt text help web crawlers make sense of what the image is about, as they cannot see and infer images as we humans do.
Similarly, if your readers disabled visual graphics in their browser or are experiencing low internet speed, images on your blog post or article might not show up. It is in these situations that alt texts help readers understand what is the picture all about.
Whenever, you upload images to your blog, it automatically picks up the file name as the image name. If you have saved the image as "example.jpg"or "Image001.png", that is what the alt text might show and you do not want that.
Right a crisp description for every image you upload to make the post more SEO-friendly.
Finally, the most important and somewhat difficult to achieve SEO tip, Link Building.
When you write blogs, try to make it as rich and full of relevant information, as possible. Try to make it a one-stop shop for your reader where they can learn the most without getting overwhelmed.
You can easily achieve that by adding outbound links to other posts and articles that do a good job at explaining or touch-basing the points you are talking about. Try links with high DA not only because of their DA ranking, but also because sometimes these are the websites that have great content that can add a lot of value to your content. If they review and find your content relevant and interesting they might even link back to you.
You can also participate in bloggers outreach program, whereby you help each other by adding outbound links to each others' articles. However,always make sure that you are linking to websites that hold true value for your readers, to make sure they keep returning to your for relevant and useful content.
Here's the infographic that I promised. Your very own SEO checklist...