SEO Checklist: How to Optimize Your Blog Posts for Search Visibility

Ever wondered if you could get better Google rankings without spending most of your time building links? Did you know that Google uses numerous high-impact ranking signals based on your content? This SEO checklist shows you how to effortlessly optimize your blog posts for better visibility in search results.

Google has been actively working on this for the past few years RankBrain algorithm. It’s literally a ranking brain. The algorithm takes into account signals such as user intent, time spent on a page, and whether your pages load fast enough.

In summary, Google actively prioritizes content created for real users.

How do I use this SEO checklist?

This article will give you a clear understanding of how to write better blog posts. You don’t have to commit to the entire checklist either. Look for areas that you may be missing and apply the tips mentioned accordingly. The results will speak for themselves!

Let us begin.

Complete SEO Checklist in 2020

Here’s your complete checklist…

✅ 1. Do thorough keyword research

Keywords are the be-all and end-all of the entire SEO game. And rest assured, the traditional way of using keywords is no longer enough. Big keywords with huge monthly search volume have been oversaturated for years.

But it’s not all bad.

There are two new keyword branches to use in your content:

  1. long tail. Deep keywords that cover a single idea. B. “NFL Player” (short tail) vs. “NFL Players Living in California” (long tail).
  2. user intent. why is a user looking for something? and how does your content answer their question?

In case you’re not sure what long-tail keywords are, here’s a simple illustration to decipher what it means:

Long tail keywords for SEO checklist

I liken it to answering basic questions.

First and foremost, you have a big general theme. You then add various sub-branches that support the theme. In this case, those branches are long-tail keywords. And most keyword research tools offer this functionality by default. As an added bonus, this can also help you with SEO for voice search.

If you don’t know where to start, look it up Ubersuggest and Respond to the public. You can type in your primary keyword and get an output of many different long-tail suggestions.

Best of all, these suggestions are based on actual live traffic data.

Last but not least when it comes to working with this SEO checklist – keywords almost always determine the depth and quality of your content.

✅ 2. Monitor your competition

There is a saying among bloggers: “If you’re going to steal it, make sure you upgrade it.”. In other words, there’s nothing wrong with watching your competitors.

Take any phrase or keyword you want to rank for. Now do a simple Google search.

See what the top results are like.

Google Search Contest

As you analyze the top results, ask yourself, “What makes this page different from mine?”. You can check word length, heading attribution, and any other unique content elements.

The goal is not to become an identical copy. Your goal is to create content that is simple better. There’s a reason your competitors rank high and you don’t. fix that

✅ 3. Spend time creating engaging headlines

The title of your blog post is arguably the most important SEO element. It’s what prefaces your entire post, but it’s also what users see before they click on your search result.

If the title of the content is confusing or, god forbid, it’s clickbaity, you risk attracting the wrong audience.

Google SERP Example (SEO Checklist Essentials)

This is an example of an effective headline. It has both a keyword and an actionable phrase that tells you what the post will be about.

Here’s a checklist of things to check before deciding on a final headline:

  1. Does it contain modifiers: How one…, Why does.., Tips…Etc.
  2. Are you using a keyword in the title?
  3. Does the title clearly explain what the post is about?

With a plugin like Yoast SEO for WordPressyou can effectively minimize the time it takes to find good meta tags.

Additionally the Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule is another great tool to check the validity of your headlines.

Likewise, as you analyze your content against this SEO checklist, focus on crafting the headline to reflect the content itself.

For more tips, check out our posts on writing headlines and creating catchy blog post titles.

✅ 4. Maximize time on page with videos etc.

Some SEOs call this dwell time. Basically, Google adds things like “on-page dwell time” to its ranking factors.

For example, a user searches for “almond cake recipe” and sees that there are multiple results for the same recipe.

Now the user starts clicking on the search results to visit the listed website. At this point, Google triggers its on-page algorithm to see if the user stays on that page or exits immediately.

Google uses time on site – which we can’t measure, but which is proportional to user engagement metrics like bounce rate, time on site, and conversion rates – to validate click-through rates. These metrics help Google figure out if users ultimately got what they were looking for.

Larry Kim

If the majority of users leave the page shortly after clicking (usually through the The back button), then this is a clear indication that the content does not meet his expectations.

Dwell time SEO

Source: WordStream

So how can you address this and encourage people to spend more time on your posts?

Two things:

  1. Clearly defined and pleasant design.
  2. Additional multimedia: videos, images, infographics, etc.

You can apply a simple color psychology principle to highlight the most important content. Most importantly, you use multimedia content to both add value and keep users engaged.

✅ 5. Create content hubs to encourage internal posts

What are content hubs? Essentially, a content hub is where you house an organized library of your content.

If you’re a WordPress user, you know that promoting your other blog posts isn’t always easy.

You can rely on the internal linking, and related posts are also helpful. Most times, Many of your posts never see the light of day after the initial hype.

Content Hub example

Backlinko’s Brian Dean uses Content Hubs to categorize his entire blog. This makes it easy for readers to find exactly the content they need, when they need it.

To create a content hub, you need to create a new landing page on your website. Luckily, the new WordPress block editor makes this an extremely quick process.

Next, you need to collect all your blog posts on a specific topic. in the the example shown abovethe topic is “SEO Basics”.

You can introduce the topic and then provide links to your outgoing blog posts. You can even create additional pages and branch your content even further.

The goal is to make it as accessible as possible for your readers. You can then link to your content hub from any page or post. Including the navigation of your website.

✅ 6. Optimize your website speed

Curious why an SEO checklist would recommend website speed as a factor? The thing is…

Google loves page speed like bears love their sleep. The faster your website, the more consistently Google will reward your content.

These are the things you should focus on the most from the start:

  • image optimization. Use a plugin such as Optimol to automatically scale and compress your images. You can reduce file size by up to 70-80% without sacrificing photo quality.
  • resource management. Focus on fonts, scripts, and plugins that don’t impose too many external requirements. Whenever possible, focus on hosting things locally.
  • light subjects. Don’t let the fancy features fool you! “Creative” themes are used frequently a tonne by JavaScript, which is known to degrade page speed exponentially.

If you want to learn more about website speed, check out Colin’s article on website speed optimization for 2020.


If there’s one thing you need to remember from this SEO checklist, it’s this: Work hard to make your content as diverse as possible.

Find out how you can add even more value to your content without having to write a new blog post.

Also, don’t underestimate the fruits of your labor. Consistent effort always leads to a favorable result.

Here is a summary of what we learned:

  1. Long-tail keywords can be used to write content for a specific audience.
  2. Competitor analysis provides additional details on the types of content that rank best.
  3. Headlines are what draw readers in to make them count.
  4. Use design and multi-rich media to maximize time on page.
  5. Categorize all your content with Content Hubs.
  6. Page speed leads to better rankings.

Do you have questions about implementing these SEO principles on your website? Ask in the comments!

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