Are you really ready to publish your blog post? Wait, You’re not yet done. Before publishing your blog post, take a few more minutes to think about what more can be added. There is something you might have accidentally missed. Don’t always be in a hurry to hit the publish button. It’s not good for search engines, it’s not good for your readers. So make sure you have done all the necessary things on this checklist and make your blog post SEO friendly. It may feel like a dull task, but it may make a difference between ranking on the first page or not.
Here is a checklist of things you should do before you hit publish.
1) Make your Post title attractive: There are a lot of articles on the same topic you have written, then chances are that you will be competing with hundreds of bloggers on specific topics. In order to get noticed on google, your title should be attractive to encourage searchers to click on it. Make sure that the title contains the focus keyword, so that it will be easier for search engines to recognize what your post is about.
2) Edit permalink & Shorten URL: Whenever publish a post, wordpress automatically generates the URL similar to the title of your post. If your URL is too long, it can be annoying for search engines. Try to keep it as short as possible by manually editing the permalink. Make sure your URL should contain main focus keyword and key phrases of the topic, so it will be found easily by search engines.
Default URL: example.com/ tips-on-how-to-write a-compelling-blog-post
Shorten URL: example.com/ how-to-write-blog-post
3) Add ALT attribute for images: The ALT attribute is used to describe your image to search engine what the image is about. So make sure to add ALT attribute to every image you include in your post. It is the best way to optimize images for search engine.
4) Break content using Headings and Sub-Headings: Use header tags (h1, h2, etc.) wisely to emphasize the main topics and break your content into different sections. This will improve readability and SEO of your web page. Normally an H1 tag should be used as the main heading of the web page. And for sub-headings you should use H2, H3, H4 and so on. H1 and H2 tags are the most important elements of On-Page web Optimization.
5) Interlink to older posts: Try to interlink your older blog posts as many as possible that push visitors to read them. This will certainly keep your visitors hang around a little longer on your blog and also helps in reducing your blog’s bounce rate.
6) Outbound links: Outbound links are the links pointing to other websites from your website. Try to link to relevant web page if it gives more information to your readers. Make sure your links are pointing to relevant, unique and informative web pages.
Note: (If you link to low quality, spammy websites, it will hurt your PageRank.)
7) Make sure all links are working : Click preview and make sure all your links (both internal and external) are working.
8) Set links to open in a new tab: Make sure your links open in new tab. This will keep your blog page in the browser so you don’t lose visitors to another site.
Read: How to set links to open in a new window/tab
9) Minimum of 300 words: However, for SEO purposes, long posts win (which convey more information about the topic). If you want your blog posts get indexed faster, then make sure that the content should have a minimum of 300 words or more. If your content is too short or non-informative, google might not pay much attention it or index it.
Note: (Content is more important than words. It may be 100 words or 1000 words, you should provide something that has not been covered by any of the existing articles.)
10) Assign “Category” & “Tags”: “Categories” allow you to classify your blog posts into groups and subgroups. It may not benefit you in SEO, but they are extremely effective for visitors finding content on your site easily. “Tags” are like index keywords generally used to describe your post in more detail. They have benefits for SEO in terms of making your post searchable and are often used by search engines to index content. Use relevant keywords sparingly as 5-10 is enough.
For example: a post titled “Last Night dinner At restaurant” , you’d probably want to assign a category like “Food” and tags such as, “pizza, chicken fries, burger, chocolate shake, etc.” .
11) Proof read for mistakes: Must do! Take some time to proofread your content atleast twice, just to be on the safe side. Use tools like “After the Deadline” and “Ginger” to proofread your grammar and spelling mistakes.
12) Set featured image: Set featured image (thumbnail) for your post by uploading an image in featured image option appeared in the right sidebar of ‘edit post’ page. It generally appears as a thumbnail next to each post on the home page, related posts, etc.
Note: If you don’t see the Featured Image option in right sidebar, make sure you have enabled it in the Screen Options.
13) Set Focus keyword: Pick the main keyword or keyphrase as the topic that describes your post is about and add it to your SEO plugin. This function helps you refine your focus keyword based on real-world searches. Make sure you’ve never used this focus keyword before on your blog.
14) Don’t Forget Meta description: Meta description is what appears as the snippet that is shown below the title of your post in search result. Write an enticing description, make it concise and human readable, it’s to grab the searcher’s attention. It will increase your click-through-rate (CTR) in SERPs. SEO plugin allows you to write your own custom META description on every post, if not excerpt of your content text gets used.
15) Check for Plagiarism: Check if your content is unique and original against the internet for duplicate content before it’s published. I prefer Smallseotool, a free online Plagiarism checker tool where you can paste content into a text box and it will check all phrases against content on the internet. This avoids you from being penalized by Google Panda for duplicate content.
16) Encourage readers to comment: Ask a couple of questions at the end of each post to encourage readers to voice their opinions.
You’re done. Now Go ahead and hit “publish”
Besides, you can use WordPress seo yoast Plugin that reminds you the above things on the checklist.
What other steps do you suggest to do before hitting publish? Would you like to add anything to this list? Feel free to suggest any tips if I’ve missed.