SEO Checklist for Blog Posts (Free 20-Point PDF Guide)

Although often overlooked, the URL of a blog post is another tool for ensuring both search engines and their users understand your post’s key subject. The URL is also a strong ranking factor for on-site SEO.

You can get specific details and instructions on how to perform these SEO tasks by reading these related blog posts: How to Add Schema Markup to Website for SEO, Structured Data Examples for SEO, Free Schema Markup Generators for Structured Data, and WordPress Schema Markup Plugins For Structured Data.

SEO Checklist for Blogging

Download a Free SEO Checklist for Blogging

If the Featured Snippet is a short paragraph, then answer the query succinctly between 45 to 50 words. Also, include similar words and phrases that are being highlighted in the current ranking snippet on Google.

Here’s how to ensure your post’s meta description is optimized for your target keywords:

  • The primary keyword is placed near the start of the description.
  • Between 1-2 secondary keywords are placed later in the description.
  • All keywords are incorporated in a naturally-flowing way that reads well.
  • The meta description has a clear Call to Action (CTA) explaining how readers will benefit from your post.

4. Blog Post Has an SEO-Friendly URL

The SEO checklist for blogging outlined on this page is available in PDF format for you to copy, download, and use to mark off each website optimization task as you complete it:

Learn More About SEO for Blogs

Read our related guide on How to Optimize for Google’s E-E-A-T to Improve SEO for a full overview of all the things you can do to enhance E-E-A-T signals for your blog content.

17. Post Includes 3-5 Internal Links to Other Blog Posts

Although each of those phrases is worded differently, they all have the same user search intent. Therefore, adding keyword variations to your H3 subheaders allows you to target different search queries with the same piece of content while helping search crawlers better understand the relevance and context of your blog post.

8. Focus Keywords Are Used In the First 100 Words

As you discovered, this SEO checklist for blogging includes a list of the most important steps to perform when optimizing your blog posts for search engines. This downloadable SEO cheatsheet for blogs will ensure you never miss out on the vital factors that can be optimized for SEO to increase the organic rankings and visibility of your posts in search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

We hope this free SEO checklist for blog posts makes a great addition to your search engine optimization toolkit.

Follow these checklist items for improved SEO rankings:

  • Your primary and secondary keywords are repeated 3-4 times for a 1,000 to 2,000-word blog post, and a maximum of five times for longer posts.
  • Keywords are spread throughout the post so it is not only top-heavy or bottom-heavy for the target phrases.
  • Keywords are included naturally within the content and make sense in context.

11. Content Satisfies User Search Intent

If you’ve ever attempted to read through a blog post that contains large blocks of text, then you know what a frustrating and fatigue-inducing experience it can be, especially when your goal is to scan through and find a specific piece of information.

If your post doesn’t help your users achieve their intended outcome, Google is unlikely to rank the content highly for its target SEO keywords because the ranking algorithm measures user satisfaction signals.

Your blog post title is the first thing search engines crawl and display in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for users to see. If you want to ensure that both Googlebot and people know what your content is about, then your primary keyword should be placed at the start of your title tag.

3. Meta Description Includes the Top Keywords

External links to credible, high-authority sources can enhance your blog post’s credibility by providing evidence for your key points and improve user experiences by providing readers with links to useful third-party resources.

Check out our related guide for a deeper dive into this important SEO topic: Internal Linking Best Practices for SEO.

18. Post Includes External Links to High-Quality Sites

Making your H1 header different from your title tag also sends mixed signals to Google, which can cause the indexing algorithm to display the wrong one in the SERPs and, ultimately, harm your organic search visibility.

To confirm that your blog post images are well optimized, follow these SEO blogging checklist items:

  • One image is focused on a single target keyword.
  • The file name includes the target keyword.
  • The ALT text includes the target keyword while sounding natural.
  • The caption or other surrounding text includes the same target keyword.

20. Includes Relevant Schema Markup

For table snippets, include a 3-column table (no more and no less) with similar heading names and an equal number of rows as the current ranking snippet. Look at the ranking page to see how many rows the table contains so you can do the same.

16. Post Includes Important E-E-A-T Signals

Here’s how to check that your blog post satisfies user search intent:

  • First, run your primary keyword through Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool (it’s free to sign up and use) and look under the Intent column to determine which one of the following intent types your post should meet:
    • Informational
    • Commercial
    • Navigational
    • Transactional
  • Next, search for your keyword on Google and review the top-ranking pages. These are the posts that Google has determined best satisfy the user intent for that search term.
  • Finally, compare your content to those posts to ensure you’ve fully covered everything you need to cover to give readers what they want. And that the post is structured in a similar way that users clearly prefer.

12. Blog Post Has a Competitive Word Count

To ensure your URL is SEO-friendly, check the following:

  • The primary keyword is used as an exact match phrase.
  • Individual words are separated by hyphens.
  • The URL is 60 characters or less.

5. H1 Is Identical to the Blog Post Title

E-E-A-T signals (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) establish credibility and trust with both users and search engines, making your content more valuable and reliable in the eyes of your audience.

These H2 subheaders offer a golden opportunity to optimize your post for your chosen keywords to improve keyword rankings. Try to incorporate each of your secondary keywords into their own H2 tag to boost on-page optimization signals. Having one instance of each keyword in an H2 subheading is enough for on-page SEO.

7. H3 Subheadings Include Keyword Variations

Tools like Surfer SEO can analyze the top-ranking blog posts for a keyword and use that data to provide a list of helpful recommendations on optimizing your blog post, including the word count you should aim for to successfully compete for a top spot in search results.

Blog Post Has a Competitive Word Count: Surfer SEO tool example

The whole point of your blog post’s introduction is to make it clear what readers will learn or gain by reading your content to the end. As a result, the first paragraph on the page is analyzed by search engines for keyword relevancy.

All search terms have a specific intent behind them. For example, a user searching for “how to write a blog post” likely intends to find practical step-by-step instructions (i.e., information content), whereas a user searching for “blogging tools” is either researching products to try (known as “commercial investigation”) or is ready to purchase one.

Content Satisfies User Search Intent: Semrush keyword research example showing informational intent

Here’s what to look for to ensure you’ve used internal links correctly.

  • The anchor text is relevant and descriptive, giving users a clear idea of what they will find when they click the link.
  • The blog posts are highly relevant to the topic and provide additional value or information that complements the current content.
  • There are no broken or redirected links.
  • Links are set to open in a new tab to avoid users accidentally leaving your post.

As you outline your blog post, you’ll want to use H2 subheadings for the main sections of your content.

Next, you want to answer the user’s query directly below the H2 subheader in the format that search engines like Google are rewarding for the current Featured Snippet. It may be a short paragraph, list, or table. Essentially, you want to create something similar to the ranking snippet.

Another way to confirm that your blog post is well-optimized for keywords is to make sure all keywords are repeated in the content.

Check out our related guide on How to Use Semantic SEO for more info about this blogging strategy, as well as this list of free LSI keyword generators for keyword research to help speed up the process.

15. Post Is Optimized for a Featured Snippet

As explained in our other guide on header tag optimization, a great way to optimize for Featured Snippets is to make the first H2 heading on the post match the primary search query a user types into Google to find information.