Blogging isn't just about pouring your heart out on a web page or sharing your expertise. If only it was! It's an art and a science, particularly when it comes to SEO – Search Engine Optimisation. In this digital age, getting your blog noticed by search engines is akin to finding a needle in a haystack. But fear not! Whether you're a seasoned blogger or just dipping your toes into the vast ocean of content creation, this guide is your compass to navigate the intricate waters of SEO, and you can use it as an SEO checklist to make your life easier.

SEO is much more than just a buzzword; it's a crucial tool in your digital toolkit. Think of it as the secret sauce that makes your content appetising not just to your readers but also to the ever-hungry search engines. From the nuances of keyword usage to the intricacies of link building, this guide is meticulously crafted to provide you with actionable, easy-to-understand tips to elevate your blog's visibility, engagement, and, ultimately, its success.

So, grab a cup of your favourite brew, sit back... and read. By the end of this guide, you'll be equipped with the knowledge and skills to optimize your blog posts for better search engine rankings and visibility. Let's turn your hidden gems into shining beacons on the digital landscape

1. Keyword Analysis and Usage

Understanding Keywords: Keywords are the cornerstone of SEO. They are the terms and phrases that searchers use to find content online. As a blogger, your goal is to identify and incorporate these keywords into your posts in a way that feels natural and relevant. This not only helps search engines understand what your content is about but also ensures that it reaches the right audience.

Improving Keyword Usage: Start by researching keywords related to your topic. Tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush can be invaluable here. Look for a mix of high-volume keywords and long-tail keywords, which are more specific and less competitive. Once you have your keywords, weave them into your post strategically. This includes placing them in your title, headings, and throughout the body of your text. Remember, overstuffing your content with keywords can be counterproductive, so aim for a natural, reader-friendly approach.

2. Meta Tags Optimisation

Understanding Meta Tags: Meta tags are snippets of text that describe a page's content; they don't appear on the page itself but in the page's code. The most crucial meta tags for SEO are the title tag and meta description. These tags are often displayed in search engine results and can influence click-through rates.

Optimising Meta Tags: Your title tag should be concise (50-60 characters) and include your primary keyword. It should be compelling enough to encourage clicks. The meta description provides a brief summary of the page content and should be under 160 characters. Include your primary keyword and a secondary keyword if possible. Make sure each page on your blog has unique meta tags that accurately describe the content.

Using an SEO Plugin like Rankmath or Yoast SEO makes it easier to optimise these areas. 

3. Internal and External Linking Strategies

Internal Linking: Internal links are links that go from one page on your domain to another. They help search engines understand the structure of your site and distribute page authority throughout your blog. Use internal links to connect your posts, especially linking new posts to older, high-authority ones. You can use a tool like LinkWhisper to help with this. 

External Linking: External links are those that point to other domains. Linking to reputable, authoritative sites is thought to add credibility to your content and provide additional value to your readers. I personally disagree with this and think back to how it used to be in the early 2000s. Linking to others wasn't common, so when you did this the site owner went to look at your content. Over time, they'd see all your links and contact you; you've got their attention and they're reaching out. But... So many people link to so many sites no one has time to check out all the links any more. This has translated into "External links = good for SEO" rather than what it actually was - a communication method used to get the site owners attention, or, content that supports what you're sharing in your post.  If you do this ensure that these links are relevant to your content and use them sparingly. Too many external links can distract from your content and lead visitors away from your blog.

4. Content Structure for Readability and SEO

Effective Content Structure: A well-structured post is not only more readable but also more favourable in search engine rankings. Use headings (H1, H2, H3) to organise your content into clear, digestible sections. Your H1 should be reserved for your post title, with H2s and H3s used for subheadings.

Paragraphs and Readability: Keep your paragraphs short – ideally 2-3 sentences each. This makes your content easier to read, especially on mobile devices. Bullet points and numbered lists can also help break up text and make information more accessible. Remember, a well-structured post keeps readers engaged and reduces bounce rates, which is good for SEO.


Gary Provost, renowned for his expertise in writing, crafted a compelling example to illustrate the power of varied sentence length in writing. His famous passage, often cited in discussions about writing style, goes as follows:

"This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals—sounds that say listen to this, it is important."

This passage beautifully demonstrates how varying sentence length can significantly affect the rhythm and engagement level of writing. It's a powerful lesson for bloggers and why sentences are important. 

5. Image Optimisation Techniques

Optimising images in a blog post is crucial for several reasons, all contributing to the overall effectiveness and reach of your content. Let's delve into why this seemingly small detail can make a significant impact:

  • Improved Page Load Speed: Large, unoptimised images can be the primary culprit in slowing down your website. In the fast-paced digital world, speed is of the essence. A slow-loading page can lead to increased bounce rates, as visitors might lose patience and leave before even viewing your content. Faster loading times, aided by image optimization, enhance user experience and keep your audience engaged.
  • Enhanced SEO Ranking: Search engines like Google place a high value on page loading speed and user experience. Optimised images contribute positively to these factors. By reducing file sizes without compromising on quality, your blog is more likely to rank higher in search results, leading to increased visibility and traffic.
  • Mobile User Experience: With a significant portion of internet users accessing content via mobile devices, optimised images ensure that your blog is mobile-friendly. Large images can be particularly problematic on smaller screens, leading to formatting issues and slow loading times. Optimised images adapt better to various screen sizes, providing a seamless experience across all devices.
  • Increased Accessibility: Image optimisation isn't just about size and speed; it also includes proper tagging and use of alt text. Alt text describes the image content, which is crucial for screen readers used by visually impaired users. This not only makes your blog more inclusive but also improves SEO, as search engines consider alt text to understand the context of images.
  • Better User Engagement: Visually appealing images are more likely to catch the eye of your readers and keep them engaged with your content. Optimised images maintain their quality and are more effective in complementing and enhancing your written content, potentially leading to longer dwell times and better engagement rates.
  • Bandwidth and Hosting Considerations: Optimised images consume less server resources and bandwidth. This can be particularly important if you're on a limited hosting plan. By reducing the file size of images, you can save on hosting resources and ensure your site runs smoothly.

Optimising your blog post images can have a significant impact on your SEO and findability.

6. Mobile Responsiveness

Mobile-Friendly Design: With the increasing use of mobile devices, having a mobile-responsive blog post is essential. Your blog should automatically adjust to fit the screen size of any device. This improves user experience and is a factor in Google's ranking algorithm.


7. Consistent and SEO-Friendly URL Structuring

URL Best Practices: URLs should be simple, readable, and keyword-rich. Avoid long URLs and use hyphens to separate words. Each URL should give an idea of what the page is about. For instance, use /seo-checklist-for-bloggers instead of /page123.

Consistency in URL Structure: Consistency in your URL structure helps with site organization and user navigation. Stick to a lower-case format and follow a logical hierarchy. For multi-part series, include the part number in the URL for clarity.

8. Engaging Reader Interaction and Social Sharing

Encouraging Interaction: Engage with your readers by encouraging comments and feedback. Respond to comments to foster a community around your blog. Include call-to-action (CTA) prompts, like asking readers to share their experiences or opinions on the topic.

Facilitating Social Sharing: Make it easy for readers to share your content. Include social sharing buttons on your posts. Write compelling headlines and create shareable content, like infographics or quotable snippets. Social signals may not directly influence SEO rankings, but they increase visibility and traffic, which are beneficial for SEO.

By following these steps, you can significantly enhance your blog's SEO performance. Remember, SEO is an ongoing process, so continually monitor your results and adjust your strategies as needed.

Happy blogging! 

About

Sarah Arrow

With over 20 years of experience, Sarah Arrow (me!) knows the ins and outs of effective blog writing, which is why she makes her excellent at website copywriting, or, as a blog copywriter. My expertise ensures your blog will captivate readers and deliver your message effectively. Experience? This spans various industries, giving me a unique perspective and a wealth of knowledge to draw upon. This extensive background means she can adapt her writing to fit your specific needs and audience.

Ready to elevate your website or blog? I am the writer you need. My experience, skill, and passion for online writing make me the perfect choice for your blog copywriting needs. Contact me today and see the difference a professional content writer can make.

What Sets Me Apart?
Human Touch: My writing resonates on a personal level. I understand human psychology and use this to create content that connects.
Attention to Detail: Every post is detailed. Grammar, style, and accuracy are important in my work.
Consistency: I deliver high-quality content consistently, ensuring your website blog remains fresh and engaging.

If you're ready to get started join the free blogging challenge and do it yourself, or call me on 07816 528421 to do it for you.

    • Hi Rachel, thanks for your comment.
      I used to find it a minefield, but once I stopped thinking about search engines and started thinking about the people I’m writing for, and how to make it all easier for them, it became easier to understand.

  • This is so helpful! However, what about going back & optimising old posts using this plugin? Obviously it’s worth doing, but I’m guessing that it’s not worth doing the social part as this won’t be used? Thanks 🙂

    • Hi T-J, you should go back and optimise your more popular posts. OVer time they will get more social shares so you could do that when your fed up with the TV and there’s not a good book to read 😉

  • Thank you Sarah, I have this already and do my best to get as much green as possible! This post has helped me clear a few things up soI can try to optimise more effectively:)

  • Now that’s a post to share, which I did, on LinkedIn and Twitter. Great job Sarah. Feeling quite glad I took the challenge. Ta-ta.

  • Really useful Sarah. I’ve used this before but what I really got from the video was the keywords that drop down. A brilliant way to get ideas and I’ve never really thought too much about the social media bits. Many Thanks. Wendy x

  • Thanks for the suggestion to go back to optimize popular posts. The idea of going back to optimize everything would be daunting, but it was pretty quick to go back and optimize at least my half dozen most popular posts. I can always go back and do another batch of popular ones later.

  • Great post! I use the All-In-One plugin, but the key, as you point out, is to make sure we have all the necessary ingredients to be properly seen in the search engines.

  • I have used SEO Yoast for a long time, it makes the whole business of SEO very easy, and I like the way that it is constantly being updated, and the links to facebook and Twitter are excellent

  • I wasn’t aware of this plugin back when I had a wordpress.org site, very cool. I also went over and read the non-wordpress page you linked us to, that was helpful to me because I didn’t realize I had what amounted to duplicate tags.

    That along with the advice to only go back and focus on popular posts for SEO editing made this another very educational couple of posts for me.

  • This is really clear and easy to follow – I often find with video tutorials that the person rushes through cllck clicking without explaining what they are doing, but this one is great.

  • When I started learning SOE more serious, I was going crazy with trying to optimize every single post I write.

    I know have a little more relaxed approach to it. I try to have an all green lights SOE post at least once a week (which is an evergreen post), but for the rest of the week I don’t worry about it too much!

  • Hi

    This is yet another really helpful post. I realise I need to invest more time at least initially…to get the functionality right. I have two blogs to write today….one with keywords (gulp) and one with optimisation….so tonight I’ll be busy. I’m going to work hard to keep up…this is like learning a new language to me…it’s stuff I ‘sort of’ knew but really didn’t/don’t 🙂 thanks again.

  • I am thinking of switching to wordpress and actually have a friend building my blog so that I can transfer it to wordpress from blogger, so this is very useful. SEO always baffles me, especially as a newerish blogger, but I’m getting the hang of it. I just need to not be lazy lol

  • This plugin is excellent! Really, really helpful and not to mention the joys of the green dot…! I optimised my Day 2 post.. Now all I need is inspiration for Day 3 haha!

  • Wicked Article Sarah thank you this very helpful and a great plugin thank you for taking the time out to give a video tutorial.

  • This is a great tutorial, unfortunetly I don’t have wordpress. I wish though someone made a great tutorial like this but for blogger. That would be awesome!

    myunsettlinglife.co.uk

  • Thank-you for this amazing tutorial Sarah. The video helped a lot because I get bored when reading. lol.. I shared this post with all my friends because it’s really helpful. Thank-you, thank-you so much <3 Doing an SEO audit for my blog, right now…

  • Thank you Sarah, I’m learning so much from your tutorials! I’m making sure all my posts are green now. Having a problem with the static pages like About, Contact, etc. Are those OK not to optimize?

  • I am slowly learning how to deal with the SEO side of things – it’s still a giant minefield for me and I’ve no idea if I’m doing things right, but I will continue to learn and make progress. Thanks for the help so far Sarah!

  • WordPress SEO is arguably the b est SEO plugin in WordPress. While I’m using Weebly for running my personal site and blog, I have been using this tool for my client sites and it blow the competition out of the water!

  • I use WordPress.com and there seems to be no way to install any plugins. 🙁 I have no idea how to go from WordPress.com to WordPress.org and whether I have the technical expertise to do it.

    • SEO is taken care of for you on WordPress.com. That said, if you moved to self-hosted, you’d have more functionality and you will be able to monetise your site better. There is a learning curve/ some costs involved, like the cost of hosting.

  • Thanks for this super-useful tutorial, Sarah.
    I do have the Yoast plugin installed but wasn’t using it properly so far. I’ll be more careful about filling in the snippet and check for the green light but clicking “Publish.”
    (I’m a day behind on the 30 day blogging challenge but will catch up soon.)

  • Hi Sarah – great post. My current site is on Squarespace. I love it but having had a WordPress site before i see benefits for SEO. Plan to change next year as my niche evolves. Suzanne

  • Hi Sarah,
    I just want to start by thanking you for everything.
    I don’t really know much about technology but this day 3 materials has totally schooled me on WordPress SEO and how to use them. I have been learning new things about blogging since signing up for the blogging challenge and I have you thank for that!
    Thanks again!

  • Hello Sara, I love the tips and tricks but I am suffering from website page load time.

    Do you know any plugin to control website page load time?

    I am waiting for your positive answer.

    Thank you, David

    • There are a few plugins that can help you with this. First off pop your site in https://gtmetrix.com/ and see where you are lagging. Sometimes a new theme can list things significantly. I like Thrive Themes as they’re built for speed and conversion. Then use the P3 profiler plugin from Go Daddy and see if there are any “resource hog” plugins. Then, go and have a look at your server settings and make sure things like Gzip is enabled and there also may be server side caching that needs to be activated. Run all your images through WP Smushit (the pro version is worth investing in) and reduce the image size/weight. Then install a caching plugin and make sure it’s configured correctly! If you’ve done all of this and it’s still not very fast, then you need to look at moving onto a better hosting package. Robust hosting is the foundation of good sites. Good luck 🙂

  • LOVE Yoast SEO–it has been my SEO life saver! Thanks for the tutorial, I was able to check and make sure I’ve been using the plugin correctly… I have, for the most part 🙂

  • I am not sure if I commented yesterday or not but I just wanted to say that it was great. I’ve checked out some of the tools you talked about and other equivalent ones. As they work on the backend, I have on way of knowing (or finding out how) if they indeed make an impact on my site’s speed.

  • I just got a green light!!
    *does an excited little dance*
    However this is a stublimg block for me so I feel I will be going over the teachings of day 3 repeatedly in the future.
    Thanks

  • Wonderful and just what I needed today. Had the basics down but haven’t been doing the social sites thing, wasn’t sure how. Will have to go back to my more popular posts and add those. Great tutorial and well explained.

  • Adding a different image and description for Facebook is such a great idea. Thanks for pointing this out to me – I hadn’t even noticed the icons on the left – too busy trying to make sure I go from orange to green. Thanks Sarah

  • Sarah, another lovely information-filled blog post. I do admit that I get lazy and don’t fill these out all the time. I strive for the green light as it plays into my “star for being good/right” complex. ^_^

  • Hey Sarah,

    Really helpful information about wordpress search engine optimization. I am a new WP user. Thanks for providing this tutorial.

  • I know very little about this sort of stuff, and am a confused learner at the moment, but I already have the ‘All In One SEO Pack’ plugin. Do I need Yoast as well? Or instead?

    And if the plugin I already have is okay, does it do the same as what you have described for Yoast?

    Thanks for all, and any more, help you can give. 😉

  • Ok, this is my newest Blog Post, but as i am from switzerland, it’s in german :-). I am working with this one since day one. I choosed the titel by just picking a number from 1-31 (your blog ideas) and went with it. The thing about the keywords will take me longer, i am on my way but – phuuuuu… So today there was more light for me with the yoast seo, i do allready have it and work with it, BUT i learned about the social specials… and also, and this is great, about the two possible titles, one for the searchers and one for the readers… i do feel very comfortable with this challenge, just on time for me (thanks sashka to tell me about 😉 )

  • Hi Sarah,
    Another awesome post.I have just started doing SEO and is using Yoast Plugin and this post is really helpful as I m able to know about the different feature.

  • You mentioned all good points. I found this blog really valuable to help me understand. It written in a very clear and understandable way. Thanks for your priceless information.

  • I love SEO Yost. I just hope it realy does what it should ;-). I work with it for at least one year, but i do not realy have that many readers…. if i can trust google analytcis as well… does the flasch reading ease score work with german language as well? and as i just saw the explanation of the score – 90 – 100 easily understood by an average 11-year old student
    60 – 70 easily understood by 13-15 year old students
    0 – 30 best understood by university graduates i am asking myself do i realy want to write in a manner so 11 year old can understand me? i like to play around with words – like you do. so how can i get the right mix to still get my wording into it and end with a good score?

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