Trying to optimize your blog posts for search engines but overwhelmed by all of the information out there? There are two main types of SEO Optimizing: “on-page” and “technical.” This SEO basics checklist focuses on the “on-page” pieces of the puzzle. If you’re like me, and the technical stuff is way over your head, this simple checklist will still help you to radically increase your chances of being seen. If you can do them all, that’s amazing! But even if you only do a few of these things, I guarantee your site visits will increase within a few weeks. Remember that SEO doesn’t produce instant results–it takes time for search engines to see the changes.
SEO basics checklist
- Research audience keywords. What questions are they typing in?
- Research competitor keywords. What questions are they answering?
- Choose and target only 1 primary keyword, an associated long-tail keyword phrase (LTK), and a few “silo” keywords on each page/post. (For example, in this article, “permaculture” is the KW, “what is permaculture?” is the LTK, and “organic,” “sustainable,” and “ecological” are the silos.)
- Include primary keyword in the URL.
- Add ranking modifiers to the title. For example, “Top 10 Easy to Grow Vegetables” will typically rank higher than “Easy to Grow Vegetables”
- Include one and only one H1 title, and start it with the LTK.
- Put LTK and silos in the first 100 words of your article.
- Use the LTK and silos in H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6 subheadings throughout the article.
- Use LTK and silos in image alt text and descriptions.
- Make the LTK and silos bold in a few places in the text.
- Include multiple types of media in the post (text, images, PDFs, videos, all related to your KW).
- Write at least 800 words of original content that cannot be found anywhere else on the internet.
- Include at least 1 unique image and/or video that cannot be found anywhere else on the internet.
- Use the keyword and silos in an infographic.
- Optimize images for speed (this is officially a “technical” SEO thing but you need to learn it no matter what.
- Use mobile-responsive design (also technical but absolutely essential).
- Keep ad ratio to <10% of the page.
- Use internal links, to other places on your own site.
- Use outbound links, to relevant writing on other websites.
- Ask and answer questions that contain your KW and silos.
- Give visitors a way to comment (this keeps them on the page longer and their comments will likely contain your KW and silos as well).
- Use social share buttons.
- Check grammar and spelling, as bad syntax may be seen as AI-generated and ignored by search engines.
- Create quality backlinks from relevant sources (connect with related websites and ask them to link to your article).
- Avoid low-quality backlinks from ad-heavy sources (don’t ever buy backlinks).
- Don’t overstuff the keywords! If you’ve followed the whole checklist this part might be tricky but go back through and double check that your article doesn’t read like a broken record, as this will have a negative effect on your SEO.
By Heather Jo Flores, successful author of the book “Food Not Lawns, How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community”