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SEO Check List for Publishing: 13 Steps to Get Your Content Live

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Getting the hang of the best SEO practices may take time but will help you rank on Google if you diligently follow the plan.

These are the specific steps we follow when it comes to web content writing to keep everyone happy — both humans and search engines alike.
At the end of the document, you’ll find a handy checklist of questions to ask yourself before you press publish.

Step 1: Add a Well Optimized Title

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A title tag is what's going to show up in the browser tab and (most likely) the search engine results pages (SERPs). H1 is an HTML heading, and it's usually the largest and most important heading on a web page. The page title appears on the page itself and is often denoted using H1 style coding. A well optimized page title helps users and search engines understand what your page is about.

1. Include relevant keywords.

While you don't want to stuff your page titles with keywords, it's still a good idea to include your primary keyword.
If you can, putting it near the front can help search engines and users figure out what your page is about quickly.

2. Write for the user.

Your content should be written for the reader, not for the search engine.
This means that your page title should offer something useful to your reader. Usually this will be information that helps them better understand a problem or brings them closer to a solution.

3. Try long sentences, but pay attention to length.

If you’re using competitive keywords, a long headline is often more effective. In fact, according to a from 2020, 14-17 word headlines bring 76.7% more social shares than short headlines.

Step 2: Create a Great Meta Description

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The meta description is an HTML tag you can set for a post or page of your website. They are there to generate click-throughs from search engines.

1. Keep it up to 155 characters

You should take enough space to get the message across, but keep it short and snappy at the same time.

2. Use active voice and make it actionable

If you consider the meta description the invitation to your page, you have to think about your user and their (possible) motivation to visit your page. Make sure that your description isn’t dull, difficult or too cryptic. People need to know what they can expect to find on your page.

4. Use your focus keyword

If the search keyword matches a part of the text in the meta description, Google will be more inclined to use it and highlight it in the search results.

5. Make sure it matches the content of the page

This is an important one. Google will find out if you use the meta descriptions to trick visitors into clicking on your result. They might even penalize you if you do it.

Step 3: Write a clean, descriptive URL

URLs appear in search engine results below the and above the . For this reason, you should make your URLs clean and readable to encourage more clicks. SEO friendly URLs will:
Include your keyword
Be descriptive and meaningful
Easy to read
Use relevant categories/subfolders
Contain around 3 to 5 words if possible

Step 4: Use your exact target keyword 2-3 times in the body

In the early years of search engine optimization, the more times you used a keyword the better the ranking you could achieve for that page.
Sounds pretty easy, right? It was. In fact, it was too easy.
This is why unscrupulous webmasters just started adding entire paragraphs of keywords in pages to help boost rankings.
No context or readable format. Just lots and lots of keywords.
This is what is referred to as keyword stuffing. In more simple terms, it means overusing keywords to the point of making the text unreadable for the human user.
As you can bet, Google decided this wasn’t an okay practice. Thus, they started downgrading pages that actively keyword stuffed in this format.
Using a term over and over again is what can really harm your rankings in the long run, as well as make it harder for someone to read your content.
Thus, we remind you to avoid keyword stuffing whenever possible. That includes when using clusters and variants.

Step 5: Include synonyms of the primary keyword in the post copy (re: Latent Semantic Indexing)

The best way to cherry pick the finest keywords is to narrow down your options to those keywords that are most related to your content and have a sufficient search volume. Extra points if you can determine those golden nugget keywords with both high search volume and low keyword difficulty.

Step 6: Make your content readable and scannable

Did you know that spend fewer than 15 seconds actively on a page?
That’s not ideal when your goal is to keep visitors exploring and to get them interested in your product/service/brand. What’s the solution? You need to become adept at writing scannable content. This is what the modern digital reader is looking for (whether they consciously know it or not).
Write short paragraph
Stick to shorter sentences
Use bullet points
Add sub-headings
Sprinkle in images

Step 7: Add a featured image that works well on social media

The featured image is a single image that represents the mood and content of a blog. It’s sometimes called the post thumbnail.

Step 8: Add internal and external links

Internal links are hyperlinks on one page of your site that direct the reader to a target page on your site, whereas an external link is a hyperlink that directs the reader to a reputable page on a different website.
Internal links help a viewer stay engaged with your website longer. Altogether, they provide a positive user experience. This may encourage them to become a customer or follower.
Linking to outside websites will not hurt your page rank as long as the relevant content you’re linking to comes from authoritative sites.

Step 9: Add appropriate CTAs

Some handy rules:

1: You don’t have to limit yourself to one CTA only

Some companies believe that there should be only one CTA on a page, otherwise it would lose its effectiveness. However, it’s the contrary; you need to have more of them to maximise the chances of visitors reacting to them.

2: Place CTAs on every page of your website

Keep in mind, every page gives the visitor a chance to do something. By creating appropriate CTAs for all pages of your website, you’re creating more opportunities for conversion. So why skip an excellent opportunity?

Step 10: Make sure that all the links work and open in a new tab

The best practice for internal links is to have them open in the same tab or window. This is standard practice across industries and users have come to expect it.
The general consensus is that it is best to open external links in new tabs.

Step 11: Rename files and images before uploading to include keywords

Google has highlighted a number of ways you can ensure a better user experience via images once users find your content:
Provide good context;
Don’t embed important text inside images;
Create a good URL structure for your images (see below);

Step 12: Proofread

SEO proofreading involves checking for common language errors such as grammatical mistakes, spelling mistakes, typos, and punctuation mistakes, plus an additional step of SEO optimization such as checking for keyword usage and topic coverage.

Step 13: Add categories and tags

Category and tag archives help us structure content on our website, and they’re essential for SEO. Although they’re both taxonomies that WordPress uses to group content together, they should be used differently. Categories help you bring hierarchy to your pages, whereas tags help you group content on the same topic.
Especially for e-commerce sites, categories and tags can be more important than your individual pages and posts. Let’s say you sell shoes in your online store. Categories on your website could include sneakers, loafers and other types of shoes. Surely you want to try and rank on terms like “sneakers” or “loafers” and not just for specific pairs of shoes you sell. Of course, you might sell a pair of shoes that’s quite popular and that you want to be found for, but most people search for more generic terms and you want to make sure that they are able to find you. In that case, those category archives should be the first result in the search engines; they’re landing pages.
The more likely your individual pages are to expire, the more this is true. If your site is an online store and your products change, your categories are more important. If your site is a job listing site where jobs expire, your categories are more important. Otherwise, you’re optimizing pages that are going to be gone a few weeks/months later.

This checklist is created by . Where digital businesses come to innovate and grow.

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