Blogging may seem straightforward; you just write and publish content, right? The content landscape is competitive, and if you want to compete your content has to be comprehensive, well-written, and optimized for search intent and search engines. It’s not simply writing content and then hitting the publish button; there are things you need to be doing first. Here are a few things to be before you publish a blog post:
This seems like a no-brainer, but many people forget this very important step. Even the best writers absolutely need to proof their work. And, if possible, have a different set of eyes read the post. Your eyes have seen the content too much, and a new set of eyes can catch typos or problems you may have missed.
Also, don’t just rely on spell check or content tools, like Grammarly, Hemingway, etc., to catch all of your errors. These tools are great, but they won’t always catch certain grammatical errors or know the nuance of choosing a specific word. Give your content another glance after running it through spell check.
2. Review Formatting
A blog post needs good structure and formatting. Make sure your post includes a clear introduction, a middle portion of solid content, and a clear and concise conclusion or wrap-up. Remember, this is your chance to grab your reader, so make sure your content keeps their attention the whole way through.
Check On-Page Optimizations
In addition to good structure in your writing, you also want to review your on-page SEO, which includes crafting a custom title tag and meta description and using headings to further add structure, improve the SEO of the post, and also improve accessibility.
Using headings is a great way to keep the reader’s attention. Breaking down your main points and using subheadings for each point allows readers to quickly get to the section they want or need to read.
Ironically, the easier your post is to skim, the more your reader will actually take away from it. Good headings with the proper hierarchy can also help improve the accessibility of your website and your content.
3. Check Your Keywords
Using the right keywords in your post can make or break your SEO. You want to make sure that what you’re talking about and how you’re talking about it align with how people are searching for it.
Using straightforward language that uses your keywords is important. People don’t want to have to decipher what your post is about. You want your post to be easy to read, to comprehensively meet search intent for that query, and to be easy for Google or other search engines to find.
4. Add Images
Adding images can increase readability and interest in your content. If you implement some image optimization, you can also improve SEO too. Consider using an image of a statistic, like a graph.
That image can help someone grasp the idea of a certain statistic easier than an entire paragraph. Images go a long way in keeping readers on your site, too. Some sites suggest an image for every few sentences, but it’s really up to you how many you choose to use.
You need to consider the impact of your images on page speed as well. Having a ton of images may make your content look interesting, but if it makes your site too slow, it’s harmful instead of helpful. There are things you can do, like compressing images, using caching, using a CDN, etc. to improve page speed.
5. Add Links in Your Post
Make sure your posts include a few internal links. Inbound links or backlinks, which are links pointing to your site from other sites, are important for SEO, and so are internal links, which are links to (outbound internal links) or links from (inbound internal links) other content on your site.
As you write your blog post, try to think of older posts that are relevant to your post and add links in your blog post to those posts. Not only does this help link related content together, but it can also drive traffic to older posts. It’s one of the ways to keep your old content working for you while improving your site’s overall SEO.
The “right” number of internal links will vary depending on the topic of the post, length, etc., and how much relevant content you have. You don’t want to have a post with no internal links, but you don’t want to go overboard either. Include links that make sense for the topic and for someone reading the post, but don’t force something in that doesn’t make sense.
Also, check your post for external, or outbound, link opportunities. You don’t want to encourage users to leave your site without reason, but you do want to make sure you are citing authoritative sources to support any claims you’ve made, statistics mentioned, quotes used, etc. as well as linking out to specific resources or tools mentioned.
Not only does this help build credibility and trust for your content, but it can also encourage those brands or thought leaders to help you promote your content after its published. These are all reasons why outbound links matter and why you should add them to your content when it makes sense.
Once your blog post is published, you’ll want to add links pointing to it from other related pages or blog posts on your site. If you’ve added internal links to related posts before publishing, you already have a head-start on good options for links back to your newly published blog post.
These are just a few things to do before you publish a blog post. Following these suggestions will help you create and write better blog posts to help your site get noticed!