SEO Content Checklist - Illustrated man holding a pencil next to a checklist document

SEO Content Checklist

Process At-a-Glance
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Step 1: Prepare Your Content

    Effective SEO starts with effective content. Before you do anything on your website, you first need to create content that appeals to search engines (Google) and humans.

    • Focus:

      Each page or post should be written around a single topic or concept. Don’t try to cover too much ground or it will confuse readers. The concept should align with your selected keywords.

      • Focus keyword: Should be unique to this page or post. Don’t cannibalize by using the same focus KW on more than one page or post.
      • Related keywords: To keep your content interesting and boost your SEO, include variations, synonyms and words closely related words to your focus KW. These can be repeated on multiple pages even if they were used as a Focus.
    • Length:

      Pages should be at least 750 words and blog posts need to be 1000 words or more depending on the topic.

    • Structure:

      It doesn’t make sense to create content that doesn’t get read because it is too hard to follow. We don’t read web pages word for word like printed text, so content needs to have a clear and logical structure that is designed for skimming.

      • H1: Every post or page needs 1 (and only 1) H1 tag. For many themes, the page or post uses the H1 tag so you should not add your own.
      • Subheads: Use subheads above longer paragraphs or groups of paragraphs around a concept. A 750- to 1000-word article should have at least 3 subheads.
      • Subhead tags: It’s not enough to insert subheads. You also need to properly tag following an outline structure. For example, large, significant headings should use <h2> tags, subsections should use <h3> tags, and then subsequent new sections should use <h2>.

      Structure Resources:

    • Content

      Along with the above elements, every page or post should use the following best practices.

      • Readability: This is one of the biggest problems that we see with SEO content. Web writing needs to be bold and clear, which means roughly a 6th grade reading level.
        • Shorter words: Wherever available, opt for the shortest word available to get your point across. Web writing is not the place to demonstrate your impressive vocabulary.
        • Shorter sentences: Long, complex and compound sentences lose readers. Break them into shorter individual thoughts for better comprehension.
        • Shorter paragraphs: By now you should be sensing a theme! Since we skim web content, make it easy with lots of white space and clear breaks.
        • Transitions: Using shorter sentences and paragraphs can make copy feel choppy. Make generous use of transition words to guide readers and make connections between sentences and paragraphs.
        • Avoid passive voice: This one is tricky, but revolves around sentence structure. Learn more here.
      • Links: Give your content context by linking it to related content on your site. Boost its credibility by linking to related content on external (outside) sites.
        • Internal: Link to 2 to 3 related posts or pages on your site.
        • External: Link to 2 to 3 authoritative posts or pages on outside websites. These sites should carry a high level of credibility and provide additional information or clarification of your topic.

      Content Resources:

    Step 2: Gather Supporting Elements

    Once you have your content written, enhance it with images and SEO elements. These elements give potential visitors and search engines a peak at your page or post and help encourage clicks.

    • Page Title:

      Also known as the SEO title or HTML title tag, it’s the first thing people see, even before they get on your site. A page title should be around 60 characters.

    • Meta Description:

      This is primarily used by search engines to show a description of your page in search results, usually below your page title. Meta descriptions should be around 160 characters. Google will display longer titles, but use this technique sparingly and only when it encourages visitors to click.

    • Featured Image:

      The theme may display this image on archive or posts pages and social links display this image in the feeds. Choose an image that’s relevant to the post and in line with the brand.

    • Alt Text

      Any image used on a post or page (featured or not) needs alt text. It is crucial for accessibility and should describe the image but should not start with the word “image, picture, etc.” If possible, you also want to include your focus or related KWs, but this is a case where the user experience should always come before SEO.


    Step 3: Add to Site

    You’ve done the prep work, now share it with the world! Add all the pieces to your website, making any final tweaks for optimal visibility.

    • Add Content to WordPress Backend:

      • Insert content from Step 1
      • If it’s a blog post, select an appropriate Category
      • Add featured image (set alt text in media manager)

    • Adjust Yoast Snippet:

      • SEO title
      • Meta description
      • Slug or URL: Keep URLs short to make them more memorable. Include the focus KW, but not the entire page/post title.

    • Check Yoast Readability Score:

      If you used the Hemingway App to check your copy, you should see mostly green.

    • Check Yoast SEO Bullets:

      Green tells you which aspects of your SEO are good, while orange and red indicate where you can improve your SEO strategy. Make adjustments to get as many green bullets as you can without sacrificing quality.

    • Fill in Yoast Social Data:

      This step is optional, but allows you to customize what social media channels, like Facebook and Twitter, show when you share a page on their platform.


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