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SEO is the ban of a blogger’s or small business owner’s existence, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as some make it out to be. Search Engine Optimization is the science behind making search engines like Google or Bing find your article relevant enough to push it to the top of search requests.

Think of it as a dating service. The reader puts in keywords looking for information on a certain topic and Google or other search engine matches it with a list of pieces of content that come closest in keywords matches. Then from that Google compares how many of those links are current and how many of those links are used throughout your site. It’s comparing your expertise within your niche to give their reader the best content.

Is it’s considered “Cornerstone Content”? Cornerstone Content is described in the great blog post by SEO by Yoast.:

Cornerstone content is the core of your website. It consists of the best, most important articles on your site; the pages or posts you want to rank highest in the search engines. Cornerstone articles are usually relatively long, informative articles, combining insights from different blog posts and covering everything that’s important about a certain topic.

There is no one answer, but I’ve created a system that works for me and today I’m going to share it with you. There are a few steps to make this work properly, but just like any recipe the proof ingredients.

When you create a blog post SEO should be involved in every single aspect.

  • Title
  • keywords
  • headlines
  • image titles
  • image descriptions
  • categories
  • tags
  • Cornerstone Content
  • social media posts

For example, we’re going to write a piece of content for our food blog:

The Title

You’re creating a post all about potato salad. (I love me some good potato salad!) So we’ll use the list above and start with the title. I like to use CoSchedule’s free headline analyzer when I’m creating my titles, but let me tell sometimes I think that we “overthink” it. I like to come up with 3 different headlines and see which one scores the most, maybe tweak it a little bit. So a potato salad title:

  1. This Is The World’s Best Potato Salad & You Won’t Believe What’s In It!
  2. The Potato Salad Everyone Will Be Begging You To Make Over & Over.
  3. Summer Isn’t Summer Without This Potato Salad Recipe.

Below are each of the headlines analyzed:

 

Keywords

Keywords are important not only in search engines but also in social media platforms use it as well. I like to keep my post keywords to between 3-5.

  1. Potato salad
  2. potato
  3. salad
  4. recipes
  5. summer salads

Those keywords should be in your title, description, excerpt, social media posts, categories, tags, and even in the title and description of the images. Now you can’t just go in there packing in keywords like you’re trying to shove a weeks’ worth of clothes in a carryon bag. It needs to be natural. Think of ways that you can use longtail keywords within the post such as:

  • This potato salad was my mother’s and it is always at the top of my summer salad recipes.
  • I make potato salad every year and we always use mustard in our recipe.
  • Potato salad recipes are everywhere and each one has it’s own variations.

Then we come to images. This is where for most people SEO goes right out the window. I see it all of the time. Naked images. There are a few places that keywords can be used.

  1. The image itself should be relevant to the post. Don’t put a picture of an elephant in the potato salad post.
  2. When you upload your image into WordPress there is a box for the description. Now, this is a description of the post, not the image itself. Something like: “This is my favorite potato salad recipe. and I’m showing you step-by-step how you make it”.
  3. The “alt text”. GOOGLE WILL PENALIZE YOU FOR NOT FILLING THIS OUT. This section is imperative so that visually disabled people can still enjoy the internet. If you’re using relevant images this is another place where you can build SEO. Is the image of your recipe? So for the alt text, you could use, “an image of my summer potato salad”. Which is “exactly” what it is and also included a few keywords.
  4. The link to your current post, of course.

Each little piece of this puzzle makes up the whole. A complete strategy also uses “categories” and “tags”. Using these two things consistently does a lot for your SEO. Don’t give them cute names use keywords:

  • Summer Salads – category   –    Potato Salad recipes – tag
  • Salad Recipes – category    –    Potato salad, Summer salads – tags

Social media is also a great place to use keywords. Pinterest especially because it is a visual search engine, not a social media, but I’m grouping it with them because people share their content with the platform. When people go to Pinterest they’re looking for something. So they search…just like Google. This again is where that image SEO kicks in.

So in conclusion, no one thing will work to help you build your SEO successfully. Each little piece goes together much like the ingredients of the potato salad. You can’t just throw a couple of potatoes in a bowl and call it potato salad. It’s the combination of all of those things that will make you consistently ranking.

Of course, you know that I’ve done it for you.

Get Your Own Blog Post SEO Checklist

Fill one out for each blog post and remember SEO is created by:

  1.  Great content.
  2. Good structure.
  3. keywords
  4. relevant images
  5. time

P.S. Bonus points if you use keywords
in your free incentive pieces!

Rena
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