When creating the final draft for a new blog article, it’s important to dot your i’s and cross your t’s before publishing. Having a process for reviewing and finalizing blog content can help you save time and reduce errors. Use the following 18 steps to make sure your content checks off essential SEO and editorial aspects of a new piece of content.
Page Titles, Headers, and Metadata
- Pick the Perfect Page Title. When deciding on a title for your piece of content, select a catchy title that includes your target keyword in the first part of the title. Try creating at least five versions of your title to help you find the best one.
- Make sure you only have one h1. Although Google has said there is no problem with using multiple h1s, it’s SEO best practice to use a single h1 for your content. Your h1 tends to be the biggest text on your page, so it acts as a title for your content. Multiple h1s can be confusing for your readers.
- Optimize your Headers. Headers provide structure and context for your article. Since readers often skim blog articles, optimized headers can help your readers understand your content and easily find what they’re looking for. From your h1 to your h6, it’s important to optimize all your headers before publishing. Make sure to include your target keyword and keyword variations in your headers to optimize for search.
- Metadata Length. The ideal page title length falls between 50-60 characters, and the optimal meta description length is no longer than 160 characters. Keeping your metadata under these character limits ensures that your title and description display correctly on Google.
- Optimize Your URL Slug. A URL slug is the part of the URL that comes after your domain. Here’s an example from one of our articles on 404s: https://www.searchnurture.com/what-to-do-with-broken-links-and-404s/. When deciding on your slug, keep it brief and include your target keyword if it will help users understand what your page is about.
Spelling, Grammar, and Readability
- Check Spelling and Grammar. Poor spelling and grammar can be distracting for your readers. Before publishing your content, use a writing assistant like Grammarly to find and correct errors.
- Check for Readability. Readability is how clear and accessible your writing is to read. Try reading your article aloud to identify any confusing sentences and word choices. You can also use a readability checker like Hemingway Editor to grade your content and find ways to simplify your text.
- Check for Plagiarism. As you finalize your content, make sure to add sources for any facts, quotes, and information. You can use Grammarly’s plagiarism checker to analyze your document and identify passages that may need citations.
- Check for Consistency. Avoid switching between writing styles. Doing so may come across as an error to your readers. For example, whether or not you use the Oxford Comma, make sure you are consistent with usage throughout your article.
Check Your Links
- Add Internal Links. An internal link is a link from one page on your website to another page on your website. Internal links are helpful for your readers because they direct them to other relevant pages on your site. Internal links are also important for Google as it crawls your website. Strategic internal linking helps show Google how your content is structured and helps establish connections between other related pages.
- Be Strategic About Your External Links. When linking to content on other websites, be strategic about how and why you are using external links. Make sure that any external sites you link to are trustworthy and relevant to your users.
Formatting, Imagery, and Page Structure
- Add Quotes and Graphics to Break Up the Text. Most readers don’t want to read through blocks of text. Instead, use quotes, images, and videos to break up your text and make it more engaging for your readers.
- Check Image Size and Ratio. Avoid using large image files, as it can impact page speed and load time. In general, it is best practice to use JPEG due to its relatively small file size. If you need your image background to be transparent, you’ll need to use PNG.
- Check for Any Strange Formatting. Switch to preview mode to see how your article will look like live. Scan the page to ensure all your graphics are displayed correctly and look for any abnormal spacing or sizing.
Closing Out Your Article
- Select any Blog Categories. Depending on the structure of your blog, you may need to add category tags to your article.
- Make Sure You Have a Clear Call to Action. What do you want your readers to do after reading your article? Regardless of your goals, create a clear and compelling CTA to drive action.
- Preview and Test. Before publishing, switch to preview mode to see what your article will look like live. Make sure everything is displaying how you want it and double-check that all your links are working.
- Publish! When you complete this checklist, it’s time to hit publish! Remember, you can always go back and update your article, so don’t let perfectionism prevent you from publishing content.
Download this checklist here.