Going to Publish a Post? STOP, Check this!

[This post is part of the WordPress Guide for Beginners – Step by Step Tutorials]

SEO is not hard, All you need to do is Proper SEO. If it comes to WordPress SEO then it is more easier than you THINK.

We do a lot of things to improve our site rank like link building, social bookmarking etc. But we often forget to optimize our blog posts.

I know that writing blog post  is the main concern as others will read and engage with what we’ve written. But we can’t ignore SEO if we want our content to be found.

SEO optimized post can help you to get better search ranking and drive more traffic. So it is time-worthy to check out some important factors before publishing a post.

WordPress Blog Post SEO Checklist

This checklist includes some essential factors you should know. In this post I tried to cover all the factors. Feel free to suggest any tips I’ve missed.

Keyword Research

Keywords are the phrases or words that searchers type on Google. If you want decent traffic from Search Engines then make sure that you have relevant keywords on your post and title.

You can use Google’s Keyword Tool to determine the best words for your post. So do a little keyword research and use focused keywords.

Post Title & Meta Title

People will read your post by just looking at the title of your post. If you have a catchy title then it will grab the reader’s attention.

But this catchy title may not be SEO friendly or cannot grab the searcher’s attention. To make it SEO friendly you have to maintain another title which is known as Meta Title.

For example for this post,

  • Post title: Going to Publish a Post? STOP, Check this!
  • Meta title: WordPress Blog Post SEO Checklist Before You Publish the Post

Read : How To Optimize Blog Post Titles for Readers and Search Engine

Optimizing Permalink

Permalink means permanent link.

When we write a blog post title, WordPress automatically generates a permalink by placing every words of post title. This generated permalink contains some stop words (Words Ignored By Search Engines) .

For example, For the post title “5 Tips to Making Your Search Listings Attractive on Google” , permalink by default would be: /5-tips-to-making-your-search-listings-attractive-on-google

Now there are many stop words on the link like to, your, on . You can edit the permalink by clicking on edit button. For that title, ideal link would be : /make-search-listing-attractive

Editing Post Permalink

Some tips for SEO friendly Post URL

  • Make it short (About 4-5 words)
  • Should contain your main keyword(s)
  • Avoid stop words (to,for,your etc)

Caution : Don’t change the Permalinks of your old posts (Published Post)

Heading Tags:

H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6 these are the Header Tags which used on blog post to break up content. Normally H1 tag refers to Title. And for next heading you can use H2 heading, H3 heading and so on.

Check out Matt Cutts’s video about Heading tags.

Optimizing Images

Images can generate huge traffic from image based search engine. If you want more traffic from it, you have to optimize images correctly.

Search engines can read the text easily, but can’t read the images. When we see a picture of  Snake, we can immediately recognize this. But Search Search engine bots won’t recognize it instantly if you don’t give it any cue from image’s context.

So it is important to help the bots to understand your image by optimizing it properly. Here are some points.

  • Most of the times images have names like image123.jpg. So it is better to change the file name with relevant keywords(Like my-keywords.jpg).
  • Optimize the ‘Title’ and  ‘Alternative Text’ of each image. Alt text helps both the readers and search engines to understand the images.
  • Make the image file size as small as possible. Large image size may slow down your size.
  • Use caption if needed.

optimizing post image

Read: How to Optimize WordPress Images for SEO and Traffic

Interlinking & Outbound linking

Interlinking between blog posts is the best way to keep your visitors longer in your site. It helps you to increase page views and decrease bounce rate. Moreover search engine robots can re-crawl your old posts. Make sure your Internal Links are Dofollow.


When a new reader comes to your site, he/she has no idea about your site. A proper interlinking can give him a good idea about your site and he may turn into a regular reader.

Read: How to Interlink your Posts with WordPress Insights Plugin

Outbound links are those links which are pointing to other’s site. It is the best way to make a good relationship with your niche bloggers. So show some love to other bloggers by giving them a link.

Some times they may give you a trackback which can be good for SEO. You can do this manually or you can use Zemanta Plugin to do this.

Meta Description 

Meta description is like a summary of your blog post. It helps Search Engines to understand what your post is about. At times, this will be shown as an excerpt in search results.

Moreover this will also be displayed when you share your post on Social Networking sites like Facebook, Google + etc.

Some WordPress themes like thesis has built-in options for writing meta description. However, You can use All in One SEO Pack Plugin for this. Read: How to Add Meta Description.

WordPress Post Meta Description

Read: How to Write a Good Meta Description That Increases CTR

Categories and Tags:

Categories are used for broad grouping of post topics while tags are generally used to describe your post in more detail.

Select proper category for your blog and each post should go for only one category.

Now move to the tags. Tags are the most abused thing in WordPress. Most folks use it as Meta tags and they put too many words in tags. SO do it wisely.

Read these posts to know more about tags.

Proofread Writing

You are the best reader of your blog. If you don’t like to read your own post, then what about other people? So proofread your writing at least 2 times.

Moreover proofreading can help you to find out the spelling and grammatical errors. Having these errors is bad for SEO and it creates bad impression to your readers.

I know it kinda tough to reread the post, but it will be easy if you make it habit. So NEVER publish your post before proofreading.

Read : Spelling And Grammar Checking WordPress Plugin (ATD)

 What Next?

It may sound like lots of work to do, but with the passage of time and practice these will become your habit or nature. Besides, you can use SEOPressor WordPress Plugin that reminds you the above things on checklist.

Have I missed any point? Let me  know in the comments.

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Istiak Rayhan

Istiak Rayhan is the founder of RoadToBlogging.com, a blog that aims to make bloggers' journey easier. Istiak loves to help newbie bloggers to build a better blog. Here's more about him.

  • Brian Hawkins says:

    Nice post Istiak. I do disagree with the ‘title’ section but the permalink and avoiding stop words is great advice. Thanks :)

    • Raplus says:

      Hi Brian

      Why do you disagree with title section? Title is the very important for SEO.

      • Brian Hawkins says:

        Hi Raplus, look at the comment directly above yours. :)

    • Istiak Rayhan says:

      Hey Brain, Thanks for the comments. Could you tell me why you disagree with the ‘title’ section,please?
      Hope your answer will be helpful for us.

      • Brian Hawkins says:

        I just think it’s a mistake to separate the Meta title and post title. I know bloggers have been doing it for a long time but I’ve gotten away from it. My reasoning is more ‘feeling’ than logic so I was reluctant to even mention it. We’ve experienced one wave after another from Google and the potential for two separate titles becoming a blogger’s nightmare seems pretty high. I could be wrong but I hate the thought of going back and editing all of my past titles because Google decided it looked spammy to have one title for Googlebot and one for humans. Does that make sense?

        I just do my best to create a user friendly title that’s also as search engine friendly as I can make it. Whether the searcher/reader is picking from the serps or your own blog’s directory, your title is what decides if they click. So I go for the reader/user first and then do my best to make it work well for SEO; but both Meta and blog titles are the same. That’s just my two cents based on absolutely nothing so take it for what it’s worth. Lol

        • Istiak Rayhan says:

          Agree with you, Brian. It could be a big problem if Google considers it as spam. And Google may do that cause I have seen that many people are abusing meta title and post title.

          But you know Blogosphere is very crowded. New bloggers like me need some attention. To get that I use two separate title.

          Thanks for the explanation!

        • Ehsan Ullah says:

          I couldn’t agree with you more Brian! You know there’s a strategy to make your title user-friendly+SEO friendly! And that is what I’ve been doing on my blog.

          I do optimize my post for better SEO ranking, but my readers can’t understand the SEO aspect of the post.

    • kapil says:

      Brian Hawkins i think all things is very important for great ranking

  • Tamal says:

    Hello Istiak, first of all your article is wonderful, love it.

    Now I completely agree with Brian. When there is no meta title, the blog title is considered to be the meta title. But when both the 2 different things then it is confusing for both users and search engines. For an example this post title is “Going to Publish a Post? STOP, Check this!” and the meta title is “WordPress Blog Post SEO Checklist Before You Publish the Post” So people see one thing when they search and other when they browse in your blog. Making things confusing to navigate.

    When you write meta title, you can optimize it by removing a few words so that it does not cuts off from the listing, but making sure it is still similar to the blog title.

    What I do is to write an SEO optimized title and use it for both meta and blog title. That’s my 2 cents.

    • Istiak Rayhan says:

      Hey Tamal, thanks for your comment. Glad to know that you loved my articles.
      I think I over optimized the meta title for this post. That’s why two titles contain different keywords which may confuse the readers.
      Actually I did this because I wanted to grab the readers attention quickly.
      In my previous post, post title was Are Your Blog Post Titles Optimized for Readers and Search Engines? and meta title was How To Optimize Blog Post Titles for Your Readers and SEO. That titles contain almost the same words. And I think that is the ideal title optimizing.

  • Okto says:

    Hi Istiyak,

    Interesting discussion brought by Brian up there :). I personally do not mind meta title, but if I do I prefer to write meta title the same as post title. I don’t know why but that’s what I’ve done within my blog.

    • Istiak Rayhan says:

      I think we can make a little change for readers and SEO. I’ve noticed Amit Agarwal from labnol.org do that.
      Thanks for the comments.

  • shakil says:

    Nice post Istiak. Like others, i would not recommend keeping separate titles for readers and search engines.

    • Istiak Rayhan says:

      Hey Shakil, Thanks for the comment.

  • Awesome Rayhan. You are right we should do keyword research before writing any post. 1 good less-competitive keyword optimized post is better than few competitive-keyword based post to get more organic visitors from search engines.

  • I agree with Brian’s comment and he has logic in not to write post title and meta title differently. But when I use Traffic Travis to check page status, I see it shows page warning when both post title and meta title are same. It’s bit of surprising but I am not sure why this is so.

    • Istiak Rayhan says:

      I think it is good idea to make slight change in meta and post title.

  • enstine muki says:

    Hi Istiak,
    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment on my blog.
    In fact, that’s how I got to this article and I can say it’s a nice piece.
    Hope you have a nice day bro

    • Istiak Rayhan says:

      Hey enstine, thanks for the comment.

  • Ehsan Ullah says:

    This is really a nice post with must consider checklink. A couple of days ago I have written a post on the same topic and that got great response from a lot of bloggers.

    • Istiak Rayhan says:

      Yea, I read your post. It was awesome. Thanks for the comment.

  • Chadrack says:

    Hi Istiak,

    First , must say this is really an interesting read. You did a good job going into every aspect of optimizing a blog post in just one read! I do every thing you mentioned in this post and must say it just the thing to do if you want organic traffic from the search engines. I’m really surprised that many bloggers undermine the issue of SEO believing that simply writing good articles will bring the traffic. But that is another issue!

    On the issue of meta title and post title brought up by Brain, I think as much as Brain’s argument sound plausible, I believe that the two is necessary. I do this for all my posts. The meta title is actually for those coming in from the search engines. These are people who found you on the search engines when they do a search. You can better optimize the meta title for the search engines while the post title most times is simply for your regular readers or those who are coming in from other blogs or referring sites. For these people you could actually use a longer title expanding all the benefits of the post but with the meta title you are restricted as the search engines will only show about 65 characters.

    All in all, like he said, maybe the search engines may look at this as spam in the days to come but I truly doubt that. And for now the benefits are truly outstanding.

    • Istiak Rayhan says:

      Hey Chadrack, Thanks for your detailed comment. Glad to know that you find it interesting.

      On the issue of post and meta title, I think it is really difficult to convince readers and search engines with one title. That’s why it’s still a good idea to optimize both post and meta title.

  • Tanver says:

    I am first time in your blog and really learn some good tricks.I have also a blog and I want to use this tricks for my post so keep going on friend

    • Istiak Rayhan says:

      Hey Tanvir, Welcome to RTB. Glad to know that you’ve learnt some good tricks from my site. I believe you will get benefits by using these tricks. Stay Connected!

  • Wade says:

    I love the Zemanta extension. I had never heard of this before! That was worth coming to this blog to get!

    • Istiak Rayhan says:

      Zemanta is very powerful extension to build relation with your niche blogger. Moreover if you submit your site on Zemanta, you’ve a chance to get some traffic from there. Glad to know that it seemed worthy to you.

  • Amal Rafeeq says:

    Well put Istiak.
    Wow great. I thought Proofreading was all what I need to do just before hitting the publish button. Thanks for reminding them to me man.

  • Sourav says:

    I’m not much sure, but I think this “meta title” which is creating so much of confusion in the comments section is not present in Blogger, and I don’t think there’s any way to include that from the HTML editor.
    The other points you mentioned are quite the same on Blogger too, and I try to follow each of them.

    • Istiak Rayhan says:

      Good to know that you are going to try those tips. Like adding meta title, Blogger has many disadvantages. Why don’t you switch to WordPress platform?

  • anis says:

    nice seo tips you have shared here in this post thanks for sharing have a wonderful day ahead :)

  • yogesh says:

    I like the second point about optimising permalink.I already read this thing before but didnt understand it properly.Between thanxx for your article it helps me a lot.Usually i dont check 2-3 things which are mentioned in this post.But in future i wil take care of this.

  • bro simple doubt how to rank in google first, in low competation i’m unable to come 1 page but it allways shows 2 or 3 page there any trick to get first page after writting relevent content and proper SEO and keyword placement and after main thing keyword density all done, still not arrive.

    • Istiak Rayhan says:

      Actaully there is no guaranteed ways to rank first page on Google. Sometime it takes time to get higher rank. All I can suggest you to, wait and publish great posts.

  • Spook SEO says:

    Hello Istiak, I’m so glad that you have provided us this WordPress blog post SEO checklist. I’m going to apply all these guidelines in publishing a post.

  • Mansi AGG says:

    Hi Istiak,

    Thanks for all the points. Your instructions are quite clear and easy to follow… Great Work!

  • Rajib says:

    Hi Istiak,

    Firstly, I like to give you thanks for your great post. I read your article and all the conversation. Really wonderful conversation here. Actually Brain’s logic and yours make me confuse. Now it’s time to see applying both of you. Surely I will apply both and will see what actually works.

    However, I totally agree with you, using keyword in the image ALT tag

    Thanks again for great jobs

    • Istiak Rayhan says:

      Let me know the results of your test.

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