Blog SEO Checklist: 10 Steps to Build On Page Leverage

Blog SEO | 10 Steps to Search Engine OptmizationBlog SEO can be one of the biggest challenges to a new blogger when you really want to get your blog found.

I’ve made a commitment to demystify it in my mind in order to grow my blog and my business and I’ve uncovered some great blog SEO tools, keyword research tools, and trainings in the process.

I’m going to share several tips with you in an easy to follow checklist, to help you gain more on page blog SEO leverage without a lot of headache or expense of hiring someone to do it for you!

I have a no-opt in necessary gift for you at the end of this post as well: A free checklist to print out.  I recommend you put it in a plastic page protector next to your computer and that you use a dry erase marketer to check off the blog SEO steps as you write your post.

I will also share with you a plugin that I use to help you automate your blog seo with checklists and suggestions to help you optimize your posts!

A prerequisite to effective on page blog SEO:

HEO: Human Emotion Optimization:

SEO is not the most important part of creating a successful blog.  All the search engine optimization in the world will not help you if the content on your blog does not convert your blog traffic into regular readers and subscribers.  Remember that you want to focus more on copywriting for HEO, Human Emotion Optimization than you focus on blog SEO.

Your post should solve a problem for your readers, they should entertain your readers, they should be engaging for your readers, and they should be educating your readers on something they want to know about.  You want your readers to anticipate your next post because they can’t wait to learn more from you, or hear what’s on your mind.  If you’re focusing only on optimizing your blog SEO your posts will read like a dry textbook.

It’s also important to do some keyword research before you focus on creating on page leverage with blog seo.  I like to create a list on my computer that contains lots of keywords that I want to write about to save time and effort. I also love tools like the google wonder wheel and for getting suggestions on keywords to focus on for my blog seo.

Assuming that you’ve done some keyword research to find a relevant keyword phrase that you want to rank for, here’s what I’ve learned that can help you to optimize your on page blog SEO:

Blog SEO Checklist: 10 Steps to Build On Page Leverage.

  1. Have a domain name that contains your keyword or keyword phrase.
  2. Have your keywords in the URL of your post and make sure that your URL doesn’t contain extra words and clutter.  Just the keywords if possible.
  3. Keywords in your title tag. (You can set this in the All in One SEO pack, which also recommends that your keyword rich title is 60 characters or less.)*TIP: My blog for a long time had my blog name and then my blog post name in the title. That may be the default on All in One SEO, so check yours to make sure that each post and each page is only displaying the title in the very top  left of your screen.
  4. Include in your post a H1, H2, H3 tag that includes your keyword.  You can also include H4, H5, and H6 if you wish, but it is less important for your blog seo strategy.  The headings should break up the text which makes it easier for your reader to digest the information as well as easier for the search engine spiders to crawl the page and extract the important content.
  5. Use your keyword in the first and last sentence of your blog post.
  6. Keyword Density between 2% to 5%.  Remember that for optimum blog SEO your content should flow and not be stuffed with keywords.  Natural flowing text should always be your goal.
  7. Bold, Italic, and Underline your keywords somewhere in your text.
  8. When you save your images save it with your keyword as the file name.  Then when you upload it to your blog, title it and set the alt text to include your keyword as well.
  9. Write a post that is at least 300 words long. The search engines love detailed high-quality content.  Your readers will love it too!
  10. Have a fast load time on your blog.  This is something I need to work on with this blog, I’m still going through and de-cluttering my plugins.
  11. BONUS BLOG SEO TIP: Include a keyword that is hyperlinked to another post you’ve written on your blog. If you are including links to outside content that is not already published on your blog make sure that you include “rel=nofollow” in the html code of the link.  It will look something like this: <a rel=nofollow href=”http://YOUR URL” target=”_blank”>YOUR KEYWORD</a>

So, I’m not a blog SEO expert by any means and I invite all the blog SEO experts who happen to read this post, to please add their secrets in the comments below!  I hope that by knowing these blog SEO tips you are able to quickly optimize your blog post for the search engines and get the rankings and free traffic you deserve!

If you’d like more information on using the All in One SEO Pack for your wordpress blog, please reference this blog seo checklist post I wrote a few months ago.  If you would like to check out a paid plugin that’s under $50 for a one time purchase that will help you to automate your blog SEO, I highly recommend this one*.  If you do everything I’ve shared with you in this post, you won’t need it, but I find it helpful to have the little reminders and a checklist right in my wordpress edit post dashboard.  I’ve used it for a few months and I wouldn’t be without it!

Blog SEO Cheat SheetPlease share this in social media, link to it from your blog if it would appeal to your readers, and leave me a comment letting me know what you think!

I so appreciate you, and value your time, and I hope that I’ve helped you simplify the blog SEO process for you.

Don’t forget to get your free Blog SEO Checklist-no opt in necessary-to keep next to your computer!


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  1. Hi Heather,

    Such an informative post! I’m not an expert though I’ve enjoyed learning about SEO so far, and it’s definitely an important area worth understanding.

    As far as I can see you’ve included all the most important stuff, and especially the on-going question of HEO vs SEO… It can be tempting to go all out for keyword heavy text designed for Google, but it can’t be a turn off for your readers or they won’t stick around!

    There’s a real art to writing Optimized content that’s also a good, stimulating and informative read…

    Thanks Heather, great work!


    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Hi Jym,

      Thanks so much for the feedback. You’re right it’s an art to write the content in a way that is optimized and still fun to read. I enjoying the practice, but I think it is something that will always be a work in progress. 🙂

      I’ve added a cheat sheet to this post that you can download for free to put next to your computer. I had plans on adding it, but I spent so much time trying to get the video to upload, I just had to publish it imperfectly.

      I’ve added a link for you in our facebook discussion area if you would like to download it.

      Thanks so much for your comment. I appreciate you!

      • I agree Heather, an ongoing work in progress! Perhaps when we get the perfect writing balance it will finally be time to retire?

        Thanks for that extra tip in there – publishing imperfectly and not waiting waiting waiting for every last piece to be in place! Being too much of a perfectionist can be a sneaky form of procrastination!

        Thanks again,


  2. Thank for a great post on SEO. It seems you need to find a balance to keep google happy and your readers at the same time. I am still learning how this all works to think I use to believe everyone just wrote on their blogs to just express thoughts there is so much more to it.

    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Hi Kelly!

      It’s great to see you again! 🙂 How are things going?

      I had no idea that there was a thing called SEO when I first got started. I actually had to Google it to figure out what it meant! LOL It’s been a journey to say the least and I’m sure I’ll never really arrive at the end.

      I wanted to let you know that I added a checklist to this post that you can download for free if you’d like it. That way you can print it off to keep next to your computer to help you when you’re writing. There is no opt in necessary.

      Thanks so much for your comment! I hope things are going great for you and I look forward to talking with you again sometime!


  3. Wow, this is a very detailed post Heather.Thanks for sharing them. SEO is indeed important, but I appreciate it when you emphasize also on HEO which makes the content of our post much more essential.

    All the best to you,


    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Hi Ana,

      Thanks for the comment. I think the HEO is so important and to be honest, I struggle with the SEO sometimes getting enough keyword density and stuff because it doesn’t feel natural to me. I am always trying to balance between the two, and I have come to accept that balance doesn’t always mean 50/50. Sometimes the post is low in keyword density and high in emotion, and sometimes it’s the other way around. I hope that it all evens out. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting…I love your Gravatar photo!!!


      • You reminded me of one more thing, Heather.

        I NEVER worry about keyword density. As a matter of fact, the rule of thumb is if you right your post naturally using the keywords in the content, then more likely than not your density will be right on the money!


        • Heather C Stephens says:

          Thanks Ana, for the expert tip!

          I appreciate it very much and I’m sure everyone else will too!


  4. Hey Heather,

    I have certainly learnt a few tips here. When I started I never knew i could optimize my exposure. I was just doing my thing.

    Wish I read this the moment i wanted to get started.

    Thanks for the informative post.

    …fear is the passion of slaves!

    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Hi Tosin!

      Thanks for the comment. I think lots of us were “just doing our thing” when we first got started. Isn’t it fun to stand aback and reflect on all the things we’ve learned along the way?

      My son and I were looking at his baby photos (he’ll be turning three next week) and I was talking to him about how he had to learn to smile, and learn to sit up, etc.

      I feel like that in my business. I’m learning to smile, sit up, stand, walk, and eventually run. It’s a fun process!

      Thanks for commenting!

      PS. I added a checklist to the post for you to download for free to help you with your blog SEO.

  5. Hey Heather,

    Great checklist of things that I need to check off when doing on-page optimization for my blog. Just in time for Christmas. I better check it twice, lol

    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Hi Donny!

      Thanks for the comment. I know I need to be checking my list twice! lol

      Have a great weekend!

  6. Hey Heather,

    I’m no SEO expert either, but your checklist should be enough for most people to get a good grip with basic SEO.

    Just one thing – be careful with jargon, as not all of us maybe so well versed in the technical terms. For example, H1, H2, H3?

    But a great job, anyone should keep this checklist close to maximise their blogging efforts.

    Take care,

    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Hi Wayne,

      Great point about using jargon like the H1, H2, and H3 tags. I’ll be sure to keep that in mind in the future. It’s hard to remember, sometimes, exactly what it was like before I knew something…it’s like it has become a part of me and I will have to work harder at remembering that if it is something I understand, someone else might not.

      Thanks for the great feedback. I so appreciate it!

  7. Hi Heather,

    I loved the detail of this post! I have to admit, seeing the beautiful tree in the background is the main reason I clicked to watch the video too. 😉 I’m glad I did though, because you did a great job with it.

    Thank you for the high value you just shared. This was a big mystery to me for the longest time. I picked up a couple little things in your video too. 😀

    Thanks again!

    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Thanks Susanna,

      I was frustrated but I think my son bumped the tripod and I felt like a talking head in the video, but hey, it was done. I’m trying so hard not to be a perfectionist!

      Glad you were able to take away some new information from the post!

      Thanks so much,

      • Oh it didn’t look odd at all. It was great!

        My 5 year old daughter has seen me make so many videos now that sometimes she wants a turn. When I set the camera up and let her get in front of it she smiles and then says “Hi, My name is Abigail Hess, and…” then she goes on to talk about her toys, or something she’s done recently. It’s so funny the way she starts off though, great volume and clarity! 😉

        Keep making them in front of your son and he’ll be a pro too! haha

        • Heather C Stephens says:

          That’s so cute. I can only imagine what my kids would create. My girls are both getting digital cameras for their birthday that do video and I’m sure there will be some cute things recorded.

          Thanks for the feedback on the video. I was frustrated, but totally embracing the non-perfectionist lifestyle in order to actually get some videos done! 🙂

          Thanks for the cute story!

  8. Hi Heather,

    I am impressed with your list… this is some great On-Page Search Engine Optimization advice. Of course having your main theme keyword in your domain name is a plus also.

    As you know, SEO is a continual process throughout the life of your site, and as such, having a checklist when you are writing articles is most definitely an awesome idea!

    To Quote a sentence in my training: If you want the most from your online business, plus receive the highest volumes of organic traffic possible that some of your most successful competitors already have, then you need to take SEO seriously.

    Taking SEO seriously for your business is a Win/Win situation, and creating a checklist for your readers was an awesome idea! Optimize your site, focusing on the attention to detail, is what is going to win you traffic.

    I personally think this is a informative, SEO building article… thank you!

    John Engle

    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Wow John, thanks so much!

      I really appreciate your awesome comment and I look forward to getting to know you better. I’ve completed day 1 of your 7 day boot camp and I’ll be jumping back into article submission after reading your last post.

      I’d fallen out of the habit of re-purposing my blog posts into articles and I’m sure I’m leaving lots of exposure, traffic, and some great back-links on the table by not making it a bigger priority.

      I am glad you liked the checklist. I love doing those, especially when I find a topic that I have to keep referencing for myself. To be honest, I’ve created my checklists to save ME time!

      Thanks for the comment!

  9. Heather C Stephens says:

    Testing the comments to see if they are working.

  10. For being “new” to the SEO arena, you sure know what you’re talking about. Heather.. I really liked the BLOGSEO cheat sheet, I think it added a nice touch to the post, plus the added value is always appreciated..

    Keep it up
    talk soon

  11. Hey Heather,

    I love the new look on your blog. Very nice!

    Thanks for sharing the 10 simple steps to OnPage SEO success. Great reference indeed.

    All the best,
    Mavis Nong

  12. Thanks again for the SEO tips. I don’t understand the whole nofollow/dofollow thing. In your bonus tip you said to be sure to incude ‘nofollow’ in your link, but this blog advertises as a dofollow. I suppose if I understood the difference between the two and why/when you’d use one other the other… Thanks.

  13. Really great post and incredibly informative. Thanks for the tips. De-mystifying SEO is something I will always be a fan of.

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Thanks Michael. I appreciate your comment! 🙂

      Happy New Year!


  14. Hi Heather–

    Sorry I’m a bit late to the party…

    Followed you via Ana Hoffman’s blog-

    These tips are so helpful. I use images for every post, and had no idea SEO is boosted by including keywords for titles–ugh!

    Also, using underline, bold, and italicize…I’m off to do some creative editing for my next post…

    Btw, your son is tooo cute ;).

    Thanks so much,

  15. Hello Heather…. Those checklists are awesome and indeed very helpful. Thanks a lot for sharing this in here and looking forward to more of your posts in the future.

  16. My first comment didn’t take so here we go again….

    I must admit that I don’t always do a keyword check, I don’t necessarily like it but I do understand the importance so I’ll be paying more attention to it.

    There is also an keyword tool that is specific to videos, you can find it here…

    Thank you so much for your fabulous SEO checklist, I will be posting a copy near my computer and sharing it with my blog readers.


  17. That’s a great list and a great cheat sheet. Bookmarked the page!

    I pay attention to SEO a bit but I’d forgotten about putting my keywords in h2, h3 tags in the post. Great point, cheers!

  18. Great tips, the related article plugin is useful for including keyword links to elsewhere on your blog without having to actively remember to do it throughout your post (although it’s a good idea to do both).

    I also use a permalink structure of category / post name. This way there is no chance of a post conflicting with a page (because it just uses the page name for pages not the category) so you just have to mention the keyword in the title and it’s automatically in the URL and the Title and the H1. These are the most important elements so it’s good to have this out of the way without having to remember each time.

    • Hi Dan,

      Great tips yourself. Thank you for sharing them here!

      On page SEO is one of those things that intimidates beginners but is a whole lot easier when you dive into it and learn a little bit.

      Link building…well, that’s a bit more work. 🙂


  19. Thank you for writing such an informative post. I found your comments about finding the right balance between keywords/SEO and HEO with Ana Hoffman very enlightening. The SEO package I use was telling me I needed to include more of my keyword, however it just felt weird. Glad I’m on the right track. Again, thanks for the informative post!


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