showering the world with your knowledge

Use this checklist to improve your post ranking

Why create posts

You have decided that you want to share the knowledge you have with the world…

showering the world with your knowledge
Share your knowledge with the world

And hopefully the world will repay you in kind by clicking through on your links for recommended products and buy them

This is the main reason you are creating your blog

But for visitors to think like this you need to create blog posts of what they want…

And also create posts to help the search engines find out what your post is about, so its relevance can be indexed and the post returned in the search engine results for a query about that relevance.

So it all starts with the post, and what you can control within the post…

What to look for in a good post

When you type a query into google and get a page full of results, you trust google to do its job and return relevant results….

It’s not always the case, but google is getting better at analyzing the articles and ranking them for relevant queries…

But what do you look for in a good post….

Mainly the answer to your query, and entertainment….an easy to read article that keeps you engaged until the end….at which point you are told to do something…and you do it because you want to…

So starting from the top….

The google results…

You need to make sure that the meta title and meta description are adding curiosity for the query, getting the peoples attention and seeming like your is the best result to click on to get the answer…

Once clicked on the post must continue the engagement….

Keeping the flow going with the title of the post…

The lead paragraph must add value and promise the conclusion of the query….

Then expand on the topic of the post….

Pulling in the information your visitors may not know, or thought about, adding value to their query…but not talking down to them…

The flow through the post must continue until the end where you answer in full the query…

And ask for something in return related to the answer….

If it is a product you are recommending, you ask for your visitor to click through and buy…

If it is an informational article, then a comment or a sign up to not miss any others may be in order….

But to get this far you need to know the practical signs to look for when you create the post….

Making sure you haven’t forgotten the basics

This is part of the process you can control….

So you may as well get it sorted to the best of your ability….

don't forget your abc's
A reminder of the basics is always useful

I cannot tell you exactly what to add words wise, as everybody has a different way of talking and you probably won’t be in the same niche as me…

But i can help by showing simple tools and places to check that you have filled in or carried out tasks….

Let’s go through the parts in detail then there will be a checklist going through the parts so you don’t forget…

The check list expanded

Google analytics

The fact that you have added google analytics and search console triggers to your site, for you and google to see what your visitors are doing on your site…

Make sure the code on your site is still present…
Some methods of adding the code, when there is an update of the WordPress theme due to security or compatibility will remove it…

Go to gachecker.com and enter your site url and look for a green tick in the global analytics column, if present then all is ok…

If missing and no analytics found then sort this out now…

Website topic

Read back through the topic of the website before you create any post on it…

Get your mind in tune with it.

See one of your customer avatars in your mind and write the article to them…

Topic of article

a focused topic for your blog is a good idea
Make sure you choose one focus for your blog

Make sure you are clear on the topic if the article….

You need a one big idea and supporting ideas for the article..

How is your article going to help your visitors…

The category

You will have several categories for easy navigation, and for google to see where you are going with your site…

Decide on the one category to add your current article to…

I know you can add posts to multiple categories, but for user navigation i always look at a site with suspicion if a post comes up in multiple categories…it doesn’t help with KLT ( know, like and trust signals) so may present a bad user experience….

The tags

You should have a list of the core set of tags for your site….

Some say they don’t help with SEO, but if that is the case then why can tag pages rank higher than the single article…

As long as you use tags as core links between main ideas for your site then you can use them to help you rank highly…

So select about 15 tags that say something about your site…not the same words or closely related to your categories as this can be seen as keyword stuffing…

Try relatedwords.org, describingwords.io or reversedictionary.org to get some key words that you can use as tags….

Remember to not shove as many tags as you can onto a post…as each one of these will create a tag archive page and be indexed…and google doesn’t like thin content ( single post summary on a page…)

limit tag usage to 5 per post and choose from the list of most used tags ( which should be a list of your core tags)

Internal links

Decide on which other posts you link to with this topic…

I hope you have a list of link words you have already used as google does not like overuse of the same words…it is classified as keyword stuffing and you can get penalized for it…ranking can suffer….

Use the link words to describe what your visitor will find when they click on your link…try not ot use click here

Keyword

Once you have the topic…you can do keyword research on it…

A lot use keyword tools to try to find the magic keywords…low competition and high volume…

keyword research is vital to know what your visitors want
Keyword research is vital to know your visitors needs

And this is without looking at who is actually ranking and the type of content on page one of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages)…

Without looking and seeing who is on page one then how can you create content that will add value…

If everyone on page one is doing a list type post then it would be ideal if you did the same, but adding more value…so look through the ones there and see what they are saying…

Decide whether they answer the query fully, if they do then maybe move onto another one…

If you can see gaps in their content then create the article…

Make sure you include what is there ( in your own words not copied) and add the extra value…

When google scans your post for indexing, then it will pick up on the content and ‘see’ the extra value you are adding and start testing your article against the others at the top…

Number of words

I have seen a lot of posts that say you must write over 2000 and increasing yearly to get onto page one of google…..

My take on it is to again look at what is on page one for that query…

And add value…

If the added value is an extra 500 words then my answer is to add 500 words…

If the added value is to reformat the information into a table, then do it…

So see who and what is on page one…

So there is no fixed number here except for the minimum number of words google considers to be of value and that was 300 words… personally i would go with a few more than that and aim for a min of 500…this sort of post would  have a lot of supporting graphs or tables to add value….

Relevant images

We, as humans, can pick up details and the topic of an image a lot faster that we can read words….

So including images that are related to the sub topic you are writing about is vital for helping your visitor remember your article…

Picking out the main topic for the featured image and subtopics for other images will help skimmers to glance at the headings and imagery to decide whether to stop and read the section….

But images in your post are not just placeholders they can also add value to others who use screen readers, and the search engine …to tell them what the big space is all about….

Using the Alt text box to describe the image and put it context of that section of the post is important for both the above readers….

Some say you should just describe what is in the image….but why not put it in context of why have it in the post…otherwise they are just random images…and not helping with your SEO for the search engines…

Male sure you add a caption, again relevant to the section you want to highlight , keyword if natural.…this is one of the most read parts as people skim down the article…

And if you are indexing your images then use the description box to add value to the image and a link to the original post where it is added…meaning don’t reuse images in more than one post…there are plenty of different images out there….

And if you can use images form different pages in the free or paid image sites…there are so many who use the first one they get and you start to tell which images are stock images…click through to other pages to get ‘fresh’ ones that others have not used…or you may trigger a connection to that other post…

External links

If you need to expand on an idea you can link out to an authority site….

This gives both your visitor and google signals that you are not against the idea of linking out to other sites…

Choosing authority sites like wikipedia and edu sites helps to show that you know who are the authorities in your niche…

So make a list of the authority sites and see if you can create a link or two…

Above the fold content

A lot of sites i visit don’t seem to appreciate the fact that the content ‘above the fold’ is very valuable….

They all seem to have a huge image pushing what i want down off the screen….

what appears on the screen is the above the fold
the above the fold display is most important

I know i am being selfish by asking for the content i want to be displayed to me without having to scroll, but when visiting a site i am who you are supposed to be thinking of….

So get part of the content ‘above the fold’ or on the bit of the screen i can see without scrolling…..

By doing this you also send signals to the search engines that this is the most important information in the article….

So if you want to show that another post on site is also important then add an internal link up there….

But allow me to see some content rather than your imagery…….

It also helps when clicking on other links on your site to tell me that the page has updated…

With google’s core web vital update then pages are getting quicker at changing and if there is only an image above the fold then i, as a visitor, cannot tell whether the content has changed….

So let me see at least part of the content…even just the title….

Author bio

With most sites nowadays google is looking for who is the author of the article and why should you read it or take notice of the information in there….

There has been a few issues in the past with sites claiming facts and them being wrong…either due to lack of knowledge or just wrong…

So google came out with its E.A.T. ( Expertness , Authortativeness and Trustworthyness ) algorithm…

So adding an author bio ( it only needs to be short) on a post will give both the readers the confidence along with signals to google that you know what you are talking about…

There is a section in the google search quality raters guidelines to look for who is the author of the article …and the site.. as they may differ….

So using a plugin like simple author bio and adding a short bio…again related to the topic if the site and why people should trust your information will go down well…

Read it again

You may be in a rush, you may not have English as your first language, you may struggle with spelling….

Unfortunately these are no excuses with the tools available to you for not running your post through a spell checker, grammar checker and if possible a punctuation checker…

It does not need to be absolutely perfect…as long as it reads correctly….

And don’t be fooled into thinking if there is no underlined words it is right…you may have misspelled the words into others and it doesn’t make any sense now…

The ideal is to get it read back to you with one of the artificial voice generators….

A lot of the time they cannot add any emphasis into the voice, but some are better than others…

Just getting it read back you can ‘feel the flow’ of the article…

Or even read it out loud yourself, where you stumble or hesitate…mark it and come back to those parts for a possible rewrite…

And while you are at it check for plaguarism, google or your visitors don’t want to read the same information twice…

Google will then need to decide which is the original, and even if it is yours, it may not decide that you are the original author….

Headline

I tend nowadays to put the topic of the post as the initial headline…

Write the post and then go through it and pick out the main idea…

Now come up with a few headlines on that idea…

And remember this may be the supplemental headline to the one shown in the search engines, but must also be strong enough for visitors to your site to want to read it…

Running your headline trough one or a couple of the headline analyzers may improve it….

You might want to try coschedules headline analyzer or the more imposing xxx headline analyzer…

But remember that you are effectively after two headlines….more about this in a minute…

Make it strong, adding curiosity and hinting at the answer….

It may take some time to start getting into the habit of doing this…rather than taking the keyword you are targeting and adding that as the headline….

You don’t need to do that now…

As long as your post is on topic then google will pick up on it…

You can, and should, use topic words…but you don’t need to repeat the keyword exactly…

The meta data

The meta data for the post is the data that is created for the search engines….

So mainly the meta title ..the one displayed by google when your article is being shown for a query..

And the meta description…the description of the post for the search engines….

Let’s look at these in turn….

The meta title

This is one of the most important parts of the post and should have the same respect as the actual title of the post…

If they are different then it signals to google that thought has gone into it…rather than the same title and meta title…which a machine can do….

You need to make it relevant to the post and use the main theme words if possible…

It is displayed in the search results…

And when the visitor clicks through in the top browser tab and if linked to social media can be the title used there …unless other data overrides it…

If google thinks that your meta title is not completely relevant it will display what it thinks is more relevant to your post.. .

This is one item to check later on after publishing….

The meta description

This is the description of the post displayed by the search engines, if found to be relevant….

Again this last statement ‘ if found to be relevant’ is important….

Once you publish the post then after a while check what google is putting as the meta description…if it is not yours then read what it is putting and see if your post agrees with that….

Google may not have fully understood what your post should be about or neither have you….

But either one can be corrected to bring it into alignment….

Use key theme words and phrases in here…don’t just use the keyword you have chosen…

Google does not count this for SEO, but uses this to entice searchers to click through…

The call to action

This is the bit of the post you need to sort out before you start it…..

What is the aim of the post…

fake download buttons
what action do you want your visitors to take now

To help others, to gain a sign up , to get a click through for a possible sale….

All of your post should be aiming towards this goal….

A bit like when you want to persuade a friend to come with you to the cinema, your whole conversation will end up asking them to come with you….

You need to do the same with your visitor…

Don’t think it is obvious…to them it probably isn’t…

So, say ..click on the link to check it out in Amazon…

Or sign up not to miss any more content…or sign up for the free information…

Or ‘have you tried these techniques, if so then leave me a comment on how you got on’

Make it a strong call to action and it doesn’t need to be right at the bottom.. .you can ask for a comment early on after trying to engage them….

But always leave them with something to do…

Somewhere to go…

Or even something to think about….

Maybe an idea for another post related to this topic you will be producing soon….

The worst thing you can do is to just leave them hanging…with nothing to do or find…

Even a share is better than nothing…

Social signals

Ideally you want to create articles that others want to share on social media or even link back to…

So setting up your social sharing parts of your article are crucial to show off the right signals…

Pinterest buttons for each image…

Apparently the description for pinterest comes from the alt text of your image …so make it make sense…

For facebook and twitter you normally get the option to add separate images and post to be displayed…

Check in your SEO plugin ( like Yoast SEO, all in one SEO or Rank Math) for each post to make sure you use them…

And once the post is published then hit the social buttons..

You may feel a bit like you have no friends but you are checking the operation of the buttons and starting the social count…

What’s the URL

In wordpress when you save the post the URL is taken form the title….

Now this isn’t always beneficial for you…

So it is worth taking a moment to view and edit the URL to make it shorter but still keep to the topic with theme words….

Table of contents

Adding a list of the main blocks at the top of the article is a bit like summarizing it…

It allows your visitors to skim what content you have and whether they want to continue or bounce…

So make sure that the sub headings you have used tell the whole story…

Don’t be too clever with the sub heads, but state what that section is about…

This gains three things…

it lets your visitors know what the post is about, it gives you reference point to link to specific areas within your post form elsewhere and it also gives google points of interest….

So definitely worth adding a table of contents plugin ( can you imaging the work to do this all by hand…this post has 30 subheads…so that would be 60 links added by hand…the chances of one of them being wrong….get a plugin like simple table of contents to do the heavy lifting)

If you want to link from outside the post then open the post and go to the table of contents and copy the link to the section…paste that as the link and it will go directly to that section….

So now click the publish button

I know it has taken a while to get here but now you have gone through a routine you need to get into before you click publish on your wordpress post….

If you miss something it is not disastrous, you can just change it…

As long as you don’t want to adjust the url everything else can be changed without issue…

But what about after publishing is there anything you should be doing….

Post publishing 3 weeks

Google takes a while to look through your post and try out different keywords ( google dance)…

If you monitor your search console account for a particular post over the period from publishing to settling you may find some strange keywords being tested…

This is where google may have taken a paragraph out of context and is testing a keyword for that….not getting any clicks will allow it to drop through the net….and not be relevant to the whole article…

So it is a learning process…a

And one you can use to your advantage…

Going into search console a few weeks after publishing you will find several queries against that post.

Look at them and see if google has taken what you want for the topic of the post….

If not then consider rewriting part or all of it to be on topic…

Just remember that if you change the url it is considered a new post….

Post publishing 3 months

Your post after a while will be shared.

And hopefully picked up by an authority within your niche…

And if they link back to it..brilliant…

This is what you are looking for nowadays…natural high authority backlinks….

To find out where your article is being linked to you can buy a program that shows you your backlinks…like serpstat or use the power of google…

You can do a search for the article name with an advanced search operator

I tried the links: operator and it sort of works….

Or you can use

Full article url -site:[sitename]

Where [sitename] is your sitename….

I found i have been pinned a few times in pinterest and a couple of forums…which is interesting and nice….

So to summarize and get all that information boiled down to something you can use

The checklist

Don’t forget to bookmark the post so you can easily refer back to it ….

Or download the pdf checklist to use

WordPress plugin

You can get wordpress plugins to do almost anything…

And this is no exception…

a wordpress plugin is like another piece of the puzzle
adding another piece of the puzzle for a good user experience

There are a couple of them…

One is called pre-publish checklists by brainstorm force..

The other is called publishpress checklists by publishpress….

If you want to install it then:

  • Click on plugins in your site dashboard
  • Click on add new
  • Type in ‘publishpress checklists’ ( without quotes)  into the search
  • Click on install for the plugin
  • And then activate
  • You will notice a new menu item down the left sidebar called checklists….

Clicking on checklists will bring up the required tasklist….

You can go through and setup the tasks for various options, including number of characters, number of words, number of links, tags, categories….

And you can add custom checks….

All of these, depending on the level you put on them , must be done before you can publish your post as a reminder…..

Let me know

You can use the checklist as a guide, or if you are checking someone else’s work then making sure that they have carried out all the tasks set in the project…

Hopefully this checklist will improve your wordpress content, helping it to rank easier.

green tick for liking the content
Let me know your thoughts on the content

Leave a comment below to let me know whether you liked this content…

And whether you will be using a checklist in the future to make sure your posts are optimized as well as you can…

Is there anything i can add to the checklist….

Are there any other tutorials you would like to see….

Thanks for reading

phil

About the author

Phil has been working online since 2015 and working with computer for longer than he can remember..
He has successfully built a few sites that are ranking highly...
He is now experimenting with techniques to see how far google has gone with the ranking process, with an eye on the speed of the sites along with the web core vitals...
His philosophy is 'if you can control it then do'....
If you want Phil's help then please use the contact page to reach him...

10 thoughts on “Use this checklist to improve your post ranking”

  1. Thanks for sharing this article with the world. It really is a handy checklist which is worth reading over and over. So for that reason, I hope you don’t mind if i bookmark this page (Or should I say ‘Post’)for a later date for reference. It’s one of those ones where even if it’s knowledge you already know, it’s still always good to refresh your memory now and then.

    1. Thank you for visiting and reading the post.

      i’m glad you have bookmarked ti as it is worth just running through some thing like this and revisiting after a while to make sure you are still catching everything….

      Good luck with your online venture

  2. Hey there Phil,

    Wow! this is an information packed article and I enoyed reading it. I still have a lot to learn when it comes to SEO and ranking. Your article has been really helpful and i have bookmarked it for reference. Thank you for the checklist, i have downloaded it and i will add the plugin as well. I will also install a table of contents  plugin.

    Do you perhaps have more info or training on SEO and Google ranking? 

    Regards

    Lawrence

    1. Hi Lawrence, thanks for dropping by and reading the post…
      I am glad it helped a bit and i really hope you find the pdf a useful checklist as a memory jog….

      the table of contents will help the visitor quickly scan what your post is about and whether it will answer their query…

      there is a section on this site about seo but also there are posts on content strategy and improving your sitespeed…

      I hope you find other posts that are useful, give me a shout if you want information on anything in particular….

      Phil

  3. Great articles for bloggers especially those who are involved in affiliate marketing. There are many guides mentioned here that will be able to help us to improve post ranking in Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Read the guides carefully and apply them wherever are suitable. We won’t believe how helpful these guides are and we would be very thankful to obtained these.

  4. Thanks Phil. This is a great checklist to make sure you are on the right track with your blog posts. Certainly too much information to take in with one read so definitely worth book-marketing to check back later. This is especially true because by the time I got to the end, I’d forgotten what I learned in the beginning. Thank goodness for book-marks. And thank you for this comprehensive checklist.

    1. Hey Jenni, thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment…

      with posts there is a lot to remember to do…

      and these are all bits that help with your SEO, so worth doing as you are able to…

      Thanks for bookmarking, i hope i didn’t overload you too much and the interactive table down the bottom will be a memory jogger….

      Maybe you can have two windows open and snap them left and right so you can see the chart to tick it off.

  5. Hi Phil. Thank you for very interesting article. Im just starting my adventure with digital marketing and posts like this are extremely helpful. Couldn’t agree more that key to success (apart obviously from interesting content) is to understand how SEO works and use google analytics in creation of article. Looking forward to use your advices and recommendations in practice.

    1. Hi, thanks for dropping by and commenting…

      i agree that engaging content is foremost, even more so nowadays as google is getting more powerful….

      so writing for your audience is important, but bearing in mind some seo which you can affect…there is so much more that you have no control over, so you may as well make sure you do what you can….

      Glad you enjoyed the article….

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