WordPress SEO Checklist – How We Optimize Blog Content

^ The title is an example of an Optimized H1 Tag (Primary page heading – WordPress applies page titles as the H1 tag)

A List of On-Page SEO Elements for Better WordPress Optimization

^ Example of an Optimized H2 Tag (Secondary page heading / Subheading)

Title and META Description

^ Example of an H3 Tag (Section heading)

The title and META description are used for the search engine listing:

meta title description optimize blog content seo

By installing Yoast SEO or the All in One SEO Pack for WordPress you can easily change the title and META description for a page. They should both be optimized while still managing to entice the reader to click on your listing. Some META descriptions have a call to action or even a phone number to generate leads and sales straight through the search engine listing.

Page, Section and Paragraph Headings

Each page should have only one H1 and H2 tag but there should be multiple H3 and H4 tags.

If you have headings on the page that need to be there but you are unable to optimize them because it would reduce readability, you should simply bold and increase the font size of those headings and not apply a heading tag to them.

How to format headings when targeting multiple keywords

^ Example of an H4 Tag (Paragraph heading)

If multiple keyword phrases are being targeted on the page, they do not have to appear in order.

For instance, this page targets the keywords “WordPress checklist” “SEO checklist” “WordPress SEO Guide” “On-Page SEO Checklist” and “On-Page Optimization Guide.” In our H1 tag, we’ve targeted each of these phrases even though they do not appear in order within the tag. Our h2 tag then reinforces those keywords while also introducing closely related keywords like “list” as a shorthand version of “checklist.”

Image ALT text

Each page should have at least one image, preferably more, optimized with image ALT text (alternative text). You can set the primary image of the page as the “featured image” within WordPress. Image ALT text is an HTML element that is applied as such: <img src=”example.gif” alt=”Example of optimized image ALT text”>. In WordPress, you can simply edit the image and you will find an image ALT text field.

Bold Important Keywords

As demonstrated here, we’ve bolded important keywords. You should bold keywords based off what’s important to the reader, not necessarily your target keywords. It’s important that the content flows well and bolding can detract from the user experience if you bold the wrong phrases.

Content Optimization

Within the body of the content of the page, there should be a variety of keywords used. This includes synonyms of the target keywords and other closely related phrases. Make sure the content reads naturally and the keywords don’t sound forced. Better keyword optimization increases the relevancy of the content and makes it more likely that search engines will rank the page higher.

URL Structure

The URL structure are the permalinks or words that create your page URLs.

WordPress automatically uses the page title to create the permalink when you have your settings set to “Post Name” under (Settings > Permalinks). This means when your page titles are optimized, your URLs will be too but they may still require some removal of unnecessary words. You want to keep the permalink short. For primary pages of the website, it should only be 2-5 words in length. For blog posts, it can be 3-8 words.

The permalink should be optimized with the target keywords of the page and other closely related keywords.

For example, the permalink for this page is: wordpress-seo-checklist-example-on-page-optimization-guide


Posts within WordPress should be categorized relevantly and also include several tags that describe the page. You should include the target keywords, synonyms and other closely related phrases as tags. A tag is just additional categorization.

Videos and Rich Media

The presence of rich media on a page can enhance its search engine rankings. This includes both video and audio.

To optimize the page further, you should transcribe video content and feature it as text on the page. A good way to do this is to use a “toggle” HTML element that hides the transcription text until the toggled content element is clicked on. This means the transcription text won’t occupy space on the page unless the user actively selects to view it. Captioning your video and audio is another way to further optimize these elements.

Internal Linking

An internal link is a link on a page of your website that points to another relevant page on your website.

Internal links pass authority from the page they are on to the page being linked to.

Internally link to important relevant pages

Many websites link blog posts and other supportive content to the primary pages of their website. These are generally the product or services pages that have been monetized to convert the reader into a lead or sale. They are also likely to be the pages feature on the main menu or navigation of the website. By internally linking, the authority of those blog posts will be passed to the website’s most important pages.

When internally linking, use the target keywords, snonyms or other related phrases of the page being linked to as the anchor text for the link. This shows search engines that the page being linked to is relevant to those keywords.

Anchor text is simply the text used for the link.

Checklist Summary:

  1. Title
  2. META Description
  3. H1 Tag (Header)
  4. H2 Tag (Subheader)
  5. H3 Tags (Section Headers)
  6. H4 Tags (Paragraph Headers)
  7. Images with ALT Text
  8. Bold Important Keywords
  9. Use the Target Keywords, Synonyms and Other Related Phrases in the Content
  10. URL Structure/Permalink
  11. Relevant Categories and Tags
  12. Video or Other Rich Media with Captions & Transcriptions
  13. Internally Link to the Most Important Relevant Pages of the Website

Finding Relevant Keywords

Not sure what your target keywords are? Login to your Google account and access the Keyword Planner.

Note: Google now requires that you have an Adwords PPC campaign setup in order to access the Keyword Planner. It does not need to be an active campaign, meaning you won’t have to spend any money but you will have to setup a dummy campaign.

Enter a keyword related to the page you’re creating in the “your product or service” box shown below. The Keyword Planner will return related phrases that you can use to optimize your pages with. Keep in mind, it doesn’t analyze organic competition so it’s not the best tool for SEO but it does help you find keywords that are relevant to your pages.

keyword planner for seo

To take things a step further, you can search the keywords the Keyword Planner returns into Google, then scroll to the bottom.

Here Google will display a list of related keywords that probably weren’t included in the Keyword Planner’s results. They are likely to be low search volume phrases. If you’re building blog content to target long-tail keywords you can easily rank for, these are ideal targets.

on page seo checklist

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