The Ultimate Blog Post SEO Pre-Publish Checklist (for Squarespace)
Ok, I talk about SEO a lot, I know! But I know first hand the effects that having a good Google ranking can have on your business, and I want you to have that same success too (just don’t push me down Google too far, ok!?)
And I talk about Blogging a lot too, because I can tell you that Blogging is the #1 reason that I get found on Google.
There’s a whole strategy behind Blogging for SEO. Unfortunately you can’t just Blog about random stuff unrelated to your business, while that would be super fun, there is a larger thought process behind blogging, and once you apply that, you will reap the benefits.
When I first started my business about 2 years ago, my plan was to produce a lot of Blog content to increase my SEO, because that’s what all the experts were doing! I wrote a post about that, and why you should be blogging, here.
And in all honestly, it worked! I got a lot of traffic from promoting that blog and slowly overtime my SEO ranking went up and up.
But overtime I’ve learnt while lots of content is important for SEO, the strategy behind the content is just as important, and one without the wont be effective.
After I had been blogging for a while I wrote this post about optimizing your Squarespace blog posts for SEO. This is a great introduction to basic SEO in blog posts, and how to apply it specifically in Squarespace, and I still do ALL of these things when I write a post.
So, if you’re just starting with SEO, I would get familiar with that blog post and how to do all of that stuff, because today I’m going to touch on all of those things and more.
The most important Blog Post SEO tricks that you should make sure you have completed before you hit publish on your Blog post!
Before we start the checklist, let me just say: the most important factor in all of this is just having high quality, relevant content.
If you don’t start with good, helpful content that people will be interested to read, then these SEO tricks aren’t going to help you too much.
The whole aim of Google ranking is to put the best, most relevant content first, so that the person searching will get the best answers. And our aim with SEO is to rank high up, so we get more visitors to our site, so we get more clients and customers.
So do your best to create either really interesting, or really informative content that relates to what you’re trying to sell.
I’m not trying to discourage you, because as long as it’s helpful or informative to someone, no matter how niche it is, it can do well! But if you’re blogging about your pet cat, and your business is to sell Real Estate, I would think twice about your strategy.
Ok let’s get into the checklist!
1. Know your Keywords
What is your article about? You need to know your Keyword or Keyword Phrase before you start writing your post. Make sure what you’re planning to write about is relevant to your audience, and then choose keywords relating to your post.
For example, my keywords for this post are Squarespace Blog SEO. Everything I do in my post now will relate back to these Keywords.
2. Include LSI Keywords
LSI Keywords is a fancy name for “related” words. Use words that relate to your keyword and use them throughout your post. Doing this helps Google get a really good idea of exactly what your Blog post is about.
A simple way to find LSI Keywords is to type in a Keyword in Google, scroll right to the bottom and see what Google is suggesting as relevant. For example, if I type in “Squarespace SEO” into Google and scroll to the bottom, the suggestions in bold are words I could use in my post:
Obviously, use only what is actually relevant to your post. A lot of the time I don’t focus too much on this as it’s usually something that comes pretty naturally, but it’s worth keeping it in mind while you’re writing your post.
3. Write longer posts
You want your blog post to be simple and easy to read, but at the same time, Google favours longer posts.
I’m not a huge fan of this, because I believe sometime’s this encourages people to add lots of “fluff” to their posts, so, if I have a short tutorial that I want to share—and adding any extra information if just going to annoy my reader—I’m not going to conform.
But, it’s a harsh truth. The more words you have, the more relevant words Google will pick up which tells them that your post is the most relevant, pushing it further up the search.
So always ask yourself, can I add more? A good word count to aim for is around 1500 (or more!) words.
4. External Links
You may think linking to external sources in your blog posts was counterintuitive, sending readers away to other websites. But it has more recently been proven that Google prefers articles that have links to external websites included in them.
I recommend including a few external links to resources that are relevant to your post, and will actually help your readers.
Plus, if they’re helpful links, your readers will be grateful!
You should try to include at least 2 in each post.
5. Internal Links
Same goes for internal links! But it’s probably even easier.
Include links to your own site where relevant. Add related posts, not only at the bottom of your post, but throughout your post so people are likely to see them.
Just like above, don’t make these links random, link to pages that will actually help your readers. Also, link to pages where you want your readers to go!
Add at least 2 in each post.
6. Use your Heading Tags Intentionally
Most web design platforms have the ability to have at least 1, 2 or 3 heading tags. Make sure these are set up to be in the right order: Heading 1 should be the biggest, boldest, moving down to Heading 3 being the smallest heading font.
This is important because Google can’t actually see the size or boldness of your headings, but it know when you are using them, and will assume that whenever you’re using Heading 1, it’s big, bold and important.
This is something to think about when you’re settings your styles in the first place, and then again when you’re adding different headings to your post.
Make sure you’re not just adding the headings because they look good, sure, use them to break up information, but use them as actual headings (what they’re intended for) in order of importance.
Here is an important title for Squarespace Blog SEO!
A less important title about Squarespace Blog SEO
And here is the body text where I go into lots of detail about optimizing Squarespace Blog SEO, but I shouldn’t use this body text for titles.
6. Include Images
Use lots of images, screen shots, videos and any other visual elements. These are proven to entice the reader and keep them on your page for longer.
By keeping them on your page for longer, that means your “bounce rate” (the time it takes for someone to leave the page) will be lower. If you have a lower bounce rate, Google will see it as good content that people are enjoying, and reward you by pushing you up the SEO ranks!
7. Optimize your Images
Optimizing your images is important for two reasons:
1. Increasing Site Speed
Site speed is a huge factor in your SEO. The faster your site, the better. Unfortunately, images can really slow your site down. But images are important for lots of other reasons, so we don’t want to get rid of them! We just need to reduce their size.
2. Naming them so Google knows what they are
Naming your images is equally as important. Google can read text, but it can’t read images. The only way it knows what your images are is if you add a name and description. If the name and description is relevant to your article, that’s more relevant words that Google can index, pushing your SEO rank higher.
You must do both of these things in every single blog post!
8. Optimize your Post URL
Short URLS perform better. Manually generate your URLs for each blog post so they’re short, to the point and contain the important keywords.
For example, this Blog post URL is /squarespace-blog-seo which is short and contains my main keywords for this article.
If you want to know how to change the URLs of your blog posts, check out this article. The part about Blog post URLs starts about halfway down the page.
9. Optimize your Blog Title
The more clicks your Google result gets, the higher Google will push it up. That means having a title that people want to click on is CRAZY important.
Two recent studies said that using one of these two things can increase your clicks by around a whopping 35%:
Using numbers in your title, eg: 10 SEO Tips for Squarespace
Using brackets in your title, eg: SEO Tips for Squarespace (Checklist)
Consider using these techniques when adding a title. And of course, use your Keywords!
Here’s a post all about how to start a blog with Squarespace, if you’re not sure how to change your title, add an excerpt, add tags and categories or a thumbnail image, it’s all here!
10. Add an Excerpt
Similarly to optimizing your title to get clicks, an excerpt shows up in the search results and can be the make or break of someone clicking on your link.
Keep it short and to the point, as you don’t have many words to get your message across here (because Google only displays a certain amount). Just enough to make people want to click for more!
11. Add Tags and Categories
Adding relevant tags and categories to your post is another great way to show Google what your post is about.
They’re also really helpful for organizing your Blog for readers.
By rule of thumb, I keep my Categories pretty simple and clear, as my readers use these to navigate through my Blog. For example, the category for this post will be “Squarespace Tips”.
My Tags, on the other hand, aren’t used for organizing nor are they displayed anywhere, so I consider this my direct line to Google. Some tags I may use for this post are: Squarespace Tips, Squarespace SEO, Blogging, Optimizing Blog Posts etc. I put a few very relevant keywords in this part just for SEO sake.
12. Add Thumbnail Image
Anything that helps readers click on your post, is good for your SEO.
Adding a thumbnail image is more important so that your post displays nicely around your website, social media and the rest of the internet.
You don’t generally see the thumbnail images on Google, but this is a perfect instance to use your Image Optimizing skills, especially naming the image appropriately so Google can figure out exactly what it is and how it’s relevant to your post.
13. Add a Pinterest Ready Image
This is another instance where it doesn’t make much of a difference to Google directly, but it encourages people to share to Pinterest.
I know we’ve been talking about Google this whole time, but Pinterest is actually a search engine too, deeming it totes-approps for the SEO conversation we’ve having.
By adding a Pinterest Ready image to your post, people are likely to share it to Pinterest, which means more clicks for you!
Phew! We’re done!
I know that seems like a lot of stuff, but after doing it a few times, it will start to become second nature to you. And until it does, come back to this checklist whenever you’re about to hit publish on a blog post and go through step by step to see if you can include anything else that might improve your posts SEO at all. Easy!
If you’re interested in reading up a bit more on SEO, here are two articles I’ve found helpful and interesting recently:
Thanks for reading!