Ultimate Checklist for Optimizing Content for Search Engines

May 26, 2017

Valuable content and Search Engine Optimization go hand in hand. You can't have one without the other and still, expect to have a successful search result ranking. 

All content created for online purposes needs SEO to stand out in the mass of mediocre blog posts clogging up the internet. Not to mention that one of the top three ranking factors for organic searches is content, according to Google.

One of the biggest mistakes marketers are making is SEO Guidelines for Successful Marketing

waiting until the end of the content creation process to bring in SEO as a marketing tool.

Most marketers write some content, stick in a few keywords, add a link or two, a call to action at the end, and call it a day.

However, a truly effective content marketing strategist knows they need to start with a keyword and user intent research before even starting the content creation process.

Only after you know exactly what terms your desired audience is searching for, can you design the perfect content strategy. Knowing what they are looking for can help you meet their needs and answer their specific questions.

High-quality content is successful when,

  • The desired audience is understood, and the keywords and user intent are also known. Always use your audience’s language, and provide the information they’re looking for.
  • The content helps the reader to complete one specific task. Long form content tends to rank better in organic results, but remember to stay on task and don’t let the text lose its focus.
  • It features an enticing call to action or a clear next step. When you know your readers, your content can point them to more of what they want.

Why Creating Engaging Content is Important

When users are engaged, they consume more content. The more the content they consume, the greater the chance they will share it.

Every piece of content you write should fall under at least a few of these categories: 

  • Simple 
  • Clear
  • Unexpected
  • Intriguing
  • Credible
  • Trustworthy
  • Entertaining
  • Educational
  • Relevant
  • Practical

And remember, not only is the content you write important, but also the structure and layout of each piece.

4 Tips to Writing High-Quality Content

  • Know who you are writing for. Remember not to use too much industry jargon like you are talking to your peers, but also make sure the language isn't too simple that it seems unprofessional. Find a happy medium and write for you customers. Search Engine Optimization Checklist
  • Long form content is valuable to Google, and some readers, but it is also necessary to take into consideration the audiences looking for something a little shorter. You can break up your content into short paragraphs, utilize bold text, bulleted or numbered lists, and larger quotes to make the text more visually appealing to those readers wanting to scan over the information for a brief overview that is easy to digest quickly.
  • Titles and sub-headers can also be strategically created to include keywords while simultaneously breaking up the text into practical sections. 
  • When writing a piece of content it is important to anticipate your audience's questions, hopes, fears, concerns, and problems. This way you can present a variety of potential solutions. This will make your content seem even more valid and your business more trustworthy and realistic, rather than too Utopian. Everything has its problems, but you will get brownie points by preemptively solving them. 


  • Make sure your web page and content loads quickly. Most internet users expect a web page to load in three seconds or less, if you make them wait, you risk them leaving the site and going elsewhere.
    • You can ensure a speedy load time by double checking the images and other media files aren’t slowing down your website content’s performance.
  • Create your site so that all of the content transfers to mobile seamlessly.
  • Include internal and credible external links that point to valuable and relevant content. Be sure to use keyword-based anchor text as much as possible.
  • Finally, remember that URLs should be short. Most top-ranking pages have shorter URLs so keep this in mind when creating yours. 

Back to Basics

No matter how technical and advanced your SEO is, never forget the basics when creating high-quality content.

  • Triple check for typos. There is nothing more cringe-worthy than a simple typo or grammatical error in a great piece of content.
  • Fact Check. If you want to be taken seriously as a credible source, you must ensure your facts are right. 
  • Link to reputable websites. Including outbound links in your content to credible sites may be one of the most important factors in determining your search ranking on Google. 


Before you even started writing you should have started with keyword user intent research.  

Therefore, you should already know what keyword you are targeting, but you may still need to examine how you are using that specific keyword in your content.

Keyword stuffing is not the way to go; it is very dangerous to the health of your content. 

Google is very keyword savvy, which means using them takes skill and understanding if you want your page to appear at the top of search engine results. 

High-quality content does not "stuff" keywords throughout, but rather, utilizes some of the tips below. 

  • Strategically add the keyword throughout your content and use synonyms in a way that contributes to your message naturally. 
  • Always use your keyword in image alt text. Image titles and captions are other strategic places to use descriptive language and sneak in your keywords in a natural way. 
  • Although you are technically writing for people, try to make natural use of your primary keywords at the beginning of your title because Google cares, and Google is king. 
  • It is important to use your keyword in the URL, which should be easy. Your URL should mirror your title, and your title should naturally contain your keyword, as previously mentioned. 
  • It is also important to Google, and your search rankings, that your keyword, and it's variants, are in the first 100 words of your text. Don’t force it, but try as much as possible to lay all your cards on the table within the first sentence or two, as well as the last paragraph and sentence. 
  • Managing the data of short-tail and long-tail keywords can be challenging to do at scale. Use a tool like Linkio to keep your various keywords organized. This will allow you to position yourself for potential page one rankings.

Still unsure of how to optimize your content for search engine rankings at scale?

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