SEO Content Writing Checklist: Don’t Hit Publish Before You Read This List

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Want to know what it really takes to get your content to the top of Google? This SEO content writing checklist contains our favorite organic content must-haves all in one place. 

This checklist is great if:

  • You’re new to writing SEO-friendly blog posts and looking for a guide as you get started
  • You want to brush up on some SEO best practices
  • You want to optimize existing content for SEO on your blog

Don’t forget to share it with your content writers, editors, and other content team members to make sure your published content is hitting all these points. 

SEO Content Writing Checklist

Before you hit publish, make sure your blog article crosses off all these boxes:


The days of keyword stuffing are behind us, but keywords still play a vital role in helping you 1) identify high-traffic topics and 2) drive the right audience to your content. The trick is to be savvy about the keywords you’re targeting and to incorporate them naturally. 

  • Contains the primary keyword in the H1 (title) and in at least one H2 (secondary header)
  • Contains secondary keywords at least a couple times in the H2s and H3s (secondary and tertiary headers)
  • Contains your primary keyword within the first 100–150 words of your article
  • Answers at least one relevant People Also Ask question or other featured snippet if available
  • Contains at least one LSI keyword (Use to find LSI keywords.)
  • Avoids “keyword stuffing” and uses keywords naturally 


Creating content that performs well is actually simple: Create the best content out there for the keywords your targeting, and clicks and top rankings will follow.

  • Provides answers to a problem or pain point that your target audience struggles with
  • Includes actionable tips
  • Is informative rather than salesy (Opt for an educational tone and save the sales copy for the final paragraph or calls to action.)
  • One-ups the competition (Check out the top-ranking articles under your primary keyword for ideas on how to provide content that will stand out. For example, interview experts, provide visuals such as infographics, sprinkle in “Pro Tip” boxes, or include a downloadable PDF to go above and beyond.)
  • Includes at least one call to action driving users to the next logical step of their journey
  • Lays out content in a user-friendly format (lots of subheads, bolded key phrases, and bullet points)
  • Has a readability score of 60 or higher
Read Next: 12 Blog Best Practices to Stand Out from the Clutter


Links are a vital SEO ingredient. When you use them well, you can significantly increase engagement on your site, signaling to Google that your content is valuable to readers.

  • Contains links to several authoritative websites with a domain authority of 40+ 
  • Contains 2-5 internal links to relevant pages on your site (other blog articles as well as product and service pages) using keyword-rich anchor text (The text that you hyperlink should contain keywords or words that are relevant to your topic.)


Imagery is a great way to keep eyeballs on your page, increasing time on site and engagement. They’re also a helpful aid for communicating information to your readers.

  • Incorporates a picture, illustration, screen shot, embedded video, or other imagery at least every 500 words to break up the text
  • Avoids photography with a “stock” feel
  • Images have been resized so they don’t negatively impact site speed (Reduce the size as much as possible, aiming for under 100 KB if possible, without compromising the quality.)
  • Image file names contain keywords

The Technical Stuff

Don’t let the technical stuff scare you away. These SEO ranking factors are easy for even non-tech-savvy people to address.

  • Contains the primary keyword in your URL
  • Uses a shorter URL, which according to backlinko performs best
  • Title tag contains the primary keyword, ideally as close to the beginning of the title as possible
  • Meta description contains the primary keyword and a secondary keyword if possible
  • Title tag and meta description are written to compel your target audience to click
  • You’ve added descriptive alt text for all images
Need help with your title tag and meta description? Check out How to Write a Click-Worthy Meta Title and Meta Description for SEO

Customize Your Checklist

Does your content meet all the guidelines above? Congrats! You’re ready to publish. 

Make sure to check in regularly to see how your content performs and look for patterns in your best-performing content. For instance, you might find that your highest-ranking articles are all longer than 1500 words or they contain embedded videos. Whatever you note, add that to your checklist so you can customize it over time to your unique blog.

And remember, if you need any SEO writing help, our team is here to help. Contact us today to learn more.

Jesse Relkin

Jesse Relkin is the founder and CEO of C-POP. She has been a freelance writer and content marketing professional for more than a decade, with experience in content strategy, SEO, social media, PR, and more. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.