If you’re planning to start a blog with the intent to get your traffic from the search engines, it’s vital that you optimize it properly. Posting great content is a great way to start a blog in the right direction, but you also need to go through a detailed checklist to make sure you have everything covered. Here is a quick rundown of everything you should check for every time you make a post.

1. Use Your Target Keyword in the Title

Your title is one of the most important onpage SEO factors. Try to use your target keyword early on in the title tag especially if you have a slightly longer title. You also want to write a title that is attractive to the user and is properly tied in with the keyword that you are targeting.

2. Set SEO Friendly URLs

Many content management systems will automatically assign a URL to your post. It often looks like your URL followed by an ID number (yoursite.com/?p=312). You want to avoid these default settings and go into the permalink settings. Once you do that, you’ll be able to alter the URL and plug in the keywords into the URL of your posts.

3. Use Related Keywords In Your Content

It’s becoming more important to use related keywords and language to help you define what your post is about. A website that is lacking in content and only tries to base the content on the target keyword will easily be outranked by a website that has longer content and uses related keywords naturally woven in. Think about the topic you’re writing about and integrate related keywords to get an advantage over your competitors.

4. Use Keywords in Your Header Tags

The H1 tag is your headline tag. You need to make sure that your keyword is in the H1 tag. It’s not necessary to include your keyword more than once in your headline. Just one headline that includes your keyword should suffice. Overdoing it seems unnatural. If anything using related keywords in the H2 tags can help.

5. Set Canonical URLs

Did you know that there’s a difference between your www and non-www URLs. This can make the search engines see those pages as two unique pages rather than being the same one. This can lead to the search engines looking at these pages as having duplicate content, so make sure you have a tool that resolves this issue and sets a canonical URL.

6. Link Out to Related Sites and Link Internally to Relevant Pages

Like adding related keywords and language in your content, linking out to related sites helps the search engines define what your page is about. A link or two should be good enough to help in this department. You also want to internally link to relevant or related pages on your site. It helps pass the link value to other pages and helps the search engines find other pages.

7. Optimize Your Images

Optimizing your images is a tip that’s been given out since the earliest days of SEO. However, many webmasters still fail to optimize their images. All you have to do is to rename the image file with your target keyword (if relevant). You can also put use an alt and title tag for your images with the target keyword used. The title tag should give the image an appropriate name and the alt tag should describe the image.

8. Use Social Buttons

There have been tests that show evidence of social signals affecting rankings. If you want to take advantage of social signals, you have to make sure that you’re using social buttons on your posts to give visitors the option to share the post.

9. Optimize for Mobile

Google is pushing for mobile friendly sites. In fact, you may be penalized if your site isn’t mobile friendly. One of the easiest ways to optimize for mobile is to use the responsive design format. You can find themes and templates for all the CMS platforms that turn your site into a responsive site.

10. Create a Great Meta Description Tag

Even if your blog is perfectly optimized, you still need users to visit your site. That means that you need to write a great meta description tag. Great meta description tags are usually straight to the point and is impactful to the user. Make sure you use the target keyword in the description and write to sell the user on the click.

If you follow the checklist laid out in this article, you’ll be able to set up a perfectly optimized blog. You do have to understand that getting the onpage optimization factors right is the easy part. The hard part is getting your content out there and getting links back from relevant/related sites. Getting the onpage factor right, however, will set the right foundation for succeeding with your SEO efforts.