Your blog is a powerful tool to increase awareness around your travel brand and attract new clients to your business. But, to get traction and be visible online, your content has to tick all the right boxes – that’s where our blog post checklist comes in to help you!
There’s nothing more heartbreaking than spending hours writing an amazing blog post, only to have it sitting on the wrong end of Google’s search results. Focusing on using the right SEO tactics can help you avoid this.
Our checklist will guide you in optimizing your blog content to get more traffic to your website and grow your brand. Follow these points before you hit publish, and soon you’ll see better results from your blog.
Optimize Your Content Using This SEO Blog Post Checklist
1. Be Strategic and Intentional With Keywords
Any good SEO strategy starts with keywords. Keywords are what your target audience types into search engines. If you don’t optimize your content around these search queries, your blog posts won’t pop up among the google search results.
Before you write and publish content on your travel blog, you need to make sure you’re intentionally targeting the right keywords. We won’t go into too much detail on this here, as you can find more in-depth information on how to do keyword research in this post.
Once you have your ideal keywords pinned down, you need to use them strategically in your blog posts. Without forcing a keyword in, make sure it’s:
- Included in the first paragraph of writing
- In a main H2 heading (see below for insights on headings)
- Spaced evenly throughout the text
- Written in naturally, and you avoid keyword stuffing
- Included in writing using natural language variations, alongside short and long tail variations
Your keyword placement and the variations you use help Google and other search engines understand what your content is about. From there, they can index the content for people to find.
Most importantly though, strategic keyword placement tells the reader they have come to the right place to find the information they were looking for.
2. Write An Engaging Title
The title of your blog post is incredibly important. The title draws new readers in and tempts them to click on your post. Spend extra time coming up with a captivating title.
Always include your main keyword in the title of your blog post. Remember, this is what your audience wants to research, so seeing it in the title of your blog post will make your content relevant to their search query.
Make sure that the title applies to search intent (what the user wants to find out with their search query) and that it accurately reflects the content you’ve written.
Keep your title short to make it SEO-friendly. Otherwise, it may be cut off on Google’s search results page. Ideal, your title should be under 55 characters.
Here are some tips for writing a strong title:
- Add adjectives and adverbs that make your audience curious
- “How to” and list titles are always effective
- Let the reader know what value they will get out of your article through your title
- You can always A/B test different title ideas to see which one attracts the most clicks
3. Optimize The URL
Your URL, or permalink, should contain your primary keyword. Set this in your content management system (CMS) and keep the URL short to make it easily understood by Google’s content crawlers.
Let’s say your article is titled “10 Tips for Booking a Rome Food Tour,” and your target keyword phrase is “Rome food tour” then you can simply make your URL “rome-food-tour.”
Remember, if you don’t manually change your permalink, your CMS may automatically assign a numbered URL or match your title.
Try to avoid dates and numbers in your URL, and keep it simple.
Once you’ve set your URL, don’t change it. Changing the URL will cause you to lose all the SEO juice your blog post has.
4. Create SEO-Friendly Meta Titles and Descriptions
When you type a term into Google, each search result will have a title and short snippet underneath it. This is the metadata of the pages. Google indexes it, and people scan it for relevancy in response to their search.
You need to optimize this metadata on your CMS for your target search query. Change it by including your main keyword in your meta title and meta description, and make this relevant to what the user wants to find out.
Titles need to be around 60 characters, and descriptions should be between 120 – 150 characters. If you make them longer than this, the search engine will cut off the text.
Remember to make both of these engaging, interesting, and eye-catching. If they aren’t enticing, you will get fewer clicks through to your post.
5. Include Alt Descriptions in Your Images
Adding images makes your blog posts visually appealing. When publishing on your CMS, you need to optimize your blog images for SEO so that Google indexes them accordingly. This improves their chances of appearing in the image results in search.
When you upload an image to your blog post, you have the option to include an alt tag. This is a brief description of the image. Google indexes alt tags, so this can be an important ranking factor in appearing in search results.
Also, if the image cannot load, the alt tag will be displayed.
When writing alt tags, keep them brief and relevant. Try to include keywords and related key phrases in the tags. This will tell search engines what your images are about, making your content more relevant.
6. Format Your Content Correctly
Whenever you publish written content on your travel blog, it has to be correctly structured using headings. This means applying an H1, H2, H3, and H4 format in your blog post.
These headings break up your blog post, and they help search engine spiders crawl, understand, and rank your blog posts. Always try to include relevant keywords in these titles.
Within the text itself, keep your sentences and paragraphs short and easy to read. Your readers will thank you for the easily scannable text. This also creates white space, which is better for the mobile experience.
Add bullet points and numbered lists where it makes sense to do so. This breaks up the content and makes it easier to read.
7. Strategically Add Links To Your Content
Backlinks are an essential factor in SEO. Linking tells search engines that the content is researched and contextually relevant. Links in your content also add additional information, which can make your blog posts more useful and lead your audience on a journey of discovery.
When you publish travel content on your blog, always include a few internal and external links. Linking to other content on your own blog will help you connect up your site and give your audience more opportunities for discovery.
And linking to external sources with a high domain authority is a good SEO tactic to boost your online visibility. Just make sure you don’t link out to competing pages.
Always pay attention to the anchor text you link out to. Keep it clickable, short, and simple. Never link out using your target keyword as anchor text, and try to link to other internal pages using their keyword or a keyword variation. This helps search engines view this content as an authority on that keyword.
8. Create Content That Your Readers Will Love
Content quality is arguably the most critical factor in any SEO strategy. Your content needs to be relevant to your target audience’s search query. If you add value and engage readers, your content will perform better.
While “quality” content may seem like a bit of a broad term, there are a few things that help you achieve this:
- Always answer exactly what your target audience is looking for. Understand the keyword you’re writing about, and provide accurate information on that keyword. No filler, no fluff. Just provide value.
- Make sure the technical experience of your site is good. Images should be compressed to load faster, all links should work, and there shouldn’t be any mobile optimization or page speed issues.
- Keep your content the right length. Look at how long the content on the top-ranking pages is, and aim for the same length in your writing. You don’t want to provide too little information, but you also don’t want to write an unnecessarily long blog post when the user’s question could be answered in one paragraph.
- Avoid keyword stuffing and other outdated SEO techniques. Google’s algorithm is smart, and it has a good understanding of what your content is actually about. Instead of trying to squeeze in loads of keywords, rather focus on writing easily-readable content for the user.
While there’s a lot that goes into SEO these days, getting the most important aspects covered is pretty simple. And if you get SEO right, it will provide immense long-term value to your travel business.
Pay attention to the strategies above before you publish your next blog post. With a bit of SEO effort, you’ll be able to gain a lot more traffic and visibility.