When you write a blog post, it can be tempting to throw the content on your website and let it fly. However, you can improve your content and SEO performance just by completing this 7-step B2B blog checklist.
Note that this checklist is based on the WordPress CMS. So your mileage may vary slightly if you use another website back-end. The core principles will still apply, though.
The 2021 B2B Blog Publishing Checklist
- Proofread and edit your post
- Add your heading tags
- Double-check your permalink
- Use categories and tags
- Check your metadata
- Add an excerpt
- Use a featured image and alt text
Step 1: Proofread & Edit
By the time you’re ready to hit publish, you should have edited and proofread your post. However, your content can always benefit from a final once-over before releasing it into the wild. And readability is one of the most important factors to double-check.
Readability, as well as spelling and grammar correctness, has a significant impact on SEO rankings. By refining your content to make sure it’s simple and easy for anyone to read, you can improve your Google rankings.
There are a number of tools to help you do this. The Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress has a readability function that scores your writing. However, it doesn’t help you pinpoint specific problem areas to fix. Our team loves Hemingway because it provides great in-context feedback about writing in real time.
Whatever tool you use, make sure your blog is readable before you ask people to read it.
Step 2: Heading Tags
When publishing content, few things are more important than accurately tagging your headings. An effective heading structure makes your content more readable and improves SEO. That’s why it’s so high in this B2B blog checklist.
The title of your blog is the H1. That’s typically added automatically; you won’t have to physically add an H1. We happen to use H2 for the lead, and then H3 and H4 for further subheads. Whatever you do, keep it consistent and hierarchical.
When designating headings, your goal is to create a cascading structure of titles that let Google and readers know what you’re reading.
How you designate a heading depends on the WordPress builder you’re using.
In the classic editor, there’s a drop-down menu in the tool bar that changes the highlighted text to the heading you select.
To change text to a heading in Gutenberg, select the block, click the transform button (the one with two arrows) and select heading. Then, you click the heading drop down and select the heading level you want.
Step 3: Double-Check Your Permalink
When you add a title to a new post in WordPress, it will create the permalink.
These autogenerated permalinks are almost always too long and detailed. Lengthy URLs are unwieldy and don’t do your SEO any favors.
Here’s an example of what this can look like:
This is the slug WordPress created for our blog on writing the perfect ad line. It repeats the title word for word. It’s way too long, with several unnecessary words.
To improve your permalinks, click edit and rewrite them. Cut out any unnecessary words, characters or punctuations. Delete apostrophes from conjunctions. Remove any numbers. Your goal is to create a slug that is short, accurately reflects the topics and is unique from other pages on your site.
Here’s an example of the URL above edited down:
Better, right? It uses 49% fewer characters and still communicates what the post is about.
Taking time to double-check your slugs before hitting publish can make a huge impact.
Step 4: Categories & Tags
Categories and tags are tools for contextualizing your posts for readers. Categories create broad groups for posts, while tags describe specific details about posts. (Again, though, every site will vary.)
These tools usually live on the right side of the WordPress builder. And they could not be easier to use.
To select a category, click the check box of the one you want. To add a new category, click … “add new category.”
(Nobody said everything in a B2B blog checklist needs to be rocket science.)
To add a tag, type in the ones you want, separating them by commas. On a more established site with a lot of content, it’s a good idea to use the “choose from the most used tags.” This will help eliminate redundancy.
Whatever you do, don’t add these unnecessarily. Google doesn’t love one-post categories.
Step 5: Metadata
Meta descriptions and titles are the preview text you see on a search engine results page, or SERP. They’re the two most important factors that influence a viewer’s decision to click on your site … or to click on someone else’s.
This makes them your most powerful tools for converting search impressions into page views and new users. A useful way of thinking about metadata fields is that they’re just ads trying to convince people to read your post.
You can technically do this by writing HTML, but it’s so much easier to do it with a plugin. The Yoast SEO is a great option.
To edit your metadata in the Yoast SEO plugin, open the “Google Preview” tab. From there, you can type in your text.
Your meta description should be 158 characters or less and describe your post in a compelling way. The title should be 60 characters or less. Often, you can just use your post title as the title. Yoast will autofill it for you. If it’s too long to fit in a search result, you’ll need to trim it down to fit the character limit.
Step 6: Excerpts
Some website themes include an excerpt about the blog you’re about to read. If you leave this field blank when building out a blog, the excerpt will default to your first paragraph, then cut off mid-sentence.
These excerpts are supposed to function as a way to get people to read your blog. If you neglect this, you’re missing an opportunity to entice the reader to click.
The good news is, this is an easy task to address. Just copy and paste the meta description you’ve already written. That’s it.
Step 7: Featured Images and Alt Text
Featured images are often the first encounter a potential reader has with a blog before reading it. They appear in blog previews, social, messaging and occasionally search results.
Your featured image should be optimized for your blog. This ensures giant files don’t slow down your load time, which hurts overall website performance. A featured image’s dimensions should be 1200×675 pixels, since social networks want images about that size.
To set a featured image in WordPress, first upload the file to your media library. Then, on the right side of your page builder, open the “Featured Image” drop down and click “Set Featured Image.”
If you add images to the post itself, you should make sure to add alt text to them. Alt text is a short description of the image so you can understand what it’s about. Adding alt text makes your content more accessible to readers and contributes to SEO.
To add alt text, open your image in the media library and type it in the “Alternative Text” field. It should be short and accurately describe what the image represents or communicates.
If you publish on a regular basis, this B2B blog checklist should have a positive impact on your content and rankings. Taking a few minutes to optimize your blog for posting can have a significant impact on your post’s performance.