By Barry Feldman published May 3, 2016

The Blog Post Checklist for Cranking Your Search Ranking


SEO has hit the fan, man. Hmm. What?

I mean, if you think you have foolproof tactics up your sleeve and magic linking techniques in your back pocket for optimizing your content, I’m sorry to inform you that your sleeve and pocket are see-through.

In 2016, you can’t hide your tricks. The search gods see all. And they don’t look kindly on your 2010-era SEO.

The search gods see all and they don’t look kindly on your 2010-era #SEO says @FeldmanCreative Click To Tweet

Google and the other search engines you care about are now good at sniffing out evidence that shows readers get value from your pages.

Focus on 3 tactics that work

I learned most of what I know about optimizing web content for search from (1) listening to my mentor and friend Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media, and (2) practicing his lessons.

With Andy’s permission, I’ve revisited his remarkably helpful post, Web Content Checklist: 21 Ways to Publish Better Content, and produced an infographic based on it.

As you’re about to see, Andy delivers 21 tips to cover the three ways you can optimize your content and crank your rank.

  1. Indicate the relevance of your article to the search bots.
  2. Tap human psychology to increase clicks, reads, and social shares.
  3. Feature compelling media to improve the quality of your content.
3 ways to optimize #content: Relevance, tap human psychology, & feature compelling media says @Crestodina Click To Tweet

With a huge thank you to Andy, a 2016 Content Marketing World keynote speaker, and my partner in design, Visme, I present the 21 Point SEO Blog Post Checklist: Cranking Your Ranking.

Creating Content for Google’s RankBrain



As you can see, the first five tips focus on the more technical (traditional) tactics around SEO. Six years ago, that list would have been longer, referencing keyword frequency and much more. Today, though, search engines are smarter – they look for content that truly fulfills what searchers are looking for. That’s why it is equally, if not more important, to ensure that you focus on the 16 other tips that relate to content quality.

Search engines look for #content that truly fulfills what searchers are looking for says @FeldmanCreative #SEO Click To Tweet
A Nutshell Guide to Proper Keyword Research

Make plans today to hear the originator of the 21-point checklist, Andy Crestodina, and other insightful experts at Content Marketing World 2016 this September. Use code BLOG100 to save $100.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Barry Feldman

Barry Feldman is the author of SEO Simplified for Short Attention Spans. Barry operates Feldman Creative and provides content marketing consulting, copywriting, and creative direction services. He contributes to many of the web's top marketing sites and was named one of 25 Social Media Marketing Experts You Need to Know by LinkedIn. If you would like a piece of his mind, visit his blog, The Point .

Other posts by Barry Feldman

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  • Rob Knapp

    Any WordPress click to tweet suggestions?

    • Lisa Dougherty

      On the CMI blog, we use Better Click to Tweet: Hope that helps!

      • Rob Knapp

        Yep, installed and really liking it.

        • Lisa Dougherty


    • Christian Karasiewicz

      @disqus_BJVmQqYhjn:disqus, you should check out Social Warfare. It includes social share buttons as well as click-to-tweet functionality you can include in your posts when you’re writing it. Here’s a video review I did on the plugin to give you an idea on what all it does. It also includes the ability to specify which images you want each social network to use when your content gets shared.

      • Rob Knapp

        I don’t have a 5-minute attention span right now 😉

        • Christian Karasiewicz

          No worries @disqus_hU8op4ho99:disqus. It will be there waiting for you. Enjoy!

          • Rob Knapp

            Nice, I checked out the video. Good stuff. I might have to experiment with that plugin.

          • Christian Karasiewicz

            It’s a great plugin @disqus_hU8op4ho99:disqus. Feature-packed and high quality!

          • Luke Kennedy

            Great, thanks Christian I like this. Funny enough I engaged with the video and spent a good amount of time onsite. We are seeing this same traction with video for our clients. We’ll have a look at that plugin too.

          • Christian Karasiewicz

            Glad to hear @LukeKennedy1:disqus! If I can help answer any questions, don’t hesitate to connect.

  • Travis Pflanz

    Great infographic.

    I work with a lot of small businesses as clients, and I always have a hard time convincing them to quote and link to other industry experts/professionals. I show them that I do the same in my industry, but they’re almost always hesitant. Do you have any tips to help ease the mind of the small business owner about linking to a “competitor?”

    • Barry Feldman

      Tough one Travis. Clearly, you and I know there are benefits for doing so, but demonstrating as much does appear to be a challenge. I wonder if you might find some evidence where companies are having success building authority with outbound links.

      Feeling the need to run this one by Andy Crestodina or Brian Dean—and I will. Stay tuned. Thank you for the comment.

    • Andy Crestodina

      Hi, Travis.

      If you’re talking about linking TO other sites, it’s not an SEO question. There isn’t super strong evidence that linking out from your site to others has an impact on ranking.

      So the question is about the visitors. To keep them or to offer them an exit. The general rule is always to give them whatever helps them the most. If it’s linking to another site, so be it. Not great if it’s a competitor, but we are content marketers, so our guiding principal is to help our audience, even if it means losing them temporarily.

      Our next question should be “Why don’t we have a similar piece of content on our site? Why let our competitors have all the fun?” So we should add that topic to our publishing calendar. Publishing something even better ourselves, and then update that link to point to our own stuff.

      One other thought: there are two kinds of “competitors” out there. Business competitors (they sell to the same audience) and content competitors (they offer info to the same audience). Wikipedia is everyone’s content competitor, but so what?

      In many cases, content competitors are really potential collaborators. And if you link to them, you should cheerfully let them know. They may share the piece you wrote. You can even go farther and collaborate on content, sharing your audiences. Invite them to quote, contribute, share, etc. An ally in creation is an ally in promotion.

      If you do it well, there’s far more to gain by collaborating (and linking is part of that) than there is to lose. Just keep making friends and everything will get easier!


    • Rob Knapp

      Here’s a quote from Seth Godin: “Shun the non-believers.” Small business owners are notoriously stubborn. Also, they almost always come from a sales paradigm. They typically don’t understand or trust marketing. They just don’t understand the top of the funnel. Don’t waste your time with hesitancy. A fast no is better than a hesitant yes.

      So, don’t send that email trying to convince your client of the value of your paradigm. Put that effort into original content and attract a new, better client in 3 months.

  • Rob Knapp

    Yeah, plugins and tactics. I’ll check out that plugin link. Thanks.

    • Barry Feldman

      The various options all do the trick. I believe what you see here is the plugin provided by CoSchedule, which I use on my blog and find very useful.

      • Rob Knapp

        I tried to download their plugin, but it’s gated with an email request. Plus their send button says, “Submit.” I refuse to submit to a gated email request! It’s 2016. It should be illegal to use the word submit unless there are whips and chains involved.

        • Barry Feldman

          Tough rule you got there.

          • Rob Knapp

            Nah, playful. I wasn’t interested in experimenting with their plugin if spammy sales emails might come later. Just crackin’ wise about the submit button.

  • Rob Knapp

    I installed Better Click to Tweet. It’s my new favorite thing 😉

    • Travis Pflanz

      Awesome. Make sure to check out the documentation (I can’t remember if it’s in the settings, on, the readme, or on their site), but the plugin offers a bunch of unique ways to modify each individual embedded tweet – such as: use/don’t use link, use/don’t use @username, and more

  • Laura S

    This infographic is very informative. We are in discussion about how we can “revitalize” our business’s blog and there are a lot of great ideas in here to make some improvements. Thank you for sharing.

    • Barry Feldman


  • Travis Pflanz

    Nancy, why would you need to run your own original content through a plagiarism checker?

    If you wrote the content, you are not plagiarizing. Simply because you write on a topic or theme that is written about on other websites, this does not mean you are plagiarizing. If you have your own thoughts and your own words about a popular topic – you are not plagiarizing.

    • Nancy Lin

      Travis, sometimes I do this because some of the topics which I’m covering are too popular. And before I write my own post I could make a deep research, read a lot of articles/books on different resources and could accidently copy something.

      I don’t want to violate someone’s copyright, so I care about this so much.

  • Ann Gynn

    Thanks Nancy for sharing your plagiarism tool. When I’m reviewing posts for the CMI blog, I start simple — Google. I copy a sentence, put quotes around it, and search. And it’s worked – I’ve found the content published elsewhere. If the topic or sentence isn’t sufficiently specific, I also add the author’s name.

    • Nancy Lin

      Thanks for your suggestion, Ann! Just a little insurance, you could do the same thing using Yahoo and Bing.

  • Barry Feldman

    No comprende. You want me to do a plagiarism check for material I wrote?

    • Lynn Nickels


    • Nancy Lin

      Barry, sorry for this misunderstanding. I had in mind, if you are working with other writers (reviewing their posts, accepting guest writers and so on) check their writing for potential plagiarism will be pretty wisely.

      But for young and not-so-experienced writers, using plagiarism detection tool will help to improve their style and writing.

  • Lynn Nickels

    Barry, I love this post! And I agree with you, no plagiarism if it’s your own. According to my prof writing and journalism training, as long as you cite your references, and you did, you are good to go! BTW, would love to interview you for an article I’m working on. Would you be game?

    • Barry Feldman

      Thanks Lynn. Happy to talk to you for your article.

  • Magzim – On The Rocks!

    thanks for this wonderful post. this check list is surely going to help alot



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