SEO Basics: How to optimize a blog post?

Content writing should be a key element of every SEO strategy. How do you make sure your blog posts have the highest chance to rank well in Google? What are the successive steps you’ll need to take? In this post, I’ll take you back to the very basics of SEO. How do you optimize a blog post?

Find that keyword

The very first step of every content SEO strategy should be keyword research. You should figure out for what search terms you want to be found. Figuring out the right keyword can be quite daunting though. You really have to get into the heads of your audience.

Read more: Why every content SEO strategy should start with keyword research »

A word is not a topic, though. Besides a keyword (or keyphrase), you’ll need an angle, a specific story around that keyword. Read our tips on how to come up with ideas for your blog if you would like to know more about that.

Yoast is most famous for the Yoast SEO plugin, of course. Our plugin will really help you in the optimizing process. The first step is to fill out the keyword you want your post to be found for (the focus keyword). After that, the plugin will give you feedback on how to improve the SEO of your blog post. It will, for instance, check your post for these things:

Optimizing a live blog post?

You can use the Duplicate Post plugin to copy this blog post to your drafts. This enables you to edit your post and save the changes, without them showing up in your live blog post right away. It gives you the freedom to come back and finish the optimization of this post at a later moment.

Happy with your new, optimized blog post? Just copy your new content to your existing blog post and click on update. Your post is up to date again, with just one revision!

Use that keyword

If you want to rank high for a certain term, you should definitely use that term quite often in your text. That way, Google will know that your text is about that specific keyword. But don’t overdo it. Google doesn’t like over-optimized text at all. A keyword density of 2 % ( in which one in fifty words is your keyword) is great. It’s best to create a text that’s rather lengthy; we recommend a text of at least 300 words. That way, you’ll be able to use your keyword quite some times.

Optimize your headings

Check if your focus keyword is in your headings. The title of your post is really important. You should definitely use your keyword there. Try to use your keyword in at least one of your subheadings as well.

How about that snippet?

The snippet is the thing Google shows in the search results. It’s the title of your post and a short description. Yoast SEO will help you optimize your snippet: it shows you a preview of the snippet and allows you to easily edit the content. This is very important, as it’s the first thing your audience will read. So this piece of text will have to convince them to go to your site.

Unfortunately, we’re never sure whether Google will show that specific snippet. However, creating a kick-ass snippet preview should be part of your SEO strategy. Of course, don’t forget to use that focus keyword again!

yoast seo metabox

Keep reading: The snippet preview: what it means and how to use it »

Don’t forget: write an awesome post!

Optimizing your post for the search engines is something you should definitely do. But more importantly, you should make sure you write an awesome post. The topic of your post should be original, the message of your text should be appealing to your audience. On top of that, your text should be pleasant and not too difficult to read. Without making concessions to the readability of your post, you should use the tips described to optimize your blog post and make it stand out a little bit more!

Read on: 10 steps to an awesome and SEO-friendly blog post »

28 Responses to How to optimize a blog post?

  1. Anuj
    Anuj  • 3 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this article. Looking forward to follow your advice.

  2. games guide
    games guide  • 3 years ago

    Thanks alot for article, I have used seo by yoast plugin in my of my sites but i was not aware of this optimizing function. I will try it now :)

  3. Mike Hardaker
    Mike Hardaker  • 3 years ago

    “Unfortunately, we’re never sure whether Google will show that specific snippet.” yeah we sort of figured that out without Yoast help. I love what you guys do and your tool is nice. However it seems Google is doing there own thing.

    For instance the majority of the SERP results for my site (1800) pages had extensive re-writing of the meta descriptions as that’s what we thought was a best practice in the past. Well it turns out Google knows our readers better than we do, and specifically what they want to see and how.

    Just yesterday I noticed titles can know be longer, while still staying green.

    Focus on content, not 21st century SEO whitehat or whatever these methods we used in the past were called. Google most likely won’t put a result at the top of SERP that has a clever meta vs a page with no meta and strong content. Food for thought

  4. Jackcanfield
    Jackcanfield  • 3 years ago

    Thanks for your fantastic article. The way of you explained is magnificent, and anyone can easily understand. I came to know lots of new things. I think some of my friends want this stuff. It’s totally worth able to share with my friends.

    • Marieke
      Marieke  • 3 years ago

      Thanks for the nice comment, Jack!

  5. Mitch Rezman
    Mitch Rezman  • 3 years ago

    With all due respect I have three issues with this post.

    You are not acknowledging rankbrain which accounts for approximately 15% of answers to Google queries and help sort things out when keywords are unclear

    A generic problem with keywords/phrases is user intent – let’s use the keyword “horse” – a horse is an animal to a farmer – a tool to a carpenter – and a performance device for gymnast . Keywords are a slippery slope.

    My granular problem with keyword phrases. I sell “bird food” but I only sell bird food for captive birds not for wild birds eliminating 90% of the bird food market. So although one would think bird food would be a good keyword – a mistake that several agencies that I have fired and terminated in the past thought, I tend to rely on lots of longtail keywords based on metrics from SEM Rush and Google analytics

    I feel I do not need to add more than the same keyword once or twice as long as I wrap the keyword with meaningful content that the end user in the Google search human grader will understand what I am writing about.

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 3 years ago

      Thanks for commenting, Mitch. The main goal of this SEO basics post is to help beginning website owners getting started with optimizing their posts. Aiming for more long tail keywords (we also write about that a lot!) would be a good strategy indeed. And we agree that meaningful content around your keyword is very important. We think that if you write an awesome blog post (readable, interesting, on topic) like Marieke says in the last paragraph, the ‘wrapping in meaningful content’ comes naturally.

  6. David Bailey
    David Bailey  • 3 years ago

    Some concepts are hard to convey in a single word. Is there a reason to use a keyword vs. a key phrase? Does the single word count for more than a 3-4 word phrase? Thanks, as always for the information you provide, in addition to your great plugin!

  7. Vikram
    Vikram  • 3 years ago

    thanks for the article, i am using yoast plugin on my all sites and never used some of the features like snippet, i will use them now.

  8. GRSoft Solution
    GRSoft Solution  • 3 years ago

    Optimize your title, use keyword relevant to blog article; Focus on snippet!!
    Good SEO Article!!

    • syed tutul
      syed tutul  • 3 years ago

      Very nice article. this post helped me a lot to optimize my site.

  9. findyouridealcleaner
    findyouridealcleaner  • 3 years ago

    I knew all the stuff in this post and can even write moderately interesting articles for local seo. What I can’t do is get the phrase “domestic cleaners Cardiff” in a 800 word article 8-16 times without it sounding completely ridiculous, if anyone out there can help me with that I’d be eternally grateful! I honestly struggle getting it in a more than 2 or 3 times excluding the title and then obviously I have to add the word “in” to make it make sense then I get told off by the Yoast plugin for using a stop word! Take it out and it sounds silly and I get a bad readability score! Please help!

    • Mitch Rezman
      Mitch Rezman  • 3 years ago

      you have 2 (apparent) issues – 1 your site loads too slowly (do you use Jetpack’s free CDN?) – 2 you are light on content – I add 2000 – 5000 words weekly ( for the past 4 years) – I answer questions on Quora and easily expand customer service inquiries to 1500 words allowing me to keep an inventory of content

      Everything starts as a google doc so I can easily collaborate with multiple editors – after the words get placed into WP I add paint and pinstripes (images, hyperlinks and video)

      hope that helps

    ANI CHUKWUEMEKA HENRY  • 3 years ago

    Wow! This post is one in a million. I have always wanted to rank well in SERP but even though I have read and implemented alot of strategies I learnt online, I haven’t found myself being where I dream of. This post I believe is going to boost my blog’s presence in Google as it contains unique strategies.

    Until I reach the search engines no 1 pages, I will continue fighting my way out with SEO. Thanks for the piece. It’s helpful

  11. Felton Thompkins
    Felton Thompkins  • 3 years ago

    What a great article… I believe that it’s always good to be reminded about the basics. We are sometimes so bombarded with so much information and it causes us to over think things and makes things more complicated than they should be. Thanks, Marieke.

  12. austine
    austine  • 3 years ago

    Wow i graabed alot thanks for sharing

  13. Sandeep Yadav
    Sandeep Yadav  • 3 years ago

    Focus keyword and snippet preview my favourites

  14. Friedrich Götz
    Friedrich Götz  • 3 years ago

    Thanks for your SEO Posts, some questions:
    the posts in German might be easyer ro read. do you planning in future to publish in German?
    as online Shop i use Shopware, a onlineshop for motivation and poster perhaps you will make in future times a plugin for Shopware?

  15. Stalyn
    Stalyn  • 3 years ago

    Thanks for the information, there is a lot of things to consider while writing a good post.

  16. Emmanuel Worthwhile
    Emmanuel Worthwhile  • 3 years ago

    This is really cool.

  17. Steve Duval
    Steve Duval  • 3 years ago

    This is a very intresting post, I use Yoast plugin on my blogs I find it very helpful in optimizing my posts.
    Well done guys keep up the good work..

  18. David
    David  • 3 years ago

    Thanks. A nice simple, easy to read refresher once again!

  19. Rob McKay
    Rob McKay  • 3 years ago

    Some nice reminders here. In my blog – tipsforhiring.con – I write a short ‘about’ and then say, “Download and read the full article here” (I put in a hyper link, sometimes full link).
    The article sits on our website at a sub domain ‘articles/article title’
    Is this OK? Or would you put full article ( may be link to download at start for people to save immediately if they can’t be bothered to read now?)

    • Mitch Rezman
      Mitch Rezman  • 3 years ago

      google doesn’t like the “read more thing”

  20. Ravijit
    Ravijit  • 3 years ago

    This is the ultimate guide for optimizing content. Thanks Yoast for this one.


  21. Esma Dory
    Esma Dory  • 3 years ago

    Today it’s easy to check seo of site, there are a lot of services like which helps you to avoid most of the SEO pitfalls. Just google any of them add trial period (or some of them has free plans), run for you site and catch all common issues.

  22. Sandeep Kumar
    Sandeep Kumar  • 3 years ago

    Thanks… this post helped me alot to optimize perfectly

  23. Chitrang
    Chitrang  • 3 years ago

    We are using yoast plugin for our blog at credihealth. To be truthful, it is the best SEO plugin that I have ever come across – from keyword density to keyword coverage across the blog post to title & meta to snippet and more, yoast covers everything that is mentioned in this blog post. An absolute must for the every wordpress blog!!