A Journalist's Guide

In an era when original content is slowly dying or being obscured by cyber junk, it’s more important than ever to optimize your content for SEO and online search.

Your visibility is no longer dependent solely on how or where a print publication is circulated, but how your content is discovered. Your audience is no longer thumbing through newspapers or magazines on the newsstands; they are actively searching for content and reading material online. That’s where Search Engine Optimization comes in.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) may have gotten a bad rap by journalists in the past as they feared it compromised the integrity of their content by keyword stuffing and using other ‘old school’ SEO tactics. Well those days are long gone. Now, SEO done correctly, not only optimizes your content for search engines and helps get it found by your target audience, but it can also help increase your overall rankings in the SERPs in general. After all, what good is a piece of content if nobody sees it?

What good is a piece of content if nobody sees it?

— NextLeft Team

Copy Editing Checklist

Before you publish that piece of content on your website or put time and energy into writing a piece of long-form content, use this helpful SEO content editing checklist to make sure you’re making the most of your efforts:

  • Research Keywords – Use Google’s Keyword Planner tool to identify a few keywords or phrases that are relevant to your piece of content and have high search volume. The more search volume the better.
  • Title Tags and Meta Descriptions – Write a compelling and descriptive title tag and meta description to be placed in the <head> section of an article. If you use a WordPress plugin like Yoast SEO, you can just plugin your meta items in the boxes they provide for a simple solution.
  • Keywords in Title Tags and Meta Descriptions – Be sure to include your target keyword or phrase toward the beginning of your meta information (as long as it’s relevant and makes sense).
  • Optimize Lengths – Limit your title to under 55 characters and your description to between 150 and 160 characters in order to make the most of the SERP real estate.
  • Break Up Blocks of Text – Try using subheadings, bullets, numbered lists, visuals and quotes throughout your content to both break up large blocks of copy and also to make the content more digestible for your reader and for Google.
  • Keywords in the Body – Just like your title and meta description, you’ll want to use your keywords or variations of them throughout your content WHERE IT MAKES SENSE.
  • Share the Love – Feel free to link to other helpful articles that you’ve posted that relate to the topic of your content (like this article on Content for SEO)

Optimize your content for increased online visibility without compromising your brand's voice. 

Of course the list is endless when it comes to what you could be doing to better optimize your content to rank in the search engines, but this is definitely a start. Follow this checklist and let us know how our team of SEO and content experts can help.