A lot has changed in the world of search engine optimization. What were once powerful strategies have now become obsolete.

SEO is about creating useful content that fulfills the needs of a target audience. Without valuable strategies to back your content, you’re left with nothing but wasted time, resources and a whole lot of heartache.

Money Journal recently released an actionable checklist that outlines every step in the SEO process for bloggers. There are over 70 steps to creating content that gets ranked in the search engines.

SEO checklist
Let’s sum it up in 4 simple steps.

1. Start with your Target Audience

Before you begin writing another blog post, think about who your target audience is. Throughout this process, try to be as specific as possible. For example, rather than targeting mothers as a broad category, you might want to target moms who have had their first child within the last year and struggle with feeding.

2. Find Keywords that Drive Targeted Traffic

Even if you were to rank for a word like “moms”, what good would that be for your blog post? You want to find keyword phrases that compliment your target market and solve problems they want answered.

3. Write your Content for your People

Search engines scrape your content. They don’t read it, think about it and then talk about it with their friends.

People who are genuinely interested in your content talk and share about it with other real people. Your focus should always be on the person and not the spiders.

4. Get your Content Out There

We all know that backlinks are a powerful factor in Google’s ranking algorithms. Directories, forums and blog comments hold very little weight now and it’s all about getting contextual links.

Reach out to other bloggers interested in similar content and let them know about the great stuff you created. But don’t stop there.

Look for guest posting opportunities, contribute to forums and put your money where your mouth is. Investing in paid campaigns for bloggers without a following is a great way to kickstart your way to a successful content marketing campaign.

Conclusion

SEO begins even before you’ve written a single word. It takes time and a successful strategy to create a blog post that works. The good news is that hard work pays off (literally). By following this strategy, you’ll build new audiences and fans of what you do.