“Why Is My Blog Post Not Ranking?” Checklist

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Did you publish the most amazing blog post ever, and it’s still not ranking?

You can fix it!

Follow our checklist below to determine the reason your content isn’t ranking, and what you can do about it.

Table of Contents

#1. Does your blog post match the search intent behind the keyword?

First things first — let’s make sure that the blog post you wrote is what people are looking for when they’re Googling the keyword.

Think about the intent behind the keyword you’re trying to rank for. Are users trying to:

  • Learn how to do something new? Are they looking for an informative guide on a topic?
  • Looking to purchase something? Are they looking for a landing page that describes a product?
  • Looking to compare several products?
  • Looking to learn a definition?

Then, check if your article matches this search intent.

If the user is looking for a guide on the topic, and you have a landing page pitching your product, you’re not going to rank.

Correct Example: You create a long-form step-by-step guide on “how to create a resume” keyword. The guide covers all the necessary steps of creating a resume (how to format it, what to include in the resume, etc.). In the end, you can pitch your resume templates (or whatever your product might be).

Incorrect Example: You make your guide all about your product, talking about how you can use it to make a resume without educating the reader at all.

#2. Is your content better than what’s currently ranking?

Read the top 3 ranking articles, and compare them to your blog post. Is your blog post:

  • More comprehensive than the top-ranking articles? Aim for the same word count as your competition. If you can write an even more comprehensive — longer — article, go for it!
  • Is your article as well-formatted as the competition? Formatting plays a big part in how readable your content is.
  • Does your blog post contain relevant graphics and images? Key here is relevant — avoid generic stock photos that don’t add any value.
  • Is your content written in simple English? Use the Hemingway app and aim for a 6th grader level. This ensures that anyone that lands on your website can read and understand your content.
  • Is the article written in fluent English? No one’s going to read your content if it’s riddled with grammar and spelling mistakes.
  • Is your article headline click-enticing? Compare the following two examples — which one are you more likely to click? Hint: it’s the first.
    • 11 Best VPN Tools in 2024 [Short-List of Best VPNs]
    • Guide to Best VPN Tools
  • Does your content make good use of coloured boxes and pull-quotes? They help break up big chunks of paragraphs and make your content reader-friendly.
  • Is your blog post too comprehensive? Yes, this can also happen. Long-form is NOT always better than short-form. In some cases, the user is looking for a brief, simple answer, e.g. if you’re looking to learn “how to tie shoelaces”, you probably don’t want a 10,000-word guide on the history of shoelaces, right? A 300-word set of instructions will do.
    • Correct Example: Want to rank for “chicken pie recipe”? The article should be 300–500 words to match the search intent.
    • Incorrect Example: You create a mega-guide on chicken pies, covering the entire history of chicken pies since their conception.

While you CAN get amazing rankings without any backlinks, they still play a big part in SEO.

In very competitive niches, everyone has top-tier content — content quality is just the baseline.

In such cases, the content that has more high-quality rankings is more likely to rank.

For example, if you Google “Best VPN,” you’ll see that all ranking content is very high-quality: long-form, well-written, super engaging, and more.

So, what differentiates the highest ranking articles from the rest? Backlinks.

The bottom line here is, if your competition has content that matches yours, but has 100 more backlinks than you do, they WILL outrank you.

#4. Do you have supporting content pieces?

Google rewards websites that are an authority in their niche.

A website that has, say, 100 articles on accounting is going to rank a lot better than a website that has 10 articles on accounting, 10 on sales, 10 on project management, and so on.

So, instead of splitting your focus and covering a dozen topics, focus on ONE topic cluster, finish articles for every keyword in that cluster, and THEN move on to other categories.

#5. Is your blog post interlinked properly?

Interlinking is important. Here’s why:

  • It helps Google understand which pages are more important than others.
  • It allows you to spread link juice from your top pages to the rest, improving their rankings.
  • It also improves traffic retention. The longer your SERP traffic sticks around on your website, the better your content will rank.

To check how many internal links a page has, go to Search Console -> Links -> Internal links.

If your blog post doesn’t have a lot of internal links, just open up your other content pieces, and link to them.

Pro Tip — Here’s an easy way to do this. Use the following search query: "keyword"

Where “keyword” is the keyword you’re trying to rank for with your article.

Google will find all the mentions of this keyword on your website. Then, all you have to do is go through these pages and link to your article.

#6. Does your website follow technical SEO best practices?

There are a bunch of technical best practices when it comes to SEO. Here’s a to-do list you can forward directly to your tech team:

  • Is your website mobile-friendly? Unless your website runs on mobile, you won’t be ranking.
  • Does your website load fast? If it doesn’t, a big chunk of your website visitors will bounce off (which will harm your rankings). Here are some things you can do to speed up your website:
    • First things first — use Google PageSpeed Insights to check how your website currently performs on both PC and Mobile.
    • Don’t resize your images with CSS or JSS. This adds extra loading time to your site. Use GTMetrix to find which images need resizing. Use an online tool like Resize image to properly size the images, and re-upload them.
    • If your pages contain a lot of images, use lazy-loading. This allows images that are below the screen, to be loaded only once the visitor scrolls down enough to see the image.
    • If your website is loading slow because you have 100+ external JavaScript files and stylesheets being requested from the server, then you need to look into minifying, aggregating and inlining some of those files.
    • Use a tool like Smush to losslessly compress images on your website.

💡 Pro Tip — Want to make your site speed optimization easier? Use WP Lighthouse — it’s going to do 90% of the work for you! If you’re using WordPress, that is.

  • Maintain a crawl depth of 4 or less for all pages, i.e. any given page should be reached with no more than 3 clicks from the homepage. Sometimes even less.

#7. Does your website follow on-page SEO best practices?

This one’s pretty basic, and just about anyone does it. We’re still going to go through them, though, as a just-in-case.

Make sure that both the article you’re trying to rank, as well as all your other web pages, follow the typical SEO best practices:

  • Maintain a keyword density of 0.5% — 1%
  • Include 5+ internal links to other blog posts
  • Include 2-5+ links to authoritative, external resources
  • Include a meta description for all your web pages
  • Your URL slug should be an exact match with your keyword:
    • Good: /seo-case-study/
    • Bad: /seo-case-study-how-we-reached-300,000-traffic/
  • Use different headers — H1, H2, H3, etc.
  • Mention your keyword in H1 and H2 headers

Check out our other article on how we scaled our clients’ SEO from 0 to 300k monthly traffic and beyond 😜

To make on-page SEO easier, we recommend using RankMath or Yoast.

#8. Did you wait long enough?

And one last thing — did you wait long enough after publishing the blog post?

Here’s a sad (but true) fact: SEO takes time.

There’s a very good chance that it’s going to take you ~6 months to a year after publishing a new blog post to see results. So, if your blog post/website doesn’t have any of the issues we outlined in this checklist, then all you have to do is wait and keep publishing content — your rankings WILL come, it just takes time.

We have been with Quick Brown Fox for several years, and they have put our website in the fast lane! We are in a very competitive space and our rankings have continued to improve every year we have been with them.

They know everything there is to know about Search Engine Optimisation and always have an answer to any of my questions within minutes of me reaching out to them.

KM Property

Quick Brown Fox came through in the clutch and went above and beyond to help grow our online presence. They outlined a path forward to help us create content – then ranked for that content and increased traffic to the site! Great results and terrific service.

Our organic traffic has more than doubled! Highly recommended to any business owner that wants more traffic and leads.

Charles McCarthy

It is difficult to hire an SEO specialist that delivers results, but that is what we have found with Quick Brown Fox. They are attentive, responsive and more importantly move the needle to help us drive sales.

Great customer service and care, we highly recommend them to get your SEO on track.


Quick Brown Fox

Established in 1992, Quick Brown Fox are a web design and web development agency. Formerly located in Drumcondra on Dublin's north side, we have built a reputation by providing creative and intelligent graphic design solutions across a range of media. We evolved and pivoted to SEO consultancy.

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