1. Focused keyword or key phrase
The first step is to simply pick the search term or phrase you want the post to show up for. If I am writing about the farmland for sale in oklahoma, I'll want to find out what people are actually searching for.
2. Research the competition.
Now that I have a term I want to try to rank for, I'm going to go undercover and do some recon!
3. Write the best content.
Now that you know what your competition looks like, it's time to create the content that is going to blow those folks out of the water. This is perhaps the most difficult part, but it's the most important. It needs to be amazing.
4. Use keyword in page title
This should be a no-brainer, but I'll say it anyway: Your page title should contain your keyword, but that doesn't mean it has to be exact (though it can be).
5. Use keyword in header
You can organize most webpages by having a large title at the top, followed by several sub-headers throughout the page (like the sub-headers in this post).
6. Tag the name and alt-tag of your image
Next, if your blog post contains images, you can use those images to cement the idea to Google about your post's topic.
7. Use the keyword in the URL and in the post.
Another way Google is able to determine what your blog post is about is the URL. In other words, we're talking about what comes after the ".com" in your url (or .net, .org, or whatever you use). For example, which of the following URLs do you think Google will like better when deciding whether or not to show a certain page?
You're right if you guessed the second one. While the former might not completely kill your SEO efforts, the latter definitely helps show Google exactly what the post is about.
8. Internal links.
If you aren't talking about your best content, why should anyone else care? For this reason, it's important that your best SEO content be linked to internally by other pages on your website.
External links are links from websites other than your own. Google relies heavily on external links to determine how good a post is. And this makes sense, doesn't it? You can talk about yourself and your own skills all day long, but no one will believe you. But as soon as other people begin bragging about you, others take notice.