Optimize Your Blog Posts for SEO
- By Ismail Aly | Reading Time: 5 minutes
According to eMarketer the number of people reading blogs in the United States alone is 140 million. According to Technorati 31.1% of consumers said that reading authoritative blogs influences their purchase decisions.
HubSpot reported in the State of Inbound 2014 that marketers who blog are 13x more likely to drive positive ROI.
With statistics like this it is clear that having a blog for your business will result in increased traffic to your website, the generation of more leads for your business, improved brand image, and higher search engine ranking.
According to Conductor Organic Search Is Actually Responsible for 64% of Your Web Traffic. Failing to optimize blog posts for SEO means you will miss out on top search engine ranking and organic traffic opportunities.
You can increase the value of your blog post, and reach the largest audience possible by implementing these simple steps to make your blogs more search engine friendly to improve your ranking and attract more visitors.
Step 1: Identify your Long Tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they’re closer to a point-of-purchase.
Use tools like WordStream's Free Keyword Tool, or Goole Adwords Keyword Planner to search for keywords and their variations.
Once you have identified the keywords you want to use, write your blog post around these keywords.
Step 2: Optimize your title
Your blog post title is what will appear in search engine results, links, and on social media sites. This is why it is important to spend some time working on your title. You need to take the following points into consideration:
- Make it attention grabbing
- Include keywords in the title
- Deliver on your promise in the body of the post
- Create controversy or debate
- Use the list approach (10 top, 5 benefits, 3 reasons, etc.)
- Include a benefit in the title
- Ask a question
- Use emotional triggers
- Use power words
- Personalize titles
- Add humor in your titles
Make sure to keep the title of your blog post under 60 characters.
Step 3: Optimize your meta description
Your meta description doesn’t impact your Search Result Rank. However, the meta description of your blog impacts the click through rates, that means that well crafted meta descriptions can result in more clicks, which means more visits to your website.
The meta description tag in HTML is the 160 character snippet used to summarize a web page’s content. Search engines sometimes use these snippets in search results to let visitors know what a page is about before they click on it.
Whenever you share a page on social networks like Facebook, Google+, or LinkedIn, each site will pull either the meta description or the first sentence or two of the post as the description to show in the share.
When you write your meta description, write it in a conversional (not spammy) manner and be sure to include your keywords. In short, think about what would attract your target reader to your blog post. Try to keep your meta description to between 150 and 160 words.
Step 4: Optimize your heading
Blog post heading tells the visitor what the post's content is about. When including your keywords in the heading, it provides a SEO benefit as well. However it is considered unethical and may result in getting your website banned from major search engine if you jam pack a heading with multiple occurrences of your target keywords. It is important not to just use a keyword phrase in your title, but use additional content around the keyword.
Step 5: Create astounding content
Once your site is in order and you’ve got an idea of your keywords, you’re ready to create the astounding content that improves your SEO by bringing you social shares and quality inbound links.
Make your content easy to digest. People spend an average of 10-20 seconds on a page. That average only gets longer if you are able to successfully capture their attention, and even there, you’re looking at only having a quarter of your content ingested. Thus: keep your layout simple by using white space to your advantage, and using large, easy-to-read font. Also, according to 3M, visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text, it's not strange that articles with images get 94% more views (Source: Optimind).
For creative content types ideas read Types of Content Every Marketer Should Try
Major Search engines such as Google and Yahoo, use the keywords in the body of your post in their ranking algorithm. That being said, don’t go overboard with using your keywords in the body of your content because too many occurrences of your keywords can be viewed as keyword stuffing which can result in banning your website from search engine listing.
Step 6: Optimize images
Search engines will scan your site and read the images "alt text". Image's alt text is used in the search engine ranking algorithm to determine your website search rank. Whenever you upload a photo to your blog, be sure to include keywords in the file name and fill out the alternate text field with a brief, keyword rich description of the photo.
Step 7: Optimize your post URL or Permalink
Google has revealed that it is best to use three to five words in the slug of your permalink. Additional words will be weighed less and could even appear spammy. So keep your permalinks short and be sure to place important keywords first.
Here’s an easy tip you can follow when crafting your new permalinks: use hyphens (-) to separate words (e.g. url-permalink-seo-best-practices), not underscores ( _ ). Google treats hyphens as spaces between words while it assigns underscores as additional parts of words, which can throw the search engine off.
Step 8: Reference others with links.
The more inlinks, links directed to your site, the higher your rank in search results, this depends on how you acquired each inlink, and the popularity of the topic.
When you mention another blogger or article in your blog post, include a link to the information you are referencing. Not only is it good blogging etiquette, but you may also get lucky and receive a link back. Quality links are a valuable commodity for any site looking to rank higher in search engine results pages.
Step 9: Give readers the opportunity to subscribe to your blog.
Including RSS and other feed subscription buttons as well as email subscription form offers website visitors the ability to subscribe to your blog updates and receive instant notifications of your latest post without the need to constantly check your website for new content. This is a great way to convert occasional visitors into loyal readers.
Step 10: Share your Blog Across your Social Media profiles.
Sharing your blog posts on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ can help your content gain significant exposure. Recently Twitter Inc. has struck a deal with Google Inc. to make its 140-character updates more searchable online. Once google starts indexing twitter updates that will have an impact on your search result ranking.
Make sure that your social media profile sharing are:
- Consistent frequency
- Automated posts
- Optimal time for sharing
- Use of images and videos
- Use hashtags
Final word of advice is to test these different tactics, keywords and constantly refine your tactics for higher exposure and engagement rates.
I’m getting great results by using these tactics and would love to hear your comments. What do you think? What are ways that you optimize your blog content? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.