All marketers know how important Search Engine Optimization is and when you optimize your web pages (including blog posts), you’re actually making your site more visible to people who are searching for keywords that are linked to your product, service, or brand through search engines such as Google. However, all this can be a tactic that is often tough to master with Google’s numerous algorithm updates.
So the question arises – how do you know that really matters and what doesn’t? What’s the best blog Search Engine Optimization practices today and how can you keep effectively execute all these strategies? So, it’s understandable that inbound marketers may be confused, and it’s only natural to feel that way, but worry not. In this post, we’ll outline how you can optimize your blog posts for appropriate keywords together with some other optimization tips that you should bear in mind.
Your blog should be mobile-friendly
It has been well over a year since Google announced that more people are accessing search engines on their mobile phones rather than from their desktops. This means that Google displays mobile-friendly sites at the top and having a responsive web design together with a mobile-friendly site is very important from an Search Engine Optimization perspective. If you haven’t been focusing on improving the mobile experience on your site, it’s time you give priority to it before your ranking can suffer.
If your website has a good, responsive design, your blog pages will only have one URL as opposed to two different ones for the mobile and desktop respectively. This can be advantageous from an SEO point of view because any inbound links won’t be separated between divided URLs ensuring that any SEO power you have from these links will be centralized, making it easier for Google to recognize and rank your site.
Pay attention to 1-2 long-tail keywords
It should be understood that optimizing your blog posts for keywords doesn’t mean adding as many keywords as you can into your post. In fact, cramming too many keywords can actually hurt your Search Engine Optimization because search engines will label it as keyword stuffing for the only purpose of ranking high in organic searches. So while this isn’t good from a search engine point of view, even readers will not enjoy reading posts that are loaded with keywords.
Always make sure that you use the relevant keywords in your content in a way that it doesn’t feel forced or unnatural. A good basic rule is to focus on a few keywords for every blog post because this will keep you focused on how you can write content that flows while including keywords whenever and wherever necessary.
Using long-tail keywords is an effective tactic because visitors looking for long-term tails will usually be more qualified, meaning you can attract the right type of traffic to your website by the use of long-tail keywords.
Have these 1-2 keywords in certain parts of your content
Now is the time to incorporate your keywords into your blog post but how do you know exactly where these keywords should be places so you can rank higher on search engine? Namely, there are four areas you should focus on:
Title: The title of your blog post is going to be the search engine’s and reader’s first encounter through which they can determine your content, so it’s very important that you include a keyword in the title. It should be within the first 65 characters of your title and if you have a long title, then it’s better to include the keyword in the beginning of it before Google cuts it off on the search engine results page.
Headers and the body: Make sure to include your keywords naturally in the header and throughout the body of your blog post in a reader-friendly manner. If you go overboard with it, then your site could potentially be penalized for keyword stuffing.
URL: In order to figure out what your post is all about, search engines will look at your URL and it’s one of the very first things that it will crawl on a page. This means that your URLs should be optimized on every single post that you publish so it’s important to include one to two keywords in it.
Meta Description: The purpose of meta descriptions is to give your readers and the search engines enough information about the content on your blog post so be sure to have your long-tail term so it will relate what your content is about. Together with this, remember that the more engaging your meta description is, the higher the click rates will be.
Make sure to optimize the meta description
As discussed earlier, meta description is the additional text that appears in the search engine results pages. It allows the reader to know what the link is about and gives searchers information they need in order to determine whether or not they want to read more of your content. Because of this, meta descriptions can ultimately decide the rate of clicks your website receives.
Your meta description should be compelling, relevant and reader-friendly while at the same time, it should include the long-tail keyword you want to rank for. Certain meta description content that provokes the searcher to click on to read more include phrases such as ‘get inspired’, ‘proven techniques’ and so on. It should be compelling and relevant for their specific query.
Use URL structures that are helpful to your visitors
The URL structure of your blog pages should always be easy for your visitor to understand. It should allow them to know the structure of your website and recognize if it displays the content they want to see. Search engines actually favor URLS that are easy to read and understand.
For different sections on your blog, the URL should be simple and easy to understand. For example, if your main page is www.example.com, then the marketing section should be www.example.com/marketing. This allows the reader to understand that /marketing is a separate section on your blog.
In a way, URL structure serves as tool of categorization for readers, letting them know how and where to access pages on your website. Even search engines appreciate this as it makes it easier for them to identify information on different parts of your blog.
A blog post should never contain just text – it should also include images that are relevant to the content. However, search engine don’t simply look only for images; rather, they look for images that come with an alt text.
Since search engines can’t see images in the same way we do, the alt text of the image relates to search engines what the image is about. This ultimately helps in order for those images to be found online in the search. An alt text also make for a better user experience and improves accessibility for people will poor vision who use screen readers.
In theory, an alt text is an attribute that can be added to an image tag in HTML and while adding keywords to your alt text may not seem very important to many people, it is worth the extra time of changing the image name from ‘IMG6788’ to something like ‘beautiful-flowers-in-a-basket’. Doing so will go a long way in impacting your search engine rankings.
Avoid using topic tags that are similar
Topic tags can be very helpful in organizing your blog content but if you overuse them, it could be harmful and using too many similar tags could get your site penalized by search engines for having duplicate content. Put it in this perspective: if you create a topic tag, you are in fact creating a new site page where the content from the topic tags will appear. When you use too many similar tags for the same content, then it’s going to appear to search engines that you’re having the content multiple times throughout your site.
If you feel that your blog posts have too many tags that are similar, then take some time to clear them up. You could opt for about 15-25 topic tags that you feel is relevant to your blog and only tag your posts for those keywords. This way, you don’t have to fret over creating duplicate content.
Wherever possible, link internally
Inbound links to your content shows search engines the relevancy and validity of your blog content and the same applied for linking internally to other pages on your site. Internally linking other pages of your site will make it easier for readers to browse through your blog and it gives them access to additional information. Moreover, it is very advantageous for Search Engine Optimization as well.
Use Google’s free Search Console
Search Console contains a different section called the ‘Search Analytics Report’ and this report will help you to analyze clicks from a Google search. Checking it out will allow you to determine what keywords people are using in order to find your blog and give you more understanding as to what keywords you should focus more on.
In conclusion, many content marketers struggle a lot with optimizing their blog posts but if you follow the right techniques, you can get it done rather easily. Your blog posts will not rank immediately though; it takes time to build search authority but when you publish frequent posts and optimize them properly, you can draw in relevant traffic and leads in the long run.