Providing your readers with great content is only half the battle. It’s important to structure your posts in such a way that Google is able to read, evaluate and rank them. They do this by determining how useful they determine it will be to their users. This post will outline some simple and effective ways to optimize your blog posts for SEO.
1. Research your Keywords
A successful blogging strategy should start with keyword research. It’s the best way to discover what topics your audience cares about. Each blog post you write should have a primary keyword or two in mind that you use in your post wherever relevant. Keyword stuffing (repeating a keyword as many times as possible in a post—even when it makes no sense) will get you penalized by Google. As search engines get smarter, synonyms and terms that are similar to your keyword(s) carry as much weight as using exact keyword matches.
Use of long-tail keywords is better than one or two-word phrases. Instead of trying to compete for a term like “SEO”, you will find more success with “how to optimize your blog posts for SEO.”
According to HubSpot, one of the most effective ways to find relevant keywords is to go straight to Google. Enter a keyword, hit search and then scroll to the bottom of the page to the “Searches related to” links. Google offers you suggestions based on your original input. These can spark ideas for additional keywords and can be useful to keep in mind when writing your post.
2. Develop Your Focus Keyphrase
Once you’ve conducted your keyword research and selected relevant keywords. You should choose just one that has high search volume and low competition. We call this your focus keyword. A successful focus keyword will be the phrase you feel is most likely to be searched for by your users.
The Yoast SEO WordPress plugin is a free resource that has an array of tools you can use when editing your post. In the SEO settings, you can enter your chosen focus keyword to see how effectively you have used it in your article. It will give you a grade as well as further suggestions on how to improve your score.
3. Craft the Title of Your Post
Your title is your first chance to introduce your topic to your reader. It should feel compelling, illicit an emotional response and hint to the usefulness of the information housed in your article. A good blog post title should incorporate your focus keyword, but also be written in such a way that it motivates users to click to read your article.
4. Include Keyword(s) in Your Post URL
While it’s important that your URL is descriptive and relates to your topic, it’s also a good place to include your keywords. It’s often the first thing Google looks at to figure out what you’re offering and how to rank it.
Additionally, URL length matters. It’s considered best practice to limit your URL’s length to 3 to 5 words.
5. Use Headings
Page headings are another consideration for search engines when considering how, where and how often to display your page. This means you’ll want to look for opportunities to include your keywords in the page headings in a way that is both natural and consistent. Be sure to avoid stuffing keywords in an attempt to improve your site’s ranking because that is very likely to backfire and do more harm than good.
Using <h1>, <h2> and <h3> tags on the page it easy for readers to scan your page to make a judgement on whether or not your post will solve their problem. Fortunately, what makes sense for your users is also used by Google to determine the hierarchy of information. Using tags makes it easier for search engines to accurately gauge your content and its relevancy.
6. How to Use Images
Some bloggers believe it’s important to display an image on the page at each “scroll depth”—so the reader would always see an image on the page no matter how long they scroll. At Trueline, we think it images are most useful at the top of the page to help introduce your content to the reader and lead them into the post. Clever use of headers, quotes or video can combat eye fatigue and stimulate user engagement.
7. Internal Linking
The main purpose of your blog is to offer content that your visitors find useful. As you continue to develop posts, you will begin to have multiple posts relating to the same subject. You can offer greater value to your readers by encouraging them to read more about a subject that interests them. In addition, your link structure is important to Google. They use links to discover how your content is related and to what extent the information is of use.
8. Meta Descriptions
A well-written meta description will provide readers with a short explanation of what they can expect to find in your article. While it doesn’t have any effect on SEO, it does help with click-through-rates.
If you don’t provide your own meta description, Google will create one for you. You may find what Google chooses isn’t the most accurate representation of what lives on the page. Therefore, it may be prudent to create your own.
Every Post, Every Time
Google continues to evolve and improve its algorithms. Optimizing each and every blog post for SEO has never been more important. While writing great content can lead to more likes, increased traffic and greater engagement, making it easier for Google to index your pages can take you even further. We hope you’ve found these simple tips for how to optimize your blog posts for SEO helpful.
If you still have questions about blogging for business or how Trueline can help you succeed, we’d love to hear from you.