So, you’ve crafted a great blog post. Congrats! Is it written for SEO (search engine optimization)? If you’re not sure what blog post SEO is, why you should care, or how to get started, keep reading. The success of your blog depends on it.
SEO is the process that increases organic (unpaid), high-quality traffic to your website. Let me explain.
What is blog post SEO?
Any time you conduct an online search, your search engine uses Internet crawlers to scour the web for information and feeds this information to algorithms. The algorithms weed out web pages they deem to be irrelevant or low quality based on your search query. They analyze factors such as the use of keywords, number of clicks, how long users stay on a page, quality of the content, quality of links, and much more. In under one second, your search engine delivers the best possible results it can find to satisfy your search.
Now, let’s look at the big picture. Google processes 3.5 billion searches every day. Every search can return millions of results and dozens of Search Engine Results Pages (also known as SERPs). Without applying SEO, your next blog post will quickly slip to the very last results page. Quite likely, no one will ever see it.
It goes without saying that investing the resources to craft great marketing content is bad for business if no one reads it. Maximize your return on every blog post by applying the following blog post SEO essentials.
1. Prioritize your reader
Some marketers make the mistake of creating content for algorithms first and people second. This will only annoy your target audience and in the long run, hurt your search engine ranking. Algorithms adapt to improve user experiences and have evolved to weed out websites that abuse SEO tactics. Today, high-ranking and high-performing posts are written with the reader firmly in mind.
2. Let your keywords come naturally
Keywords are a fundamental element of blog post SEO that increases the ranking and visibility of your content. They are a compilation of words/short phrases that define the topic of your post. When a search engine receives a search query, its crawlers identify every single webpage that contains the same or similar keywords used in the search. Algorithms then use this data to match the use of keywords with the searcher’s intent and provide the best possible results.
When choosing your blog keywords, consider your blog topic as a keyword phrase. Input this phrase into a tool like Google Keyword Planner or Moz Keyword Explorer. This will give you a sense of what keywords people use to search for information related to your topic. It will also show you the number of average monthly searches and the level of link competition for each keyword. (See Figure 1)
Short keywords (one-to-three word phrases) are likely to have a high search volume, return lots of links, and have more competition. Long-tail keywords are more likely to attract the right audience to your site. These are more specific, four-to-six words long, and typically have a lower search volume and competition. To find the right keywords for your post, test your keywords in one of these planning tools and use the data to make strategic keyword decisions.
3. Use keywords wisely
There are five places you should use keywords when building your blog post to maximize your blog post SEO. The rule is to incorporate them where your reader will naturally look for them. Adding keywords in the hopes of boosting your search ranking is known as keyword stuffing. This will not only result in a less readable blog post for your reader but also reduce the ranking of your page. Algorithms are designed to sniff out posts that overuse keywords and lower their page ranking. To avoid this, use your keywords naturally and appropriately in the following locations.
Blog Post Title: Add your keyword to the beginning of your blog title to help potential readers make a quick decision about whether or not your post will fulfill their search query. For example, if your post is full of tools and advice to improve business productivity, your keyword might be “productivity tool” and your title might be something along the lines of “10 Productivity Tools That Will Grow Your Business”.
URL: Use your keywords in the blog post URL in a clear and effective way to tell your reader (and algorithms) what your post is about (e.g. witmark.ca/improve-your-blog-post-seo-in-6-easy-steps).
Meta description: A meta description provides a short overview of your blog post and tells potential customers why they should read it (See Figure 2). Incorporate your keywords naturally into the text.
Image Alt Text and Titles: Rename images with a descriptive title that uses your keywords. Do the same in your image alt text to provide Google with more on-page keyword references.
Body and subheads: When a reader or algorithm skims your post, they want to see that you’re delivering the content you promised in your title, URL and meta description. Adding keywords to the subheads and body of your post will verify its validity.
4. Make Your Blog Mobile and Social Media Friendly
When it comes to content, think mobile-first. According to Google, “mobile drives, or influences, an average of more than 40% of revenue in leading B2B organizations.” Google also ranks mobile-friendly sites higher than ones that are not.
B2B buyers also rely heavily on third-party referrals and endorsements. While social share buttons on your blog post won’t directly improve your search ranking, they work in your favour over time. The more your content is shared throughout the web, the more authority algorithms give it.
5. Post long-form content
Both humans and algorithms like long-form posts. In fact, the average first-page result in a Google search contains 1,890 words. It’s also preferred by most B2B influencers. These readers are most likely to review white papers, case studies, and e-books to make purchasing decisions.
So rather than always writing posts that are 500 words long, consider writing longer posts of 2000 or more words that tackle your subject in depth.
6. Use a blog post SEO optimization plug-in
Depending on the content management platform you’re using, consider installing an SEO plugin that suggests ways your blog posts can be better optimized for SEO. If you’re using WordPress, the Yoast SEO plugin is a great option.
Start optimizing your blog today
SEO can be a confusing art, but it doesn’t have to be. By implementing these core best practices into your blog writing, you’re off to a great start.
If you need help with any aspect of your content marketing or SEO strategy, consider us an extension of your marketing team. Send us an email to get started!