Can blog content really help your business organically rank on search engines? Absolutely. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a set of techniques to help your website show up higher in search results. When you create and optimize your blog posts for SEO, you can:
This article outlines twelve easy tips to optimize your blog posts for SEO. Let’s get you found on Google!
Without getting into too much detail, SEO consists of three main branches: on-page, off-page, and technical. They all work together to optimize the pages on your site for search algorithms (on-page), your relationship to other sites through things like backlinking (off-page), and how your website performs when it comes to things like speed and structure (technical).
The majority of these tips are on-page SEO techniques, since they deal with a page of content on your own website. And the good news is, you don’t have to be a tech nerd to implement any of them!
Before you even write the first word (whether it’s a blog or any other type of content marketing) you have to know who you’re talking to. Identifying key audiences is foundational to a successful content marketing strategy.
For the purposes of an SEO blog post, that would be the people who:
Hopefully those people will eventually become your customers. But if there’s no matching interest in the first place, the chances of that are obviously much lower. So, take time to think about who your customers and potential customers are. Where do they live? What are their ages and genders? Most importantly, what are their needs, wants, and potential pain points when it comes to the problem your business can solve for them?
If you’re trying to optimize your blog posts for SEO, you’ve surely heard about keywords. Keyword research helps you figure out what topics your target audience is interested in based on the terms and phrases they search for.
Doing keyword research early on in the planning phase ensures you’re writing about something your potential customers actually care about. And it helps you pick the best phrasing of the concept – for example “personalized gift ideas” vs “customized gift ideas” or “custom gifts”
One of my favorite free keyword research tools is Moz. Check out the related keywords and ideas they provide to get a bigger pool of terms to work with. Ubersuggest is also ok, but you’re limited to 3 queries per day.
Use your keyword research to hone in on 1-2 main focus terms. Utilize your keywords throughout (in your title, headers, body copy, URL, and meta description) in a natural way. No keyword stuffing!
A “long tail” keyword simply means choosing a phrase instead of a single word to attract more relevant traffic. For example “best pack for a long bike ride” or “bike packs for men” is a lot more specific than simply “bike packs”. So it’s much more likely that the people searching for the longer tail phrase are going to be interested in your content.
When outlining the topics you’ll cover in your blog post, you must consider search intent. In fact, satisfying search Intent is now Google’s #1 ranking factor.
Search intent can be defined as the main goal a user has when typing a query into a search engine.
Ask yourself, what does someone searching for this keyword or keyphrase want? What problem are they trying to solve? For example, are they looking for information on how to do something? Potential options to solve a problem? Or in some cases, they may be ready to buy.
For example, the intentions of someone who searches for “best ebike brands” are very different than when searching for “ebike stores near me” or “ebike vs normal bike”.
In short, match the content to the goal of the search phrase. Don’t just use your content as an excuse to shoehorn in a sales message.
You need a title that will catch attention – otherwise your awesome post may never get clicked at all! Psst, I wrote a post with some tips for how to create a great blog title.
Once you’ve got an emotional, attention-grabbing title, include it as an H1 on your post. Note that a single blog post should have one and only one H1. If you have more than one, the search engines could get confused. And confused search engines are not good for ranking.
A meta description is the little preview text that comes up in the SERPs below your article title. It tells search engines and readers what your blog post is about. It helps the reader know whether your post matches their search intent (and whether or not they want to click). Obviously, a great meta description is more likely to get a click.
If you don’t specify a meta description, Google will do it for you – and it’s not always preferred. Recommended length is between 120 and 160 characters, as anything longer will get cut off.
Yep, even the URL matters when it comes to SEO. The most user-friendly URLs are easy to remember and thus easy to navigate to. That means they’re more likely to attract traffic and views. A user-friendly URL eliminates stop words like a, an, the, of, etc. A user-friendly URL is as short as possible (versus the automatically generated ones a lot of CMSs use).
It’s also a good idea to use your keyword in your url. For example: https://www.sitename.com/blog-primary-keyword.
Link to at least a few of your other website pages or related blog posts. This helps engage readers and keep them on your site. It also helps search engines find your site’s other relevant pages. A few tips for internal links:
External, or outbound, links are important for SEO. Linking to an external source (a website that is not your own) helps search engines create contextual relationships between content. It’s a way to attribute statistics, claims, or major concepts covered in your post. Plus, they add depth and value to your content. They help the reader which in turn builds trust. Just be sure to choose a high-quality site with credible information.
Another pro tip: When linking to a fact, statistic, or a quote on another site, find the original source.
People don’t always realize that readability is a huge part of on-page SEO. A giant wall of text is intimidating and tiring to read. If you hurt peoples’ brains, they will bounce.
Break up your content for readability by using short paragraphs. Shorter sentences are also preferred (any sentence over 20 words is way too long!) but use varied sentence length to keep interest. Use bulleted lists, subheadings like H2s and H3s, and rich media like images or videos to break up the text and provide context to the reader.
Alt text is a description that helps visually impaired users understand your image. It’s also what search engines use to index images, since they can’t “see” them. Without alt text, you’re missing an opportunity to help your images rank in the search engine’s images results page.
Alt text should be a simple yet specific description of your image, and should include your primary keyword, if relevant. Keep it under 125 characters. For example: “ebike parked next to regular bike on residential street”.
A blog post that’s optimized for SEO should include a CTA (call to action) at the end of the post telling your reader what to do next. I see this one overlooked a lot and it’s such a missed opportunity!
A CTA tells the reader exactly what you want them to do next. You’ve carried their attention this far – don’t lose them now! A good CTA should invite the reader to take a simple action on your website. This could be anything from asking them to sign up for your newsletter, read a related blog post, download a lead magnet or other exclusive content, or something else.
The idea is to keep them on your site vs sending them away to another corner of the interwebs. Arguably, though, you also could send them to your own brand’s social media platforms.
I hope these SEO tips to optimize your blog posts were helpful and easy to understand. SEO can be a lot to take in, and it’s a long game. But additional organic traffic is a great payoff.
As a content writer for over 10 years, I’ve helped businesses share their unique value and reach more people through great content. And SEO is a big part of that. From SEO-friendly content writing to in-depth consulting on content strategy, I’ve got you covered.