How to optimize blog posts for SEO- Do you frequently ask yourself the following questions -?
- I am writing great content but I am not getting enough organic traffic to my posts?
- Why is my blog post not ranking on Google?
The answer is simple – implement SEO in your blog posts.
Your content is the best place for you to implement SEO techniques.
SEO in blogging needs to be implemented on every page of your blog to help Google understand that it contains great content and has value for potential readers.
When a reader searches for something, Google shows the query keyword in “bold”. And that is your target… to write with keywords that people are actually searching for.
So how do you write SEO friendly blog posts? I will walk you through 11 important and easy to implement SEO strategies that you should start to take note of in your content before hitting the ‘Publish’ button.
Follow these and Google will reward you for knowing how to do SEO for your blog.
1. Title Tags are Vital to Achieve SEO Success for Your Blog
The title of your page is a description of your post in a few words.
That is a visitor’s first interaction with your blog.
It is so important because your visitors see it first before any other thing, and makes their decision.
The search engine bots see them first too when they start crawling your page for indexing.
In WordPress the title has a <H1> tag. The same should be the case for other blogging platforms too. Because the search engine attaches a lot of importance to it, from the SEO perspective it becomes one of the very important optimizing symbols.
And that is the more reason your title should contain your keyword.
If a reader searches for your keyword, Google would certainly consider your post and mark it in bold … and when the reader finds that his query is contained in your title, that gives your post a higher probability of getting clicked.
2. Take Note Of Your Title Length And Place Keywords In Front
Search engines show only the first 65-75 characters of your title. If you have a longer title, the search engine would cut it off for you.
So ensure that your title is within the limit.
Also remember your blog name might be appended to the title of your blog post like shown below.
3. SEO Title Tag
Because we read from left to right, keeping keywords at the beginning will bring it to the search engines as well as the reader’s notice quickly, improving the probable click rate.
“Placing keywords in the front will help your rankings.”
In a survey held by Moz among industry leaders, 94% said that using keywords in title tags is the best way to rank high with search engines.
Creating a title that is appealing will attract more clicks to it. Make it readable and have an emotional appeal to it.
4. Branding and User Experience to make Google Love Your Site
As per Google guidelines, user experience is important. So is branding.
Include your blog name along with the name of the post (as shown above). It helps in branding and makes the reader aware of your site. A familiar brand improves click through rate.
Recommended syntax for a good title will look like the following
<Blog post name><separator><Blog Name>
5. Meta Description – Secret To Optimize Posts & Click Rate
Meta description is a tag that provides a short description to the content of your page.
It is the primary source of the snippet that you find beneath the URL of a search engine listing.
It promotes your blog by drawing readers to your site.
Before the reader hits a click on your page link, the Meta description tells the reader in details what is the content all about.
Creating a compelling and readable Meta description for your page… in every brief highlighting what the page is all about and how the reader will gain from it is key.
As a recommended good SEO practice, naturally mention your keyword in your Meta description too.
Google highlights in bold the keyword searched in the Meta description as shown below.
Remember, the Meta description for a given page can be of any length. However, search engines will show up to a certain character count (160 characters) only and trim the rest.
If you do not explicitly mention a Meta description, search engines will create their own Meta description after reading the content of your page.
By default, it reads the first 160 characters from your content. If you are targeting multiple keywords on the same page, you can consider this technique and let the search engine do its job.
6. Implement SEO Friendly URLs
URLs have special importance when it comes to on-site SEO.
Search engines display page URL in their search results. So the occurrence of the queried keyword phrase in the URL can give a boost to the placement of the link on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
However, avoid keyword stuffing.
If your page is about multiple keywords, avoid stuffing all of them in your URL. It will only lead Google to penalize your page.
Bonus – “URL Guidelines for Better SEO”
Take a hard look at your page URL and ask — can you properly guess the content of the page from the page URL?
A short but descriptive URL that is readable is all it takes to grab the reader’s attention.
Avoid URLs with query parameters. It serves no SEO purpose and can hamper your ranking.
Ensure that your keyword is not unreadable like http://exampledomain.com/blog?ID=210
A readable URL will look something like http://exampleblog.com/11- things-to-do-in-every-blog-post
Note how hyphens (-) separate the words to make them look good and readable … avoid using plus (+) or space (%20) or underscores.
Ensure URL is short and sweet. Along URL will not be completely visible in the search results as Go ogle will trim the characters after a certain limit.
7. Headers and Sub-headers to Optimize Blog Posts for SEO
Headings and sub-headings on your page can provide search engines, powerful hints to help you rank.
Search Engines consider headings and sub-headings as next to the title. The bots study every occurrence of a sub-heading to understand what the page is all about.
There are 6 types of headings and sub-headings possible in HTML — HI, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6 in their order of importance and relevance.
Use them to provide a hierarchy to your content.
For example, HI tag is used mainly for title. H2 will act as the headings of your page. The others will be sub-headings.
Because search engines read HTML, this is how the header architecture should be on your blog.
It is not mandatory to have all the six headers on a page but if you need all of them, do so. But…
Normally, a blog post would mainly need HI as the title, a couple of H2 headers and a couple of H3 headers only.
Dividing the entire content into logical pieces with headings and sub-headings improve readability.
For SEO purpose, naturally mention keywords in your headings and sub-headings. Again, avoid keyword stuffing.
As per best practices in SEO, mention your keyword once in the heading. And if your blog post is long (more than 1000 words), you can consider twice.
8. Body Content – The Meat of the Food
Using relevant keywords in your post content is undeniably very important.
Since Google is using advanced algorithmic models, repetitive use of keyword phrases is not enough.
Keep keywords to less than 1.5% of your entire content. So if you have a 1500 word article, your keyword phrase count should not be more than 23 words. That means if you have a 5-words focus keyword phrase, you can repeat it 4 times.
Google advises against keyword stuffing and calls it a bad practice.
If Google does not like anything, we will not have it. Simple!
Overuse of keywords in your content can lead to Google penalties.
… have a comprehensive content, following a logical structure and explain in a simple easy-to-follow manner. And you are good to go.
9. Word Length Matters A Good Deal
Search engines love long content.
Once upon a time, 500 word posts ranked on Google. But those days are in the past now.
Google as a search engine always tries to provide searchers with the best content. It considers longer posts to be in-depth and contain more relevant information.
On Google Webmasters Central Blog, it gave thumbs up to long form content.
“Users often turn to Google to answer a quick question, but research suggests that up to 10% of users’ daily information needs, involve learning about a broad topic. That’s why today we’re introducing new search results to help users find in-depth articles.”
As per Google, 10% daily search queries require content that is broadly explained. So while your blog might contain great information in a 300-word post, it will likely not rank on Google.
Why Waste Time Write a Long Blog Post?
- A study done by Moz showed that the longer the content, the more backlinks pointed to it.
- And as you may know, backlinks are powerful SEO factors which help search engines rank.
- A backlink is considered as a vote up in favor of the website to which it points. We will analyze this in detail in a later blog post.
You might be thinking now, let me chum a 3000 word post to get ranked #1 on Google, you are wrong. Word count is one of the factors, but definitely not the only factor.
If you provide plagiarized copy from multiple sources, or if your content is a thin content, Google will penalize you instead of rewarding you.
Longer form of content also improves conversion rates.
Various studies done in this case has shown significant improvement in conversion rates of long blog posts.
If you are looking to rank within the first couple of pages, ensure that you write posts that are over 1500 words.
My ample advice will be:
For a page 1 rank, write posts that are over 2000 words.
If you are looking at the top 3 position for a keyword, go over 2500 words.
It is difficult to provide high quality content in short. However, not all content needs to be long form.
For example, if you are looking to publish a video that you are sure will go viral, go ahead and simply post it with easy to share features. No need to write a 2000 word post with the video.
That does not help.
10. Internal Links and Out Bound Links
SE0 Recommendation: A page on your blog should be accessible through no more than 4 clicks from another page on the same blog.
The idea is to ensure that from a certain post you link to other content both inside and outside your blog or website.
This helps in reader interaction, reader retention and longer stays on your blog.
Google assigns better ranking to blogs where the user interacts with the elements on the page. It is a signal to indicate that the user finds the content useful and is reading more content related to his or her query.
Make it look natural when you are trying it link internally as shown below
For out bound links, consider authority sites like Wikipedia, etc.
11. Sprinkle Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) Keywords
LSI keywords are keywords that are semantically related to the queried keyword.
Not sure of where to get LSI Keywords?
Search on Google with the keyword phrase you want to build your content on, scroll down to ‘Related Searches” part of the search engine’s SERP.
Those are the list of LSI keywords for your primary keyword.
They can be in form of questions, how-tos or anything else.
So if I search for ‘LSI Keyword”, this is what my latent keywords would be listed as by Google.
- How to find keywords
- How do I find my LSI keywords
- LSI keywords Moz
- What is LSI keywords in SEO
If you are writing longer posts, you might be already using LSI Keywords.
Do a quick check and if you are not doing it, you can always edit and sprinkle them on your posts and pages.
Still Reading, Here Are Take-aways, specifically for YOU
12. Image Optimization Is An Effective Blogging SEO Practice
This is one thing that is really very simple and easy, yet most of the bloggers don’t do it.
Whenever you are inserting images in your post, always make sure that you optimize it by using the alt attribute.
On WordPress, while uploading your image to the Media Library, you can provide value to the Alt attribute right off the bat.
The alt attribute is not visible to the average reader. However search engines can read it from the HTML and get a hint about what the image is all about.
Some machines for visual impaired people do use it too.
Always use Alt text in your images. In any one image, always mention the exact keyword in the Alt attribute.
13. Use Social Sharing Buttons To Your Advantage
This is the era of social networks.
Be it Facebook or Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, LinkedIn, all of these networking sites help you earn SEO signals and rank on Google.
It is important to have prominent and easy social sharing options enabled on your blog posts.
The number of times your link is shared on Facebook or the number of re-tweets your link gets on Twitter matters.
Google considers them as a vote up to your content and hence assigns a better ranking.
Given how the reach of social networks have grown, how well social shares co-relate positively to higher search rankings, and how those correlations have risen over time, there’s a lot of value in making sure your pages have an opportunity to perform socially.
14. Always Encourage Comments and Make it Interactive
Google loves blogs and sites that encourage user interaction.
Allow moderated comments in your blog posts and encourage users to comment on it through call to action at the end of every post.
For example, you write a post about a recipe on “5 Excellent Ways to Cook Chicken’.
At the end of the post, you can ask readers if they have better ways to cook chicken and if they do, ask them to share it in the comments.
Respond to readers’ comments and be sure to moderate it.
If you already have a high traffic blog site, you need not consider all the pain.
A high traffic web site always gets tons of spam comments, so moderating all of it is not feasible.
Simply disable comments and spare yourself the spam.
I hope this post on how to optimize blog posts for SEO will help you achieve higher search rankings on Google.
Remember, only implementing SEO strategies will not help … always ensure that you have a nicely written content.
Are you aware of any other techniques to improve on-site SEO?
Share with us in the Comments section below and I will delightfully learn from you.