When it’s time for you to write another blog post, what comes to mind? I’ll bet you have two questions fluttering around in your brain:
“What topic should I write about?”
“How will I drive traffic to my blog post?”
Both of these can quickly be answered when you take the following steps to optimize for SEO.
SEO for blog posts isn’t difficult. That’s why I’ve always thought that — whether ranking on Google is a priority for you or not —you should still follow these blog SEO tips. They don’t take long to implement and they will help improve the rankings and visibility of your blog as a whole.
Blog SEO Tip #1: Research Keywords for Blog Posts First
You’ll want to have your keyword research completed before you write your post. This will help in framing the content of the post, give you ideas for the direction you want to take, and help when you optimize for SEO.
For instance, if you are considering writing a post about dog food, you might think about mentioning what ingredients the food should have, and which food is most healthful. But, after doing keyword research, you might find search phrases related to senior dogs, pet food allergies, feeding dogs with sensitivity issues, and others.
If these terms have higher search volume than keyphrases related to your original idea, you might be better off to adjust your topic.
Also (at least for me), it is easier to incorporate the keyphrases into the copy as I write instead of having to go back through the post and edit sections to make a keyword fit.
When you optimize for SEO, choose one primary keyphrase — the one that you absolutely want to get ranked for. Then select 2 or 3 secondary keyphrases. Most of the time, these should be terms that are related to your topic, but don’t have quite as much search volume as the others.
Blog SEO Tip #2: Optimizing Content for SEO: Title & Opening Paragraph
Insert your primary keyphrase as-is (the whole phrase) and as close to the front of the title as possible. You will also want to format the title with an H1 tag if your blogging platform doesn’t do that for you automatically.
You can see that these top 3 results all include the phrase “best dog food.” You may also notice that some are plural and 1 is singular. Google does a pretty good job at balancing plural and singular terms so you don’t need to agonize over whether to use the singular, plural, or both versions as you go through the process of optimizing the content for SEO.
The closer to the front of the title your keyphrase is, the higher in importance Google believes the search term is.
Next, insert the full keyphrase into the first 100 words of your opening section. Again, because the term appears in the beginning of the article content, it is perceived to have greater value.
Blog SEO Tip #3: How to Write SEO-Friendly Blog Posts
Google holds sub-headlines in higher regard because they are set apart. They are usually bold or defined with an H2 or H3 tag. While subheads don’t have as much value as headlines (H1s), they are still important.
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As you write, continue to work in your primary and secondary keyphrases through the content. I don’t pay much attention to keyword density (the ratio of how many keywords are included compared to other words), but I do try to work keywords in at least every 200 words or so.
This allows me to write SEO-friendly blog posts without destroying the flow of the text.
Blog SEO Tip #4: Use a META Description Tag
Google has not used the META description for ranking purposes in over a decade, so it’s not really part of the process when you optimize for SEO. Including your primary keyphrase in this tag won’t help your post appear higher in the search results. It will, however, make a connection with the searcher.
One of my best tips is to remember that optimizing content for SEO is not all about appeasing Google. It is also about communicating with searchers and giving your blog visitors what they want.
Just because Google won’t use the description to rank your post doesn’t mean you should bail when writing it. Searchers will read the description and use it to make a decision on whether to click to your post or not. Including the keyphrase in the description tag will help reinforce the fact that your article is about the topic the searcher is interested in.
Consider your description as an advertisement for your blog post. Create exciting copy that appeals to searchers and makes them curious about what information your post provides.
Don’t write something ordinary like “5 ways to know if you’re buying the best dog food.” Instead, create a description more like “Think you’re buying the best dog food? Did you know that even prime, expensive brands often include ingredients dangerous to puppies or seniors? Read on to discover the best dog food for every age.”
Blog SEO Tip #5: Other Elements for SEO Blog Posts
In addition to optimizing the article title and body, when blogging for SEO you should also pay attention to:
- Link Slug – The link slug is the portion of the post URL that appears after the .com, .net, .co, or other top-level domain (TLD). Google prefers that you use shorter links rather than the enormously long ones that WordPress or other blogging platforms automatically generate. Insert your primary keyphrase into the slug with each word separated by a dash. For our dog food example, your full URL might be DogWhatever.com/best-dog-food/.
- Cross Links – If you mention topics that relate to previous posts you’ve written, cross linking to those articles is a good idea. This helps to reinforce that your blog has a solid foundation with this topic.
- Calls to Action – If you have a call to action at the end of your post, use that subhead (H2 or H3) to help optimize your blog post for SEO.
- Comment Request – Likewise, if you request comments or encourage questions for your post, use an H2 or H3 tag for that subhead … a great way to boost the SEO for your blog posts.
When you take a few minutes to optimize your blog posts for SEO, you’ll earn more qualified traffic to your blog and greater readership from every post.
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Have questions about how to optimize for SEO? Talk to me below!
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