SEO Content: 10 Ways to Optimize Your Blog Posts for SEO
Quality content is an essential component to a website’s success. Content creation is a vital part of any online marketing strategy. Understanding how to use SEO can help you attract valuable web traffic without spending thousands of dollars on paid advertisement. So search engine optimization is incredibly important for every online marketer and entrepreneur. It can help you increase the visibility of your website for keywords people are looking for via search engines.
Fortunately, learning the basic steps of SEO doesn’t require you to become an expert. In this post, we will mention some simple techniques to optimize your content for search engines that are easy to follow. Although you can optimize your blog posts without using an SEO plugin it is way better to use a plugin like Yoast SEO or All in One SEO. That way you are also sure that your entire website is search engine optimized.
At this point, i would like to mention that content marketing and SEO don’t necessarily mean the same thing but they do work together. You can’t create a successful content marketing strategy if you are not using SEO and you can’t have an effective SEO campaign if you don’t have a content strategy. You need SEO so people can find the content you publish and read it. And you need a content marketing strategy in order to create useful and helpful posts for your audience. You can’t expect great results if you just publish blog posts about whatever you think it’s interesting at the time. So you need to learn both about SEO and content marketing. The successful combination of those two is what will create the best results for your website.
The spammy “black-hat” SEO techniques are something you should always avoid using because Google doesn’t like at all. And you must also remember that if you don’t deliver great content that people want to read it won’t matter how well you optimize your posts for SEO or what marketing strategy you are using. Keep your readers interested and engaged, write content that they will want to read, refer to, and share.
Google often updates its algorithm and how they rank a website. Their updates always aim to enhance the quality of their search results and they punish websites with low-quality content and backlinks.
You should always try to write articles that will help your readers first and not just content that is only written for ranking purposes. This is something Google has mentioned many times over the years. Placing your readers first is actually the best way to be sure that you will not be negatively affected by Google’s future algorithms changes.
I also created this infographic to make things easier, so you will not feel overwhelmed with information.
How to Search Engine Optimize Your Blog Content
#1 Focus on Keywords
Keywords are the premise of all of your content. Keyword research is a big part of SEO. Focus on 1 or 2 long tail keywords per blog post and use them in a way that feels natural and not forced. You can also use alternative keywords in the introduction, meta description for better results. Place your main keyword in the first 100-150 words of your post or even better in the first sentence of your first paragraph.That way you are making clear to the search engines what your article is about. You can target up to 5 keywords in a blog post if they read naturally.
Long-tail keywords are a great way to rank higher faster especially if you are involved in niche marketing. They are not usually targeted from the bigger brands so you have better chances to make it to the top 3 search engine results.They usually consist of 3-4 keywords that are specific to what you’re writing about. Ideally, you want keywords with a lower competition (also known as QSR) because it means that you are going to be competing with fewer websites in Google.
You want your keyword to meet the following criteria:
(1) Must be lower than 200 QSR initially, as you get more authority in search engines you can tackle more competitive search terms.
(2) Must get some traffic, aim for over 50 searches per month
(3) Must make grammatical sense
Once you have your keyword, you are going to create a page or a post on your website targeting that keyword. Incorporating many keywords into a post is called keyword stuffing and it will hurt your SEO. Write your content naturally and make sure it is engaging. Always keep in mind that low-quality content, keyword stuffing, and duplicate content is a very bad SEO strategy.
People search “keywords” when they are looking for something so as you start getting ranked under these keywords, you are going to start to see traffic. Once you have traffic, you have a great opportunity to generate revenue.
There are many keywords tools for you to use. In a previous post, i created a list of some of the best online marketing tools.
#2 Headings & Content
Headings are actually part of SEO and not just a nice way to structure your content. They tell search engines what your content is about. If you are using WordPress you will see there are 6 headings (H1 – H6) available. The heading tags can help you change the font size of your content and make it stand out. The whole idea with the headings is to use them in your content according to their font size. You should start from H1, then move to H2 and so on.
Use the H1 tag for your blog post title only and avoid using it for the rest of your content. Most WordPress themes automatically add the H1 tag to your post title but there are some that don’t. Make sure you check that. As for a subheading inside your text use the H2 tags. When the search engines crawl your content they look first for H1 tags, then H2 tags, after that for the H3 tags and so on. I personally prefer to use H2 tags in my blog posts because Google likes them more. If i create subcategories i will use the H3 tags. It’s also a good idea to use your keywords in H2 tags.
Creating attractive headlines is also a very important part of SEO. Almost five times as many people will read your headline as your actual content. So, a strong headline not only will increase your click-through rate but will also help with your SEO copywriting strategy. A good way to attract more visitors is to include numbers in your headlines for example “10 ways to promote your website online for free” because they are shared more on social media.
Use your keywords only a few times through your content. Using your primary keyword in the last 200 words of your post is also a good idea. Avoid repeating keywords and hoping for better rankings. It won’t happen. Also, remember that Google uses LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords in order to determine a website’s relevancy when they deliver their results.
So, if you write longer posts (>1200 words) alternative keywords will be created naturally and you will rank for many of them although you didn’t plan for it in the first place. How many times can you mention your targeted keyword in a 500 word post and how many in a 2000 word post? It’s definitely a lot easier to do that with a longer post. Make sure your posts have a minimum of 300 words.
Publishing fresh SEO content is something the search engines appreciate so you must update your website not only often but above all with consistency. Before you write your content identify the keywords you will use and how you can use them to maximize your results. Write content addressing your audience problems but while writing your content keep in mind your targeted keyword. Before start writing your articles always ask yourself first what is its purpose and what do you want your readers to do after they finish reading it.
#3 Title Tag
The title tag is the first thing that appears in the search results and it’s a meta HTML tag. It’s one of the most important on-page SEO elements. If you don’t specify your meta title in your SEO settings then your post title will automatically take its place. Using your keyword in your title tag is a great SEO strategy and it doesn’t require a lot of effort. But if your keyword doesn’t sound natural in your meta title just don’t use it. If you do the results will be far from ideal.
The length of your meta title should be no more than 60 characters because that is the maximum amount of characters Google will display in their results. If your title is too long it will get cut off and will appear on the search engines like this ’’….’’. It doesn’t look nice, does it?
Your title tag should ideally be between 50-60 characters.
Your title must be catchy enough so people will want to click it. The best way to create attractive titles that convert is to place your primary keyword first, then your secondary keyword and your brand name at the end.
Remember that the title tag is the first thing a new visitor will see in the search results regarding your website. When you write your titles look at them from the user perspective and experience. Make a positive impact and invite them to explore your website.
#4 Meta Description
Your meta description is basically a summary of your post and including your keywords in it is really great for your SEO strategy. It should be 150-160 characters and they can help you increase your traffic significantly.
Write your descriptions in a friendly way that will make people want to click on your link. Using a call to action phrase or a question is a good way to increase user’s interaction. Your description must appeal to the audience you are targeting. Another characteristic of a good description is it should always match the content. Don’t create fake descriptions with the intention to trick the user. You are risking to be penalized by Google.
Your meta description will help the search engines understand what your post is about and also make it appear in the search engines often. The keywords you use in your description will appear bolded in the search queries and that will help the users decide the relevance of your post. So, you should definitely include target keywords but it’s not necessary to use the same main keywords.
Finally, never use the same meta description for different posts/pages. Google doesn’t appreciate it. If you have published posts without adding a meta description you should definitely add them.
Your should optimize your permanent links to your pages/posts to be SEO-friendly. Keep them short and try to use your keywords in the first 3 words of the URL. Also, avoid stop words like “the” and “to”.
Including your targeted keyword in your meta title, meta description, and your URL is equally important with using your primary keywords in the content.
Never change your post permalink after you publish your post. If you do a 404 error page will appear to anyone trying to visit that post. To fix that you’ll need to set up a 301 redirect from the old link to the new link. You can do that you can use a plugin like the Simple 301 Redirects.
#6 Optimize your Images
Images, graphics, videos, diagrams can reduce the bounce rate and increase the time users spend on your site. Just that will make your website more SEO-friendly and help your rankings. There are also many places you can find free good quality images.
But you have to remember that search engines can’t read images for now at least. So, if you want to get the best SEO results your images have to offer you must use the alternative text (alt tags). That way you can tell Google what your images are about.
The text you will add must be relevant to the image and/or a short description of the image if you prefer. You can use your keywords too. Don’t use the images default title like “ IMG_6321” for example. It will not help with your SEO strategy.
So, before you insert your images to your post add a title, an alt text and a small description of the image if you want.
Pro tip: Compress your images before uploading them so they don’t affect your site speed. You can use plugins to do that or online tools like TinyPNG. Also, don’t upload images at their full size.
#7 Link Internally
When you go through your new post you will find many opportunities to link to your older posts. These links are called inbound links. Unfortunately, many bloggers forget to use them. Look for words or phrases that are relevant to the content you want to link. Linking internally is great for SEO since it can increase the time your readers spend on your site and for the search engines to re-crawl your older blog posts. Also, you can guide your visitors through your website to your older posts that may be more relevant to them.
You can also add some related posts you want people to read at the end of your posts. That’s a good way to promote some of your other posts.
Linking your content to authority sites like Wikipedia.org can boost your rankings in Google. Those links are called outbound links and they play a vital role in SEO.
As for your backlinks (other websites linking to yours) you want them to grow organically. Never buy them and don’t go after easy links.
#8 Site Speed
Your website’s load speed is an important SEO ranking factor. If it takes your website more than 4 seconds to load then it’s not user-friendly. Most people wouldn’t visit such a site again. Most people expect a site to load in 3 seconds or less. Ideally, you want your site to load in less than 2 seconds.
Your site’s speed is one of the ranking factors Google uses and if you have a slow loading website your position in the SERPS will drop. The last few years its importance has increased and it will continue to do so in the years ahead. Site speed means better rankings, more traffic, improves the visitor’s experience and your conversion rate.
One of the best and most reliable websites speed test tools is Google PageSpeed Insights. If your site’s score is 80+ you are doing great.
#9 Social Sharing Buttons
Sharing your posts via your favorite social media networks is a great way to create more connections with potential customers. It’s also a chance to broaden the reach of your blog posts and increase your web exposure. Sharing your content on Google+ especially can positively help your rankings.
Using social sharing buttons on your website can help you increase social sharing and build awareness of your post. Social media shares are also used by Google to determine an article’s authority. Sharing other blogger’s content increases the chances of your own content to be shared as well.
Remember social shares are more important than Likes and comments in the social media.
#10 Use Google’s Search Console
It will provide you with useful information about what keywords people are using to find your blog posts. The data will help you understand for what keywords you are ranking for, how many clicks you get for each keyword etc. Analyzing all that you will be able to adjust your SEO strategy and increase your blog’s traffic.
You can also fetch your new posts as Google inside the Search Console. You don’t have to do that everytime you publish a new post but you can have your article crawled faster.
You can learn on how to use by reading Google’s help report.
Right now maybe you are feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the information in this post. But if you take it one step at a time pretty soon you will find out it’s very easy to write SEO friendly posts. You won’t even have to think about it anymore.
Of course, there are many aspects of the SEO process we didn’t cover in this post. But the 10 ways mentioned above are a great way to start your journey on learning and discovering the power of the search engine optimization.
Although it takes time to become an authority in your niche and your blog posts won’t rank immediately publishing new content frequently and optimizing it consistently will help you in the long-term. The best way to rank high in Google is to write very good posts. Remember content is king.
If you want to learn more not just about SEO but online marketing in general i know a great place for you. If you are interested in making money from your blog or your website i strongly recommend you to check it out.
How do you SEO your blog post? Share your thoughts, your suggestions and your SEO tips in the comments section below.
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Note: I am not an SEO expert and i am not trying to advertise myself as one. These are the techniques i am using to optimize my content for the search engines. They have worked for me and i believe they can also work for you.