If you manage a blog of any kind, then you probably already know how difficult it is to get your posts found by new readers.
The fact is, it’s not enough to just spend time thinking about a cool topic you love and just writing it, you need to follow some rules.
To make a great SEO friendly blog post you need to create outstanding content that is well researched and optimized for your readers and search engines.
This, of course, has limitations as well as you don’t want to saturate your post with your keywords and or pick the wrong keywords and attract the wrong readers.
Simple right? Apparently not, or everyone’s blogs would be ranking on the first page of Google.
This is harder than most people realize, so I decided to write 5 SEO tips for blog posts to help simplify the process and improve your chances of creating a great piece of content.
And we could all use a great piece of content in today’s digitally saturated junk content world…
This is the very first thing you need to do before even attempting to write your blog post.
Keyword selection is critical for your blog to be found, read and ranked. If you choose the wrong keywords, you may attract the wrong readers.Or you may be competing with higher competition then you can rank against. Worse yet you may have simply used words that no one is searching for!
To avoid all of this start by using Google’s Keyword Planner. This FREE tool is excellent at showing you what are the most popular keywords people are using to find your topic, how many people are searching for the different keywords related to your topic each month, and how competitive they are. By using the Keyword Planner, we can narrow down our keyword selection and find the right keywords to focus on in our writing.
Pro SEO TIP: When searching for keywords to use, try and go for Long Tail keywords that fit your post. These should be longer more focused keywords that target a particular reader to find your blog.
An example of a good long tail keyword use:
If we are blogging about a car for sale, we have a few options for targeting the right audience.
“Car for sale” as a keyword is too broad and not specific enough. It may reach your audience, but it may also reach some people who have zero interest in your car worst yet the competition for “car for sale” is so high you will likely not get found at all.
“2014 used car for sale” Is a better long tail keyword, but still is not as precise as you could get, and thus you may miss a targeted buyer.
“Used 2014 Toyota Camry with Low Miles” Is perfect! Fewer people will be writing an article with such a targeted long tail keyword, and anyone looking for this phrase is most likely looking to buy a used Camry. Also by default, Google is smart enough to make other keywords from your long tail keyword, like “Used Camry, Used Toyota, 2014 Toyota Camry, etc…” Make sense?
Using the right keywords in the right locations is critical for making you blog SEO friendly.
After you have chosen the right keywords, we need to get them in the most advantageous spots for people to see them and search engines, Google, to find them. To do this best we need to place them in a few key areas. This works best when they are added to:
1. Your blogs title. (This should contain your primary keyword)
2. Headings and Subheadings. (This takes some thinking at times, but just make sure you’re not a broken record and keep reusing the same keywords)
3. Your blogs introduction. (The opening sentence or paragraph that captures your audience)
4. Sprinkled in the blog content. (Keywords should be in your blog, but not so much it becomes stuffed with them. Just make it sound natural)
5. Listed in your title tags and meta description. (This let searchers read the main topic of your blog in the search results)
Pro SEO TIP: Remember that to keep your blog post SEO friendly, you must use your keywords throughout it. However, it’s also important to NOT overuse your keywords in your posts, also known as Keyword Stuffing, as this will lead to a penalty in your search rankings. This confuses a lot of new bloggers but just think of it like this: write your blog posts for your readers, and add keywords to help Google find you.
They are usually the blue highlighted underlined words in a blog that link back to other sections of your website or another website. These seeming simple links can mean big authority boosts for your blog post when done correctly, or can cause a Google penalty when used improperly. When building good anchor texts, we need to use relevant keywords and link them back to relevant information. This is like casting a vote to a search engine and telling it “Hey I recommend this website’s page, and this anchor text is the keyword I vote to find this page.”
Grey Hat and Black Hat SEO’s often build authority to a website or page from another website with authority by cheating with anchor texts. They create an anchor text with the exact keyword phrase they want to build for another website and use this to improve their score with the search engines. The fact is most referring websites won’t link the exact keywords you use to your page, unless you communicate it that way first. Most links will be given an anchor text that the writer thinks are appropriate. This is why search engines value this type of link so much. The secret here is to not over optimize your blog posts with anchor text. I suggest you use 2, maybe 3, per blog post depending on the content and size.
Pro SEO TIP: Use proper keywords when linking to another website, and make sure you are connecting to relevant information.
It is improper to use phrases like “Click Here” As your anchor texts. These are known as zero anchor texts and are ignored by search engines. Do not create multiple links back to the same location. This does not increase the authority. In fact, the first link to a location is the only one seen by search engines, and additional links can cause penalties. Don’t over use anchor texts in your posts or this may be seen as manipulative and get flagged.
A good anchor text example.
If you are linking the keyword “Home of the Bearcats” to the Cincinnati Bearcats team homepage it would look like this:
<a href=” http://www.gobearcats.com/”> Home of the Bearcats </a>
Your readers will only see the clickable part of the anchor text as: Home of the Bearcats
If we break down the fundamentals of the anchor text it looks like this:
<a> and </a> = the beginning and end of link tag
http://www.gobearcats.com = the referring link
Home of the Bearcats = the anchor text your readers see
This is a simple one, but important. When listing an image in your post, it’s important to use your keywords in the alternate text field and to provide a small description. Search engines cannot “see” images so telling them what it references helps optimize the content of your image and of the page it is tied to. When linking an image to a website be sure and follow good linking practices for improved results and authority.
This may sound like a no brainer, but properly sharing your blog posts is critical to exposure and finding your readers. Linking to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and all other social engines
not only exposes your blog to new potential readers, they improve your rankings with search engines, who love to see social signals linking back to your website. Of course the quality of your content determines how well it will be shared and liked, so try and boost your best posts through the proper channels. Do your research before you start linking to social media, if your business will benefit from being on LinkedIN then spend the time and post there, but if your audience is not there then spend the time where they are!
Pro SEO TIP: Quality content is KING when creating any blog post and sharing it. If you want anything you create to go viral with your readers, you need to focus on making excellent content. When you accomplish this sharing become much easier!
I hope these 5 SEO tips for your blog posts helped you out in some way!
How did it affect your next blog post?
Please Let us know what your next blogging strategy will be!
What did we miss that you would like to see added?
We look forward to hearing your thoughts!
-Sean Riggs Search and Rank Technologies