There are millions of bloggers online who are updating their blogs every day. How can you make your blog stand out from all the rest?
By making a blog SEO friendly, you can help to increase your total amount of blog visitors and make your blog posts more relevant to search engine traffic.
Here are a few tips on how to optimize your blog for SEO.
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- According to Comscore, the Internet is used to conduct 12 billion web searches each month in the U.S.
- 44% of web users who are aiming to do some online shopping start their purchase by using a search engine.
- YouTube is the second largest search engine.
- Companies that blog regularly receive 97% more inbound links to their main website.
- B2B Marketers using blogs see 67% more leads than similar marketers that do not blog
- 79% of companies who blog noted that they generated a positive ROI in 2013 for inbound marketing efforts.
What is SEO, and Why Does it Matter?
- SEO, or search engine optimization, is a collection of strategies and best practices that are typically used to help a website or blog gain a higher ranking on a search engine’s results page (SERP). Search engines include Google, Bing and Yahoo.
- By making the website more visible and more relevant to search engines (i.e. SEO-optimized), the website should climb in the rankings, and theoretically, should also gain more visitors.
- SEO-optimization involves a number of methods, including crafting original, well-written content, using keywords that Internet users are commonly searching for, linking to other websites and social media accounts and so on. Without SEO-optimized practices, a search engine may not recognize a website as being relevant to a specific search.
- From a marketing perspective, blogs are important. They can provide useful information to your site’s users, they can help generate more inbound traffic to your website and they’re also valuable as a marketing or public relations tool. However, it’s important to make sure that your blog posts are SEO-optimized. But how do you make sure your blog posts are SEO friendly?
SEO Best Practices for Blogs
Search engines rely on keywords. If a web user wants to find something, they plug in a word or series of words into a search engine that are related to the topic of their choice.
For example, if a person wants to find a pet store near their home, they might plug in words like “pet store,” “dog store,” “pet supply store” and a geographic location.
The search engine then lists the top website results that are deemed the most relevant to the topic at hand. So, if you want to optimize your blog, your content should feature a handful of keywords that are highly relevant to the post’s topic. You can use Google’s Keyword Tool to find a particular keyword’s average monthly searches, competitiveness and relevance. You can also use the tool to find similar keywords.
Make sure the keywords pop up organically. Filling the text with an abundance of keywords, or popping in keywords at random, will not help to boost a post’s relevance.
An effective title is crucial. Only 20% of web users read beyond a post’s headline. It’s important that you come up with a blog title that’s engaging and captures the essence of your post. It should also use prime keyword phrases (especially one you used in the text), and it should be under 55 characters or so. Lists and “how-to” articles are especially popular.
- Original Content:
All of the text featured in your blog should be original. Do not copy and paste text from another blog post and into yours. Original content — especially content that features useful information — will be deemed relevant to a search engine. When you’re writing your text, remember to use H2 and H3 tags (sub-headlines) to help break up your content and to also help search engines comb through your post to determine if it’s relevant or not. If you can, also try to link to other sites or social media accounts — or other pages on your website or blog — at least three times to help generate additional traffic. When you link to other websites that you might like, they may also link back to you — this will help to increase visitor traffic.
- Properly Formatted Text:
Is your blog post easy to read? Did you space it properly? By using short paragraphs, bullet points, lists, block quotes or italics, you can make a post easier to read and more eye-catching. You can also use “read more” tags to make sure that initial previews of your post are short — longer posts of over 1,000 words rank better on search engines, but if a viewer initially sees a large chunk of text, they might be discouraged from reading more. Instead, offering a short preview of text with the option to “read more” will help to entice readers. Using a call-to-action in the text — like “check us out on social media” —can also help to generate more traffic.
- An Image:
Images are key! They help to break up text, and generally speaking, posts with pictures are more popular than those without. However, make sure that all your photos feature titles, alt text and captions that use keywords.
- Meta Description and Tags:
In order to make it easier for search engines to find your post, make sure that the post has a short meta description that accurately sums up the post and features keywords. Also, do your best to fit your post in a particular category (all of your posts should be arranged by distinct categories, such as “art,” “pets,” “movies,” etc.) and to use informational tags so that viewers can find particular posts a little easier.
SEO Blog Post Check List
- Have you identified relevant keywords?
- Have you incorporated the relevant keywords into your blog post?
- WATCH OUT! Do your keywords occur organically? Do not stuff keywords!
- Do you have an effective and catchy title?
- Is your title under or around 55 characters long?
- Is all of the content in your blog post original?
- Are quotes properly attributed?
- Have you included internal links to relevant blog posts and webpages?
- Have you included external links to relevant sites or social media accounts?
Properly Formatted Text:
- Have you formatted your blog post with Title Tags, H2 and H3 tags?
- Is your blog post easy to read, visually?
- Have you placed your blog post behind a “read more” tag?
- Have you added an image?
- Does your image have titles, alt text and captions that use keywords?
Meta Description and Tags:
- Does your post have a short meta description?
- Have you categorized your blog post with a tag?
- One last check! Does your blog post have typos? Is it missing keywords or tags? Is it formatted correctly?