Do you put enough effort into search engine optimisation (SEO) for your blog posts? Although this can take extra time when creating content, it’s definitely worth it! High ranking blog posts can help your website gain organic visibility and traffic. Blog articles also offer a route to your business’ products and services so visitors could end up becoming customers/clients. So how do you make your blog SEO friendly? Well, we’ve put together a guide to the main elements that can help.
Use Keywords Effectively
Before creating your blog post, it’s a good idea to plan which keywords to include. This way you can fit in the keywords more naturally as you write your blog post, rather than cramming them in afterwards. Consider which key phrases searchers would use to find the content related to the topic you’re covering. There are several online tools that can help you select the best keywords to target. One of the most popular is the Moz’s Keyword Explorer which is free and easy to use. When you submit a term or phrase, scores are applied to help you determine the value of a key phrase. For example, you’ll see the level of difficulty associated with the key phrase, which tells you how competitive the term is.
When it comes to adding your chosen keywords, there are certain places in your blog post that will have more impact for people and search engine crawlers. These include:
- The title of your blog post
- Headings and sub-headings (more info on this later)
- The meta title & description
- The first sentence of your blog post
- Final paragraph
- Anchor text (text linking to other parts of your website)
Make sure you avoid keyword stuffing as your blog won’t read well. This doesn’t just annoy readers, but you’ll also be penalised by Google.
Create Great Content
The content of your post is without doubt the most influential factor of SEO. This is because search engines only want to display the most relevant and interesting content for searchers. By creating high quality content, your blog post is more likely to gain high levels of engagement, which impacts on search engine rankings. Consider what topics and particular angles would interest your target audience. For example, it could explain a solution to a common problem they have or relate to a trending topic. Twitter Moments can be a good resource for “real time” topics. Just make sure they’re relevant to your brand and audience.
When writing your blog article, use a friendly tone and avoid using overly fussy language. Think about how you’d speak to customers in your store can help you set the right tone for your audience. You should also try to vary both the length and the different types of blog posts. This will help keep your readers more engaged and provide a better user experience.
You can also help engage your readers by providing content that is:
Use Heading Tags
Nobody wants to read a blog post that’s just a wall of text! By using headings for each section, the blog article becomes more readable and allows viewers to scan and find information that they’re looking for. This can help signal to search engines that the web-page is well formatted, which contributes to the user experience. However, search engines are only able to recognise headings if you utilize heading tags. These have a hierarchy of H1 to H6. The most important is the <h1> tag which is used for the blog title (your blog platform automatically adds this one). The <h2> tag is the best one to select for your main headings.
H-tags can be be easily added in most blog platforms. For example, with WordPress you simply highlight the text for your heading and select the ‘Paragraph’ drop-down menu to choose the heading tag you want.
Keep in mind that all headings must be unique and not duplicated through the article or elsewhere on the site.
Optimise Your Metadata
Page titles and meta descriptions are used to provide information about the content of your blog post, to both human beings and search engines. Metadata helps search engines determine the relevancy of your domain/page/article to the search terms that people use. The other purpose is to help encourage searchers to select your listing over others displayed and click the link to read your content. By creating effective metadata, it can help increase relevant organic traffic to your blog, which ultimately can help increase rankings.
Page titles are displayed in search results as a blue link, and can also be seen in the browser tab. Google considers 50-65 characters the best length for meta titles. If they’re any longer, the user won’t be able to read the full meta title as it will be truncated.
Top tips for creating effective meta titles:
Meta descriptions for blog posts should accurately explain what your article is about. Ideally, you also want to suggest what the reader can gain. For example, they could get inspiration on how to wear the latest trends or insight into a day in the life of an industry expert. Meta descriptions can be found on search engine result pages (SERPs) underneath the meta title linking to the webpage. They also can appear when somebody shares your blog post on their social media channel as the metadata gets pulled through on the shared link, although users can edit this if they wish to.
Top tips for creating effective meta descriptions:
Add Quality Links
One of the ways you can add value to your blog article is by including links that benefit the reader. However, when it comes to SEO, the impact of links is not black and white. Generally, you should keep the amount of links to a minimum. Only include them if they’re relevant to the blog post and add context or insight. Poor and irrelevant links will have a detrimental effect on your reader’s engagement levels and to your search engine rankings.
There are 2 types of links that you can include: ones that link to external websites and ones that link internally (on your own website). In a blog post, internal links can be used to take the reader to a page that gives you more information on a product or service that relate to your content. Sometimes you may also want to link to a previous blog post if it relates to the topic and adds additional information. This can help increase engagement and overall user experience, which is a positive signal for search engines.
Linking to quality external sources does not directly help boost your SEO, however there are still benefits to this. Firstly, it can help search engines understand the topic of your blog post. Also, if you link to another website – they may link to your blog post in return. This is known as a backlink which, depending on their authority, can help improve your search engine rankings.
Top tips for adding links:
Tag & Optimise Your Images
Many people discover content by searching via the ‘Images’ feed on search engines like Google and Bing. This means your images should be just as SEO friendly as your text. To do this, you need to let search engines know what’s featured in your images by adding alt tags.
This is a really simple process, and should become habit for whenever you upload an image to your blog post. For example, on WordPress you add it in the Alt Text field of the image upload box. Alt-tags should accurately describe the image as they’re not only used by search engines, they’re also used by those who have visual impairments. Like with all other content, it’s bad practise to stuff keywords in so make sure it’s a short description and not a list. Adding the odd keyword is a bonus but not essential.
Another way to optimise your images for search engines is by compressing the file size. If image sizes are too big, it slows down the page and overall site load time. This can have a major impact on search rankings. Before uploading images to your blog, make sure you compress them using Photoshop or an online tool. We recommend TinyJPG which lets you quickly compress up to 20 images at a time. For more information, you can check out our previous post about image optimisation.