Blogging is a fantastic way to improve your brand’s reputation in its industry and attract more people to your company’s site. But it takes more than just great content to get people to visit your blog. You need to make the most of your content with the right search engine optimization (SEO) tactics. By optimizing each blog post using the methods below, you’ll increase the visibility and reach of your blog.
1. Conduct Keyword Research
Every blog post needs one primary keyword. This is the subject of your post, and you can also use a couple of variations on it. Good keywords are those that align with both the content in the blog post and your target audience’s purchasing intent. The most important thing to remember about keywords is that they should be a natural part of your post.
It’s almost always better to target long-tail keywords, which are longer, more precise search terms. There are two big benefits with these keywords. First is that visitors searching for long-tail keywords are often more ready to buy something than those just looking for general information. Second is that there’s less competition in the search results for long-tail keywords, making it easier to rank your page higher.
There are many tools that can help you choose the right keywords, such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ahrefs and Moz Keyword Explorer. When considering a keyword, make sure you look at how many searches it gets per month, how competitive it is and if there are any competitors of yours with high-ranking pages for that term.
2. Use Keywords Throughout Your Post
When you’ve chosen a target keyword, you need to use it correctly to get the best results from an SEO standpoint. A good keyword density target, which is how much you use the keyword in the post, is about 1.5 to 2.5 percent. Let’s say you write a 1,000-word article. You should have your target keyword in the article about 15 to 25 times.
This may sound tricky at first, but there are actually a few key places you should include your target keyword. These places are the title, the page URL, headings and sub-headings, the meta tag, and the introductory sentence and concluding paragraph. Sprinkle it in through the body, as well.
The two most important places are the title and the URL. Keep your title to 65 characters or less since Google will cut off longer titles. If your title is longer, make sure to include your keyword at the beginning, as seen in the example below.
The key here is to produce reader-friendly content. Don’t sacrifice this just to slip the keyword in a couple of more times. You may end up getting a penalty from Google for keyword stuffing.
3. Optimize Your Meta Description
When web users look through the search results, the meta description is the text displayed underneath the title to your page that explains what the page is about. They can read this and decide if they’ll check out your content or not.
After the page title, the meta description is the second-biggest ranking factor, which makes it imperative to use your target keyword in it. What you write is also crucial here, because you’ll only get people to visit your site if the meta description is engaging them.
4. Be Careful with Topic Labels
Topic labels, also known as tags, are a way for bloggers to categorize their posts. Although these can better organize the content on your blog, they can also cause problems if you overdo it with them.
You’ll run into issues with your topic labels if you put too many on a post or if you have several similar tags. For example, if you write a post about blogging and tag it “blog,” “blog posts” and “blogging,” the search engines could punish you for using similar tags.
Your best bet is to come up with a list of about 15 to 25 tags that fit your blog. When you write a post, choose up to three tags to use.
5. Optimize Your Images
Images spice up your blog posts, which is why content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images, according to CMO Council. Large walls of text can turn off readers, and images break up the monotony. Of course, your images need to fit the content of the post to be effective.
When you put images in your posts, there’s a simple way to boost the post’s SEO. Put your target keyword in the alt text of the image, as that’s what search engine bots look at to determine the content of the image.
6. Include Internal and External Links
If you’ve ever found yourself spending hours on Wikipedia jumping from page to page, then you know why you should put internal links in your blog posts. Some benefits of internal linking include increased page views, reduced bounce rate, and better crawling and indexing (it surfaces your other relevant and authoritative pages to search engines). These internal links must be natural and not forced.
It’s also good for SEO to add a couple of external links on each post. Your readers will appreciate being able to get more information or see your sources.
7. Promote Your Blog Posts
Social media is an excellent tool for getting your blog posts in front of a larger audience so make sure to share all your posts on your own social media. To get your content shared more, include social sharing buttons on each post, allowing readers to easily share it across their social network of choice.
Keep in mind that your blog posts aren’t going to be ranking in the top 10 immediately. That kind of search authority takes time. But if you publish new posts often and optimize them with the tips above, you’ll gradually improve your search rankings and the amount of search traffic your site gets.
Jen McKenzie is an up-and-coming author from NY. She usually writes on business, marketing and HR subjects. When not at her desk, you can find her taking long strolls in the countryside or enjoying her free time brushing up on photo editing. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie on Twitter.