Having an engaging blog can give your business or brand a competitive advantage. But since there are more than 500 million blogs, how can you ensure yours gets the attention it deserves?
The answer is by search engine optimizing your blog. Don’t worry; it’s not as complicated as it sounds. In this article, we’ll look at the 11 most effective ways of giving your blog the SEO power it needs to attract more readers.
Why search engine optimize your blog?
First, because the blogging world is so competitive, writing quality content isn’t enough. Search engines must be very selective when pushing content to the top of the search results page, so they’ve added specific criteria that blogs must meet to improve their visibility.
Secondly, search engines are the place people go to look for information. Recent statistics show that 75% of Internet users never click past the first page of results. And nearly 70% of all online activity starts with an online search. Google isn’t the only search engine out there, but this engine alone gets more than 13 billion searches every day.
From this, you can see that search engines are too important to ignore if you want to promote your blog.
1. Plan your blog content, the SEO way
Your readers will click on a blog entry if the topic is relevant to them. Many blog owners have a pretty good idea of what gets their audience’s attention. But to get great SEO results, having a pretty good idea isn’t enough.
You don’t need to do any guesswork when planning your blog content. Keyword research is one of the most valuable tools for bloggers for many reasons:
- It can confirm or disprove your assumptions about what type of content your readers will love.
- It can point you to related keywords, which you can use to generate new blog post ideas.
- It can show you the specific questions readers are asking about a given keyword.
2. Create a keyword strategy
Keyword research tools can offer valuable insights, but you still need a defined keyword strategy to make your blog stand out. The strategy can be as simple as this:
- Choose a focus keyword to be your main keyword, the one your content will revolve around. The best focus keywords have high traffic and low competition – this formula will allow your blog content to carve its niche.
- Choose related keywords, sometimes called semantic keywords. Having additional but related keywords can enrich your blog content, so it doesn’t appear repetitive. You can find semantic keywords by searching your main keyword online and scrolling down to the Related Search Suggestions section.
3. Craft a strong title
The title will be the first thing your readers and search engines see, so make it count! You should always include your focus keyword in the blog post title. Then you need to surround the keyword with other high-impact words. In digital marketing, these are sometimes called power words. They’re powerful because they appeal to basic human emotions, making the reader more likely to click on the headline.
It’s also good to put your title through a headline analyzer tool to see what score it gets and how to improve it.
4. Link to other blog entries
Search engines like content with relevant quality links. Not just by adding links to reputable sites but also to your blog. Internal linking has value as it helps search engines understand your website structure better and spreads “link juice.” What’s more, linking to other blog entries can also encourage readers to explore your blog and direct more traffic to your site.
5. Make it visual
You can be sure that adding visual elements to your blog posts can make them more engaging. Studies have found a correlation between the top-ranking pages and their inclusion of images. This suggests that visual content could be a quality signal that affects your ranking.
For even better SEO results, optimize your images or videos. Doing this means giving search engines more information about your blog photos or videos.
- Rename the file using descriptive language (e.g., best-sunglasses-2021.jpg instead of the default file name).
- Use your blogging platform to add alt tags.
- Add captions.
6. Write a smart meta description
A meta description is a short code that gives search engines an idea of a page’s content. You don’t need to be tech-smart to write meta descriptions. Your blogging platform or content management system will make this easy for you.
All you need to do is write a powerful blog post description, trying not to exceed 160 characters. Although Google doesn’t use meta descriptions to rank a website, they can improve your blog’s click-through rates – and this metric affects organic ranking.
7. Improve the readability of each post
For maximum impact, your blog posts should be easy to read. It’s not only readers who care about readability; search engines do too. Nowadays, several online tools scan your text and give it a readability score and suggestions on how to improve it.
We suggest that you always start writing with readability in mind. This means:
- One idea per sentence and paragraph.
- Highlight the essential points. You can bold sub-headings or key messages and use a larger font to do this.
- Use short sentences of around 20 words - but mix them up with longer sentences now and then. Otherwise, the text will sound too “robotic.”
- Don’t overdo the passive voice.
- Use synonyms to avoid repeating duplicate words.
- Leave plenty of white space between page margins, lines, and paragraphs.
8. Categorize your blog entries
Most blogging platforms and content management systems give you a choice to add tags and categories to your blog posts. These features help structure content and make it more accessible to readers interested in specific topics or sub-topics.
In a recent interview, a Google executive confirmed that tags and categories don’t directly impact SEO, but they might indirectly affect it. Anything that contributes to a better user experience will likely get you a better position on search results pages.
9. Ensure your content answers questions
Have you ever dreamt about your blog posts coming up in the Google answer boxes? If you haven’t, you should. Being featured in the answer boxes can massively increase your visibility and traffic. According to a survey, Google answer boxes account for more than 30% of click-through rates.
So how do you go about this? You’ll need to approach your posts in a precise way. That means focusing on creating content that answers questions directly and authoritatively. Some strategies to help you with this are:
- Answer the key question early in your post. Don’t save the big answer until the end because many readers won’t make it that far, and neither will search engines.
- Try to include your focus keyword in the question, but only if you can do this naturally. Then, add a short sentence with the answer. You can elaborate on it throughout the blog post.
- Write the post’s meta description to feature the question you’re trying to rank for.
Here you can find additional tips on how to improve your chances of being featured in the answer boxes.
10. Don’t be afraid to go in-depth
Some bloggers stick to short blog posts, thinking their readers won’t make it past the 500-word mark. You may be surprised to hear that the ideal blog length for SEO is between 2,100 and 2,400 words.
To increase your post length and cover your chosen topic in-depth, look at your list of related keywords. Think about how each of those keywords could become the topic of a section, and structure your blog post around them.
11. Don’t forget old blog posts!
You can use all the tips in this article to guide you when planning and writing blog posts but don’t forget to go over old posts and edit them taking these tips into account, ensuring every entry is search engine optimized.
Getting more traffic to your blog and improving your rankings is doable, but it requires a coordinated strategy. In the article, we’ve offered 11 tips to help search engine optimize your blog, one step at a time. Give them a try, be consistent, and you’ll be on your way to improving your blog’s online presence.
The opinions expressed here by Guest Contributors are their own, not those of Rise Marketing.