Search engine optimization, or SEO, is how your content or website is visibly ranked on search engines such as Google. SEO is extremely important when it comes to marketing, but many marketers don’t know that blog content can actually benefit their business rank on search engines.
In this article, we will dive into a few ways on how marketers can utilize blogs to benefit their SEO. However, when just starting out, don’t implement them all at once. You still want your blog posts to come off reader-friendly and genuine. Also, search engines are smarter than you think and will penalize you for optimizing your posts for the sole purpose of strengthening your ranking. How do they do that? Keep reading to find out!
1. Use 1-2 long-tail keywords
We recommend using one or two long-tail keywords per post. Why long-tail keywords? These longer, usually question-based keywords keep the focus of your post on the specific goals of your audience. For example, using a long-tail keyword such as “how to optimize a blog post” is much more impactful than a short keyword such as “blog post” in terms of SEO. Surprisingly, optimizing your blog posts to fit in as many keywords as possible actually hurts your SEO. This is because search engines recognize this as ‘keyword stuffing’ or including as many keywords as possible with the sole purpose of ranking highly in organic search. Using one or two long-tail keywords makes for good readability and makes it so website visitors searching for these keywords are more likely to read the whole post, and in turn, seek more information from you in the future.
2. Use keywords strategically throughout the blog post
Now that we have our keywords, let’s find out where the best to put them in terms of getting a high ranking in search results. There are four key places where you should try to include your keywords: title tag, headers & body, URL, and meta description.
The title, or headline, of your blog post, is the first thing that both your reader and the search engine take into consideration when determining the relevancy of your content. Google calls this the “title tag” in a search result. It’s paramount that you include your keyword in the first 60 characters of your title. This is around where Google cuts titles off on the search engine results page (SERP).
Headers & Body
Mention your keywords naturally throughout the body of your post and headers. This means including your keywords in a reader-friendly way and not going overboard to risk being penalized for keyword stuffing. It’s good practice to plan out the content you want to include in your post beforehand so then it will be easy to find ways to naturally include your keywords.
Every one of your posts lives on its unique URL, giving you a huge opportunity to optimize your URLs on every post that’s published. Make sure that you try to include at least one or two keywords in each unique URL.
Meta descriptions give search engines and readers a preview of the information that your blog post content is about. If you include at least one keyword in your meta description, then Google and your audience will have a clear depiction as to what your content is about.
Pro Tip: Keep your meta description around 150-300 characters for best optimization.
3. Optimize for mobile devices
On average, 56 percent of people prefer to use mobile phones over desktops when using search engines. This is why it is so important to optimize all your content for both desktop and mobile so that your content is easily viewable from all devices. So, how do you make your blog mobile-friendly? By utilizing responsive design. This means having just one URL instead of two, aka one for desktop and one for mobile. This will also help your posts SEO since the inbound links coming back to your site won’t be divided amongst two separate URLs.
4. Include image alt text
Including images in your blog posts is always a good idea to help explain, support, and provide a visually appealing element to your content. However, search engines aren’t looking for the images themselves but rather the images with alt text. Since search engines can’t physically see the image as we can, the alt text tells the search engine what the image is about. This will help these images rank on the search engine’s image results page. These are a few recommendations for when creating alt texts:
- Describe the image
- Be specific in your description
- Keep it under 150 characters
- Use keywords (in moderation)
5. Link related blog posts
Backlinks, or linking previous content, show how trustworthy and credible your site is based on how many other relevant websites or links link back to yours. Not only does this help search engines prove the validity of your content but it also gives the opportunity to bring more traffic to your other posts and/or web pages as well.
6. Include user-friendly URL structures
Before publishing your post, take a look at the URL structure. Ask yourself, is it too long? Filled with stop-words? Or unrelated to the post’s overall topic? If so, it may need some rewriting. The URL structure of your web pages, which are different from the specific URLs of your posts, should be written to make it easy for the visitor to understand the structure of the web page and the content that it includes.
7. Publish evergreen content
What is evergreen content? Evergreen content means that the content is about topics that will remain relevant and valuable over long periods of time. With only some minor changes and updates of course. This will enable you to continue ranking over time and help to contribute a steady amount of traffic to your blog long after it’s been published. Therefore, it will also help you generate more leads over time as traffic continues to grow.