Ranking high in the search engines is the most important marketing task for many companies, especially those that rely on Internet searches and online traffic to generate leads, customers and new business.
Google “boost my website SEO” or something similar and you’ll get millions of results — 3,070,000 to be exact. Instead of making you wade through all of these in search of something helpful, I’m going to share a few tips to help you search engine optimize your blog posts.
The Importance of Blogging
Although I didn’t visit each of the more than three million websites out there that purport to help me learn how to boost website SEO, I’d be willing to bet that a good number of them stress the importance of publishing and updating relevant content. And the best way to do this is to write a regular blog.
At least half of my freelance writing work consists of writing blogs for my clients. Whitepapers, case studies, FAQs, Q&As and the like are other forms of content that can be used to boost SEO results.
If you commit to writing and publishing a blog on a consistent basis — I discussed blog frequency in this article — you’ll be doing more than the vast majority of other businesses out there when it comes to boosting SEO.
Go Farther: Search Engine Optimize Your Blogs
But you can take this a step further when you search engine optimize your blogs. Here are 6 ways to do this:
1. Limit the number of keywords you optimize in each blog. When it comes to optimizing keywords, less is more. Not too long ago, marketers and copywriters tried to include as many keywords as possible in each blog, a practice known as keyword stuffing.
But this often resulted in poorly written copy that didn’t include any information you’d actually want to read. So the search engines refined their algorithms and now your content can actually be penalized for keyword stuffing.
In general, you should focus on optimizing one or two long-tail keywords per blog. These are keyword phrases of three or four words — like “freelance financial writer,” which is what my website homepage copy is optimized for. Using long-tail keywords enables you to rank high for very specific search phrases, which tend to be used by more qualified prospects.
2. Make sure these keywords are optimized in all the right places. Your keywords should be optimized in at least four areas: the blog’s title and title tag, body copy, URL and meta description.
For starters, include your keyword within the title’s first 65 characters. Once you get into the blog content, include it naturally throughout the copy so it doesn’t feel forced. You’ve probably read blogs where the writer went overboard with keywords and the copy just sounded weird.
When you post your blog, you’ll have an opportunity to write the URL however you want. Make sure it includes your long-tail keyword. For example, this is the URL for my last blog for which I optimized “better SEO content”: http://www.donsadlerwriter.com/create-better-seo-content/
Similarly, you can also write your blog’s meta description — or the copy that appears on search engine results pages letting searchers know what your blog is about. Like your body copy, your meta copy should work in your long-tail keyword in a natural, reader-friendly way.
3. Include images with your blog and optimize them. Search engines can’t “see” photos and images like a human eye can, at least not yet. But they can see copy that’s attached to images. Known as alt text, this copy can be added to image tags when you post your blog. So be sure to include your long-tail keyword when writing your image alt text.
4. Include internal links in your blog. One of the great things about blogging is that over time, you’ll build up a library of blogs on your website that can serve as a valuable knowledge resource center. Once you’ve built this blog library, you can link back and forth between these blogs to send readers to other content that they might find useful.
You’ll notice that I did this twice here in this blog. Linking internally like this not only gives readers access to more value-added content and helps keep them on your site, but it surfaces other relevant content and website pages to the search engines.
5. Take advantage of free Google tools. One of the most valuable Google tools is the Search Console, which contains a Search Analytics Report. This tool will help you analyze the clicks to your blog that come from Google search results.
This, in turn, will show you which keywords searchers are using to find your blog. Data like this is invaluable when it comes to measuring the results of your search engine optimization efforts and planning future SEO campaigns.
6. Make your blog mobile-friendly. According to Google, more web searches now take place on mobile devices than computers. In light of this, Google’s algorithm now gives precedence to mobile-friendly websites over sites that aren’t optimized for mobile devices with responsive design.
Websites that use responsive design have only one URL for blogs, instead of separate URLs for computer and mobile searchers. This will improve your blog’s SEO, since inbound links to your blog will not be divided between two different URLs. As a result, it will be easier for Google to recognize and rank your blog.