One of the steps before publishing on your blog, is to ensure your post is SEO ready. What is SEO, you say? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and its primary role is to gain website traffic and to rank high on search results. Search engines such as Google index and rank your website. By optimizing your website, you can ultimately increase your traffic. Follow these 7 simple steps to optimize your blog post:
Step 1: Use Relevant Keywords
Every blog post is a chance for you to incorporate SEO keywords in your content. Do your keyword research and find out what words and phrases are being used to find content like yours. There are free keyword tools to help you such as Google’s Keyword Planner. Remember the goal is not to stuff your post with keywords but to sprinkle in keywords that are relevant to the topic.
Step 2: Write a Persuasive Meta Description
A meta description gives the reader a preview to what the post is about. It appears in search results and social shares as a short description below the title. This is also known as a snippet. Compel readers to click on your blog post by writing a persuasive meta description.
If you use the free SEO Plug-in Yoast, you can easily write the description to the ‘meta description’ section before publishing.
Step 3: Writing the Blog Post
Before you write your heart away, ask yourself these 2 questions:
- Is my subject matter relevant or desirable to my readers?
- What question or problem am I solving?
To generate interest, your content should be relevant to your community of readers and/or address a problem. The goal is to focus on your reader’s needs and to provide value. The more time a visitor spends reading your posts, the better your SEO.
When it comes to a post’s length, according to research from serpIQ, the top 10 results from Google have at least 2,000 words. With a decent sized blog post, you have more flexibility with keywords that can be relevant to your topic and thus, more searchable.
Step 4: Format the Content
It’s important to take the time to proofread your blog post and format the content so it’s digestible to your reader. You want it to be easy for the reader to scan your blog post and identify if its main topics are relevant. Take a look at your content and add headlines, bold, italics, images, videos, and sub-headings wherever appropriate to make the content flow.
Search engines aim to send readers to quality sites. So if your post is just a block of text, the reader will most likely leave your site and your bounce rate will be high. Search engine crawlers specifically use headers to quickly determine what your post is about and therefore, rank your content. Your goal should be to format the content with clear headlines not only so readers will stay on your site longer, but also so crawlers can more easily rank your website for applicable search results.
Step 5: Write Keywords in Alt Text (Alternative Text) for Images
Adding well-chosen images can drastically strengthen your blog post message. When posting images, make sure you are writing in seo-friendly alt tags. Alt tags provide image context to search engine crawlers. The alt tag’s purpose is to be a description of the image however incorporating keywords to the alt text can boost SEO. For example, if the image is of a company logo, instead of the alt text being just ‘logo’ put ‘Company-Name-logo’.
*Pro Tip: Since search engine crawlers read code, even the image’s file name is important. Each image used should be saved with a file name that makes sense to the image’s contents and the post as a whole.
Step 6: Customize the URL
Usually when you write up your blog post title, the URL is auto generated. A simple and straight-forward way to boost your SEO is to edit the URL, showcasing the general topic of the post for search engines. Avoid having too many numbers and take out filler words such as “a”, “the”, “and” and “or” from the URL. A well-crafted URL can inform a potential reader and as a result gains more click through rates.
Step 7: Share Your Post
It’s time to showcase your post! Share it on your social networks and relevant sites so you don’t miss out on thousands of potential views. The more clicks and views, the more likely you will strengthen your website’s search authority.
Get started with SEO optimization by following these 7 steps and soon you will see your blog posts’s reach increase and more readers visiting your blog.