Are you Optimising your Blog Posts for SEO?
Content Marketing is one of the most popular forms of marketing for 2017. It takes an approach that focuses on creating and distributing valuable and relevant content to one’s desired target audience. Content produced for marketing purposes is aimed to inform, attract and engage, while also promoting the brand itself. The intention of content marketing is to drive profitable customer actions. Blog posts are ideal for this as you can create unique, informative content to be delivered via the blog.
Alongside social media, email marketing and video creation, one of the most successful types of content marketing is blogging. Many businesses and brands are opting into having a built-in blog on their website. But how do you optimise your blog content for SEO?
Blog posts; if written correctly, can improve your search engine ranking. You will start to rank for selected phrases or keywords used in the post. When you optimise your website and your blog posts, you increase the visibility of your website. Thus making it more visible to people searching the internet for keywords associated with your brand or business.
Here’s how to optimise your blog posts for SEO.
Research a specific list of keywords you want to rank for in the post you are writing. Focus on one or two keywords per blog post to ensure the content is relevant. Avoid incorporating as many keywords as possible as this can actually hurt your SEO. This is due to search engines reading your content and thinking it is “keywords stuffed” or spam. Stuffing a post with keywords can also affect reader experience if the post does not read naturally.
When you have selected your chosen keywords, there are some specific places in which to use them. The four essential places you should incorporate keywords are: title, headers, body, URL and meta description.
The title of your post will determine its relevancy for search engine ranking so definitely include a keyword here! If you have a long title for your post, ensure the keyword is in the first few words of the title. It needs to be within the first 65 characters or Google will cut it off on SERPS. For example, a title such as “Optimise blog posts: We teach you how” would be better than “Learn how to optimise your blog posts in this guide”. This is because the long tail keyword “optimise blog posts” appears sooner in the title.
Throughout your post, use your chosen keyword within the body and the headers. Writing copy that includes your keywords, but reads naturally is vital to a good reader experience so think ahead about how you’re planning on using the keywords in your post before beginning to write. Your primary focus should be to create content that is interesting and helps your reader by answering a question as opposed to purely trying to write an article that ranks highly on Google.
In order to write posts that are effectively optimised for SEO, we use a plugin called Yoast. This plugin analyses the content you have written and gives you tips on how to improve. For example, it tells you if your sentences are too long, your Flesch score is low, or if your keyword is not visible within the first paragraph of your copy. For those starting out in SEO and needing a helping hand on where to improve, Yoast is an excellent help.
Another essential place to include your keywords is within your URL. It is one of the first things that search engines will crawl. This is so that they can determine the relevancy of your page. Every post has a unique URL so make sure you include one or two of your keywords within it. There is a huge chance to optimise your URL on every post you publish.
After you have optimised your posts in terms of keywords, there are a few other things to pay attention to.
Meta Descriptions. These small descriptions on search engine results pages allow readers to know what your link is about before they click on it. It allows readers to determine whether your content is applicable to what they’re looking for and acts as a big deciding factor on whether they’ll click through to your site or not. Optimise these descriptions for readability.
Additionally, another area of your blog content that needs to be optimised are your images. This is something that is missed by a large proportion of blog authors, and we’re here to show you how to avoid making a mistake with them. As search engines cannot “see” images like we can, it is vital they have “alt-tags”. An image’s alt tag informs search engines what the image is about and helps those images to be found in search. If for some reason the images are not displayed, the alt tag will appear to inform the reader of the image’s content. Adding keywords to your alt text may not seem important, but it can still affect your search rankings, so ensure your alt tags are accurate and descriptive.
Planning ahead regarding your keywords, and drafting posts first allows you to optimise them more effectively as you are able to edit and make revisions to what you have written. With some practice and a little help from the Yoast plugin, you’ll be fully optimised for SEO in no time and hopefully start ranking higher!