December 12, 2017

5 Ways to Optimize Your Blog Posts for SEO

Written byChristian Abbatecola

A well written blog can be interesting, informative, and invaluable to its readers, but getting your blogs noticed requires more than just proper grammar and quality information. If you want people to actually read your blog you need to make sure they can find it, and one of the best ways to do that is to optimize it for search engines.

By creating content that will get noticed by the likes of Google, you give your blog the opportunity to reach people who are searching for whatever it is you’re writing about, even if they’ve never been to your website before.

Here are a few tips to help you incorporate SEO best practices into your blogging strategy:

1) Focus on One or Two Long-tail Keywords

A long-tail keyword is a short phrase (usually 3-4 words) that is more focused than an individual keyword. They generally generate less total traffic than individual keywords, but, because they are more specific, can yield greater potential for conversion.

Picking out a long-tail keyword such as “Search Engine Optimization for Blogs” or “SEO Blogging Tips” to focus on not only makes it easier for a search engine to determine what words and phrases your blog should rank for, it also provides you a topic to stick to while writing. If you stick to your focal point, you’ll end up with a finished piece with greater potential to rank and a clear, identifiable theme throughout.

2) Remember Your Meta-Descriptions

Your meta description is the brief snippet of information that a search engine will display under your title in search results. You only get a little space here (descriptions longer than 160 characters can get cut off), so briefly describe what your blog is about in an engaging fashion.  An effective CTA will help convince searchers to click through to your site.

A screenshot of a Google result for “LG V30”

In this search result for an LG smartphone, the company’s meta description calls out a core demographic (cinematographers) and tells the reader that if they click through they will gain more valuable information by learning about specs, deals, and more. It’s short, to the point, and gives people a reason to click.

3) Optimize Your Images

Search engines care about the images on your site, but they can’t examine their worth in the same way they can plain text. Remember to include alt text for every image you use. Alt text helps people with visual disabilities understand what’s on the page, and it’s also used by web crawlers to determine what’s going on in your picture.

By providing alt text you make your images more valuable to anyone using a screen reader or similar tool, and give yourself another chance to rank in search results relevant to your image.

4) Link Internally

If you mention a topic that you’ve covered elsewhere on your website, link to it in your blog. This gives readers who are interested in that topic a reason to stay engaged on your site as they follow through to read more about it. It also helps to establish you as an authority on the subject, and helps Google identify related content on your own site. SEO crawlers follow links and use them to determine the relationship between the pages, posts, and other content on your site.

5) Make Your Blog an Appropriate Length

Opinions on how long a blog post ought to be vary, but if you’re writing a piece that’s incredibly short there’s a good chance you aren’t saying very much of anything. One Forbes piece suggests that your pages should have a minimum of 300 words of content, and notes that high-ranking pages contain between 500 and 750 words on average, based on a study of 600,000 keywords.

Results that appeared in the top 3 rankings trended closer to 750 words, so if you’re trying to optimize your blog for search engines, longer may be better.

Being a strong writer is one thing; writing a blog people will actually read is another. If you want your content to get picked up by Google or other search engines you should consider what it is they’re looking for when they decide how much weight to give any site or page. By following these SEO best practices you can give your blogs a chance to rank higher, and thus garner more readers.