May 10, 2017

How to optimise your blog posts

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Published: 10 May 2017 

So you’ve got a blog set up on your website and got a content marketing strategy in place. The next step is to start writing, publishing and promoting your blog posts. Before you get there, you have to think about optimising your blog posts. After all, no one is going to read your blog post if they can’t find it online. So what do you need to do to ensure your blog post is appropriately optimised for SEO?

1. Keyword research

Before you even start writing your blog post, the first thing you need to do is undertake keyword research. What terms are people searching to end up on your blog? What are your customers interested in reading? Make sure you have a list of keywords that people will search to find your blog, and create topics around those topics.

2. Don’t keyword stuff

Once you’ve found the keyword for a particular blog post, the next step is to frequently use that term throughout the post. This will help your rankings in search engines.

However, while the trend used to be to put the keyword in an article as many times as possible, times have changed. Now writers need to be wary of how frequently you use a keyword. If your content is not readable because you’ve put the keyword in too many times, you could potentially end up with a Google Penalty. This will mean you’ll end up losing rankings - exactly the opposite of what you were aiming to do in the first place.

To avoid being penalised for keyword stuffing, try and naturally insert keywords into your text. Always write for humans, rather than internet crawlers. It’s best to have a keyword density of about 2 percent - or one in every fifty words. This will ensure you could still be found for the keyword, while not being penalised.

3. Check your headlines

Keywords don’t just have to appear in the paragraphs of your content. They should also be included in the headings and subheadings throughout your content. Headings let not only the readers but also search engine crawlers know what your article is about. If you’re not using keywords in your headlines, you’re missing out on an opportunity to be indexed for a particular keyword.  

Because of this, it’s important to properly format your headings and subheadings. Both search engines and people can then easily identify headings and subheadings and know what the content is about. Use H1 for your main heading, and H2, H3, H4 and so on for further subheadings. This helps to increase readability, and therefore improves your SEO and your chances of ranking for your blog post.

4. URL

Like headlines, URLs can also be a great way to insert relevant keywords. The URL, title and meta description will be displayed in SERPs, so you need to make sure it’s relevant and not overly complex and long.

Fortunately, if you’re using WordPress for your blog, the URL will automatically generate. However, you still have the option to change it if necessary. Make sure your URL describes what the post is actually about, and isn’t just a generic mixture of letters and numbers. After all, you want it to be something that is easy for the reader to remember so they can easily return.

5. Meta description

The third item that is displayed in SERPs is the meta descriptions. This is the description you see on search engines that tells you what a blog post is actually about. This is useful information for both the human readers and search engine crawlers. If you’re using a good content management system, there will be options available for you to insert your own meta description.

Within the meta title and description, make sure to use your primary keywords. Keep in mind that you are limited by character length. Title tags are around 72 characters, while meta descriptions are about 165 characters. If it’s too long, it will be cut off by search engines. This is why it’s important to make sure you use keywords at the start of your description. Again, avoid keyword stuffing to prevent getting hit with a penalty.  

6. Images

Images are an essential inclusion to any blog post. Firstly, they make your blog post look better. Who wants to read a wall of text, with no images and headings to break it up?

However, there are also SEO benefits to optimising the images you use in your blog post. You want to make sure you use alt tags for all your images. This is essentially a description of your image, and is used by web crawlers, which can’t see images. This text will also be displayed if there is a problem with the actual image. If you’re using a relevant photograph, it also presents an additional opportunity to use your keyword.

7. Linking  

When writing a blog post, you should consider using internal and external links. Links are a vital part of SEO optimisation. Internal links improve the user experience, as it offers the reader an opportunity to navigate to another page on your website about the same topic. Internal links will also be crawled, and will help get your page indexed.

External links are links that are going to web pages other than your website. External links help to improve your credibility and boost your authority. Just make sure you are linking to websites that are trustworthy, relevant to your website, and have a high authority. You don’t want to link to websites that are untrustworthy, spammy or have a penalty on them.

8. Write good quality content

The most important thing to remember is to write content that is of high quality. If your content isn’t readable, skimmable and is stuffed full of keywords, you’re not going to impress humans or search engine scanners.

Make sure you frequently post new content, as this is something that is looked upon favourably by search engines. This also helps you to become more of an authority in your industry, as the readers can see you know what you’re talking about. Frequently posting new content also helps to increase traffic flow to your website.

If you’re using WordPress as your content management system, it can be helpful to download the Yoast SEO plugin, which will help you to easily optimise your blog posts.

Got any optimisation tips? Let us know in the comments.

Ben Maden

Read more posts by Ben

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