April 18, 2017

How to improve your blog's SEO

Published: 18 April 2017 Updated March 2022

Search engine optimisation is important for marketers. However, it also shouldn’t be an overlooked aspect of your blog.  

Fortunately, most SEO updates needed for your blog are relatively simple, and can be implemented by yourself, without the need for an expert.

So what SEO updates can you do to improve your blog?

1. Have your own domain name

The first step is to make sure your blog has its own domain name. Sure, you can save some money and use a free blog site. But if you’re serious about blogging, or even want to turn it into a profitable business, then you’re going to need to invest in a domain name and hosting. Having your own domain name will help you to establish authority in your niche, as readers, as well as Google, will take you more seriously. Having your own domain name will help you to rank better in Google than if you choose to use a free site.

If you’ve got a WordPress website, some of the best hosting to consider is:

  • Bluehost
  • HostGator
  • SiteGround
  • iPage


WordPress website hosts worth looking at are not in the above list.

2. Write original content

It’s important to ensure what you’re publishing on your blog is original content. Some people try and manipulate Google’s rankings by having duplicate content posted on their website or blog. While you won’t receive a penalty for this, it can have a negative impact on your website, as Google doesn’t know which page to include or exclude from its indices, or which version to rank. To avoid this, make sure what you write on your blog is your own work, with content and images appropriately sourced.    

You don’t just have to produce original written content. You can even consider making your own original infographic. Anything visual will gain more interest and is sure to get more shares.

Your content not only needs to be original, but it should be interesting and of value to your audience. If you’re writing about a topic that has been covered 100 times before - why would anyone want to read it again? Get to know your audience and find out their interests, and cater to their wants and needs. This will help you to increase traffic flow, social shares, and ranking on Google.

3. Use the correct categories

Categories can be used for more than navigating to archived posts. Using categories is an easy way to boost your organic SEO. This is because it creates more chances for you to rank on Google. If you’re considering using categories on your blog, make sure you don’t overdo it. Only select one category per post, and limit the number of categories you’re using, particularly if your blog is still small.

4. Include sharing buttons

You can share your content onto your social media pages and hope people will share it. Or, you can encourage readers to share your blog posts but including social sharing buttons on your website. If people are interested in your blog and want to share it, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. If it’s difficult to share your blog post, particularly from a mobile device, people may not bother sharing it at all.

Adding social sharing buttons improves the user experience and helps make sharing easier. When including sharing buttons on your blog, consider where you are going to place them. The best options are at the top or bottom of your blog post, or running vertically down the side. You can even include share buttons throughout your content if you like. You don’t even have to just pick one option - you can implement several.

Getting your blog posts shared on social media exposes your website to a whole new audience, and therefore increases traffic flow. It can also help to increase your social media engagement, as you can strike up a conversation with those who shared your article. The more your article is shared, the bigger positive impact it will have on your rankings, so what reason do you have to not include social media buttons?

5. Subscribe options

As well as social share buttons, you should include prominent RSS or Feed Subscription buttons. This gives people the option to subscribe to your blog if they wish to do so. Your subscribers will receive email updates whenever you post a new blog. This means your readers won’t have to keep checking your blog for updates, but you will still receive views when there is a new post.

6. Keywords

Keywords are one of the most important aspects of SEO. How else are people going to find your blog? Keywords are what people type into search engines, and what is included in your blog to help it rank.

When including keywords in your blog, you have to make sure not to overdo it, or else it will look like you’re keyword stuffing. This practice is viewed as black-hat SEO, and could see you receive a Google penalty.

Instead of keyword stuffing, you want to include keywords in your:

  • Title: Your title should tell people what the post is about. Keep your title short, aiming to be under 65 characters.
  • Headers: Use headings and subheadings throughout your blog to break up sections of content. Search engine crawlers will also use this information to know what your content is about, and what it should rank for.
  • Content: While avoiding keyword stuffing, make sure to naturally use your keywords throughout the blog post. Make sure you write for people, and not search engines. If you’re using too many keywords, it will be awkward to read, and you won’t help your rankings.
  • URL: Your URL also helps crawlers know what your page is about. The URL is often crawled first, so it’s a great opportunity to take advantage of. Optimise each of your URLs to include keywords.
  • Meta description: A meta description tells both search engines and readers what your post is about. Make it as engaging as possible to attract readers, while including one or two keywords as well.  

7. Optimise your images

Your content is pretty important, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook the images used throughout your blog post. Images help your blog to look more visually attractive, and more than just a wall of text.

While readers will see images, search engines don’t. Instead, they search for alt text. What is alt text? It’s text that tell search engines what your image is. So instead of having your images called IMG0001, consider using a keyword instead. This won’t dramatically improve your rankings, but it is worth taking the extra bit of effort.

8. Include links

To increase your blog's SEO, you're going to want backlinks, and need to use inbound links. When using inbound links throughout your content, you need to make sure they are of high quality and are relevant to your content. Including lots of links, and to websites with a low authority, may cause you to end up with a penalty, which will damage your blog. Before adding a link to your content, carefully decide whether it is credible enough.

You also want to focus on getting backlinks to your website. This is when another website includes a link to your website or blog post. However, backlinks can also result in you receiving a penalty. Make sure you avoid buying backlinks, and don’t have backlinks on websites that are deemed untrustworthy.

Legitimate ways to gain a backlink is by reaching out to influential blogs within your industry to see if they will allow you to publish a guest post. This not only builds a link back to your website, but allows people to get a taste for your writing as well.

9. Be mobile friendly

With mobile use becoming more and more popular, it’s vital to ensure your blog is optimised for mobile users. This means people using a mobile device will be able to easily read and navigate through your blog. If it is not appropriately optimised, you may end up with a high bounce rate, with people not visiting your blog. Google also takes into account whether or not your website is optimised for mobile users. In 2015, Google released a new algorithm known as 'mobilegeddon'. This boosted the rankings of mobile-friendly pages in Google's rankings, and penalised those whose websites were not optimised.

To check whether or not your website is correctly optimised, you can use the Mobile-Friendly Test. Simply enter your URL and find out how easily someone can access your website on a mobile. Doing this will help ensure you benefit from the mobilegeddon algorithm.

10. Optimise old blog posts

Old blog posts can do more than just sit in the archives. Your old blog posts often receive the most traffic. This is because the posts have been around longer, increasing the number of shares and total views. Use Google Analytics to find out which of your blog posts are performing the best. If you can see there’s something more you can add to the blog post, why not update it. This gives you a chance to share the content again, increasing the amount of views and its ranking on Google.

Following these tips will help to increase your blog’s SEO. Just remember that no changes happen overnight. SEO takes time. Continue to post interesting, original content to your blog, and over time you will begin to see your authority rise, and your ranking will follow.

Think we missed something? Got any other tips? Let us know in the comments.

Ben Maden

Read more posts by Ben

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