If you believe the primary purpose of optimize a blog post is to provide unique information to the target audience and provide value, you would be correct. However, a professionally written blog post will not be maximally effective unless it is found by the search engines and presents the content to those who may be searching for related information online. This is when proper search engine optimization plays a major role.
Optimizing a blog post for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is simply the proper use of guidelines set forth by search engines when creating content. Nothing more. (Let’s not complicate it more than it already is).
In order to achieve higher rankings, the writer has to follow a set of guidelines set by search engines. And yes, Search engines make the rules because they can! While sharing valuable information with the audience should always be the primary goal, one also needs to keep in mind those tiny creatures that search engines send out to crawl every website called Crawlers, Spiders or Bots. These creatures scan our website and index it for future use so they can deliver the best results for their customers. As intelligent as they are nowadays, they still love structure. They look for, and expect specific information in a certain format on blog or website to rank the content.
Simply put, optimizing your blog or website for the search engines is Search Engine Optimization, or SEO if you want to get technical. While no one knows what the exact algorithms of search are, Google and other search engines give us the basic roadmap of what they would like to see in a properly optimized website or blog.
Steps to Optimize a Blog Post:
Following are a few steps that could play a significant role to optimize a blog post and thus have better chance at higher rankings.
- Keyword research and planning
- Keyword Utilization
- Optimize blog Images
- Add meta description
- Categorize and use the tag for post
- Make internal references and links
- Add keyword in your URL
Here is a PowerPoint with further details!
Keyword Research Planning:
Proper keywords research is one of the most important factors in ranking your content. Finding the right keywords is much like panning for gold. You must take the time to sift through lots of sand and rocks to find the one gem that will make you rich or rank your content. There are many paid and free tools out there. However, Google’s AdWords planner is still one the most complete guides to find the right keywords for your blog or website. It’s free and easy to use. Other notable tools are Moz, SemRush, Soovle and many more. Luckily there is tool for everything these days as long as you willing to spend a few bucks. Some of them are even free or have at least have a free trial so you can test them out. A simple YouTube Search for, “Best Keyword Planning Tools” will yield more results that you would care to investigate. Additionally, if you want to spy on your competitors to find out what keywords they are using there are tools for that also, namely Spyfu!
Keyword utilization throughout the post
Place your targeted keywords in the following places.
- Headings and subheadings
- Introductory sentence
- Concluding paragraph
- Anchor text (text you hyperlink to other related pages on your site)
- Title tags and meta descriptions
DO NOT ENGAGE IN KEYWORD STUFFING! Meaning excessive use of keyword that makes the flow of the content unnatural.
Optimize your blog image
Since Spiders/Crawlers cannot read images, it is important to tell them what the images on your site represent. When you upload an image to your blog, always add keywords in the file name and in the alternate text field with a brief, description of the image. Relevant images attract user’s attention more easily and creates a better experience for the reader. Use of infographics has also become a trend for convey information quickly and logically.
BE SURE YOU HAVE COPY RIGHTS TO THE PICTURES YOU USE!
Add Meta Descriptions:
Meta descriptions are a brief snippet of your posts that show up in search results prior to opening the content. It tells the reader what they are about to embark on and hopefully inspires them to move forward. Meta descriptions could actually determine whether someone will open and read your blog or not.
Categorize and use header tags:
Make your content easy to digest by humans and bots alike. Break down the content into relevant categories and be mindful of your audience’s attention span. Header tags provide structure and context for your article. Each header should give the reader an idea of the information they can glean from the paragraph text that follows below. The following link to an article by Search Engine Journal and can be a great reference for those new to content creation.
Make internal reference and links:
Offer more to your audience through linking related articles internally on your own site, or previous blogs. Make ample use of videos, graphics and infographics to simplify the presentation. Post your links on Social Media to generate traffic to your blog and encourage engagement. Quality links are valuable for any blog looking to rank higher in search engine results pages.
Add keyword in your URL:
Your keyword is your most basic and important tool to optimizes your posts. Add your keyword to your URL and customize it as a standard SEO practice. Also, track your ranking through analytic to determine which keywords are performing better.
Years ago, it was lack of information related to optimize a blog post that hindered rapid progress. Today too much information is doing the same thing. As with all things in life, let common sense be your guide. There is no magic bullet or secret sauce for SEO and all things digital marketing. You don’t need any gurus! focus on the guidelines that search engines are giving you and provide value to your readers. Share your knowledge freely and gain through giving.