Do you often ask yourself the following questions –
“I am writing good content but I am not getting sufficient organic traffic to my posts?”
“Why I am not ranking on Google and how can my blog rank on Google?”
The answer is simple – implement SEO in your blog posts.
Your content is the best place for you to implement SEO techniques. SEO in blogging needs to be implemented on your page to help Google understand that it contains great content for a keyword phrase to be of unique value to the readers.
When a reader searches for something this is how Google shows it; note how for the query “Indian recipes”, Google has identified the keyword and marked the words “Indian” and “recipes” in bold.
So how do you write SEO friendly blog posts? I will walk you through 11 important and easy to implement SEO tips and tricks that you should take note of in your content before hitting the “Publish” button.
Follow these and you would know how to do SEO for your website or blog.
Title Tags are Vital to Achieve SEO success for Your Blog
The title of your page is a description of your post in a few words and a visitor’s first interaction with your blog. Your visitors see it first, the search engine bots see them first too when they start crawling your page for indexing.
In WordPress the title has a <H1> tag. The same should be the case for other blogging platforms too. Because the search engine attaches a lot of importance to it, from the SEO perspective it becomes one of the very important optimizing symbols.
Your title should contain your keyword. If a reader searches for your keyword, Google would certainly consider your post and mark it in bold. Also, the reader finds that his query is contained in your title and that gives your post a higher probability of getting clicked.
Take note of your title length and Place Keywords in Front
Search engines show only the first 65-75 characters of your title. If you have a longer title, the search engine would cut it and show it with “…”.
Ensure that your title is within the limit. Also remember, your blog name might be appended to the title of your blog post like shown below.
Placing keywords in the front will help your rankings. Because we read from left to right, keeping keywords at the beginning will bring it to the search engine’s as well as the reader’s notice quickly, improving the probable click rate.
Branding and User Experience to make Google Love Your Site
As per Google guidelines, user experience is important. So is branding.
Include your blog name along with the name of the post (as shown above). It helps in branding and makes the reader aware of your site. A familiar brand improves click through rate.
Recommended SEO syntax for a good title will look like the following
<blog post name><separator><Blog Name>
Creating a title that is appealing will attract more clicks on it. Make it readable and have an emotional appeal to it.
In a survey held by Moz among industry leaders, 94% said that using keywords in title tags is the best way to rank high with search engines.
Meta Description – Secret to Improve Click Rate
Meta description is a tag that provides a short description to the content of your page. It is the primary source of the snippet that you find beneath the URL of a search engine listing.
It promotes your blog by drawing readers to your site. Before the reader hits a click on your page link, the meta description tells the reader in details what is the content all about.
Create a compelling and readable meta description for your page. In very brief highlight what the page is all about and how the reader will gain from it.
As a recommended good SEO practice, naturally mention your keyword in your meta description.
Google highlights in bold the keyword searched in the meta description as shown below.
Remember, meta description for a given page can be of any length. However search engines will show up to a certain character count (160 characters) only and trim the rest with “…”. Why not stay within the limit!
If you do not explicitly mention a meta description, search engines will create their own meta description after reading the content of your page. By default, it reads the first 160 characters from your content. If you are targeting multiple keywords on the same page, you can consider this technique and let the search engine do its job.
How to Create Meta Description
The most widely used SEO plugin for bloggers in WordPress and highly recommended one is Yoast SEO Plugin.
Once you install and activate it on your WordPress blog, you would find Yoast SEO section beneath your post and page editor. Click on “Edit snippet” and you would find the “Meta description” box. Here you can type in your meta description.
Implement SEO Friendly URLs
URLs have special importance when it comes to on site SEO.
Search engines display page URL in their search results. The occurrence of the queried keyword phase in the URL can give a boost to the placement of the link on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
However avoid keyword stuffing. If your page is about multiple keywords, avoid stuffing all of them in your URL. It will only lead Google to penalize your page.
Also remember that Google highlights the queried keyword in the URL as shown in the previous images.
URL Guidelines for Better SEO
Take a hard look at your page URL and ask – Can you properly guess the content of the page from the page URL?
A descriptive URL in short, readable format is all it takes to grab the reader’s attention.
Avoid URLs with query parameters. It serves no SEO purpose and can hamper your ranking. Ensure that your keyword is not unreadable like http://indiantechnologyblog.com/blog?ID=210
A readable URL will look something like http://indiantechnologyblog.com/how-to-start-a-blog
Note how I have used hyphens (-) to separate the words to make them look good and readable. Avoid using plus (+) or space (%20) or underscores(_).
Ensure URL is short and sweet. A long URL will not be completely visible in the search results as Google will trim the characters after a certain limit.
Headers and Sub-headers to Improve SEO
Headings and sub-headings on your page can provide search engines powerful hints to help you rank.
Search Engines consider headings and sub-headings as next to the title. The bots study them to understand what the page is all about.
There are 6 types of headings and sub-headings possible in HTML – H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6 in their order of importance and relevance. Use them to provide a hierarchy to your content.
For example, H1 tag is used mainly for title. H2 will act as the headings of your page. The others will be sub-headings.
Because search engines read HTML, this is how the header architecture should be on your blog.
It is not mandatory to have all the six headers on a page. If you need all of them do so. But normally, a blog post would mainly need H1 as the title, a couple of H2 headers and a couple of H3 headers.
Dividing the entire content into logical pieces with headings and sub-headings improve readability.
For SEO purpose, naturally mention keywords in your headings and sub-headings. Again, avoid keyword stuffing. As per best practices in SEO, mention your keyword once in the heading.
If your blog post is long (more than 1000 words), you can consider two times.
Using relevant keywords in your body content is very important. Since Google is using advanced algorithmic models, repetitive use of keyword phrases is not enough.
Keep keywords to less than 1.5% of your entire content. So if you have a 1500 word article, your keyword phrase count should not be more than 23 words. That means if your keyword phrase is of 5 words, you can repeat it 4 times.
Google advises against keyword stuffing and calls it a bad practice. If Google does not like anything, we will not have it. Simple! Overuse of keywords in your content can lead to Google penalizing your content.
Have a comprehensive content, following a logical structure and explained in simpler words.
Search engines love long content. Once upon a time, 500 word posts ranked on Google. But those days are in the past.
Google as a search engine always tries to provide answer seekers with the best content. It considers longer posts to be in-depth and contain more relevant information.
On Google Webmasters Central Blog, it gave a thumbs up to long form content
Users often turn to Google to answer a quick question, but research suggests that up to 10% of users’ daily information needs involve learning about a broad topic. That’s why today we’re introducing new search results to help users find in-depth articles.
As per Google, 10% daily search queries require content that is broadly explained. So while your blog might contain great information in a 300-word post, it will not rank on Google.
A study done by Moz showed that the longer the content, the more backlinks pointed to it. Backlinks are powerful SEO factors which help search engines rank. A backlink is considered as a vote up in favor of the website to which it points. We will analyze this in details in a later blog post.
If you are thinking to churn a 3000 word post to get ranked #1 on Google, you are wrong. Word count is one of the factors, not the only factor. If you provide plagiarized copy from multiple sources, or if your content is a thin content, Google will penalize you instead of rewarding you.
Longer form of content also improves conversion rates. Various studies done in this case has shown significant improvement in conversion rates.
If you are looking to rank within the first couple of pages, ensure that you write posts that are over 1500 words.
For a page 1 rank, write posts that are over 2000 words. If you are looking at the top 3 position for a keyword, go over 2500 words.
It is difficult to provide high quality content in short. However, not all content needs to be long form. For example, if you are looking to publish a video that you are sure will go viral, go ahead and simply post it with easy to share features. No need to write a 2000 word post with the video. That does not help.
Internal Links and Out Bound Links
SEO recommendation: A page on your blog should be accessible through no more than 4 clicks from another page on the same blog.
The idea is to ensure that from a certain post you link to other content both inside and outside your blog or website. This helps in reader interaction, reader retention and longer stays on your site.
Google assigns better ranking to blogs where the user interacts with the elements on the page. It is a signal to indicate that the user finds the content useful and is reading more content related to his or her query.
Make it look natural when you are trying it link internally as shown below
For out bound links, consider authority sites like Wikipedia, etc. You can always add rel=”nofollow” attribute in the link as shown below:
<a href=”https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>Yoast SEO Plugin</a>.
Sprinkle LSI Keywords
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. LSI keywords are keywords that are semantically related to the queried keyword.
Not sure of where to get LSI Keywords? Search on Google with your keyword phrase, scroll down to “Related Searches” part. That is the list of LSI keywords for your primary keyword.
So if I search for “LSI Keyword”, this is what my latent keywords would be listed as by Google.
If you are writing long form content, you might be already using LSI Keywords. Make a check and if you are not doing it, you can always sprinkle them on your page.
Image Optimization for Effective Blogging SEO
This is one thing that is really very simple and easy, yet most of the bloggers don’t do it.
Whenever you are inserting images in your post, always make sure that you optimize it by using the alt attribute.
On WordPress, while uploading your image to the Media Library, you can provide value to the Alt attribute.
In the above image, you find the value for Alt Text as “what to write in About page”. Can you guess where this image was used? You are right. It is used in one of my previous post titled “What to Write in About Page” where the title was the keyword.
The alt attribute is not visible to the average reader. However search engines can read it from the HTML and get a hint about what the image is all about.
Always use Alt text in your images. In any one image, always mention the exact keyword in the Alt attribute.
Use Social Sharing Buttons
This is the era of social networks. Be it Facebook or Twitter, Google+, Reddit, Pinterest, LinkedIn, all of these social networking sites help you earn signals and rank on Google.
It is important to have prominent and easy social sharing options enabled on your blog posts. The number of times your link is shared on Facebook or the number of re-tweets your link gets on Twitter matters. Google considers them as a vote up to your content and hence assigns a better ranking.
Given how the reach of social networks have grown, how well social shares correlate positively to higher search rankings, and how those correlations have risen over time, there’s a lot of value in making sure your pages have an opportunity to perform socially.
Google loves blogs and sites that encourage user interaction. Allow moderated comments in your blog posts and encourage users to comment on it through call to action at the end of every post.
For example, you write a post about “5 Excellent Ways to Cook Chicken”. At the end of the post, you can ask readers if they have better ways to cook chicken and if they do, ask them to share it in the comments.
Respond to readers’s comments. Take care of SPAM. Google hates spam content in your page. So ensure the comments are always moderated.
If you already have a high traffic website, you need not consider all the pain. A high traffic website always gets tons of spam comments, so moderating all of it is not feasible. Simply disable comments and spare yourself the spam.
Hope this post on how to optimize blog posts for SEO will help you achieve higher search rankings on Google.
Remember, content is king. Always ensure that you have a nicely written content. Only implementing SEO strategies will not help.
Are you aware of any other techniques to improve on site SEO? Share with us in the Comments section below.