Applying search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to a blog is critical if you want your content to be found and read by people interested in the subject you are writing about.
While ranking well for topics and search terms that see a lot of content published about them can be difficult, if your blog focuses on a particular specialist topic or niche, appearing high up on the rankings of search engines such as Google is very achievable, however it demands application of the correct techniques.
SEO goes beyond simply producing eye-catching titles and content – however that will also help what you publish perform better.
Optimizing content for search engines means writing and structuring articles based on research and other types of best practice.
Below, five key SEO principles that can be applied to a blog are included that will help you boost the performance of your content on search engines.
1. Base your content on keyword research
Your blog title is the gateway to your content, which will initially draw people into reading it. To get it in front of as many people as possible, you need to do some research of keywords and phrases that people searching about your chosen topic are looking for.
Researching keywords will guide you on what content to produce, and also tell you what to include in your article titles. You can do keyword research using a variety of SEO-focused products and platforms, such as SemRush or MOZ.
You will then want to make sure that your keyword – as well as related synonyms – appear throughout your content. However, don’t go overloading your content with them. Because not only could that be counter-productive in terms of how search engines interpret your content, but it could turn your readers off.
So how many keywords are necessary, or enough? Some experts have formulas to define this number exactly, but in general terms you should think about making your article sound as natural as possible.
Remember that the objective of the article should be to provide value and not to lengthen a text just to rank.
2. The structure of the article is important
Even if the topic and content are interesting, you may lose the reader if the structure is disorganized. Your content needs to be structured in a way that makes the information as digestible as possible, and also so that it follows some sort of coherent narrative.
To make content more digestible, you should try to break your content up into short paragraphs, as well as into thematic sections, so that the reader stays engaged and can process the information easily.
By doing this, you not only maintain the reader’s interest, but you are also giving better information to the search engine for your blog’s appearances in the results.
Using heading tags and other markers that your content management platform will allow you to select, will communicate to the search engine the presence of these elements, and help search engines better understand what your content is about.
3. Choose relevant and eye-catching images
An important element of your content beyond the writing, which can be critical to keeping people engaged, is images.
It is also worth knowing that search engines such as Google place considerable weight on the images that are included in content when it comes to deciding the position they should occupy.
That doesn’t mean you should go filling your content with images, which could end up being counterproductive, as well as slow down the page, but you need to make sure that you are choosing images that suit the topic and draw people’s attention.
To effectively optimize your images, you need to pay attention to the components around them. For example, you will want to use your chosen keywords in the descriptive name and alt text of most images.
You should also be sure that your images have one of the formats preferred by Google and that they are not too heavy. In many cases, content management platforms, such as WordPress, will compress images to help make sure that they are not slowing the page down too much.
4. Recognize the importance of social networks
Social networks are important for raising awareness of your blog and getting your content out to readers, and everytime you publish something, you should be sharing it online across all of the platforms you use, as well as sharing it again in the future.
You also want to make your content as easy to share on social media as possible, so adding buttons to your site to facilitate sharing the content is a good idea.
When it comes to managing your social network, in order to reach as many people as possible, you also want to actively seek out and interact with other individuals or outlets that are focused on your area of interest.
Not only will that allow you to tap into potential readers of your content, but it could help you to piggyback on the greater follower numbers they have, especially if you are just beginning to grow your networks.
5. Understand the importance of link building
Link building means having other websites link to your blog. The more well-regarded websites that are linking to you, the more that search engines will recognize the quality of your content and be inclined to rank your content well.
Link building can be done in a variety of ways, one of which is by guest posting on other websites, seeking links back to your blog in return. You can also submit your blog to online directories, which will include a link back to your site.
Another option is to establish working relationships with other platforms whereby you regularly link to them and they do so to you – so called link swapping.
You can also pay providers for links to your site, however be aware that this sort of activity is not well regarded by search engines, because it is not organic, and while you may find you can get away with it for a time, at some point the search engines my become wise to it and punish your site, adversely affecting how it ranks.
Make time for content writing in your marketing strategy or outsource it to professionals. The Biz Online Marketing team is here to lend you a hand.
If you would like to discover more about the importance of website content, explore our blog where we share tips and tricks on digital marketing for small businesses.