If you’ve been doing your search engine optimization (SEO) research, you know how important maintaining a blog can be to your website’s SEO. You’ve no doubt come across the benefits of blogging for your business in countless articles and—not without irony, I know—in blog posts across the web.
Okay, you’re thinking, I have to create a blog for my business site. But will simply having a blog be enough to improve your site’s SEO? If you haven’t already figured this out, here’s your first lesson: never trust anything that sounds too good to be true, especially if you read it on the Internet. Thinking that creating a blog is enough to improve your SEO is like thinking that buying a notebook will make you a successful author. No, merely creating a blog is not enough to magically make your site the go-to resource in your industry. You can’t just write a blog: you also need to optimize it. So, how can you optimize each blog post to maximize its SEO benefits?
1. Start with a good idea
I’m in no mood to get into a metaphysical debate about the nature of matter, but that’s not going to stop me from making this next statement: you can’t make something from nothing. This adage definitely applies to blog posts. You may think that just having a great idea is enough to create a successfully optimized blog post, but in reality, a great blog post is inspired not by a spontaneous burst of creativity, but by keyword research.
Of course, you will start each blog post with a general idea of your topic. But you shouldn’t begin actually writing your post until you have determined which keywords will help you optimize it. If necessary, you can slightly adapt your topic to fit the appropriate keywords. This will ensure that you can organically incorporate the keywords into the prose, avoiding keyword stuffing, and creating a more natural experience for your reader. Creating a great reading experience for your audience should be your number one priority, as the tactics involved are great for your SEO. Besides, you want people to read your darn blog!
2. Make it pretty
Okay, so after doing some killer keyword research, you came up with a great idea and wrote an awesome blog post. Now what? It’s time to dress that baby up and take it out. The first thing you’ll need? Why, a dashing title, of course. If possible, your title should contain your keyword. You should also aim to make your title “clickworthy.” If we humans are nothing else, we are curious creatures. (Or is that monkeys? No matter . . . ) Pique the curiosity of the average search engine user, and you’ll find many more visitors will stop by to check out your blog. Now I’m not suggesting that your blog can be garbage with an irresistible title, I’m just saying that fun—or at least intriguing—titles often do better than straight-to-the-point, boring ones. That said, your reader should be able to figure out what the post is about by reading the title. It’s a tricky balance—trust me, I know!
What else can you do to spiff up your blog post? First, you can create and properly format relevant headings and subheadings (complete with keywords, if possible). These are great for both your readers and search engines, as headings make your post easier for search engines to crawl and categorize and easier for people to read. After you’ve formatted your headings, you should add images to your post. If done properly, images are great for SEO. Keywords can and should be part of image names and alt text, as this will help search engines determine how the images relate to your blog post, which helps to bring in the right kind of traffic. You should also make sure your writing is completely free of errors—everyone knows that bad grammar does not a successful blog make.
3. Link it up
I’m sure you’ve already learned about the importance of inbound links for SEO. When other sites link to your blog, they are essentially telling search engines that you know what you’re talking about and should be trusted. But did you know internal linking is also an effective way to boost SEO?
Think of internal links as threads in your site’s web. The more threads, the more obvious the connections are between different pages on your site. Creating these connections also allows your user to navigate the different pages of your site more easily. The text in which internal links are imbedded is called anchor text. The best way to add an internal link to a blog post is to incorporate its anchor text naturally into the prose of your blog. So, instead of saying, “To learn more about SEO, click here,” you should say, “There’s a lot to learn about SEO.” Just as you want to avoid keyword stuffing, you want to avoid using unnatural anchor text or only using your blog post’s keywords as anchor text. The anchor text should relate as closely as possible to the content of the page to which it links while still sounding natural on the page from which it links.
4. Be friendly
Optimizing a blog post is a lot of work for one person. Luckily, you don’t have to do this job all by yourself. Instead, you can allow your readers to help you out by sharing your post via social media. Social sharing should be made as easy as possible by adding social sharing icons to each post. You should also encourage your readers to share the material they like or find helpful. Enabling comments on your blog posts can be another way to improve SEO, though many factors may contribute to your decision to enable or disable blog post comments. The more your readers engage with and share your content on social media, the greater your content’s reach will become. A greater reach generally means a higher search engine rank.
5. Make it mobile
How many people do you know who sit on their computers browsing the Internet? Now how many people can you think of who regularly check in on their phones or tablets? These days, most people actually spend more time on their mobile devices than they do on their computers. Let’s say you’ve followed all the advice given so far in this article, and now one of your followers has shared your blog post on her Facebook page. Her friend, who is scrolling through Facebook on his iPhone, clicks on the link to the post. Because it has not been designed for mobile use, the post is either impossible or very difficult to read. Do you think the friend of the follower is going to take the time to get on his computer just to read that blog post? No. Will he ever read it now? Not likely.
Guess what else recently decided it doesn’t like sites that aren’t mobile friendly? Google. Thanks to Google’s newest algorithm update, it’s more important than ever to make your blog mobile-friendly. As you probably already know, when it comes to SEO, Google is the boss. It doesn’t matter how much you dislike their rules—if you don’t play by them, you’re out of the game. So make your blog mobile friendly already, all right?