Today we’re going to go over the best SEO practices for blog posts. You’ve got to realize great SEO isn’t really an independent practice anymore.
We’re now in an age where quality content creation reigns supreme, and search engines consider social signals to judge the quality and relevance of content.
In fact, search engine optimization is inseparable from social media and content marketing, because these three factors form the pillar of a modern inbound marketing strategy.
Keyword research and optimization can improve the performance of your SEO blog posts in search, while social media shares send a clear message to Google that your content is quality.
Given the fact that 89 percent of consumers still head straight to Google, Bing, or Yahoo to search for branded product or service solutions, a keyword strategy is a tool to ensure your company is ranking well.
Here is a simple, step-by-step guide to the best SEO practices for blog posts for today’s content marketer.
1. Do proper keyword research and monitor the trends
There are about a million factors that affect the queries driving the largest volume of search. Terms like “Halloween costumes for kids” peak in October. However, your industry is likely as vulnerable to trends as any other.
Google Insights for Search is a free and magical tool for discovering how your keywords are faring over time, and capturing top rankings for the next big thing in your niche.
Researching the right terms to use for your SEO blog posts can allow you to determine the topics and concepts that are driving the highest volume of search in your industry, and help you shape your editorial calendar accordingly.
Learn more about: Top 3 Keyword Research Tools
2. Create and maintain an Editorial Calendar
Never fear of creating an editorial calendar. They’re really not that time-consuming to create or maintain. Not only will your professional organization skills soar, they’re an important tool for creating SEO blog posts.
You don’t need to create your titles in advance – and some inbound marketers believe headlines should be created last – but create topics around your keywords for the month.
Gather resources, and consider which call-to-actions you’ll include with your articles. Some experts believe you should include both primary and secondary keywords in your calendar for the most SEO optimization benefit possible.
3. Avoid overuse of Jargon
Ensure your keyword research includes terms familiar to people of all levels of expertise. Jargon should be there but it shouldn’t reign supreme in your keyword strategy.
Just like fashion trends and top 50 hits, buzzwords and jargon peak in popularity, and then quickly disappear into anonymity.
4. Keep an eye on Search Volume
Even the most brilliant content marketing strategy can fall short if you’re not targeting keywords that people are actually searching for. For best results, aim for the highest search volume possible, and a difficulty score under 60.
If your keyword queries return only a few dozen searches a month, you’ll likely see some pretty limited success.
5. Create SEO-Friendly Copy
It’s impossible to discuss the idea of SEO blog posts without bringing Google’s quality guidelines. Create content that’s relevant to your keywords, but ensure it fits the following criteria above all else:
- Write for people, not search bots: ensure your copy is natural and compelling.
- Don’t be tricky: if your keyword is “content marketplace,” don’t try and cover conversion optimization.
- Be Unique: Your content should have standalone value that your readers can’t get anywhere else on the web.
On-page content is just one factor in creating SEO blog posts, but it’s a pretty important one. Write well, incorporate your keywords, and make sure you’ve put in enough effort to create something remarkable.
6. Performing Competitive Analysis is absolutely important
Any successful marketing strategy should include an element of competitive analysis, which is regular research on how your company stacks up against other brands in your niche.
That being said, it pays to be cautious on just how you research your competition’s SEO efforts. Google’s terms of service prohibit automated search queries from SEO tools.
This means you can’t rely on a piece of software to generate reports on whether you or your competitor is ranked better.
The most ethical way to discover the information you need is manually. Sign out of your Google account to ensure your results aren’t skewed, and regularly check your competitions’ top rankings for key search terms.
7. Create epic headlines
Whatever you do, never skip out on creating an epic and eye-catching title for your SEO blog posts. Incorporate your keyword, but be sure to pack a punch by using powerful or action-oriented words.
Use numbers, questions or other factors that are sure to capture a reader’s eye on social media or in search.
In Blogger, WordPress, HubSpot and many other content management systems, your blog title will do dual duty as your page title. According to Moz, this is the single most-important factor in creating SEO blog posts.
More than anything else, your title tag will communicate to Google what your blog is about.
Learn more about: Great Blog Titles Ideas
8. Using the right images and title correctly
Adding images to your SEO blog posts can significantly improve the stickiness of your content, and lower your bounce rate. To receive the full SEO boost possible from your images, save the file using your keyword as the file name.
You’ll receive more benefit from an image called “content marketing services” than file-1090347. Search engines are not yet smart enough to index images. They rely on Alt Text for determining the intent of your image.
Be sure to incorporate keywords into your image tags to avoid confusing search engines about the context of your content.
9. Add Metadata but don’t rely on them completely
Meta descriptions are no longer directly considered by search engines in ranking pages, according to Moz.
Due to rampant abuse of meta data by marketers in past years, major search engines no longer rely on the information for indexing or ranking.
It’s still prudent to include meta tags, because minor search engines use them, but don’t invest too much time and effort into the process.
10. Use Anchor Text but don’t overuse it
When uploading your blog for publication, don’t hesitate in incorporating links to important pages on your website.
An internal linking strategy won’t just provide your readers with an opportunity to explore more of your content, it will communicate to search engines which pages you consider important.
As your individual pieces of content gain authority and links from external websites, the pages they point to will also gain better ranking.
Use your primary and secondary keywords to carry links within the body of your content, a concept known as anchor text.
Be cautious, though – linking to the same page multiple times throughout the same blog isn’t a clever trick. Google actually only considers the anchor text of the first link on a given page:
Google is on to outdated and sneaky SEO tactics these days. This includes anchor text, the process of using keywords in the text of web pages to support links.
Use, but don’t abuse anchor text – repeatedly linking the same keyword can make your website look pretty fishy to search engines.
11. Avoid using Keywords Once
Unless your content goes viral and racks up about a million social media shares, you probably won’t rank at the top for a keyword after just one blog post. Use and reuse keywords, particularly if you’re targeting a term with high difficulty.
Competition can be fierce for common search terms, and while it’s critical to ensure your content marketing strategy includes variety, keep trying to rank for the highest search terms until you succeed.
12. Don’t forget to Optimize Non-Text Content
If Videos and infographics are optimized for social media sharing, they can improve inbound links and page stickiness.
However, ensure these files are search-friendly by including a keyword-rich video transcript on the page, or penning some text to support your infographic.
13. Track rankings weekly or monthly
Checking your keyword rankings daily is certainly attentive marketing, but the most likely outcome is some serious stress. Your rankings can fluctuate daily according to any number of top-secret factors woven into major search engine’s algorithms.
It’s best to track success weekly or monthly so don’t obsess about rankings daily.
14. Research keywords continuously
The worst thing you can do for your website’s SEO is to treat keyword research like a one-time job. Search algorithms change, industry trends shift, and people start using different queries to find your product.
Build time into your schedule to research keywords monthly, and incorporate into your content calendar.
15. Consider using Google AMP
AMP is an open source project. It’s mainly Google in collaboration with a bunch of different companies. It’s all about speeding up the mobile web. It basically creates a simplified version of your page so that it loads faster on mobile.
The AMP WordPress Plugin automatically transforms all posts on the site directly. This happens by appending the AMP HTML code.
Once it is dynamically generated, each post on the WordPress site becomes eligible for an Accelerated Mobile Page.
Best SEO Practices for Blog Posts – Conclusion
While the process of creating optimized SEO blog posts can seem overwhelming to beginners, once you’re in the mindset of creating content for search engines and readers, the steps become second nature.
With these best SEO practices for blog posts you’ll soon be on your way to optimizing pages in 30 minutes or less!
While keyword strategy can feel like just another element to be added to a busy content creator’s schedule, researching SEO can be critical for capturing the attention of today’s consumer.
Use keyword research to discover trends, speak in your prospects’ language, and beat your competitors to the top of Google with these best SEO practices for blog posts.