As a blogger, you aim to provide your audience with favorable and entertaining writings on tips, personal experiences, express your thoughts and passions, and share your opinions on what products you love/hate. Whether you are the hottest up and coming fashionista today dictating trends or barely getting your toes wet after launching your site two weeks ago, you must be keen on optimizing your posts. Just like you words speak in an appealing language to your fan base, your posts must appeal to the language of the search engines.
We know that writing to optimize for search and writing favorably to your readers can seem conflicting and quite a challenge at first, but it is a necessary evil that you must harness for your blog to blow up. Blog SEO is like anything in life; the more you write within the parameters of the following guidelines, the more naturally it will come to you, as you watch your subscribers list grow.
Today, we will be addressing 11 key steps to make sure your blog seo is fully optimized to maximize potential web traffic and high positions on search engines.
1. Blog SEO keyword research
We know you have an idea what people type in when they use a search engine, or you have an idea of what you would like to come up under when people people in your target audience perform a search. Odds are that you are using these keywords naturally in your posts without knowing anything about blog SEO. The trick is to take it one step further and do keyword research using the search ideas you have. The Google Adwords Keyword Tool is the best tool for targeting relevant keywords for your posts that you wouldn’t have known existed.The two main metrics to pay attention to when choosing keywords is search volume and average monthly searches. Keywords that have a high search volume and low competition will place your post higher on the search engines.
To use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool for free, you have to sign up for an advertising campaign and go through the process of entering in your credit card info, but pause your campaign before it starts so it doesn’t costs you anything.
- Create a structure for your blog post
Create an outline of what you want to talk about in your blog post. The key to creating this structure is choosing your researched keywords first, then writing your blog post around those keywords. Just like writing a term paper, choose a topic keyword, introduce it in the introduction, use secondary keywords that are similar or include variations of the same keywords in the body paragraphs. The top bloggers in each industry meticulously outline each post before they even start writing. This helps to organize thoughts, create a clear cut goal of each post, and a pathway to achieve the goal.
- If you have a WordPress blog, download the Yoast SEO plugin!
Yoast is a FREE plugin that lets you know if your page is optimized to its full potential. At the top or bottom of your page, depending upon what version of WordPress you have, you will see a datafield that allows you to input the following information:
- Post title tag
- Focus keyword
- Meta Description
- Meta Keywords
This is a great place to enter this information for search engines to easily read and understand the content of your blog post. It also notifies you if your blog post is missing any SEO information with it’s red, yellow and green light system. This does not take care of all SEO necessities for your post, but it helps quite a bit.
- Relevant metadata
Metadata (or meta tags) as they are also called, are like red flags telling the search engines to “crawl” (read) and learn what your post or website page is all about. It is the first thing that the bots and spiders seek out, making it the first impression that you make on them. The most noteworthy metadata is the Title Tag and the meta descriptions. On a search engine like Google, the title tag is the first group of words that appear under each search results option and must be between 60-70 characters including spaces with all first letters capitalized. The meta description is the group of words under the title tag that elaborate more as to what the site displayed is about, which must be no more that 160 characters long including spaces. Both the title tag and meta description should include your primary and (if possible) your secondary keywords. This metadata is extremely important to not only the search engine, but it dictates what site people will click on that has the most relevant information to the search they are performing. If I were a fashion blogger, an example of a good title tag and meta description would be the following:
Example blog name: Girls Love Shoes
Primary Keyword: “ugg boots”
Secondary Keyword: “classic slim boot”
Secondary Keyword: “my tall black boots”
- Use your primary and secondary keywords at least twice!
You want the post to read great and sound genuine, so don’t go insane with this. Your goal is to rank for the keywords you’ve researched, and to do so u must use them. If you are a fashion blogger writing about a new line of jewelry you represent, try to be as clear and concise with what the product is made of, what it goes great with, what you like about it, and where they can find it. Trying to be clever by fitting in multiple keywords for optimization can easily be sniffed out, which can cause you to lose followers. A practice that works is to place your keyword in the beginning of your blog post in an introductory voice, once in the body, and then again in an h2 tag. Don’t let your readers discover your underlying plan.
- Optimize images
Just like metadata, images need to be optimized by including keywords in both the Image Title (file name) and the “alt” tag. An image title is important to the search engine bots and spider to tell what the image is since it can only read code. For the title tag, provide a short description of the picture and include a primary and/or secondary keyword, without “keyword stuffing”. An example of this would be the following: “class-slim-ugg-boots” for the title tag is much better than “ugg_boots”. The “alt” tag is a key for helping disabled people who are using screen-reading software know what the images on the page are. This description should include one of your primary or secondary keywords and a precise description of the image at hand to help the disabled blog readers. An example of this would be the following: “picture of a pair of class slim ugg boots worn by blogger X.” Make sure not to neglect this tag because search engines also take this into account if you have alt tags when ranking pages…
- Onsite and offsite linking
Another best practice for blog SEO is to link from your blog post to previous blog posts or pages that are relevant to the information your are discussing. For example, if I had a fashion blog and I was creating a post about a new foundation line I was using, I could drop a link on my post using anchor text for audience members to watch a previous video blog entry I created where I showed people how to properly apply foundation. Linking to previous posts allows your audience to explore past posts that are relevant to what they are looking for. Also, make sure to link out to a company’s page if you are doing a review of a product with anchor text. Try to link to the exact page that the specific product is on to make it easier for your readers.
You should also link to offsite TRUSTED websites when explaining something that might need more clarification. I previously linked out to Moz in this paragraph in the link “anchor text” because they are a highly trusted source of SEO information. I would try to place and anchor text link every 200 words, but don’t go overboard with it.
- Offsite linking and practicing blog seo etiquette
If you are blogging about an event or about a previous post by another blogger that you wish to shed light on, make sure to link to the original content as well as other’s commentary about the post. This is a great way to make your blog known by the original blogger who may not have heard of your blog. People that click from your blog to theirs will channel them more traffic that they wouldn’t have usually received without your post. In most cases, it is good blog seo etiquette that if someone gives you props or spreads that “link love”, that they should reciprocate by linking to you on that related post or on a future blog post of yours. It’s an unwritten rule of blog etiquette.
- Make sure to customize your URL structure
Using a custom URL structure that is SEO friendly makes it easier for search engine bots and spiders to crawl each blog post. If you currently use a permalink URL structure like www.blogexamplewebsite.com/?p=012345, you are missing out on another SEO optimization advancement. To capitalize on this opportunity, change from the “standard” numeric platform to one that includes the dates and entry title of each post like www.blogexamplewebsite.com/2015/11/13/fashion-blog-post/. (most blogging platforms can have this changed in the settings) This allows for the keyword of your post to be in the URL, which is prime SEO placement.
- Be consistent with your posts
As a blogger, posting every three to six days is a must! It is your main source of engaging with your audience and fanbase and they want to hear from you as much as possible. For business clients using blogging as a client connection tool to generate fresh unique content relevant to their industry, we recommend posting around five times per month. The more you post, the more the bots on Google Bing and Yahoo will regularly crawl your site, which is a great thing.
Guest blog post content by Wip Marketing.