Blog SEO is crucial for making sure the right people are seeing your articles. Afterall, you spent a lot of time writing it, you want to make that worth your time. Here are some basic tips that can help your blog article climb up the rankings on Google.
Step 1: Determine your keyword(s)
Think about the audience for this blog article. What will the type into Google when they need to find your article? You can use a phrase or just one word.
If you’re not sure what they’d search for you can do some tests. Start typing something into Google that you think might work. Google will complete the phrase you’re typing and give you some suggestions.
There are more advanced tools to find out what people are searching (like Google’s keyword tool in their ad builder) for but this will give you a place to start.
Step 2: Put that keyword or phrase in the right spots
There are a few key spots that you’ll want to make sure you have a keyword. Here’s a quick checklist for you:
- The title of the article
- The first paragraph
- The last paragraph
- One subheading (more on this below)
- Alt-Text on an image (more on this below)
- Meta description (more on this below)
- The URL (example: www.squishypeanut.com/blog/keyword-should-be-here)
That’s already quite a few spots that you can have your keyword. While some of these are self-explanatory, we wanted to breakdown a few that you might not be familiar with.
Headings and Subheadings
Every web page should have headings and subheadings. Traditionally, Google will look mostly at your H1 and H2 headings. H1 is usually your title. After that, you’ll want to include some subheadings in your article. Just make sure that they are H2.
We often see people change their heading to H3 or H4 because they don’t like how big H2 is but this isn’t about visuals. This is about how Google is going to read your site. If you don’t like how big your H2 displays, talk to your web designer about changing it so it’s a bit smaller.
Think about your article as an outline.
- Heading (H1)
- Subheading (H2)
- Additional detail (H3)
- Minor point (H4)
- Additional detail (H3)
- Subheading (H2)
If you try to skip from a heading to a minor point, Google won’t pay attention to that because you’ve assigned it an H4 meaning it’s not as important to you. If you’re looking for the heading in this article, here’s how we set it up:
- How to do Blog SEO for Beginners (H1)
- Step 1: Determine your keyword(s) (H2)
- Step 2: Put that keyword or phrase in the right spots (H2)
- Headings and Subheadings (H3)
- Think about your article as an outline. (H4)
- Alt-Text on Images (H3)
- Meta Description (H3)
- Headings and Subheadings (H3)
- Step 3: Make sure your article is readable (H2)
- Step 4: Use a separate Blog SEO tool if you need help (H2)
- Step 5: Think about back-link opportunities (H2)
- Step 6: Include links in your blog post (H2)
- Step 7: You can’t out-blog a bad website (H2)
While this doesn’t have to do with SEO, it’s also important to note that skipping heading ordering is difficult for the visually impaired. They usually have a computer reader program that can skip around the web page to find the most important information. If there’s no outline to guide the program, it won’t read out properly.
Alt-Text on Images
When you insert an image into your blog post, you might notice that there’s an option to add in some Alt-Text. This is a great place to put your keyword.
However, make sure that your Alt-Text does actually describe the image as well. As we mentioned earlier, the visually impaired have software that reads out a website for them. When that software approaches an image, it will read out the Alt-Text. If you’re using a chart, make sure you describe it enough for it to make sense. Keep in mind, that PDFs can’t be read by most of these software programs, so you might want to offer other solutions for information that’s in a PDF format.
The mentions of best practices for the visually impaired may seem out of place in an article about blog SEO, but it can sometimes happen that people focused on SEO forget the actual purpose of tools like Alt-Text.
When you search for a site on Google, you’ll notice that the title of the page shows up (that’s your H1) and then there’s a description below that. Sometimes websites are just pulling the first paragraph but you can also determine what you want that section to say.
Make sure you include your keyword there but we also encourage using a call-to-action in this section.
Step 3: Make sure your article is readable
While you want to be adding the keyword or phrase through for good blog SEO, that shouldn’t compromise your article. It can get awkward when you try to insert your keyword into too many places. If you have a short article, you might only want your keyword mentioned three times whereas a longer article could handle 5 or 6 mentions.
Readability is important for search engines. They want to send people to good content that is well written. That includes things like starting too many consecutive sentences with the same word or having sentences that are too long.
Step 4: Use a separate Blog SEO tool if you need help
If you’re struggling with these rules, there are plenty of tools that can help guide you. We use Yoast for our blog posts. It’s an extension for WordPress and tells you a bit about what your article might be missing. Tools like this can make keyword optimization much easier even if you’re a beginner.
Step 5: Think about back-link opportunities
One of the best ways to gain traction on Google searches is with back-links. That means that another site, preferably with more visitors than your site, links to your page.
Additionally, you might work with some partner companies or know a resource site that might appreciate your blog post. Try to find ways that your blog post can be shared on other sites with a bigger reach. That will drive you up the search results.
Step 6: Include links in your blog post
There are two types of links that you want to make sure are in your article. First, you want something that links to another page on your website. That could be another blog post, a contact form, or more information. It can easily be woven into most blog posts. Just think about this when you’re writing it out.
You’ll also want to make sure that you’re linking to an outside source. That shows that your article is well thought out with sources. Make sure you aren’t linking to an outside source that uses the same keyword that you’re using. Then you’re just helping that source boost themselves on Google and you want to be helping yourself move up the ranks.
Step 7: You can’t out-blog a bad website
Have you ever heard the expression that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet? We’re not nutritionists but we can tell you that the same concept applies to your website. You could have the best, fully optimized blog post and it won’t be much if your website isn’t set up properly.
Having an optimized website that functions properly, loads quickly, and provides valuable information is the first priority. Blogs are just an extra boost.
Now that we’ve taught you all about Blog SEO, can you tell what the keyword is for this article? If you need any extra help with your blog, feel free to reach out for a free consultation.