One of the most common questions I get from my clients is about blogging. Do I really have to blog? Do I need a blog? Is blogging dead? Blogging is not dead, and it is in fact extremely important for SEO. It gives Google a reason to come back to your website. Our websites often contain pages like the “about us,” “services” or “products” page, which do not change. These static pages stay the same, and they don’t really give Google a reason to keep coming back because nothing is changing. So blogging consistently gives Google a reason to come back to your website.
Blogging is one of the best ways to improve your ranking on Google, but publishing just any old blog posts won’t really land you on the first page of Google. Let’s face it, you need to optimize your blog posts. In this post, I’m going to share five easy ways you can optimize your blog posts, so you can turn your website into a traffic-generating machine.
1. Selecting the Right Keywords
Your first step is to select the right focus keyword for your blog posts. A keyword is either the word or phrase you would type into Google. The right keyword or key phrase is one that is relevant to your content. It also has low competition, meaning it’s easier to rank for on Google, but has high search demand, meaning people are searching for it. You can have a myriad of several types of keywords throughout your website, but when it comes to a specific blog post, this is what you want to look for.
It can be tough depending on your niche and whatever topic you’re writing about in your blog posts. For example, if you’re trying to rank for the word Amazon, well Amazon has a lot of competition – it’s obviously one, if not the top online retailer in the world. So chances are, you might not rank for Amazon. Now let’s say a competitor of theirs, jet.com, which is an online retailer similar to Amazon. It doesn’t have as much search volume or competition as Amazon. So you might rank a little bit better on Google using jet.com, than using amazon.com.
Here’s another example for those of you who are using WordPress. WordPress has a high demand and is a highly saturated topic in the market. So it’s hard to find a keyword phrase containing the word WordPress that doesn’t have extreme competition against it. I’ll use Squarespace, for example, it does have competition, but it’s lower search topic then WordPress. So you might have a higher chance of attaining a higher search ranking on Google for Squarespace because it has lower competition.
I know this can be a bit overwhelming, but don’t despair. If you’re in a highly saturated niche, you just have to do a little bit more digging and research to find good keywords to put into your blog posts. I happen to use a paid service called Semrush and Ubersuggest to brainstorm keyword ideas.
Once you’ve selected the right keyword, you want to put it everywhere that you possibly can. You want to put it in your blog post, post title, and headers. If you don’t know what I mean, I’ll be talking more about blog post structure in another episode. You want to aim for a keyword density, or many times you put this keyword in your post. You want to aim to put the keyword in at least three to ten times per every 500 words on your blog post. If you’re using a plugin like WordPress, or even in Shopify, there are plugins that will tell you if you have a low density keyword that you need to keep using, or if you’re over optimizing this keyword in your content, which can be a bad thing.
You also want to add this keyword to your image file name. An image doesn’t do you any good with a the name “123.JPEG”, unless that’s what you want to be known for. I highly doubt it. So change the image name to the keyword. If the keyword is multiple words, put hyphens between each word. For example, if you are giving Squarespace tips, you would write squarespace-tips.JPEG. You also want to add the keyword to your image alt text (alternative texts). You’ll find this in your media library. That field is very important as well. Especially if an image is loading slowly, you’ll see all texts there as it’s still telling Google what that image is all about. You also want to put your keyword in your meta description. I’ll explain a little bit more about this in another episode too, but this is a small snippet of text that you see in search results.
2. Add Structure to Your Blog Content
Yes, SEO is about keywords, but it is also a huge puzzle that includes a variety of elements. I like to refer to it as a periodic table. All of these different elements play a part in SEO. So, SEO is also about user experience, and part of that user experience is how easy it is for readers to digest your website or blog content. Now I know I’m guilty of it. Our attention spans are pretty low and we tend to scan content as quickly as possible. That’s why it’s important to format your blog posts so readers can easily scan and figure out what you’re offering or what you’re writing about.
Here are some things you can do to make your blog posts more scannable for readers and for Google. First, you want to outline your posts using headers. This is very important. Things like H2, H3, and H4 headers are signals to Google that these are a little bit more important within the content, and they also have your keywords. A lot of times you’ll see headers in bold and italics which just makes it easier for a reader to scan your content. You can break down your content further with bullet points or lists, or you can simplify and shorten your sentences to make your paragraphs short and sweet. You also can break up the content with images. All of these things make it easier for the reader to digest the content.
3. Use Links to Your Advantage.
When it comes to links, the first thing that you want to do is use internal links. Let’s say I’m writing a blog post about boosting your blog post SEO, and then I write another post very similar to it. I would include a link to the previous post about boosting your blog post SEO which keeps readers on the site longer. It also keeps Google on the site. The goal is to internally link at least twice on a blog post.
You also want to externally link, or link out to another credible website. For example, Amazon has a high, high domain authority, so we know that it’s a credible website. Therefore, Google is not going to have any issues. So including a link to an Amazon product in your blog post actually helps your SEO.
4. Optimize Your Images
Images are great for search engine optimization, but they can really slow down your website. Google hates slow websites, especially on mobile. In order to prevent a slow website, resize your images as you upload them. Ideally you want them to be about a 100 kilobytes or less, no bigger than that. It’s really important to compress them. Don’t worry, it doesn’t diminish the quality of the image at all; it just reduces its size.
If you are in WordPress, you can use a free app called Smush, which compresses the files in the media library. If you’re using Shopify, Squarespace or another website platform like Showit, use services like Tiny PNG or JPEG Mini to compress your images before uploading if you think they’re very large files.
5. Make Your Blog Posts Shareable
Believe it or not, social media has an impact on a blog post SEO. The more people are sharing and engaging with your content the more authority Google thinks you have. This is what we call domain authority.
This is why it’s important to make it easy for readers to share your blog posts. You want social share buttons that are attractive and visible at all times on your blog. So when readers are scrolling through it, they can share it with others. For WordPress users, there’s a plugin called Social Warfare, that a lot of people love. I’ve used it before and it looks great on any site, but our other sharing plugins that you can check out. I will say, Squarespace buttons aren’t the greatest with social shares, so I have a plugin called Sumo that does the same thing, helping to share those posts. What you decide to use just depends on what you’re looking for and the type of site you have.
I hope these tips helped you when thinking about your next blog post and how you can up its SEO game. Just in five simple steps.