Tutorials

SEO Guidelines For Blog Posts

A guide, and example, of good SEO for blog posts 

This is a guest post by Zak Nicola of Gigasavvy. 

Who’s ready for a knowledge bomb? Put your focus caps on, because this is a content-heavy post with expert advice for all of you bloggers out there!

Nothing is more rewarding than creating a well-crafted blog post, and watching the interactions and traffic it generates. What follows is a proven process for ensuring blog posts have the best framework and potential to achieve high rankings in search results. Most people know this as SEO, but I like to think of it more in terms of “optimized content organization for search engines”. Nobody seems to know OCOSE though, so we’ll stick with SEO.

Use this post as a guide on how to optimize your blog post for search engines.

Optimized Title and Description

SEO your Blog Title:

This should be a summary of the content on page, similar to the form of a sentence. Keep in mind this title is what is shown on search results pages, and that only the first 60 characters are shown on average. Think of how you would search for this article — ensure those keywords, terms, and phrases are present. Avoid commas and use no more than one dash if necessary.

Optimize your Blog Slug:

The URL of the post, or “slug” should be relevant to the post. Often, the default setting is to use the page title for the slug, but keep the slug short and to the point.

An example of title and slug:

Title:Installing WordPress on a Private Server Slug:/install-wordpress-private-server

Advice for Writing Your Meta Description: The META description should be a description, not a list, of the value found on the page. An easy tip to getting your meta description and title optimized would be to write your description first, then scale that down into your title. This helps to ensure the target phrase/keywords are used in both. Phrase variations, like “installing wordpress” and “how to install wordpress” are great ways to help improve relevance without getting too spammy on keyword counts.

Structure of Headers

The layout of your headers should follow the same logic as note taking. With the H1 being the main topic, H2 is a secondary topic related to the primary topic. Should there be a subtopic of the secondary topic, then it would fall under the H3 tag. Avoid breaking things down past H4, as it would be best to keep the current page topic focused on the H1 and related H2s. You can always create another page to get more granular on a subtopic.

*A Tip For Headers

If you do create a new post that is a subtopic to another post, link to that post using the header. As an example, if there was a post dedicated to the structure and use of headers, linking the above H2 “Structure of Headers” to the example subpage would be beneficial for visitors to this page, both people and bots.

On Page SEO Factors

Optimize Image Names

Caption images and use the caption as a hyperlink to the image itself. The alt text should be descriptive, with the overall target phrase of the post worked in naturally. This will not only help with the organic ranking of the page, but also help increase the chance of the image showing up in image search results. If ranking an image search isn’t important, you still want to add descriptive alt text for the image. This makes your content more accessible to a wider range of demographics. The more accessible your content, the more likely Google will serve your content as an answer to a query.

Best Practice for Links On Page

Link to internal pages that support or are relevant to the post. If you are going to link to an internal URL more than once, make sure the first link has the most appropriate anchor text. The second link to the same URL will not carry the same, if any, value. A good guide to this is using terms or phrases from the page’s title/description that you are linking to. Try to keep the total link count on page to no more than three links. If you choose to link out (link to a website that is not the same primary URL of the site the post is published on) from within the content, know that you run the risk of giving Google the signal that there is a more informative website than your own on the subject.

*A Tip for External Links

You may have heard about “rel=nofollow” by now, but I’ve seen Google ignore this tag if it deems there to be value or relevance. Outbound links to sites/posts that support a topic are fine if done so sparingly, and help to create a balanced “link profile”

Content and Keywords Advice

Google loves good, original, factual content. You’ve got the title, description, and the overall layout of the post using headers. In other words, your frame is set, time to build your post and fill the page with valuable content your reader base would find useful or interesting!

It’s commonly believed that Google sees content with 400+ words as a sign of quality. Google also looks at how accessible your content is to the general public, so it’s best to keep your content simple. Microsoft Word has a readability score, and there are many free tools online that will give you an average grade level. Try to keep your content around the 9th-grade reading level for most topics, but this does vary per industry. Keywords and phrases should be varied with synonyms and related topics to the main phrase or target subject.

*A Tip for Keyword Count:

Read over the content, mentally replace your target keyword phrase with a person’s name. Does it read naturally, or does it seem as though it’s forced into place?

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Hopefully you’ve found some useful tips for optimizing your blog posts with these SEO guidelines. Did we miss something that you’ve found helpful in your optimization efforts? Maybe a question about how these can be applied to your next post? Drop us a line in the comments below! Have an idea or question that you think would make a great blog post? Send us an email to info@gigasavvy.com.

About the Author: Zak Nicola is a an experienced Marketing Manager at Gigasavvy, a digital marketing agency in Orange County, CA.

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14 Comments

    • Hi Mark, great question! Using Tags for you blog post can be a great way to help users find content that interests them, as well as help search engines with indexing your content. I would recommend using only a few tags, and think of them almost as you would categories. 

  • This was a great post on SEO for blogs. I have a more general question about off-the-page SEO. Are meta descriptions and meta tags still an effective way to get traffic to your website? I know that these tools don’t really change your ranking in Google, but does having a compelling meta description make your page stand out in the rankings? I work for a great startup in Salt Lake City that tells small businesses about the value of their website and knowning this answer would help us guide our customer base in the right direction.

    • Hi George, sounds like a helpful service. The meta info of a website, while not visible on-page, is still considered by most as an on-page factor. Having your meta title, and meta description done properly can actually aid in rankings, as well as the click through rate (CTR) from the search engine results page (SERP). A good meta title and description should be both informative and enticing to the desired audience. I hope that helps answer your question George.

  • Great article! Thanks for sharing important points. I totally onpage SEO factors including Title and description are important but headings, sub headings and images that illustrate your content. Very useful SEO tips for blogging. Thumbs up.

  • This is my first visit to this blog and now i’m a huge fan of your’s Zak. You covered all the information point to point. Thanks for writing. If possible kindly also share information about Adsense optimizations to earn a lot from Adsense.

  • Thanks for some useful advice. I am trying to find out how to determine whether a link is follow or no follow and what the advantages of making my posts no follow could be? Is it something to do with link juice?

    regards
    Steve

  • Meta description is very important factor for website, it easily describe the services that you provides in website. Thanks for sharing some useful information on Meta content

  • In this article I found some tips that I did not know and that surely I will experience in the near future. Thanks for sharing!

  • In meta I am using some dots at the end of sentence. This way I give an impression that something more valuable is inside. This is how I increase ctr. Regards

  • This is really so much helpful article for me. Thanks for sharing this.
    I have some question to you.
    1. How many times can I use H2-H5 tag on an article? (Sometimes I have used more than 4-5 times H2, H3 or H4 tag on my post)
    2. How many meta Keyword should I use per article?
    3. Sometimes stop word comes on title and Permalink, How can I manage it?