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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author: Zak Nicola is a an experienced Marketing Manager at Gigasavvy, a digital marketing agency in Orange County, CA.