Whether you’re trying to improve the search ranking of your blog posts, or make your business website searchable in Google, blogging can be a great tool for SEO. So, when you’re writing that next post, try and implement these 9 practical tips to help boost SEO on your blog and your website.
In my last post, The Secret to Good SEO for Business Owners, I explained why blogging and producing great content can be your greatest ally for Search Engine Optimization. Now that you’ve created that great content, what you need to do is make it easy for Google to find it. That’s what we’ll be talking about here.
While the previous post focused on the theory behind strong SEO, these tips will be very practical. By using the principles from the last post in conjunction with these tips, you’ll be sure to get your posts ranked on Google.
9 Simple Hacks to Boost SEO On Your Blog
1. Determine a Keyword Phrase.
You need to determine a short phrase that encapsulates what your blog post is about. This keyword is a phrase that you believe a person will type into the Google search box. It should be fairly specific, something like “wedding venues in Charleston.”
Determining the right keyword will be vital for implementing the rest of these SEO hacks.
2. Craft an Eye-Catching Title and Meta Description.
Your blog post’s title is one of the most important parts of your post, so you need to create something clear and eye-catching. When you post your blog link on social media or when someone scans it on Google, it is the title that draws them in and leads them to click.
You should use your keyword phrase word-for-word in the title. Maybe something like, “11 Top Wedding Venues in Charleston, SC.” Keep in mind that, in search results, Google will only display the first 57 characters of your title, so it’s important that you make it concise.
A great tool for developing great post titles is Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule, so be sure to check that out!
You should also take the time to craft a meta description. This is the short description underneath the title in a Google search. By default, Google will typically use the first sentence of your post as the meta description. This does not generally look very good and may not include your target keyword.
You should write a custom meta description that is less than 156 characters and includes your keywords. If possible, it’s good to write it as a cliff hanger. Something like, “As a wedding planner in Charleston, I’ve seen many beautiful venues and I’ve come to determine the top wedding venues in Charleson, starting with #1 which is…”
If you’re using WordPress, the easiest way to edit the meta description is by using the Yoast SEO Plugin, which can also help guide you in applying several of these tips.
3. Use the Correct Permalink Structure.
The “permalink”, or the URL for your blog post, should look something like this:
In the very least, it needs to include your keyword phrase separated by hyphens. Again, this helps Google find your keywords and rank your website in their searches accordingly.
What it should not include is the date or a random id number assigned to your post. On WordPress, you can edit this permalink structure in Settings.
4. Use Your Keyword Phrase in the First and Last Paragraph.
If you focus on good writing, your keywords will naturally appear throughout the post. However, you need to consciously incorporate your keyword phrase at the very beginning and the very end of the post. This shouldn’t be hard to do if you think of your first and last paragraphs as Intro and Conclusion paragraphs.
5. Avoid Overusing Keywords
You need to avoid what’s called “keyword stuffing,” where you sprinkle keywords all over the post for SEO purposes. There was a time when this used to work, but now Google recognizes it as spam, so you will actually get penalized for it.
Again, when you are writing professionally and naturally, this should not be an issue. However, if you find yourself using certain words too often, try to make use of synonyms.
6. Use Appropriate Headings (btw, this is an H4 tag)
Another element that Google scans in order to understand what your post is about is your headings. Generally, you want to reserve your H1 and H2 tags for one or two main headings that incorporate your keyword.
You want to use your H3, H4, and H5 headings as subheadings. You would use these to label individual points within your post.
Not only does this help Google understand the most important parts of your post, it also helps with the readability of the post. Readability is important for SEO. You should use these heading tags to divide up the sections of your post and make it more visually appealing.
7. Use Images and Tag Them.
Use of images in a post is generally a good SEO practice. When you do so, you can actually use them to your advantage by utilizing the correct tags.
First, before you upload images to your site, you should name them appropriately and incorporate your keywords. If you use just one image, it’s a good idea to name it similar to the post title:
The hyphens are also important here, however for WordPress users, they will get added automatically.
Another thing to note about saving/exporting your image: make sure that your image files are not too big as this will affect how fast they load on the page. A slow loading page can also negatively affect SEO.
Next, you need to add “Title” and “Alt” tags. Depending on the blog platform you’re using, this could get a bit technical, but it’s not that hard once you get the hang of it. WordPress actually makes this pretty easy. As you can see by the image below, you can simply write the “title” and “alt” when you are adding the image rather than editing the code.
For these tags, try to use your keywords, but also use this to describe the image.
8. Use Outbound Links
Google likes posts that include links to other reputable websites. As you’re seeking to add value to your readers, include a few links to related resources outside of your website.
The best practice for this is to include the title of the link’s page, similar to how I did in Tip #2, rather than just writing “click here.”
9. Try Guest Blogging
Google also likes when there are reputable websites that link to you. There are services out there that promise to get these inbound links for you, but just be very careful. Links from an unrelated or spammy website can actually hurt your ranking.
The most legitimate and organic way to acquire these inbound links is to guest blog on other websites related to your industry.
Reach out to these related websites and offer to write an original article for them under the one condition that they will link the post back your website. This certainly has other benefits apart from just Search Engine Optimization.
So just to recap: you need to focus on producing good content, then use these tips to help that content get found. I know these tips are a lot to remember, but I promise that even if you begin implementing a few of them, you will begin to boost SEO on your blog. I also know from experience that blogging consistently can be a huge task apart from trying to incorporate all these tips. We can help! Contact us, and we’d love to talk to you about how we can help with your SEO!
Were these tips helpful? Were you already aware of any of them? Which ones can you begin implementing in your next post? Let us know in the comments below!