4 Ways to Optimize Your Blog Posts for SEO
By Janet Anthony
Sure, social media is a useful way to get your blog in front of people. At the same time, it takes constant work and constant updating in order to keep up a flow of traffic – and getting your posts in front of new people can be a lot of hard work.
If you rank highly enough in the search algorithms that people actually find your site (harder than you may think, as only 5% of people actually get past the first page of search results) you’ll get a constant flow of people to your website, all of them are new, and all of them are looking for something.
Now doesn’t that sound excellent?
Of course, getting there takes a bit of work. Just like turning yourself into a superhero blogger isn’t something that just happens, you’re going to have to work at ranking well in terms of SEO. You’ve got to take the right steps. Today we’re going to explore what those are.
Do your research
Make certain that you actually find out what keywords do well and aim for those. There are numerous tools available online (just search for ‘keyword explorer’ or something similar) that you can use a couple of times a day for free. If you use all of them, you can actually get a pretty good idea what phrases you should go for.
Why should you go through this effort? That’s because some phrases get searched for more often than others, while other phrases have far more competition than others. You want to find that sweet spot where competition is low, but the number of searches aims at those words or that phrase are high.
If you’re just starting out, be sure to aim at the low competition, as you’ll actually be able to rank decently there. Sure, a trickle of traffic isn’t great, but it’s better than not getting any traffic at all!
(Host blogger’s commentary: Instructions for finding low competition are in the Google Keyword Planner tutorial.)
Aim at long-tail keywords
If you’re just starting out, then don’t immediately aim for the obvious keywords. Chances are pretty good that those are incredibly hard to break into, as there is a lot of competition for them. Instead, aim at long-tail keywords.
What are long-tail keywords? These are phrases containing several words. They might be a question like “how do I get to Timbuktu?”, or a precise search term like “gear shifts for V6 engines.” The point of this is that yes, people will obviously search for them less, but those people who do search for them know exactly what they’re looking for.
That means that if your page fulfills that need, they’re more likely to stick around, reducing your bounce rate (or how many people leave your page without clicking on) and that search engines will rank you better.
What’s more, if you’re selling something, then you’re far more likely to actually sell something at this stage, as the people have moved on from their initial search stage and now know what they want, meaning they’re far closer to buying what you’re selling.
Include the keywords in your post
In fact, you don’t just want to include them in your post, you want to – if possible – include them in your title. Most search engines pay far more attention to your title than they do the body of your text. And that is quite logical, as that is obviously what users are going to pay more attention to as well.
Also, if possible, make certain to include them in your subheadings as well, as these again are considered more important by search engines than the main body of your text.
Don’t keyword stuff. What’s that? That’s when you put your keywords in as many times as possible. In years gone by that was a good way to get search engines to rank you more highly. Nowadays, however, you get punished for that, as it’s considered unnatural.
So put it in a couple of times, but don’t overdo it.
Found great keywords? Make sure your content rocks
Sometimes you just rattle off a page and post it. That’s great for a great deal of your content. Those times, however, when you find a really great keyword, you shouldn’t do that. Instead, make sure that post really rocks. Be sure to avoid the common mistakes in writing, and also don’t just write it in one day, but come back to it again with a fresh mind a few days later.
You see, it is far more useful to write some outstanding content sometimes and decent content the rest of the time, then to write pretty good content all of the time. Why? Because outstanding content will get shared far more often and that is something that is also vital for SEO, as search engines now look at how often your content gets shared, as well as how often it gets back-linked to.
So take your time on a really great idea. Do the research, write the right content, perhaps even get somebody else to look at it. Because unless you’ve got a massive following, you won’t be able to get all of your articles ranking highly for SEO.
Instead, you should focus on making sure that some (or even one) do.
About the Author: Janet Anthony is a blogger from Kansas City who has been writing professionally for five years now. She mostly writes about blogging, social media, and SEO. Her motto is “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows”. Find Janet here: Twitter. You can read her article Avoid the common mistakes in writing.
Host Blogger’s Commentary:
Readers, please share this post. Many bloggers and website creators find SEO confusing. Janet explained how to improve your search engine rankings so you can increase your organic traffic in understandable terms.
How do you improve your search engine traffic? Is it a goal of yours? What is your favorite keyword tool? I look forward to your views in the comments section.