If you’re reading this, you’re likely a small business owner, content marketer, and/or blogger who’s intrigued by what it means to blog for better SEO. Or, you may be in the group that’s wondering what the heck SEO is and what it has to do with your blogging workflow.
“Blog SEO: How to Search Engine Optimize Your Content” should be required curriculum in journalism and PR programs so the next generation of writers and marketers are equipped to create badass blog content while ensuring it’s properly optimized for search engines. Until that happens, we’re here to spread the word on white hat SEO and how to optimize your blog content.
SEO, short for search engine optimization, is how you maximize traffic to your website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of search engine results pages. Every content marketer and small business owner should have a knowledge of SEO and how to implement simple SEO guidelines into their content workflow to maximize website traffic in a quick, yet highly effective way.
PSA: You don’t have to become an SEO expert to see results. We’re going to share clear, repeatable steps that can be implemented into your blogging workflow starting now.
Choose a general keyword to focus on in your blog content. Performing keyword research before you begin writing not only helps to guide your workflow and clarify the message you’re wanting to convey, it helps search engines find your content and lead relevant visitors to your website. Relevant visitors = increased traffic = cha-ching!
Let’s say you’re creating a piece of content that illustrates the importance of web designers understanding SEO. A keyword selection such as SEO for web designers would work well in guiding the content and letting Google know what the blog is about. Think of your keyword as a compass that points Google in the right direction (toward your website).
We like to think of aligning your page title, URL, and title tag in the same way we think of first impressions. Are you going to wear an orange top, Spandex cheetah pants, and light up shoes to a job interview?
Hey, you might; we’re not in the business of judgment. However, chances are that your top, pants, and shoes are going to complement each other to reflect your professionalism. The same rule applies to bringing consistency to your page title, URL, and title tag to help Google understand what your blog content is about.
Sending mixed signals can cause confusion for search engines, so we recommend aligning these items to help nudge Google in the right direction. Remember, it’s your first impression.
For instance, if we’re writing about SEO for Web Designers, our page title, URL, and title tag might look something like this:
Note: try to keep your title, URL, and title tag short and sweet, clearly conveying the content’s theme. Leave your wit and writing style for the body of the content. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of opportunity to show off- this just isn’t the place to do it.
If asked to make a snap judgment based on these first impressions, what would you assume this piece of content is about? Light up shoes, cheetah pants, and a neon orange top? Or a comprehensive guide on how web designers should take SEO into consideration when building out a website?
Hint: we know light up shoes give you the 90’s throwback you love, but the answer is SEO for web designers. Sorry, Charlie.
A meta description summarizes a page’s content. Usually weighing in at less than 160 characters in length, your meta description will show up in search engine results when it contains a keyword someone is searching for. Much like your title, URL, and title tag, it should accurately reflect the theme of your content and include your focused keyword.
Including images in your blog content is an effective way to merge visual content, design, and the written word to provide a full illustration for your audience. Bonus: optimizing images within your content can help boost your SEO.
Select images that complement your content’s theme and work primary and secondary keywords into the alt text. Remember to always give proper copyright credit to photographers and source from royalty free sites such as Unsplash. While your audience won’t see the alt text, search engines will!
Choose one or the other to apply to your blog content. Whichever option you choose, use sparingly and use no more than two to three concise words to let your audience know what the content is about.
We’ve shared our how-to on blogging for better seo but now we’re going to put it all out there: blog content isn’t enough.
You’ve invested time and energy into learning how to blog for better SEO and we can’t overstate how important it is to add in one final step to your blogging workflow to take full advantage of your freshly optimized content:
Well-executed amplification brings numerous perks to your content:
Without a content amplification and promotion process in place, our blog content can’t go further than the reaches of our own network. Search engine optimization + content amplification = maximum opportunity for relevant website traffic.
Congrats! You’re now officially ready to blog for better SEO.
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Matt Bentley is an entrepreneur, data scientist, and rock climber with 15 years experience building internet startup companies. He is the Founder of SEO and content marketing software CanIRank.com, and intelligent marketing assistant GrowthAI.com. Connect with Matt on Twitter or Google+.