So, here’s the thing… there may be many reasons why you’re blogging for your business…
- You want to showcase your knowledge and expertise
- You want to grow your authority
- You want to build your know, like, trust factor
- You want to grow your email list
- You want to bring a steady stream of traffic to your website
- You want to improve your search engine ranking
But, if your blog posts only ever reach a handful of readers, how are you going to achieve all those things?
In a word… you’re not.
Sorry, harsh, but true.
So what can you do about it? How can you get your perfectly formed blog posts in front of more potential customers?
Well for starters you need to be promoting your blog posts, and I’m not talking a few random posts across your social media channels, I’m talking about following a proper, promotional strategy that involves social media, multiple channel delivery, influencer outreach, re-purposing, re-publishing and much more.
All of which takes time. Something you might not necessarily have much of.
So what else can you do?
You optimise your blog post so that search engines love it! You see, whilst getting results from SEO do take time, it’s vital to put the right bits and pieces in place when you publish your post to give yourself a head start in the search results.
To help you out, here’s your complete step-by-step guide to optimising your blog posts to get maximum Google love, without sacrificing your personality or sanity!
11 Simple Steps to Perfect Blog Post SEO
1. Create short, SEO-friendly URLs
Your URL should be keyword rich, short and perfectly to the point. Research has shown that search engines pay most attention to the first 3-4 words in your URL so if your keyword is languishing at the back, chances are it won’t get picked up.
I advise on not using numbers in your URL in case you ever want to update the post with even more fabulous tips. No numbers means no 301 redirect!
2. Write an attention-grabbing headline
Try to use your keyword in your headline. The closer it is to the start, the more love it gets from search engines.
Instead of: 11 amazing blog tips guaranteed to boost your readership
Use: Boost your readership fast with these 11 amazing blog tips
Want more awesome headline tips? Check out my post How to write attention grabbing headlines
3. Use your keywords wisely
When it comes to using keywords in your blog content, quality is more important than quantity. Try and shove your keywords into every paragraph and your copy may be labelled as spammy. As a general rule, Include your keyword in the first paragraph (or first 100 words) of your copy and ideally at least once or twice more in the main body of your blog post. For extra SEO superstardom, use your keyword in a H2 sub heading too.
4. Add magnificent multimedia
Engaging images, graphics and short videos help to slow down scanners, reduce your bounce rate and increase your readers time on site. SEO win!
5. Break up your text with sub heads and bullets (like this one)
Search engines love lists and by breaking up your content into short, scannable chunks, you’ll slow down the scanners and keep readers on your post for longer too! Google uses ‘dwell time’ to rate your sites user experience and content quality so you want to keep people on your site for as long as possible. Remember, the longer a reader spends on your site, the more Google will love you.
6. Get liberal with LSI keywords
An LSI (or Latent Semantic Indexing) keyword is basically a synonym of your main keyword – they help search engines to understand the topic you are writing about and decide who might be interested in reading your post. They’re also a handy way of covering multiple search phrases – different people search for stuff on Google in different ways. Use them in your copy to make it crystal clear what your blog post is about, without being repetitive.
Let’s say your post was about vintage teacups. To fully understand your subject matter, search engines would look for related words and terms like:
- collectible teacups
- classic crockery
- antique teacup
- bone china
- Royal Albert
7. Add some lovely links
Many people are hesitant to link to other blogs or sources of information – after all, you’re supposed to be the authority around here right? But here’s the thing, linking to external sources of information or related content helps search engines to confirm the topic of your post and also sends trust and quality signals.
Internal links don’t have as much clout as external, but they are still worthwhile from an SEO point of view (and definitely from a user expereince and journey perspective!) Use internal links to showcase your related content and to encourage readers to check out other posts.
Like this? Read this next: Essential SEO: 6 simple tips to get you started
8. Lure readers further in with a call to action
Always, ALWAYS end your blog post with a compelling call to action. Not only does it help to keep readers on your site for longer, but if you’re going to start building any kind of meaningful relationship with them you want them to delve deeper into finding out who you are, what you do and what you can offer them. Not including a call to action is a total missed opportunity!
Feeling a bit iccky about asking someone to take the next step? Calls to action don’t always need to be salesy, it could be a heads up on a related blog post, an invitation to download your lead magnet (or a content upgrade), an invite to join your Facebook Group or follow you on another social media channel or a pitch to check out your products and services. Mix up your calls to action so you don’t feel like you’re repeating the same message over and over again.
9. Optimise your images for extra SEO love
Use your keywords in your image file name and ALT Tag, this is especially important for scrummy visual businesses like cake makers or photographers as it helps you to show up in search engine image searches. This little tip is SUPER important for anyone with a visual business – photographers, cake makers, jewellery designers, artists etc.
Separate each word in your image file name with a dash NOT an underscore.
Like this: Alice-in-wonderland-wedding-cake-Norwich
Write your ALT tag without dashes.
Like this: Alice in wonderland wedding cake in Norwich
10. Create dazzling metadata
Your metadata is the small piece of text that shows up in search engine results. Always fill it in and DON’T rely on the autofill, ever. If a potential customer finds you for the first time via a search engine then this could be the first copy they ever read about you! It’s a two-line sales pitch, it must be awesome! Not to mention, Google measures click through rate from it’s search results.
What does this mean? Well let’s say you’re in position one on page one (hurray!) If your metadata is crap and the competitors below you is fab, chances are they’ll get more clicks than you will. Eventually Google will cotton on and place them above you in the rankings. Boo!
Your meta title (a.k.a Title Tag) should be no more than 55 characters long, including spaces. For a quick and effective meta title, simply use your blog post headline and add your name or biz name if you have any extra space.
Your meta description should be no more than 160 characters long including spaces. It should include your keyword and entice people to click through to read your post.
If you’re on WordPress then I highly recommend downloading a free SEO plugin to help you get your metadata spot on. Yoast is my particular favourite. The free version offers all the tools you need to get started with SEO and the traffic light guide makes it easy to see when you’re pushing your word count limit.
11. Write inspiring, informative, in-depth content
Now, there’s no clear right or wrong when it comes to blog post length. Different word counts appeal to different audiences depending on what they are searching for. After all, there’s no point adding a load of filler copy to an amazing recipe blog. However, it’s very clear that for the most part, search engines love longer blog posts, fact. User experience is an important ranking factor, and Google wants you to deliver the goods sister. The more you give, the more ranking love you’ll get. Aim to write posts that are around the 700-word mark, at least! I usually aim for about 1,000-1,500 words with my posts.
Like this? You’ll LOVE my forthcoming Awesome Blog School workshop in Norwich. Find out more here.