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Creating a blog post can be really fun. You’ve got an idea that you want to share with the world and you want to add value to it that no one else has before.
You perform your research, gather your thoughts, and write something that you think is going to mesmerize your audience. But is it going to reach your audience?
In a world where content is the centerpiece of the internet and the main focus of search engines for providing positive results, your new piece of content can get lost in the crowd.
Odds are, the piece of information you’re writing or have written about has been touched on before. This is especially true if it’s on a broad or popular subject.
What separates your piece from the rest?
Why should your article be the one that traffic flocks to and people talk about?
Even if you’ve included more information than your competitors or have added incredible visuals (such as an infographic), your post might never reach the first page on Google’s search results.
Why is this?
Although you might be promoting the heck out of your content piece, search engines will only want to promote and rank the most valid and relevant content for users.
Luckily, the process of optimizing your content to be search engine optimized isn’t difficult.
Just follow along with my optimized blog post SEO checklist, and you’re sure to get attention from search engines.
Why Should I Integrate SEO Tactics?
In case you’re not aware, I’ll quickly cover this.
Search engines must have optimized content nowadays in order to properly rank your website, blog, web pages, articles, and even videos and images.
With Google being the top search engine, you’re going to want to make it easy for Google to find and crawl your new article (or existing articles).
This is to that Google can place it appropriately within the search engine results pages (SERPs).
This strategy is called SEO (search engine optimization).
SEO should be utilized by any website or blog if one of your goals is to have your pages or articles seen by your audience on the SERPs.
Without the ability to see your article on search results, how will a user find it when they’re searching on Google. They’ll most likely find your competitor’s article first
SEO is good for a long-term strategy and enhanced user engagement. Once you put in the time, your blog post should continue to get clicks (as long as you keep optimizing and updating with the times).
1. Focus on That H1
In terms of a blog post, the H1 (or Header 1) is your blog post title.
Obviously, your article was created around one specific topic in mind. So ask yourself, what is that subject?
Each subject includes specific keyword terms.
If you search for “best dinner meals” you’ll get an extremely long laundry list of over one billion results for what everyone thinks is the best dinner meal on the planet.
But if you search for “5 star recipe for vegetarian lasagna”, this list looks a lot smaller. You’ll get results that include recipes that others have commented on or reviewed.
You’ll probably notice that the titles to these pages or articles have something to do with the content included on that page – vegetarian lasagna.
It’s more specific when you include a keyword in the title that focuses directly on the content’s subject.
It’s also a lot easier for the user to view and click a result that’s directly related to their search. Also, Google’s search engine will only filter and provide the best 5-star recipes for vegetarian lasagna within the first page results.
Every blog post contains a specific, focused keyword. Include your focused keyword within your H1 tag that you know will grab your audience’s attention. This is part of how Google will index your article in the search results.
If you want to go the extra distance, you can also optimize your following headlines (H2, H3, etc.).
Use keywords related to the subject within the headline’s context. This will magnify your overall subject and help Google understand more of what your content pertains to.
2. Optimize Image Alt Tags
An alt tag (aka alt attribute) is a text description of an image. Just like your article’s URL has a short description of what the web page is about, so should an image.
Google can’t crawl and accurately index images without having alt tags to guide it.
What this means is whenever you use an image of your own or even a stock photo, Google’s search engine isn’t going to understand what it is unless you tell it.
Matt Cutts (former head of Google’s web spam team) explains why alt text is important:
“We don’t want to just say ‘here’s a number’, that gives you zero information. If somebody is using a screen reader or they can’t load the image for some reason, your browser can show you this ‘alternative text’.
And it’s very helpful for Google. Now we can see what’s going on.”
Providing a description of what the image is or represents will allow Google’s bot to inspect your images and also properly position your blog post.
This is also beneficial for users when searching for images online related to their searched keyword.
3. Internal Linking
Include links to yourself!
No, there’s nothing wrong in doing this, it’s actually quite beneficial to include links in your post to other posts on your blog.
This strategy is called internal linking and is used by many SEO optimized blogs.
Your domain is a web of pages. For your blog, you have the home, categories, posts, and maybe some other credentials like an “about us” page.
In order for Google to have the best idea of the structure of your blog, it needs to know where everything is located and connected.
Connecting each page to another helps Google understand how everything is laid out. In turn, this will also help users understand where everything is located and where they should go next for more information.
From an SEO perspective, internal linking is used to validate and add value to a post. Google’s algorithm recognizes content and needs to know how each page is connected to the other.
You’re not going to simply add a relationship between random pages or posts. Nor should you add as many links as possible to a singular post.
Instead, make the links as natural and relevant as possible within your content for both Googlebot and users.
4. External Linking
There are two types of external linking, and I’ll cover both.
1. Links to Other Websites
No, you shouldn’t only be linking to your own blog’s pages and posts, doing so can jeopardize your ability to rank higher on search engines.
Google looks at the amount of both internal and external links in a side by side comparison.
Google’s algorithm is smart enough to detect when you’re trying to lead users to your own pages instead of sharing and expanding your content to including information from other web pages.
Google notices when you contribute to the wide web by linking out to other websites.
This makes the online experience easier for users who are searching for topics. This also tells Google that you’re apart of their vision for connecting website to website.
Does this improve your SEO? Not really, but it does contribute to the overall of the web’s experience.
2. Links from Other Websites to Your Website
Try to get your post’s link added to other websites.
One of the most important, if not the most important, factors of SEO is something called backlinks. This means a link on one website is being shared on another.
Google picks up on relevant links and the higher the authority is on one website linking to another, the stronger the relationship and therefore the higher the rank goes for that post and domain.
Try to get your post hyperlinked on various other relevant industry-leading websites/blogs in order to boost your position on the SERPs. The more high authority and relevant links you have to a single post, the better.
5. Blog Post SEO Checklist: E-A-T it Up!
Google is 100% about the content of a post and who’s writing it.
Because of so much content out there on the web, Google decided that everything should have guidelines. Therefore, everything does have guidelines, which are something you should follow.
E-A-T stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. These are factors that Googlebot looks for when crawling, indexing, and ranking your post.
As a publisher, your main concern should be to understand what Google expects from you.
Are you an expert in the subject’s field or your blog’s main content (MC)?
Are you, your MC, and your blog an authority and trustworthy in the industry?
Before you go off posting about some random thing that you hold no expertise in and has no correlation to your blog’s MC, think about the impact this could have on your post and blog.
If Google notices that your blog’s MC is about one thing and then you create a post on an entirely unrelated subject, this could cause an adverse effect to your domain and page authority on search engines.
6. Use the Comments Section
Oddly enough, search engines also rely on comments to rank your content. Yes, blog comments are actually a unique factor in the ranking of your blog posts.
Blog comments on a particular post are added to the content of that post.
When you get a bunch of comments that spam your comment section, this can lead to a decline in ranking because of these irrelevant links.
On the other hand, having a whole bunch of high quality and beneficial comments is very useful for the fact of keywords that could be included in the comments.
With this in mind, be careful for which comments you allow on your posts because it will either add or take away from your post.
But, if you reviewed the case study that I included above, you’ll notice that the more high quality comments your post receives in the comments section, the higher the ranking. Just make sure that the content is quality too 🙂
For your WordPress blog, try including a comment section plugin like Disqus so other users can read and respond to comments too!
Discussions are great for including additional context to the subject and another way to engage with your readers.
7. Optimize Your Metadata
Each page on a blog includes metadata. This is information that isn’t seen by the user but is created by the owner and sent to search engines for page optimization.
Metadata isn’t complicated to optimize, it’s actually quite simple really.
Your content’s page has a title and description that’s displayed on search engines.
In order to attract the most users and also rank for the focus keyword and other keywords that are associated with your post, you’ll typically need to create a better title and a description.
Google already creates a title and description automatically once it indexes your page, but it doesn’t always do the best job.
Try not to create titles that are too long, because search engines won’t display everything.
A title tag can be up to 60 characters that search engine results will display. Your meta title should contain the title of the post and your focus keyword.
The page’s meta description should describe what the blog post is about.
The description can be 150-160 characters long. Use this space to inform your audience.
What are you discussing?
What will the takeaway be?
Include your focus keyword and a couple of other important keywords to fully optimize this section. Just make sure not to spam your keywords otherwise, you’ll get penalized.
Matt Cutts: “If the meta description is really well written and really compelling, then a person who sees it might click through more often.”
If you own a WordPress blog, try installing Yoast SEO.
For each page/post you create, Yoast will provide you sections and ratings for your meta title, description, and focus keyword.
You’ll also be able to optimize a couple of extra features, so have fun and play around with it.
8. Use Videos
If you want users to stay on your blog for longer periods of time, think about embedding videos to both enhance their experience and keep them engaged on your blog.
Your blog post should be fully descriptive for the subject you are discussing. Including visuals and videos can help improve the audience’s experience and provide a higher understanding as to what you are discussing.
Also, including a video can generate links and social shares to your website.
Think about what would improve the experience and only choose high-quality videos for your audience. You can optimize your videos even further to make it easy for search engines to find, crawl, and add them to search results.
Time on site does matter to some extent for search engines like Google. It also matters for you if you want to keep users engaged with your blog.
There’s a great deal you can do to enhance, optimize, and rank your post to increase your visitor traffic.
So whenever you write a new article, use the above blog post SEO checklist to checkmark that you’ve accomplished each of the above SEO tactics.
Then the search engines will be able to crawl, read, index, and position your blog post as an authority in your industry.
Your audience is looking for your post. They just can’t see or click it if you don’t tell them that it’s available. 🙂