How to Optimize your Blog for SEO

Blogging has really evolved since WordPress was first created in 2003. According to WordPress, 409 million read more than 21.5 billion posts per month. 81% of US online consumers trust advice and information from blogs. Marketers who actively blog generate 67% more leads than those who do not. One of the main reasons for blogging is that it helps improve your website’s organic ranking for specific search terms which is otherwise known as search engine optimization (SEO). Below are some easy tips to optimize your blog for search engines to drive more traffic to your website.

Host your Own Website and Blog

In order to get credit from Google, you must own your own domain name and host your own website. How serious could you really be about your business if you are not willing to invest a few dollars into registering a domain name and hosting it? There is no SEO benefit to setting up a free blog on Blogger or Tumblr.

Solve Problems with Unique Content

Each time you write a blog post, you have to remember that Google wants to provide its people with relevant and useful search results. If you picture your target market and post unique content that effectively solves their problems, your content is more likely to be shared on social media and will rank higher for the keywords that you write about. If you write amazing content, other websites will naturally want to link back to you increasing your website’s authority.

Never ever copy articles from other websites or post content that you have posted somewhere else already. For example if you have posted your article on LinkedIn Pulse, you should not post it again in your blog unless you completely rewrite it. Google penalizes heavily for duplicate content and 99% of the time your blog post will rank lower than your post on LinkedIn Pulse because user generated content websites will always have a higher global rank.

Naturally Incorporate your Keywords

Content is always king so always write for your target market first. Once you have a quality post, naturally incorporate your keywords into it. Be careful not go overboard with inserting search terms because keyword stuffing may cause search engines to penalize or ban your website temporarily or permanently.

Internal Linking

For a greater SEO boost and engagement, you can link your keywords to other relevant pages deeper on your website. Link to another page only if it provides value to your readers; do not link for the sake of linking.

Relevant Title Tags & Meta Descriptions

Title tags and meta descriptions are used in search engine results as preview snippets and are crucial for SEO and social sharing. To avoid being truncated by Google, title tags should only be 50-60 characters long and should include a keyword and written to match user queries. A meta description is a brief description of your content that should be 150-160 characters long and include a call-to-action to improve the click-through rate. We recommend Yoast SEO for WordPress.

Intriguing Headlines

A heading or H1 sets the stage for what your blog post is about and should also include a search term integral to your business. A properly balanced headline written with Coschedule’s Free Headline Analyzer should have common, uncommon, emotional and power words to increase social shares, traffic, and SEO value.

Subheadings & Bulleted Lists

H2s or subheadings should expand on your H1 and can include a more descriptive variation of your keyword or sub-category of it. Subheadings and bulleted lists help break up your content and make it more scannable since no one reads websites anymore.

Optimize Links

To create SEO-friendly permalinks in WordPress, go to “settings” and select the “post name” URL structure. You can also edit the link name by inserting relevant keywords separated by dashes. If you edit the links of old posts, be sure to add a 301 redirect in your .htaccess file to avoid 404 errors.

Optimize Images

Relevant and bold visuals can dramatically increase engagement and retention. In addition, visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. Thus, each post should be accompanied by at least one feature image that has been optimized for minimal loading time. Include a keyword in your ALT text to describe your image and be sure to name them in a short and meaningful way.

Reference Relevant Websites

When you are using other content to make a point, you should link back to the source. If you are lucky, they may return the favor!

Use Social Media

Google now uses social media presence as a ranking signal so it pays to be active. You can also use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to promote your blog posts and drive more traffic. Share and follow others who offer services that complement you and they will more likely return the favor in the future!

Custom Excerpts

Most blogs have an overview page with excepts or summaries where you can click on the title to read the full post. It is a good idea to write custom excerpts by grabbing the first couple sentences of each post. If you don’t, WordPress will automatically display the first 55 words of each post meaning your excerpt could get cut off mid-sentence.

Fast-Loading Mobile-Friendly Website

There is no shortcut to building a strong web presence. Sure there are millions of cheap WordPress themes out there and website builders like Wix and Weebly but if you want to rank well, you have to invest in a custom mobile-friendly website. Building a website from scratch gives you complete control over its web design, functionality and user experience. Most importantly, a custom website is designed to attract your target audience and always faster loading than a premade website that is generic and bloated with code.

Need Help with SEO?

Put yourself in your target market’s shoes and blog about things that they would be Googling. We know that this list can be overwhelming so please let us know if you need help setting up your blog, blogging or search engine optimization.

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