05 Jan How to Optimize Your Blog for Search
Yesterday I was talking to a prospective client about her blog – and it ended up turning into a brief tutorial on how to optimize your blog for search. It all started with an innocent question. “What would you do differently?” she asked.
Oh my gosh, where do I begin, I thought! “Um, pretty much everything,” I replied. And then we walked through her company’s most recent blog post.
When I was done, I explained, “Blogging is about more than delivering useful, relevant information. It requires SEO expertise as well.”
Here’s the deal. Frequently updating your website with fresh content (via blog posts) is viewed favorably by search engines. It signals that your website is active, thus boosting your search ranking.
Blog posts that people view (and read and contain links that people click on) also boost your search ranking, because search engines know that the information you are creating is relevant to your audience. People like you! So search engines like you too!
And the more a search engine likes you, the more findable they make you online. The more findable you are, the more potential leads (and sales and growth) you’ll get. It’s a nice little feedback loop.
It boils down to this: If your blog posts are going to do the above, they must be optimized for search engines. And if your SEO efforts are going to work, you must blog.
The very good news is that it’s not hard to optimize your blog for search. Here’s what to do:
Keywords are the name of the game. Choose one for each blog post and make sure it appears in:
- Your blog post title (preferably at the beginning)
- First paragraph of your copy
- A couple of more times in your post (but not too often, or you’ll get penalized!)
- In your meta description
- In the alt text of your image(s)
Write an awesome title
One of the things I pointed out to my prospective client was how utilitarian (aka, boring) her blog post titles were. Yes, your blog post title needs contain the keyword, but it has to be exciting/interesting/compelling, too.
How does this play into SEO? Clicks. The more compelling the title, the more people will click on it.
Subheads help organize your blog post and make it easier to read, period. People will be able to skim it and find the exact information they’re looking for. Kudos if you include a subhead that contains your keyword.
Write a compelling meta description
Because the meta description appears in search results, think of it as a mini advertisement. When you write it, include the keyword and explain what amazing information people will learn in your blog post.
Add (and optimize) an image
Because humans love visual content, search engines love visual content. Subscribe to a stock photo site (we like Death to the Stock Photo and 123rf), and include a featured image with each blog post. When you add the image, delete the caption (so it doesn’t show up with your image) and add your keyword to the alt text box.
Keep paragraphs relatively short
Again, this goes back to making the blog post readable, which affects your SEO. A good rule of thumb is two to three sentences per paragraph.
If possible, link to other blogs you’ve written or web pages in each blog post. Search engines like internal links because it provides additional, relevant information for the reader.
You can absolutely include outside links, but I only do that if I want to cite the source of a statistic, quote, or data. When you include outside links, you’re sending people off your website – and you don’t want to do that! (And yes I know I did that above – trying to be helpful.)
Have any other questions about blogging and SEO? Blogging in general? Or how the Jansen Communications team can help take your blog from “eh” to “wow”? Shoot us a note!