By Emma Miller for Edwardsturm.com.
Content marketing is the backbone of every powerful digital marketing strategy. However, given the fact that 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results, creating quality content and sharing it online is not enough for you to drive more traffic to your site and reach a wider target audience. To do so, you need to optimize your blog for search engines.
Let’s take a look at several SEO strategies that will help you boost your blog’s rankings in the SERPs.
1. Write Content for People, Not Crawlers
You don’t have to be a marketing expert to know that people are more likely to keep reading your blog post if they are able to find the keywords they searched for. Given the fact that keywords are one of Google’s major ranking signals, it’s obvious that creating targeted content is obligatory for you if you want to improve your position in the SERPs. However, you should never create your blog posts for search engines only. To make the most of your landing pages, you need to use your keywords organically and make your content sound human.
Use Long-Tail Keywords
As a rule of thumb, you should focus on the keywords that matter to your customers, instead of thinking how many times to include certain keywords. As keyword stuffing is extremely dangerous, you should consider using only one or two keywords per post.
While short “head” keywords usually have a larger search volume, users searching for more specific phrases usually know exactly what they are looking for. In other words, by using “long-tail” keywords, you will drive the right type of traffic to your site.
For example, if you’re selling “leather boots,” the chances are that your blog posts will never appear to your customers when they search for this phrase, since there are tens of thousands of sites targeting and optimizing for this keyword. However, more specific phrases like “custom-made leather boots online” would make your content visible to the people looking for the products just like yours.
2. Optimize Specific Elements of Your Post for Keywords
Now that you’ve collected the most relevant keywords, it’s time to optimize your content for them. Namely, there are several critical elements of your blog posts where you should be including your keywords. Let’s check them out.
As a title of your blog post is Google’s and a reader’s first step in assessing the relevancy of your content, optimizing it for SEO is necessary. Incorporate your keyword into the first 60 characters of your headline to make sure Google won’t cut it off in the SERPs. If your title is too long, it’s a good idea to add your keyword phrase to the very beginning of the title.
Headers and Body
Keep in mind that optimizing your blog posts for keywords is not about using as many keywords in your articles as possible. As I have already mentioned, such practices are seen as keyword stuffing and may hurt both your SEO strategy and user experience. Use your keywords in a reader-friendly and natural way, focusing on what matters to your audience.
Search engines observe your URL to find out what your blog post is about, and it’s one of the first elements that is crawled. As every post lives on its own, you have an amazing opportunity to optimize your URLs on basically every post you publish. First, make the URL easily readable by using hyphens and avoiding extra words (such as determiners). Second, you should include one or two keywords to each URL. Finally, you should avoid keyword stuffing and stick to the well-proven businessname.com/topic-topic formula.
Meta descriptions are concise descriptions that appear below your page’s title, and that’s why they need to make sense to your readers. Remember, every SEO-friendly meta description should offer numerous details about a page, include focus keywords, and have a compelling CTA that boosts your click-through rate. Maximum character limit for a meta description is 160 characters.
3. Optimize for Mobile Users
Having surpassed desktop users, the number of mobile users has kept rising. Statista predicts that there will be 5.07 billion mobile users by 2019. To meet their needs and make their browsing experience more pleasant, Google has announced the launch of a new mobile-first index update. This means that they will start calculating search listing based on the mobile version of the content, even for the queries done via desktop computers.
So, what does this mean? While having a responsive website has always been critical for boosting user experience, with the rise of the mobile-first index, it has become important for your SEO, as well.
Here are a few quick mobile optimization tips you need to pay attention to:
- Turn to Google Accelerated Mobile Pages markup.
- Have one URL for both a desktop and mobile version of your site.
- Simplify your site’s interface and navigation.
- Use bold and easy-to-read fonts.
- Design easy-to-spot CTAs.
- Create mobile-friendly contact forms.
- Make your images easy to click on and expand.
4. Optimize Your Blog Images
Google cannot see the images the same way we do. Precisely because of this, it searches for the images with alt text, which tells it what an image is about.
Technically speaking, alt text is an attribute text that can be implemented with your image tag in HTML. Adding keywords to your alt text may seem irrelevant to you right now and may not influence your rankings as much as other factors on the list, but it’s worth changing the name from “IMG71026” to something that makes sense to both your readers and search engine crawlers.
Apart from adding a keyword to your alt text, you should also use high quality and authentic images, choose the right file format (PNG, JPEG, GIF), and create image sitemaps.
5. Link Internally
In layman’s terms, internal links direct one landing page to another, within your website. They help you boost your website navigation, guide your visitors to the content they are interested in, reduce the bounce rate, and increase user experience. Above all, internal links allow you to develop a powerful hierarchy of content, making it easier for search engines to crawl and index your pages. Here are a few tips that will help you boost your interlinking strategy:
- Link deeper to the pages that are not easily accessible from your homepage.
- Interlink to the pages with lower page authority to pass link juice to them.
- Create organic anchor text. Make sure that you’ve avoided spammy or overly keyword-rich anchor text.
- Optimize your content-link ratio. In order to avoid Google’s penalties, you need to respect the limit to the number of links appropriate for your pages.
- Link to a particular piece of content only if there is a topical relation between the pieces of content.
To Wrap It Up
Even though this list of practices doesn’t explain every single SEO best practice, it will help you take your SEO efforts to a whole new level and drive more organic traffic to your blog.
Doing SEO yourself is a cheap solution to getting more organic traffic, and this article shows you how to do that.
These are tips for those who want to get down and dirty in the weeds, and for those who have the time to learn. If you came here and realized that you’d like to outsource your SEO to a dedicated agency or consultant, however, consider going with Sturm Media based in NYC – the company that is home to this blog.
If you’re set on doing everything yourself, then remember that no matter how important SEO is to your blog, you should still focus on the quality of your content.
As the saying goes, “Content is King [or Queen].” Only by creating relevant, authentic, and easily digestible blog posts will you be able to set yourself apart from your competitors and establish yourself as an authority in your niche.
Do you have any great SEO blog stories to share? Share them below! Any questions? Ask them here! I’d love to hear from you.