Giving your content the best chance
New blog owners sometimes worry about how they’ll create enough content on a regular basis – but they worry even more about search engine optimization (SEO). That’s because most people are not familiar with all the technical terms and concepts around SEO.
Fair enough! Most bloggers with deep knowledge to share aren’t involved with Internet marketing or search engine technology – it’s not their niche. But if you write a blog post the right way, you can get it to rank high in search results, even without knowing much about SEO.
Using A CMS That Generates Separate Title Tags
Most content management systems (CMS) – for example, WordPress – produce a separate title tag for each individual post. Ideally, the title of each blog post would look something like this:
You can check the title tag for any web page – including a blog post – by looking at the source code for the page. Get to the source code by right-clicking on the page, and then choosing “view source.”
Including an important keyword in a blog post’s title tag can help it rank better in searches for that keyword. That’s because search engines regard the text within the title tag as a strong indication of what the page is about.
Use an Important Keyword Phrase in Each Title
Selecting one important keyword for a blog post title isn’t enough. Try to create a title that incorporates a phrase someone would use when searching with Google or Bing. For example, a title that includes the phrase web design tips will not be likely to rank as well as a phrase like web design tips for sales strategy. The second phrase allows you to rank for a number of different phrases someone could search for:
- web design tips
- design tips for sales
- sale strategy
- tips for sales
If your article ranks for more searched phrases, you’ll have more opportunities to win new visitors to your blog. Hopefully, some will click over to your main business pages to see what you offer.
Use Keywords in Header Tags for Better SEO
Search engines look at headers on a web page to gauge what the page is about. When you place your keyword in the main H1 heading and subheads, that reinforces the message to search engines that you delivered in the title. Brownie points for including relevant keywords.
Headers also make it easier for people to scan your blog post for the information that’s most relevant to them. And you do want to be useful – and usable! – for your human visitors, too.
The H1 tag should be used just once on any web page, including a blog post. It tells people what the page is about overall, and you should be able to sum up the page in a single overall heading.
If you have subtopics on a web page, use H2 headers for each. If you want to define further sub-topics under your H2 headers, use H3 tags. You can even go on to H4, H5 and H6 headings, but frankly, few web pages require that level of complexity.
Learn more about how to use headings in our article, How H1 and Other Headings Help SEO.
Keyword In File Name
If you plan to include images, video or audio in your blog, make sure that you give each a file name that makes sense, and include a relevant keyword as part of each file name.
For example, let’s say you want to include an image that shows return on investment for an email campaign. Email campaign is probably an important keyword phrase, and ROI would also be important for this image and this web page. You’d help this page rank better for both terms if you give the chart a file name like EmailCampaignROI.jpg instead of a file name like DNSC007.jpg.
1) The keywords will be seen by search engines when they scan the page, and they’ll know that the image is relevant to the other text on the page.
2) If someone does an image search for email campaign or ROI or email campaign ROI, there’s a better chance your image will show up in that search, because its file name contains those terms. That’s another way for people to get to your blog post.
Keyword In Content
Use your keyword or phrase naturally. You want to avoid “keyword stuffing” – that is, using the keyword so much that it interferes with readability. Search engines can recognize when someone is using a keyword excessively to try to game search results, and they’ll penalize a page that’s been stuffed with keywords.
Keyword In Navigation
Using your important keywords in your blog’s categories and tags helps people find what they want in your blog. It also helps your SEO by generating a keyword-rich URL for each category. In the screenshot of the Categories navigation of ClimateProgress.org, you can see that many of the categories are also important keywords for searches about climate issues.
Highlighting The Important Keywords
Make sure you use the “strong” tag within the article wherever you want to highlight the keyword and important points. Like bold font, the “strong” tag draws the reader’s eye to important words. By highlighting keywords appropriately with the “strong” tag, you signal to search engines what the post is about.
Search Engine Friendly URL Structure
The URL for every blog past should be easily read by both search engines and people. You may have to customize your blog platform to achieve this. For example, if you are using WordPress, the default setting produces URLs that look something like this:
This type of URL isn’t going to help you in search results – there’s no keyword in the URL. It’s not a great URL for people, either. It’s better for human visitors to see a URL that indicates what the page is about – for example, myblog.com/SEO-tips.
You can customize your WordPress blog’s URLs by going to your Dashboard, and then clicking on Settings. Under that menu, go to Permalinks. Choose the setting for Day and Time. Now every blog post’s URL will include its publication date and its title.
Internal Linking with Keyword In Anchor Text
Any blog is most useful to readers when it includes links to other good information sources. Make sure you include links in your posts to other articles in your own blog archives, and also link to other websites and blogs.
You should use relevant keywords in the anchor text for each link. That tells people what they can expect to find when they click on the link, and tells search engines that you’re pointing to a resource that’s related to your blog. By using keywords, you’re indicating what both your post and the linked page are about.
Using “click here” or “read more” as anchor text is okay for people, but useless for SEO. Both sentences below tell people what they’ll find when they click, but only the second sentence tells search engines what the linked page is about:
Employing these simple SEO tips will help your blog look more relevant to searches for your keywords, and increase the likelihood that your blog will appear in search results.