If you're writing regular content for your blog, you will want to make it all worthwhile by optimising your blog posts, articles and content for SEO.
Now, you don't need to optimise ALL of your content, only content that matters. For example, if you produce a blog post about a team member's birthday or a run of the mill update, then these don't really need to be ranked on Google.
If you're looking to produce content that users will find useful, insightful and is something often googled (like this post), then you will be wanting to make sure your blog post is optimised for SEO.
What is SEO?
SEO is a deep subject, that can get quite complex - so we will take a look at the basics in order to get your blog posts ranked.
Standing for Search Engine Optimisation, SEO is the process you do to your website and content in order to rank on search engines such as Bing and Google. The end result of your content will be analysed and ranked by SEO algorithms, such as Google's algorithm.
The more SEO-friendly your content is, the increased likelihood you will be ranked high. There are other factors outside of the scope we will look at in this post, such as website speed, but for now we will just focus on how to optimise your blog posts and content for the best chance of ranking high on search engines.
How can I make my Blog Posts and Content SEO-friendly?
There are many ways to make your content SEO-friendly, all of which should be taken into account, and we will look into these points. It is to note that algorithms secrets are never revealed, but through extensive and collaborative research, along with a few hints from Google here and there, we have some pretty good pointers!
Without further ado let's break it down, in no particular order.
Keywords & Key Phrases for your Blog Posts
Keywords and phrases are essential to your strategy, they tell algorithms what your content and blog post is about!
Now you can't just go and slap your keyword or phrase here, there and everywhere. It has to be structured - used enough for it to be recognised as your keyword, but sparingly enough so it's not seen as forced, and that there's enough quality content to back it up.
Tip: It's a good idea to have two keywords or phrases to focus on in your content.
How to choose a keyword?
Choosing your keyword is not as easy as it sounds. You will need to do some heavy research. Using tools such as Moz and SEMRush can help us discover what we should focus on. As an example, let's say you're a dog grooming business and you want to do a blog post about your services.
You may think to use 'dog grooming' as your keyword, but let's analyse it:
As you can see from the monthly volume, dog grooming gets searched quite a lot, which is great! However, we must compare this to see if it's worth using.
The difficulty of the keyword is 50. This is pretty high and as a new site, it would be extremely hard to compete or even rank for this word on the first few pages of a search engine.
In the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) analysis, we can see who takes the top three results on Google and there is some strong competition such as Wikipedia and Argos, who are incredibly strong brands and have high DA (domain authority). These companies are more likely to be favoured when your content is compared.
Not to fear, this just means looking at long-tail keywords, or key phrases and using them instead. Long-tail keywords are more than just one or two words and more of a phrase.
For example 'How to groom a small dog at home', the volume is significantly less - 30 per month, but you have a much greater chance to rank for it.
The idea is to find a sweet spot in high volume and low difficulty. If you find a keyword, which gets around 1000 searches and the difficulty is rated between 0-25, you should definitely be targeting those words.
Tip: You should implement your keyword in your main heading, as well as in your subheading.
For our blog post 'International Marketing & brand strategy', our targeted keywords were international marketing, and also transnational strategy, as it was targeted toward the US market. You can view this page and Ctrl F to find out where we have placed these keywords.
Blog Post Length for SEO
Search engines LOVE quality content. Now quality doesn't always mean lengthy, but lengthy articles and blog posts usually have more information, which is considerdc more valuable.
It's possible to rank for short articles too, just a lot harder. You should have a mixture of shorter and longer articles.
The minimum your blog post must be is 300 words. A good blog post is around 1500 words and then it's up to you how long you want your article to be, but don't turn it into a novel.
Types of Content
A blog post with a mixture of content - text, video, imagery is favoured by algorithms as it's deemed higher quality. Search engines like Google want to provide the highest quality content for what the user is searching, having more sources and information to show the user is much preferred.
You don't have to use all kinds of different media in all of your posts, just keep in mind for the ones that you can.
Tip: You should insert your keyword into one of your blog images alt tags, or titles.
The format of your blog post is also taken into consideration by search engine algorithms. Your blog post should be structured correctly, using headers and sub-headers. H1 headers should be used as your main title, H2 headers as your subtitles and then H3 for your sub-headers with-in your subtitles, so on and so forth.
Algorithms also favour a good 'text to code ratio'. Although the ratio has never been specified, this comes back to what Google deems as high-quality content. If you have a great big wall of text with no formatting or code from videos, imagery, quotes and more, then search engines will deem it as low quality.
Don't go overboard by fitting as many videos, animations, HTML boxes and everything which holds a bit of code behind it. Make your blog post user friendly - something you would want to read that looks nice, with media that you would find useful.
Links should also be taken into consideration when you create your blog post. As a rule of thumb, articles should contain at least 1 internal link (linking to a page on your own website) and at least one external link (linking to someone else's website).
This will help you be more credible and backs up your quality content by using different sources, which search engines recognise.
When linking internally, make sure the link opens in the current window. When linking externally, make sure the link opens in a new window.
Meta Title, Descriptions and Slugs
Another very important part of SEO is your meta information. This is how you are displayed on a search engine results page.
Meta title: This is your title displayed on a SERP and can be changed to be different from your blog post title. Your title should include your keyword.
Meta description: This is the text underneath the title, this should be no more than 160 characters and also include your keyword, preferably close to the start of the description.
Slug: Not what you find in your garden! The slug is the end part of your URL and should also include your keyword, it should also be quite short. For example, this the slug in this blog post is highlighted in bold: https://www.dupreeinternational.com/post/blog-post-optimisation-seo
There you have it! You now have all the basic information to optimise your blog posts for search engines.
As an overview, think like Google - what would Google want to show the user for the specific search. Why should it favour yours over another article? If you're struggling, you could always reach out for our SEO and content writing services: firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0)1780 757666