Search Engine Optimization, or just SEO, is beyond important these days. Whether you are just beginning a blog or are an experienced marketer, SEO can help you elevate your content and make it more presentable. In other words, whenever a member of your target audience searches with a specific keyword, your web pages have a chance of being visible on the search engine result pages (SERPs). But what are the best ways to use SEO for your blog? How can SEO help your blog and vice versa? Today, we’re going to introduce a few of the best SEO practices for blogging. Let’s get started.
1Focus on a few long-tail keywords to match the intent of the target audience.
In the past, when SEO was just fresh on the scene, people would cram blog posts with keywords—some not even making any sense—and would rank high. Now, you can’t do that anymore. Keyword stuffing, as such an act is called, will hurt your SEO. This means you need to be smarter and think in terms of quality versus quantity.
One way to do that is to select long-tail keywords that mimic what your target readers would use to search for the content within your blog. Long-tail keywords sound much more natural. For example, “ways to shop when traveling in Canada.” There is a general rule of thumb for using long-tail keywords: use only one or two in a post.
Now, you might be wondering, why are long-tail keywords better than regular keywords?
It impacts. The more keywords, the more specific the match. If you have a high ranking site and the long-tail keyword matches what someone is searching for, your chance of appearing on the SERP is that much higher. That means you get better quality traffic—and more conversions.
2For a readable blog, less is more.
You might have a million ways to portray your content. That doesn’t mean you should add hundreds of pictures and videos and infographics to a single blog post. Instead, you should embrace the idea of a few eye-catching elements and the appropriate tags. Use a uniform format for each blog post. Avoid flashy fonts. Make sure the User Experience (UX) is precise.
Navigable menus. Obvious information with reputable backlinks. Organize your content with a single H1 tag (for the title), and use H2 and H3 for headers and subheaders. This will help crawlers understand the content of the blog better, as well.
3Short URLs are more SEO-friendly than long ones.
You might have realized by now that there is a pattern when it comes to SEO-friendly practices for your blog. Quality plays a huge role. The quality of content, the quality of your keywords, and the overall quality of the experience you give the visitor is critical.
Now, the rule applies to your URLs, too. An attractive URL is one that contains the brand name (like the name of your product or service or company) or a domain, the category or page name, and a few keywords. Take a look at any viral blog and you will find that it follows this structure. You will also notice that in the URL, multiple keywords are separated by hyphens.
While we are on the subject, make sure you are choosing a decent domain as well. A .com or .org is popular, but if you are servicing a specific region, you can choose a more unique extension to help you target the right audience.
4Responsive design should be prioritized.
More and more people are using search engines on their mobile phones, more so than those searching from a PC. Because of this, many search engines are prioritizing websites that are mobile-friendly. This is a result of the April 2015 Penguin algorithm introduced by Google.
So, if you want an SEO- and mobile-friendly website that is prioritized by Google and Bing or whatever else you use, then you need a responsive website design. That means the website will transform into a mobile site without needing to change its URL. This is great for SEO because the inbound links coming into your site won’t need two separate versions.
The end result? All recognition from these links is not divided, meaning Google will recognize your content more easily and increase your rank.
5Optimize meta descriptions to increase your visibility.
What usually attracts you to something on a results page? Surely, you don’t just read the titles, since many are the same. No, you look at the snippet. This is known as the meta description, and if you aren’t using it to your advantage, you are missing out on SEO. These days, the maximum length of meta descriptions is 300 characters, allowing for much more insight to be given to the readers. Make sure the content is relatable, attention-grabbing, and relevant to whatever the person is searching for.
However, Google may not always use the meta description. Sometimes, it will grab pieces of a blog post to show the included keywords the person used.
There are many other ways to make your blog content SEO-friendly and optimized for SERPs. However, these few practices are the best to get your content recognized. Be sure to incorporate each of these practices into your content strategy over time and then customize them to your advantage.
Review your needs and your goals. That will help you come up with a plan that allows you to utilize SEO more effectively.