So you’ve written an outstanding blog, and you want the whole world to read it. I’ve got good news and bad news for you. Bad news: Congratulations, your work’s not finished! Good news: It’s not that hard to get yourself found.
Here’s the reality: I have no doubt you’re a rock star and that you’ve written something that is going to revolutionize someone’s world. However, if you leave your blog as it is, chances are likely that very few people will ever see what you’ve written. Why put all that hard work to waste when with just a little extra work you can drastically increase people’s ability to actually find what you’ve written when they didn’t know they were looking for it to start with?
Here’s a checklist of blog optimization tips for the SEO novice, which, if you’re reading this, is probably meant for you.
Be sure to include any comments if you have any questions or feedback. I’d love to hear from you!
Blog Optimization Tips
Identify what your main keyword will be.
It is ok to use more than one, especially if they are complimentary, but there should be one that you will be targeting in on for a certain blog post.
Try this: Check out all the places I’ve used “blog optimization tips” in this article. As you may have guessed, this is my primary keyword. (Not sure of the value of a keyword? Try using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to find out and to give you new ideas of other terms to use. Remember, the higher the CPC, Cost per Click, the stronger the keyword!)
Try to use that keyword at least three times within a given post, but don’t sacrifice the flow of the content just to stuff it in there.
Only use it if you can work it in somewhat naturally. You may see differences of opinion here that will encourage you to use it more than I have; however, I am of the train of thought that it is better to keep people on your page once they get there rather than driving them there and annoying them so badly with your poor writing that they then leave and never come back.
Also use your keyword in your page title and its URL.
Depending on the page layout of your blog and depending on your keyword, if it does not make a post sound redundant also use the keyword in H1, H2 and H3 headings (which is also ironically redundant of me to say as the “H” in H1, H2 and H3 stands for Heading). Have you already written a draft with titles of sections in bold? Switch it up and make them H2 or H3’s instead, even if it doesn’t have your keyword. Chances are you have something in one or more of them that are other keywords that you perhaps haven’t thought of, and the spiders crawling your post will recognize that.
For the novice optimizer, you may opt for the WordPress SEO by Yoast as it grades your optimization efforts in a variety of categories and guides you to improvement. These are both great plug-ins though, so either way you’ll be good to go for the next few tips.
Once you have an SEO plugin (or you’ve figured out an effective way to blog in your Joomla or HTML site), get your keyword handy again because you’re going to need it. In SEO, there is what is called “meta”, which this is the information that you say about a page that is
- Fed to the spiders crawling your page and gathering data about your content to figure out what you’re trying to say, and
- Used as a sort of advertisement when people are searching a term online.
When you type in the search term “blog optimization tips”, you will find pages upon pages of links, but you’ll notice that you see what appears to be a title, which is then linked to another website when you click on it, a URL or partial URL, and a brief description of the page the title and URL are referring to. This is all meta that people have intentionally put there to entice searchers to click on their page. If no meta is entered for a page, the spiders will scrape (ie. copy and paste) a title and description from your content, and you may not like what they’ve chosen. Select your words carefully, and sell your page!
Use your keyword in your Meta Title.
You have 70 characters here to create a compelling title for your page, so make it work. Some people use the same title as their article, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. I personally like to switch it up a little, but that is a personal choice. The one rule here is that you don’t go over 70 characters because if you do the end will get chopped off and you’ll get docked on your optimization efforts as a result.
Use your keyword in your Meta Description section.
You have 140 characters here to expand on what your page is about. Again, don’t go over that number of characters, but create an appealing portrayal of your page.
Add your main keyword to your keyword line in the Meta section. (Optional)
SEOMoz recommends against adding your keywords here since the spiders ignore this line and competitors can use it to track what keywords you’re optimizing for, but competitors can get that information anyway. I personally like it because it’s easier for me to track which keywords I want to optimize for a particular page, and it doesn’t affect on-page rankings either way anyway.
(Note: if you are using All in One SEO Pack, you can add various keywords here, but if you are using WordPress SEO by Yoast, you will only be able to add your main keyword.)
If you have any pictures in your article, add an Alt Tag to the image.
This will not show up on the image once you publish it so don’t worry too much about humans seeing it. The primary reason for an alt tag is to tell the spiders what your picture is since they cannot see it. Be sure to include your primary keyword again, such as I have with “blog optimization tips” on mine. Just like your meta title, you have 70 characters here, so don’t go overboard.
Add Categories and Tags.
These two things are not for SEO per se, but they help organize your blog posts so that readers can more easily find what they are looking for when they come to your site. This gets confusing for some people, but again, categories and tags are not used for optimization, although sometimes a site will be set up to automatically use them for keywords. Check your settings and be sure that you have this option disabled, especially once you add an SEO plugin to your site.
The difference between categories and tags is this. Categories are like the sections of a newspaper. You may have the Sports section, the Weather section, the Classifieds section, etc. It’s an overall umbrella that explains the (you guessed it) category of the topic of your blog. Once you’ve chosen your category, you can then add your tags, which are sort of sub-topics that may be related to the article. So, if it were under “Sports”, for example, you may have tags such as “football”, “Superbowl”, “John Elway” and “quarterbacks”. For this article I’ve chosen the category “Sales Prospecting and Demand Creation” and the tags “SEO”, “marketing” and “blog optimization tips”.
These are really just the basics to on-page optimization. There is more to it, but if you master these key SEO steps, your blog will have a much higher chance of being read by the people it was intended for. And remember, optimization can drive people to your page, but content is king so be sure to write relevant, informative articles that people will find useful! If anything will keep them coming back, it will be the regular production of helpful material.
By Marisa Rybar