07 Jun How To Create a Search Engine Optimized Blog Post
Having access to a strong SEO team can make a huge difference for rankings and traffic, but you don’t necessarily need to be an SEO expert to get the most out of your content. In this post we’ll show you how you improve your post’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs) with a few simple tweaks.
Large scale SEO can be complicated, but if you follow the guidelines below you can make sure your posts are performing at their very best.
1. Headline and title tags
Your post’s headline is easily one of the most important aspects of your content. It gives users a sneak peek at what topics are covered and has a major affect on whether an impression will lead to a click.
When working on your titles tags, you should try to create an accurate description of your content that also captivates your perspective audience. If done right this will not only attract users, but will also help search engines discover your content.
It was always known that the title tag played an important role in on-page SEO optimisation, but with recent improvements to Google’s semantic search has changed the rules of the game. Google is trying to shift content creators focus away from individual keywords and instead focus on broad concepts.
It’s no longer necessary to use a specific keyword in your title tag, although research has shown that it may be useful if used in a natural context. Focus on creating a title that helps users understand more about the topic(s) you’ll be covering.
According to recent research by Backlinko, title tags containing specific keywords may still have some impact on ranking but not nearly as much as they did in the past.
Instead of focusing solely on keywords, try to ensure that all your titles are:
- Concise (generally less than 60 characters is best)
- Relevant (give your audience a clear picture of what the post will cover)
- Enhancing clickability (Who are you target audience and what will make them click?)
- Emotional (The best titles capitalize on emotion, they resonate with you audience and trigger a quick (almost involuntary) ‘click’)
- Keyword-optimised (as long as this does not distort relevancy)
A compelling title manages will not only attract an audiences but also search engines, and does it in less than 60 characters. Creating a great title isn’t trivial but with a little creativity and research you can expect a noticeable increase in traffic.
Want to practice your headline crafting skills? Then be sure to check out CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. It provides useful feedback to help you better understand what makes a headline effective for both humans and search engines alike.
Nobody likes a poorly formatted article, they’re hard to follow and can instantly turn off readers. And good formatting isn’t only appreciated by humans; increasingly search engines are paying attention to how your post structured and ranking it accordingly.
Headings are used to provide titles and subtitles to the various sections of your post. They help break up your content into concise block that make it easier for the reader to navigation and find important information. The <h1> tags serves as the most important heading (often post titles) and remaining tags <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5>, <h6> creating additional layers of importance compared with the standard paragraph text.
Each heading should have its own unique formatting that creates a clear hierarchical structure. Headings should encourage your audience to keep reading and help them skip to relevant content quickly.
In terms of a heading’s content, think about following the above guidelines for titles. Your headings should be descriptive and appealing while also creating an attractive overall post structure.
In terms of content’s SEO, headings help search engines by telling them what parts of you content are most important and the overall theme of your post.
Your URLs should strive to be both simple and informative. Although search engines are able to crawl long complex URLs, for people it’s best to keep it simple, useful and relevant.
It’s important to remember that the URL is displayed in the SERPs (along with the title and the meta description) so it also plays an important role in conveying information about your content.
Meta descriptions are used to provide a short summary of a page’s content. The content helps to inform search engines about the overall theme of your content and also serves as a preview to prospective readers, helping them decide whether or not to click.
According to Survey Monkey, over 40% of people will decide whether to click a search result based on its meta description; meaning if you want traffic you’re going to have to make those 160 characters count.
A meta description should be treated like a miniature version of your full post. It needs to be descriptive, well written and avoid overusing keywords. If you do include a targeted keyword, make sure it fits naturally and benefits the audience.
Links have always played an important role when it comes to optimising content; so much so that it actually led to a range of manipulative techniques to build links and boost rankings. Over time, search engines moved to a new way of evaluating links that prioritises relevancy and quality over pure quantity.
Internal links (links to other content on your site) can serve a number of beneficial purposes. They can enhance the user experience in a big was by helping your audience navigate through other relevant content. A well-written and useful link should encourage a reader to continue their journey by linking to your other quality content. This type of linking also helps to make your website easier to crawl and help search engines find more of your content.
External linking (those that link to content outside your site) used to be included in posts quite sparingly as it was believed that this type of linking only benefited the linked source and not your own content, but this is not the case.
By adding relevant links to external sources you can actually help to boost your own authority and help search engines understand you content. With that said you don’t want to be linking to just any site; focus on links that are:
As mentioned earlier, backlinks have always served an important role when it comes to optimising websites. They are often looked at as the best proof that your content is appreciated by other readers.
During the past year there has been a fairly large decrease in developing keyword anchored links. As Google attempts to combat manipulative links with no relevance it is becoming more important than ever to ensure your backlinks match your websites theme.
Any backlink from a highly trusted source helps to establish you website’s authority and boost rankings in SERPs. The best way to ensure you attract the quality links is to make sure your content is high quality and most importantly informative; if the content is good, quality backlink will come.
Believe it or not images do more than simply enhance the reader’s experience. Today’s users search in a range of unique way and one of the most popular is through Google’s Image Search. With that in mind it’s important to pay attention to how you name your post’s images to take advantage of these searches.
Image optimisation is actually quite a simple task, but it’s occasionally overlooked and depending on the number of images can be quite a boring task. The benefits can be quite large though; having a user discover your content through image search and associating that image with you site or post can build a memorable relationship.
When optimizing images you need to consider title but it is also important to provide ”alt” text to describe your image. In addition to providing a short description to help search engines identify the image, it alt text also provides a backup display option if there is a problem with the actual image.
As search engines can’t see your images in the traditional sense, it’s important that your alt text conveys what a user would see. It can be tricky for more complicated images but try to describe it as clearly as possible.
5. Readability over keyword-stuffing
‘Keywords’ is among the top buzzwords used in SEO, but in 2016, it’s actually more important to focus on your overall content quality rather than just adding targeted keywords. More than anything it’s the readability that will affect your search rankings, as it improves the user experience, the level of engagement and the time spent on the site.
In 2016 search engines value the human factor so make sure you consider:
- Easy-to-read text
- Short sentences
- Short paragraphs
- Organised structure
- In-depth knowledge of the topic
- Focus on humans, not search engines
Now it is important to remember that even though readability is number one, you do need to add relevant keywords to your text, just ensure that they are added in a natural manner as part of your text, adding value and context.
6. Content frequency
Increasingly users and search engines are giving preferential treatment to new and up to date content. This means that it’s important to ensure that you provide a regular stream of new content and take the time to update past pieces that may no longer be relevant.
Unless you are a large scale site, you don’t have to create something new each day, but releasing content consistently will have a positive impact on both by your readers and search engines.
As you build up more and more content, you’ll find that reader retention improves and engagement increases. However, it’s important to remember that quality will always trump quantity, take the time to apply everything we’ve talked discussed today and you can be sure that your content will be loved by readers and search engines alike.
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