SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the thing most bloggers love to hate. But let’s face it. SEO isn’t going anywhere, so you might as well embrace it!
I too have struggled from time to time with getting a handle on SEO and the truth is I still haven’t cracked the code yet, but I’m working on it. It can be frustrating to cover all bases when it comes to SEO on your blog and see little to no results. I get it because I’ve been there! So don’t worry, you’re not alone. I often tell bloggers that I connect with to keep trying new things until something sticks and I believe that same advice can be applied here.
Trying new ideas will keep your blog fresh and lay the groundwork for improving the visibility of your blog.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to techniques you can implement in your writing to improve SEO starting now. But before we go any further let’s get into what SEO is exactly.
What is SEO
It’s often said that if your site isn’t ranking in the top 10, it might as well not exist. According to HubSpot 75% of searchers never go past the first page of search results — which points to how important it is to rank on the first page of Google.
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” In simple terms, it is the process of improving your website to increase its visibility when people search for services or products related to your blog/business in Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines. Better visibility equals more traffic to your site. That in turn will attract prospective and existing customers to your business and help you establish yourself as an expert in your field.
For example, if you blog about the latest and greatest automobiles make sure you’re creating content that’s often searched in Google by other car enthusiasts. As you produce more blog posts with popular keywords in your niche your blog will no doubt begin climbing the ranks!
So, now the question becomes what can you do to improve SEO on your blog? Thankfully, that’s why I’m here! I’ve put together a few practices I implement into my content as well as other top tips I found on top ranking websites on Google. Let’s explore them together!
SEO best practices for your blog
The best practices we’re going to outline below will give you actions you can take today to improve your site’s searchability. Time to dive in!
1. Keep search intent in mind
Search intent or user intent is the overall purpose behind each search query. Sites that rank at the top of Google have passed the litmus test on search intent. There are a few different types of search intent that you should know about.
Navigational – a query is a search query entered with the intent of finding a particular webpage or website. Common examples of this are “Youtube” and “Facebook” because the intent is to access these websites through Google without typing in the full URL.
Informational – A search falls under informational when the intent is to find information on a specific topic. It can be a simple search such as, “what color is the sky” or something more complex like “best SEO practices to follow”. In both scenarios, information is being requested.
Commercial – the intent behind a search query is commercial when the user is looking for a product to satisfy a specific need. For example, searches such as “best luggage sets” and “best smartphones” are both commercial searches.
Transactional – the intent with this search is to buy. The user has already decided as to what they want to purchase. Examples of this include “buy MacBook Air” or “buy AirPod Pros”.
Here’s an example of an informational and transactional search in action.
As you can see the results from the informational search query were mostly guides and recipes, otherwise known as information. While the transactional search query yielded results full of eCommerce pages.
2. Write an engaging Meta Description and Title Tag
The most important meta tags on your page are your page title and meta description. It’s important to spend extra time on these two items! Let’s learn a bit about them both.
Title tags are also known as the “website title” or “HTML title” and appear in search results. They are extremely critical from an SEO perspective. Clear title tags will go a long way towards making your website easy to navigate and understand. According to Semrush Google can only display 60-70 characters of a page title in the results. That’s why you should aim to make your SEO titles around 60 characters long.
Top tips to remember for title tags include:
- Using your target keywords
- Create a title that matches your intent
- Avoid over-saturating your title with keywords
- Avoid creating duplicate title tags
- Keep it clear, concise, and descriptive
Meta descriptions do not directly affect search engine ranking, but it is important and can influence clickthrough rate. Google explains meta descriptions as a pitch that convinces the user that your page is the one they are looking for.
Here are the top tips to follow when writing your meta descriptions.
- Use action-oriented copy.
2. Include your target keywords.
3. Match search intent.
4. Provide accurate summaries.
5. Craft unique meta descriptions for each page.
3. Optimize your page speed
We’ve all been to a website that doesn’t load quick enough, and if you’re anything like me I click elsewhere if that’s the case. Google suggests that your page’s load time should be 3 seconds or less. Lucky for you there are plenty of FREE tools that you can begin using today to test the speed of your site.
I use Google Site Kit for several things on my blog and page optimization is one of them. I’ve found this tool to be very helpful, and it’s free of course! You can check it out for yourself here.
I love this tool because it’s easy to navigate and gives instant results. Also, if a page for whatever reason begins to load slower than usual Google will send me an email right away alerting me to look into the issue, which saves me a ton of time and trouble!
4. Optimize the images on your site
Your blog should have photos to add to the great content you’re writing! However, optimizing those photos is a must to improve SEO and keep load times at a minimum. Here are two things you can do to optimize your photos the correct way.
Use alt text – Alt txt improves web accessibility and helps browsers better understand the images on your website. It may seem like a seemingly small step, but it goes a long way. When creating alt txt focus on creating content that has keywords appropriately placed and speaks to the context of the content on the page.
Compress your images – the larger the photo the longer it will take to load. Something I keep in mind is that most images do not need to be uploaded at full size to get the full picture. So, the next time you upload a photo choose a smaller option. Here are a few free tools to make this step easier on you.
5. Improve the user experience on your website
There are a few factors that play into creating a good user experience for visitors. For example, if your site is easy to navigate users are more likely to click and read more of what you have to say. That means as a blogger your posts should always be easily accessible to readers. The same goes if you’re selling products or services. Make sure your products and services are listed to prevent confusion. This will increase the chances of that user returning to your website.
Here are a few other tips to follow:
Avoid intrusive pop-ups – popup ads not only annoy visitors, but they’re also bad for SEO. If you do decide to feature popups on your website use them sparingly. A good rule of thumb is to set a trigger time for a popup. For example, if a user spends 5 minutes on your website then a popup will appear for that user.
Make your content visually appealing – Visuals such as images, videos, and infographics are known to keep readers’ attention especially if they have a profound interest in the topic they’re reading about.
Use subheadings properly – Using subheadings (H1, H2, H3) properly will help Google decipher your content and make your text more accessible to users.
6. Use internal linking
Internal links can significantly increase your ranking if used correctly.
Implementing internal links into your blog posts will show Google that you are an expert on a certain topic as you use more internal links. Google will also be given a clear idea of the structure of your website. That way they can establish a hierarchy on your website allowing you to give the more important posts and pages more link value.
A top tip here is to add internal links from strong pages and posts on your website to your weaker content to add value.
7. Focus on gathering more authoritative backlinks
Google considers backlinks to be a key ranking signal and a “votes” for a specific page. Pages that have a high number of backlinks tend to also have high organic search engine results. This is what you want!
You might be wondering what to look for when choosing backlinks, so let us explore that together. To choose quality backlinks make sure the link is:
Credible – Would you trust a backlink from Harvard Law over a backlink from a random person’s blog? Chances are your answer is yes, and Google feels the same way. This concept is known as “Domain Authority” causes Google to put more weight on sites with higher authority, which will increase your ranking.
Relevant – Make sure the page or post you’re linking to is related to the content on your website. Imagine you’ve just written a post about a new beauty product. Google will place a lot more weight on backlinks that go to websites like ULTA and Sephora as they are beauty retailers.
Keyword-rich – Your anchor text, otherwise known as the visible text part of your link should include keywords. Using your target keywords in anchor text will in turn give you a higher rating in Google.
8. Include keywords in your URL
URL structure believe it or not is often not considered by bloggers, but it should be on your list of things to do to increase your site’s ranking!
Google states that your site’s URL should be as simple as possible. Organize it logically so that it’s easily understood by visitors searching for your content. URLs that are overly complex, specifically those containing multiple parameters, can present trouble for crawlers by creating high numbers of URLs that point to similar or identical content on your website.
9. Publish long-form content on your blog
Multiple studies have shown that long-form content dominates the first page of Google searches. Likely, that will always be the case.
Semrush recently did a study on long-form content and its effectiveness on SEO. Findings showed that long-form articles (posts with 3000+ words) get almost 3x more traffic, 4x more shares, and 3.5x more backlinks than articles of average length (901-1200 words).
That’s why you should aim to have at least 1-2 long-form posts on your blog to increase visibility, give readers quality information, and establish yourself as an expert.
Use SEO to Blog Smarter
This post is here to remind you that all the little things that you are doing as a blogger matter. SEO isn’t just picking the right keywords, it starts with the basis of your website.
How are you feeling about SEO after reading through this post? Comment below, I’d love to hear!
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