In this post, I will give you all my best blog SEO tips on creating content optimized to rank highly in search engine results. If SEO boggles your mind, strap in and get ready to learn everything that will take your blogging game to the next level.
Investing your time in SEO means you will finally start making money or getting tremendous search traffic if done properly each and every time you write a post.
SEO requires you to connect your blog to Google Analytics and Google Search Console. These tools help you to know your traffic and see what queries people are using to find your blog. You NEED these tools.
If you’re clueless on how to install these tools and what you should be looking for in them, join my free 5-day blog traffic challenge where I use video tutorials to show you exactly how to get everything set up.
In this post you will find
What is SEO Friendly Content?
SEO means search engine optimization. Simply put, SEO is a few steps you take when creating content to try and get your piece of content to show up on a search engine’s first page of results, ideally in the number one spot.
Studies show that the first result on a search engine result page (SERP) gets 33% of researchers clicks. Number 2 gets 17%, number 3 gets 11% and everybody else below grapples for clicks in the single digits.
This is important to us as bloggers because while Pinterest can be our number one source of traffic, search engines send us a tremendous amount more if we are able to land in the top 3 for a search term with a good amount of monthly volume.
Meaning, we want to rank high on the SERP for a search term that gets thousands of searches every month.
Diversifying our traffic sources means we’re always ready for an algorithm change on one platform at any point in time. Over time, your pin may lose steam but as long as your article remains relevant to a search term with high volume, you will benefit from SEO.
In a previous article, I showed how to use Google keyword planner to find keywords with good volume to use when creating your content. In still another article, I broke down a paid tool I use to take my keyword research to the next level.
In this post I give you the whole picture, highlighting all the basic steps necessary to give you a chance to rank high on Google.
Would you like a checklist of all the tips here? Download this list below and check off each item every time you prepare to write a new blog post.
Before You Write Your Blog Post
The very first step to make your article SEO friendly is to identify your keyword. You’ll want to find a keyword that brings in a relatively good amount of search volume and has fairly low competition.
To identify this, you can install the Keywords Everywhere browser extension. It’s free and works in Chrome and Firefox. When you plug a keyword into Google, you’ll be able to see the monthly volume for that keyword and an estimation of the competition or difficulty of ranking high for that keyword.
In the image above you’re able to see that the estimated search volume for the keyword SEO for beginners is 1900 searches per month. That’s pretty low search traffic for one post, bearing in mind that at position number 3 at least, you’re likely to get only 11% of that volume of traffic.
It’s important to note here that we will be trying to rank for more than one keyword per post. Gone are the days when you had to pick one keyword and stuff it all over your page. Now, the opportunity is available to rank for a handful of related keywords, adding up to good traffic on every single post.
With this information in mind, I throw out SEO for beginners as my main keyword since the volume is fairly low, and head off in search of higher rewards. (I will keep it in the list of related keywords to use however!)
At the bottom of the SERP, Google gives us some suggestions. These are also keywords that we can consider targeting. The Keywords Everywhere extension will give you the volume information for these keywords as well.
Here, it has revealed that the keyword what is SEO and how it works has good volume and SEO tutorial has even better volume! But can I rank for these keywords? What’s the competition like?
My post on Keysearch shows how I use the tool to evaluate competition quickly inside the tool. The basis of which is for you to click on each keyword, have a look at the posts that rank high on the SERP, take into account the strength of each domain and post listed (you can use Moz to help you here) in order to determine how likely you are to beat them in the rankings.
If that all seems like lots of work, Keysearch makes this really easy. You can do it at a glance while getting lots of suggestions for keywords that are lower in competition.
The terms listed at the bottom of the Google SERP as in the above image are called latent semantic indexing keywords. These LSIs are keywords you will want to take note of.
In order to rank highly on the SERP, you should be covering most if not all of these topics in an effort to write an article that is as thorough and in-depth as you can.
Such an article is lengthy and indicates to Google that you have covered the topic completely and are worthy of a high ranking. Check one for long articles!
Aim for over 1500 words, unless your topic of choice is heavy with pictures. Here’s a free tool that can help you to generate LSI keywords.
Once you have identified your main keyword and all the related keywords that you will cover in your article, it’s time to write your post.
On-Page SEO for Your Blog Post
Here’s where you begin to check off all the places that you want to plug your keywords. Ensuring that your keywords are scattered in all of these places signals to search engines that your article is indeed covering your topic of choice thoroughly.
- Place your main keyword in your blog post title (at the very front ideally) and in one subheading of the post.
- Ensure the URL of the post has the main keyword and little else. (Aim for yourblog.com/main-keyword-here)
- Place your main keyword in the alt text of your featured image in a readable sentence, not just keyword stuffing.
- Place the main keyword in the very first paragraph of your post so it’s clear immediately what the post is about.
- Place LSIs in other subheadings as relevant and natural as possible, as well as other image descriptions
- Use even more LSIs throughout the body of your article. There’s no need to use them more than once.
- Use your main keyword or a strongly related keyword in the meta description of your blog post (Install the Yoast SEO plugin to make this super easy to find and track)
- Link to authority sites as necessary, however not an article speaking about the same thing. (Link to an article on an authority site such as weather.com discussing weather conditions in Japan in July in your post about 10 things to do in Tokyo)
- Link internally to other posts of yours relating to the topic. If you’ve never written about the topic before, include a link that says something like: You May Also Like ___ or Other Posts to Check Out
- Make sure to have social share buttons instal so readers can pin, tweet, FB, G+ and share your posts.
Rank Brain: Understanding the Theory Behind Google’s Algorithm
While I was writing this post, I received an email from Brian Dean, who’s considered an authority on all things SEO. He doesn’t publish content on his blog very often but when he does, you can bet it’s a very thorough, well-researched piece with information coming straight out of Google itself.
In his new piece, he broke down Google’s Rank Brain, the machine that’s now responsible for whether your posts rank high or not. What does the machine use to determine this?
It’s paying very close attention to how you interact with the search results. Specifically, it’s looking at:
- Organic Click-Through-Rate
- Dwell Time
- Bounce Rate
He has sections in the post that gives valuable direction for writing your headline and reducing your bounce time, and of course, he explains pogo-sticking. It’s a super-definitive SEO guide and well worth the read if you’re trying to learn all you can about SEO.
Sharing, Repurposing and Link-Building
When you’ve written your post and have published it, you want to move on to getting it out there in all the ways that work best for you. Backlinks are one of the best ways to get your content ranked high on Google if the backlink is coming from a blog or website with a higher domain authority than you.
Within your network of blogging friends, reach out and ask those more powerful to link to your content in a related post.
When your content has aged some, you may want to repurpose it into a video, podcast, Slideshare or republish it somewhere like Medium.com, breathing new life into your post and finding new traffic sources for it.
I’d love to know if you found this post helpful! Please let me know in the comments and grab your free SEO checklist below, guaranteed to make your blog posts SEO friendly in a Google Rank Brain World.
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