Optimise your blog content for search engines
When we enter a search into Google, Bing, Yahoo! or any other search engine, they crawl the internet to find the web pages that are most relevant. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of enabling search engines to understand what your web page is about so that they can decide where to rank it in searches. You can optimise your blog posts to help your target audience find them.
SEO is a complex subject; this is mainly because nobody knows for sure exactly how the algorithms work. Google is constantly updating the way it ranks pages to ensure that it consistently provides users with the most relevant search results. If it provides results that are not relevant, then users will start to move to other search engines. Google keeps its algorithms secret so that people don’t try and manipulate results.
For more in-depth information on SEO, we recommend The beginner’s guide to SEO from Moz.
Helping search engines understand what your content is about, makes it easier for them to determine how relevant your post is. Here are some ways you can optimise your blog post:
Search engines will crawl the text on your page and pick out words that match the search terms entered. You can optimise your blog post with the keywords you want to be ranked for. This doesn’t mean sticking keywords into your blog post as many times as you can. Readers don’t like this as your post won’t make much sense. On top of that, search engines will penalise you for trying to play the system. You need to choose keywords that actually match your content and that people will be searching. Use your keywords tactically.
Optimise your headline by including a keyword and making it clear what your post is about. Try and put your keyword at the start of your post if possible. Think about what people would be searching when you choose your headline. Your headline could be an exact match to something people would actually search. For example, if you were looking for ideas for a blog post you might type; “What should I blog about?”
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator and is your website address. You can optimise the URL for your blog post by using keywords in the URL. When your web page appears in search results the URL is displayed.
A meta description is the short bit of copy that comes up under your headline and URL in a search result.
You can optimise your meta description by including keywords and a good summary of what your post is about.
This article from Search Engine Watch explains in more detail how you can optimise meta descriptions: How to write meta descriptions for SEO
Alt tags are the description you give to an image. If a visually impaired person is using a screen reader on your site it will read this description out to them. If your image doesn’t load then it will be replaced with the description from your alt tag. Make sure that you give your images descriptions as the search engines will crawl these and this will be taken into consideration when deciding how relevant your page is. Leaving them blank is a missed opportunity to optimise your blog.
For more detail on alt tags check out this article from Yoast: Image SEO: alt tag and title tag optimisation
Adding an XML sitemap to your website can make it easier for search engines to crawl your site and index the pages.
Yoast SEO is considered the most comprehensive SEO plugin for WordPress users. It uses a traffic light systems to indicate how optimised your post is for search engines based on your main keyword. It also lets you know how optimised your blog post is for readers by scoring your post for readability based on a number of factors. If you are creating blogs in WordPress then Yoast is a fantastic tool for improving your SEO.
Backlinks to and from your website are good for SEO as long as they are quality links. This means not linking to spammy sites. You should also link internal pages on your site. This not only helps the reader navigate your site more easily but it helps search engines crawl and index your site faster.
Add content regularly
Search engines constantly crawl the internet looking for new content. If they see that you are adding new content to your site regularly they will reward that. It shows that your site is still active and that you are sharing useful content.
Optimise for readers
Getting found in search engines is important so you do need to think about SEO when you write your blog posts but don’t forget about your readers. There is no point being ranked number one in search results if your readers aren’t interested in reading your post.
The best way to naturally optimise your site is to create content that is useful, engaging and interesting for your target audience. If you choose subjects for blog posts that are related to your industry then you will naturally include keywords in the copy.
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