SEO optimized blog is a great way to grow your business, gain credibility and have an edge over your competitors. ‘Content is King’ is a popular belief among marketing professionals, it does hold true to some extent. But, what good is your blog if the only readers that you reach are your friends or your employees? They are obliged to read it anyway.
Businesses have to leverage the power of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to reach the masses. SEO optimized blog will help you reach a considerable number of people if the search engines prioritise your blog over others.
How exactly Google evaluates and ranks a website is a mystery to most, but there a few time-tested methods that are sure to give you an advantage. This blog will explore some tips to follow while deciding to write a blog and the basics of SEO.
Finding the right topic and keywords
New or experienced writers may run out of ideas to write blogs, this is natural. Looking into what your competitors are writing about is a good way to get you inspired and on the right track. Once you have zeroed in on a topic, make a detailed plan regarding the scope of the blog and subtopics you would like to cover.
Another important step to be done before writing the blog is a keyword research. Selecting a target keyword and including other high volume keywords will help with the ranking. To know more about keyword research read our guide to keyword research. Once a target keyword is selected, you need to form a title to give some structure to your blog, people love titles with numerical values like ‘7 tips to…’, ‘Best way to….’ and ‘How to….’. Using such titles will increase the click rate to your page. Do a search of the keyword to see the current ranking titles to get some ideas. Also, you can use sites like answerthepublic, which will help you understand what people are searching, or seopressor which is a title generator..
Once you have framed the title, the subtopics, and the overall structure, you can move on to the next step.
Before going on to the next step, there might be a doubt on your mind regarding the difference between an article and a blog. Let’s address this before we continue:
- The length of articles can be anywhere from 500 to 2000+ words while blogs are shorter ranging from 300 words to a little over 1000.
- Articles are formal and factual while in blogs you can convey your message in a manner that shows you have a personal connect with the readers.
- Blogs are updated more frequently than articles.
Writing the blog
This may seem pretty straightforward, you have to turn your thoughts and ideas into words. But, there are a number of things that you can do that can help with your blog ranking.
Tips to optimize blog while writing the content:
1. Blog Length: Research shows that a minimum of 300 words are required to secure a decent rank in the search. As far as the maximum limit is considered, Google prefers blogs on the lengthier side (1000+ words). The best way to understand the length required for your target keyword would be to search the keyword and finding out the number of words of the top 10 results.
2. Keyword Density and Proximity: Keyword density is the number of times a keyword is mentioned in the blog. A healthy amount would be anywhere between 2% to 4% of the total number of words. Keyword proximity is the closeness of two or more keywords to each other. The more close your keywords, the better.
3. A Visual Rich Content: A visually rich content will help increase engagement and sharing of the content which will reduce bounce rate of the blog. Do not post pictures and videos just for the sake of it. Find or create the right visual aid like infographics, videos, images, gifs or stats.
4. Headings: Include as many as headings and subheadings as possible. Proper formatting and grouping of the content under relevant headings and points can be beneficial for ranking. You check out this blog as an example to see how a proper formatting of the content should be done.
5. Readability: Readability is another important factor that can have an effect on your ranking. Group the content into relevant paragraphs which will make it easier to read. Maintain short sentences and limit sentences that begin with the same word. There are various tools that can be used to help you identify these errors which we will touch on later in this guide.
*The screenshots we have used in this guide is taken from wordpress, but the suggestion and tips mentioned throughout these blogs holds true for any Content Management System (CMS).
6. Proofread: Finally, when the content is all done, do not forget to give it a read before posting it. There are various errors you may not notice in your first reading. Always, take a break of a few minutes or hours and then proofread once again, you will surely find some new errors hiding in between words or sentences.
1. Formatting: Use a font that is easy to read and is on par with the overall site format. Also, use the appropriate heading tags (h1,h2,h3…) where necessary and make sure the content is justified.
2. Images and Alt Text: A higher image size can have an effect on the page speed, which in turn will increase bounce rate. So, ensure that the image is below a 100kb, if possible. Google places high value on alt text. Apart from its’ use as an alternative to images for devices that cannot load images, alt text has another use. As search engines cannot read images, the algorithm uses the alt text to understand the relevance of it and use it for ranking purpose.
3. Interlinking and External Links: Linking other blogs on your site that are relevant to your current blog can add value as Google loves links, it is a sign of trust and credibility. Linking to external websites that can help readers understand more about the topic at hand is great. However, linking to an external site will have a domino effect on your site as the credibility of the external site increases, which will increase it’s ranking and push your page further down. So how do you get around this? Place a no follow tag, this will stop Google from considering the linking as a positive for the external site.
4. Focus Keyword: The focus keyword is the main target keyword which you picked in the initial research. This keyword should appear in the meta title, description and a number of times in the content.
5. Meta Title and Description: This is the title and snippet that the search engine will display on the search result page (SERP). The meta title should have a length of 60 to 70 characters and should include the focus keyword while we recommend a length of around 160 characters including the focus keyword for the description.
6. Tags and Categories: Include the tags that are relevant and post the blog to the category it belongs to.
7. URL Structure: The URL should be clean and short. Avoid using stop words like (or, and, but, etc.) and try to insert the focus keyword into the URL.
Now that you are aware how to approach the blog optimization, it may be difficult for you to remember all these tips while writing and optimizing your blogs. So, here’s a bonus. There are some tools that can make this entire process much easier.
SEO tools and Plugins: Make optimization easy
If you are using a WordPress site, plugins like Yoast and AIOSEO can make the entire process of optimization much easier. These plugins will analyze and show suggestions to better optimize the blog.
Use Grammarly and Hemmingway Editor to fix grammatical errors that you may have missed on your proofreading.
Following these steps and tips can help you get a higher ranking on the SERPs which in turn will increase your traffic.There are plenty more steps that can be taken to increase traffic to your sites. Do read our other blogs to know more about other digital marketing topics: