Becoming an SEO Ninja
A Beginners Guide to Keyword Research
A Step By Step Guide To Optimising Your Blog Post For Google
So, do you really know how to optimise a blog?
You’ve heard that blogging is good for SEO and maybe you even publish new posts regularly and share your posts on Twitter and Facebook. Problem is, you’re still not seeing any serious organic traffic from your blog and you’ve never managed to see a blog post rank anywhere near the heralded first page of Google search results, no matter how much you try to cram in those keywords. Where are you going wrong?
It’s likely that you’re not following some of the most basic building blocks of blog SEO.
In this step by step guide, we’ll show you how to optimise your blog for search engines with each and every post you publish. Notebooks at the ready!
Step 1: Choose blog-friendly content management systems
There are plenty of blogging platforms out there, from WordPress to Tumblr and LiveJournal to Blogger, and your current CMS may already have blogging capability built in. However, to make blog optimisation as seamless as possible, do your research to find a system which best suits your business, blogging style and existing content management systems.
WordPress is one of the best-loved platforms out there because it’s really intuitive and can be integrated into a custom CMS. Plus, it has plenty of handy plugins to help with blog optimisation, such as Yoast, which assesses the SEO-friendliness of a blog post and gives you actionable advice on how to improve it.
Every blog is different though, and there isn’t a one size fits all blogging solution for every business out there. So, with some support from your web design team, pick out a blog management solution that works for you well before you start serious, regular blogging. That way, all your blogs will be consistent in style, layout and optimisation.
Step 2: Pick out your keywords
If you’re guilty of guessing your targeted keywords without any real research, it’s time to stop and have a long, hard think about what you’ve done. For example, it may seem intuitive that people searching for banana smoothie recipes would use the keyword “banana smoothie recipe”, but how do you know for certain until you’ve checked? What if most people are actually using “banana smoothie ingredients” or “how to make banana smoothie”?
Google AdWords have a brilliant – and completely free – keyword planner which allows you to search for new keyword ideas while checking out real search volumes. If you’ve got a specific idea for a blog post in mind, use the tool well before you start writing to find a few popular and relevant keywords to include. If you’re looking for inspiration for blog posts, you can use lists to compile lists of popular keywords around which you can create content. But, and it’s a big but, do not use keywords just because they’re popular – they MUST be relevant to your business. Which takes us on to step 3…
Step 3: Create relevant content
So let’s say “banana smoothie recipe” is in fact a popular keyword and you’ve decided to target it. Be sure that your blog post really does have banana smoothie related content on it. It seems obvious, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to force popular keywords into irrelevant content.
So, once you’ve chosen your main focus keyword for a blog post, make sure that the content you write is truly relevant to it. Not only will this improve the blog post’s search ranking, but your keywords will fit it significantly more naturally and make for a far better reading experience.
Step 4: Use each keyword carefully
Optimising blogs requires placing your keywords in some very specific places – you don’t want to ram them in all over the place because the content has to read well for humans first, not just search bots. You should aim to include keywords in:
• The page title
• Headings and subheadings
• Anchor text (text which links to other related pages on your website)
• Title tags and meta descriptions
• Image file names and alt descriptions
The last one on the list – optimising images – is one that is too often overlooked, but is a really important aspect of blogging. Images with relevant keywords help Google to understand the theme and relevancy of your content. Plus, images break up large blocks of text, make the blog more readable and reduce the risk of people clicking away from the page as soon as they land (high bounce rates are terrible for SEO, remember!) Not only that, but alt descriptions are really helpful for blind and visually impaired readers who use screen readers – you want ALL your content to be accessible to all!
Step 5: Drop in a relevant link or two
You may already know that a big part of SEO is building up a link profile. Each time you insert a link into a page, Google bots will follow it and be able to get a better idea of the relevancy of those pages based on their connection. You should aim to include at least one link in each blog post – it could be internal or external, just as long as it’s relevant to the content and keyword of the blog post. And, be sure to include your keyword in the anchor text of the hyperlink, as mentioned in step four!
Step 6: Use social media channels to expand your reach
The more people who read your blog post, the more authority Google will deem it to have. And the more authority a page has, the higher it is likely to rank. So – get your post out there! Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram – whatever social media channels you use, share it on them. You can also use social media tools like Hootsuite to make it easier to schedule posts in advance across multiple channels so that you can save time and get cracking on the next blog post.
Step 7: Repeat with fresh content
Google bots love fresh content and are likely to favour websites which update their content regularly. This is one of the main reasons why blogging can be so useful for SEO, but only if you commit to posting regularly! For some businesses a daily blog post is easily doable, but for others with limited time or news to write about, monthly posts are more realistic. The most important thing is to stick to a routine and to get fresh and optimised blog content out there on a regular basis.
There you have it….