Optimizing Your Blog for SEO
The success of your business’s blog can greatly contribute to the success of your business online. If you’ve had the chance to check out the first part of this blog series: How to Create a Successful Blog Post: Blog Post Structure, you’ll know the importance of your business’s blog and how to structure it. During this part, we will dive into what you can do to optimize your blog posts so that they stand out to search engines like Google, which will help your blog (and your website) be found by your target customers.
In the first part of this blog series on how to create a successful business blog, we covered that one of the most important reasons for your website to have a blog is to improve your website’s overall SEO by increasing traffic and targeting specific keywords. Since there is so much competition online, the best way to stand out is to choose one long-tail keyword to focus on per blog post.
If you’re unsure of what a long-tail keyword is and how to use it, here’s an example to help explain it. Let’s say you own a small shoe store in San Diego, California. Your company most likely won’t appear in search results for search terms like “shoe store” or possibly even “San Diego shoe store” since that keyword will also most likely be competitive. The best way for your company’s website (and blog) to gain an online presence is by targeting very specific keywords that your customers may search for. For example, if your shoe store specializes in making custom boots, you can attract the customers you want and grow your online presence by targeting a long tail keyword like “women’s custom boots San Diego”.
The more specific, the less competition there will be for that keyword to rank well and the more online visibility. However, keywords that are too specific or don’t accurately match what your customers are looking for could do more harm than good. Choosing the right keyword to focus on is important to your blog’s success. A good rule of thumb is to choose a keyword that matches a desired conversion on your website. For example, if your blog post is about women’s custom boots, then it’ll be more likely that keyword will rank well, which will draw more of those customers to your site and to hopefully make purchases.
Another useful tip on keywords is to know what an LSI keyword is and what it does in your blog posts’ content. LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords show search engines the quality of your blog posts through context. If you write a blog post and stuff the keyword “women’s custom boots” into it over and over again, it’ll actually do more damage than improve your SEO. Search engines are getting better at determining quality content and they scan for LSI keywords to determine that quality. LSI keywords are anything that relates to your main keyword. For example, if you’re targeting the keyword “italian food”, then words like pasta, recipes, restaurants, desserts, etc. could all be LSI keywords that relate to that main topic. If your blog post’s content flows naturally, these keywords will most likely be easily included and in the end, they will support your main keyword.
Now, in addition to your targeted keyword, there are a lot of other ways you can improve the SEO of your blog posts– and therefore your site. The following has to do more with the technical optimization of the page itself, but if done correctly, it can show search engines that your site is more credible since it meets the optimization standards. While many website platforms like WordPress allow you to edit these things for your website and blog pages, in the end these changes are on the page’s code where search engines read. Use the checklist below as a guide to see if your blog’s pages are fully optimized:
- Headings/subheadings- The heading and any subheadings on your blog posts need to be tagged as so. Designated as H1, H2, H3, etc. tags; these tags show search engines what the main points of your page are about, therefore these need to be related to your targeted keyword.
- Alt text- since search engines can’t see images, you need to describe them in the image’s alt text. If related to your keyword, the alt text will also help in the page’s overall SEO.
- Meta description- your page’s meta description is a short description of your page. Basically a short summary that you’d use to tell readers and search engines what the page is about. If kept between 150-160 characters, it’s more likely to improve the SEO.
- Links- if there are any links on your blog post, you need to make sure that they’re either linked to safe and reliable sources, or your own website.
Blog Post Length
Because things are changing online constantly, there are many different and inaccurate beliefs as to what is an appropriate length for your blog posts in terms of word count, so we’re here to set the record straight. According to various sources like Databox.com, the best blog length for SEO in 2021 is around 1,500-2,000 words. However, there are some other important things to consider. The 1,500-2,000 range is what is considered optimal for blog posts. If for whatever reason you don’t want to write a post that is that long, 750-1,000 is considered a good middle ground. Also know that the bare minimum length for a blog post to even make a mark on SEO is around 300 words.
All this being said, there are a couple of other important things to remember about post length. Don’t write a long post just for the sake of length. Your blog posts need to be engaging and something your customers will actually want to read. Search engines put a priority on the page’s views and the average time on the page. Good content that attracts visitors to the blog page and is engaging enough to keep them there is the bottom line. If you write a shorter blog post that accomplishes this, then you’re set. However, if you can write a long blog post that gains a lot of traffic then it’ll be even more effective.
Putting It All Together
With your new knowledge of how to structure blog posts and optimize them for SEO, you now have the tools to get started on creating posts that will make an impact on your online presence and actually be useful to your customers. The main piece of advice that we can give is to always keep your customers in mind. By writing content they’ll be interested in and making sure it’s quality work that will please search engines, you’ll start to see your keywords ranking higher and increased traffic to your website. For any questions about writing blogs or what else can be done to improve your online marketing, feel free to contact us here at Grow Team.