For most bloggers, search engine optimization (SEO) is the big bad wolf of content writing. We know we need to optimize for organic traffic but actually doing it is a whole other story. It’s overwhelming, it’s confusing, and frankly, we just want to write. After all, isn’t that why we got into blogging in the first place? These 8 SEO strategies for every blog post will put you well on your way to optimizing every piece of content with ease.
If you follow these 8 SEO strategies, your blog posts will be well within content best practices.
Aside from the image, the blog post title is what readers use to decide whether they are going to open and read an article or not. Your title needs to be interesting and relevant but it also needs to fit within SEO best practices.
When drafting a blog post title you must take into consideration character length. Your title and website name must be greater than 30 but less than 60 total characters. Anything over 60 characters will be cut off in searches.
The quickest and easiest way to determine the character length of your titles without doing extensive crawls of your website is to use a spreadsheet. Simply copy your blog post title including website name into a spreadsheet such as Excel or Numbers, then use a formula in the function settings to calculate character total. To use the function, enter =LEN(cell) in the formula bar and press Enter.
Every page and post on your website needs an H1 tag. H1 tags tell search engines like Google and Bing that your content is relevant and related. In most cases, website themes are set up to, by default, assign an H1 tag to each page and post title. Check the settings on your theme or design to make sure this is the case with your site.
If your theme does not automatically assign an H1 tag to page and post titles, then you can either have a designer change your CSS code or make sure when you are publishing content on your site that you assign an H1 tag to a line of content which contains your keyword.
Although not required for SEO best practices, H2 tags will help set your content apart from your competitors. Content with H2 tags will generally outrank competing posts with the same keywords.
The easiest way to think of H2, and H3 tags for that matter, is similar to organizing notes from a lecture. Think back to a time when you were in school and had to outline a lecture or a paper you planned to write. Each outline had a title, numbers followed by letters, and finally lower case letters.
In the case of SEO and H tags, H1 is your outline title, H2 tags are your main numbered subheadings. and H3 tags are the lettered points under the subheadings.
H tags help to tell search engines how your content is organized and help show that your content is relevant and related to your title and keywords.
Image Alt Tags
When you add a photo or other media source to your website’s media center, you have the option, among other things, to add an alt tag. Alt tags for images and media files tell search engines that the images and media in your blog posts are relevant and related to your content.
Image alt tags should be written in plain speak and complete sentences, and be easy to read. Adding images or media sources to your blog posts without alt tags will hurt your overall post and content SEO ranking.
The keyword for blog posts is the word or long tail keyword that your content focuses on and that which you are trying to rank for in organic searches. Every blogger’s goal is to rank on page one for their niche keywords.
There are various SEO plug-ins that you can use on your site to indicate a keyword for search engine crawls. Yoast is by far the most popular and diverse SEO plug-in and serves the needs of most bloggers sufficiently.
When planning your editorial content calendar, be sure to research and plan your keywords when drafting blog posts.
Meta descriptions are the text that appears under a post title in search engine results. These descriptions also show up on social media when a blog post link is shared. It is critical for SEO ranking and traffic that your meta descriptions are well written and most of all include your keyword or keyword phrase.
Not only do meta descriptions need to be well written, there are best practice guidelines for the length of content descriptions. When writing your blog post meta descriptions, the total length must be between 70 and 160 total characters to meet current SEO best practices.
Meta keywords are a feature of SEO that content writers and website designers used to use to backload content and pages for keywords. This practice was overused and abused to the point that a number of years ago Google removed meta keywords from their SEO ranking algorithm.
Unlike the other strategies in this list, meta keywords are something you do not want to add to your content. Not only is it not best practice to add meta keywords to your blog posts, it is recommended that you do an audit on all existing content and remove meta keywords from all posts and pages.
One of the advantages of strategically planning your content and editorial calendar is the ability to deep link between posts on your website.
Linking blog posts and pages together on your website tells search engines that the content on your site is relevant and related. Content that is interlinked on a site will outrank its poorly linked competitors in search engine results for the same keyword.
In summary, the 8 SEO strategies for blog posts are:
- Title Length
- H1 Tag
- H2 Tags
- Image alt tags
- Keyword or keyword longtail phrase
- Meta description
- Meta keywords
- Deep links
When planning and writing blog posts, if you keep these 8 SEO strategies for content writing in mind, you will be well on your way to outranking your keyword competition.