SEO for your blog includes things you do both on and off your blog to bring traffic to it via a search engine. Some of the traffic techniques we’ve discussed in earlier posts have focused on “off-page SEO.” In the case of guest blogging, for example, we discussed the potential for an inbound link from the guest post back to your blog. If it’s a dofollow link from an authoritative site, it’s like having an authority vouch for you or vote for you in Google’s eyes. In today’s post, we’ll focus on basic SEO tips.
Keywords & SEO for Your Blog
On-page SEO for your blog revolves around writing relevant content based on keywords themes that your potential audience may use in search. While you don’t want to write strictly for search engines, you do want to ensure your content uses words and phrases that your prospects will use in search.
Take time to research which keywords (or phrases, often called “long-tail keywords”) your potential readers are using in search that apply to your content.
The best keywords are:
Relevant. Your target keywords need to describe what your website is about and align with what the person using is searching for on Google, Bing, etc.
High Search Volume. Ideally, you want to target keywords that have many people searching for them. This means more opportunities for traffic.
Low Competition. A low competition keyword is one that isn’t already used extensively by a million other websites around the world.
As you can imagine, it can be very difficult to strike the right balance between high search volume and low competition. To get started with your keyword research, focus on relevance and look for keywords that have a relatively high search volume.
Start by brainstorming and putting yourself in the shoes of your prospects. Ask yourself, “What would I type into Google in order to find a blog like mine?” Make a list of these keyword ideas both for your blog in general and for each specific blog post you write. These should be keywords that fit the bill of being relevant. Try searching some of these terms in Google, Bing, or your favorite search engine, and see what results are returned. Do you see blogs and websites that are similar to yours?
The next step is to find data related to the words on your keyword list. There are sophisticated, premium programs available to help you discover a wealth of keyword data, but you may not need them. Before you purchase any expensive services, try one or all of these three free keyword research tools.
Google provides a keyword research tool for free to Google AdWords’ users. It uses its own data to provide you statistics on the keywords you enter. It will also provide suggestions. If you don’t already have a Google AdWords account, you will need to sign up for that first. You don’t have to run ads to use their tool.
SEMRUSh is very similar to Google’s tool, but it gives you one very cool additional feature. It lets you check out your competitors’ keywords. Just enter the URL of a competitor’s website or blog similar to yours, and SEMRush will show you what keywords they use.
Keyword Tool is an alternative to Google’s Keyword Planner if you don’t want to sign up for an AdWords account.
Correct Usage of Keywords and Content
Gone are the days of keyword stuffing and over optimizing a post. Your content should be written first and foremost for your human readers – not search engines. Make your keywords are used naturally in your blog posts, their titles, descriptions, image ‘alt’ text (accessible by clicking on the image), and anywhere else you use them. It’s important that you use words naturally and vary the way you phrase things. Don’t “stuff” your content with keywords. That makes your blog difficult to read, and it can also get you penalized by the search engines.
I highly recommend checking out The Beginner’s Guide to SEO from the folks at Moz. It’s an in-depth guide to fully initiate you in the world of SEO. If you don’t want to do it yourself, you can also outsource your SEO to an agency or hire an SEO specialist for your staff.
Categories and Tags
Categorizing and tagging your blog posts offers additional SEO benefits. Create a handful of relevant categories and categorize each post accordingly. Don’t go overboard when creating categories. You need to make them general enough that you can organize all of your blog posts into five or so.
When you post a blog post, you can also add tags. Tags are similar to keywords and serve as an index to your blog. To help search engines understand your category and archive pages, it’s important that you not use the same keyword or phrase for tag that you use as a category.
One more option for boosting the SEO for your blog is to get an SEO plugin. These are programs that you add to your blog to help you optimize your site and pages for search. Check your using a blogging platform to see which SEO plugins it offers. My favorite is WordPress SEO by Yoast.
- Brainstorm and research some keywords that will support and optimize your blog content.
- Identify categories and tags to help people find your blog post, based on your keyword research.
- Pick one blog post to optimize for SEO. Select a relevant keyword, edit your content to include the keyword in appropriate places, and make sure it is in a relevant category. Be sure to include an image with a keyword in your ‘alt’ text for the image.
If you’d like, install a plugin for SEO for your blog and use it to guide the optimization of your blog post.[banner id=5570]