It is one thing to write good consistent content, but unless you are optimizing your blog posts, you are simply wasting your efforts if you plan on driving traffic to your website. In this article I will be discussing how to optimize blog posts for SEO and showing you a few awesome and easy to implement strategy’s to increase traffic to your posts after you have published them.
Gone are the days when you need fancy software or black hat back linking strategies to rank a blog post on the first page of Google. The search engine kings are now interested in high quality content and one can implement some simple on page SEO strategies to get their posts on the first page. It is really not that hard as long as you write good and compelling content and have conducted proper keyword research.
So, is actually necessary to ensure that your blog posts are properly optimized?
I have broken them down into three basic categories.
- What to do before writing the post (Research)
- What to do while writing the post (7 steps to SEO success)
- What to do after publishing the post (Marketing)
So, what do you do before writing the post?
There is a lot of material on the internet about keyword research, but we do not need to make it too complicated. It really boils down to capturing two metrics into your research.
- Find a keyword phrase that has over 100 monthly searches, and
- has less than 100 competing websites trying to rank for that same keyword phrase
That’s it. You just need to have a keyword research tool that is capable of giving you those results accurately. I offer a free keyword Generator for that purpose.
The other thing you will want to do is check your keyword in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). To do this you simply enter your keyword phrase into the Google search and review your competition. This is just a general view of what the titles are and how they are displaying their meta titles and meta descriptions (we cover this more below).
Once this is done, you can go ahead and conduct an article research on your keyword phrase. This can be reading other articles written as well as a Wikipedia search. The more you read about the keyword phrase the more authoritative your article will be.
What do you do while you write the post?
7 Key SEO Strategies To Use On Your Post
Consistency is the key for success in optimizing your blog posts. You want to follow these 7 key on page SEO strategies for every post you write. They are as follows:
- Meta Title
- Meta Description
- Keyword in the content (once)
- Alt tag within an Image (featured image is best)
- Internal links
- External Links
- Embed a video
Using these strategies are not difficult, but it is necessary to use all the on every blog post you use. The one exception to this rule can be the last one. Embed a video. It may not be necessary on every blog post to embed a video because for some posts, finding a relevant video may not be practical or fit into the subject matter. But, embedding a YouTube video does help in the rankings (remember who owns YouTube, yep, Google).
Meta Title and Meta Description
The best way to obtain a good meta title and meta description is through the use of a good SEO plugin. I recommend either All in one SEO or Yoast. Either one of these plugins work well.
The rule of thumb to use here is having the keyword phrase in both the meta title and the meta description. The other rule of thumb I like to use is what I call the 55 and 155 rule. That means your title should be around 55 characters and your meta description should be around 155 characters.
Also, keep in mind your meta title does not have to be the same as your blog post title. They actually serve two different purposes. The meta title is what shows up in the SERP results. Your blog title is what shows up on your post after someone clicks on your post from the SERPs.
In the same way, the meta description is what shows up in the SERP results and can be customized to fit in the max characters allowed (which has recently been increased in Google). To obtain both of these, you simply use the SEO plug in as instructed. They are both free to use and there is no real need to purchase the upgrade for either one of these plugins in my opinion.
Keyword in the Content
It is not necessary to have a particular keyword density anymore! In fact, trying to stuff your keyword phrase in your post unnaturally can hinder your rankings. The content needs to be written naturally and with good quality content. That is the key.
It is recommended that your keyword phrase happen naturally in the very first paragraph of your content, and it is only necessary to have it once. All other uses of your keyword phrase should only happen if it needs to be used in a natural way. Keep in mind your keyword is already going to be used in several other places, such as your meta title, meta description, your content and alt images. So, there is no need to over use it.
Alt Tag Within An Image
It is best to use a feature image. Most WordPress themes allow you to add a featured image. This has the advantage of showing up within social media channels such as Google Plus and Facebook. When you post your link into these social media channels, it normally pulls from the feature image.
Then you simply add your keyword phrase in the title attributes section of the image as well as the Alternate Tag section. This will allow the phrase to be displayed as you hover over the image from a published post.
Add Internal and External Links In Your Post
I cannot stress enough how important internal and external linking are. Especially internal linking within your blog. This shows Google how your site is structured. Plus if you only lead people away from your site, Google sees that as your site must not be important enough to link to other pages within your site. That is exactly what internal linking is. It is when you link to another page within your site.
When you place internal links within your site, you want to make sure it is relevant to the discussion and words you are using as anchor text. As an example in this post, I used an internal link to my free keyword generator within my site when I talked about using a keyword tool. That is an example of using an internal link. Notice that it was used in a relevant way.
The same is true for external links. An external link is when you link externally to an outbound link such as Wikipedia or YouTube or some other authority site. Keep in mind though, that an affiliate link isn’t the type of external link we are referring to here. Yes, an affiliate link is an external link, but not for this strategy. An example of an external link can be found in the very first sentence post. I externally link to Wikipedia for the term blog.
Embed A Video
When you embed a video on your post, you want to make sure the video is relevant to your subject matter, of course. You also want to make sure it is embedded from YouTube.
The best way to do this is to create your own video and then embed it onto your site using the embed code from the share feature on YouTube. The reason this is a ranking factor is because Google likes Google, and Google owns YouTube. This will definitely help with your rankings and is certainly a ranking metric. As mentioned before, it may not be practicle to embed a video on every single one of your posts. So, this is the only exception to not using each of these 7 strategies on every single page or post you create on your blog.
OK that is the 7 key SEO strategies that will help you rank your blog articles on the major search engines, mainly Google. The big dog of the search engine world.
Now what do you do after you publish your post?
Marketing Your Blog Post
Here are three main things you should do to help you rank your blog post after it has been published.
- Fetch as Google inside the Google Search Console
- Post To Social (Google+)
- Email Broadcast to your list (provided you have one)
When should you do these three marketing techniques?
Each and every time you write a page or a post. Another important point here, is you can take old pages and posts and do these three techniques and it will help you rank older posts as long as the on page SEO strategies were followed. The fetch as Google strategy can also be done when updated or editing an older posts.
In addition to fetching as Google, you can also resubmit your site map any time you make a change to a page or a post.
The other thing you want to do for each page or post is to post it to our Google Plus account. Remember, Google love Google. This will actually help you rank your posts fairly quickly. As I stated in the beginning of this article. Gone are the days when back linking strategies are needed. You will get plenty of natural back links to your pages and posts if you create good content and your content is shared socially.
One technique I recommend for posting on Google Plus it to start with the title, then copy and paste your meta description along with your post URL right into your Google Plus entry. It wouldn’t hurt also is you went ahead and did the same thing on your Facebook profile. This is not as effective as Google Plus though.
Then, the last thing you want to do is send a broadcast email to your list asking your readers to read your latest blog post. Only do this, of course, if you have a list to begin with.
There you go. These are the strategies on how to optimize blog posts for SEO. It is very important to be consistent with these strategies on each and every post you write on your blog. The more posts you write the more traffic your blog will receive. Now go out there and create optimized blog posts.