If you want to achieve long-term success on your blog, you’ll need good on-page SEO. Whether you’re working on a personal blog or blogging for traffic on your business website, you should always try to stick to proven and battle-tested SEO strategies.
Top-notch search engine optimization is the key to getting your already impressive blog posts more traction by making them more appealing to users and search engines.
SEO does sound a bit abstract to people who haven’t dealt with it before, but we promise you — once you learn how it works in principle, everything gets easier. This is why we, along with our good friends from a leading New York website design company, have decided to create this quick and digestible list of the top ten things you can do to optimize your blog posts. Read on!
Blog Post SEO — Top 10 Tips
Here are the ten tips you can start implementing today to optimize your blog posts for SEO and improve your search engine rankings consistently.
1. Think About SEO Before You Start Writing
Perhaps the biggest reason many bloggers fail to reach a broad audience is that they either don’t think about SEO at all, or they think about it only after they’ve finished writing their blogs.
Remember, the search engine optimization process starts before you type a single word of your blog post. SEO is the compass that guides you on what to write about and how to promote it.
So, our first tip is simple — do not just start creating content and publishing it on your blog, hoping for the best. To achieve consistent results, you’ll need a plan, and we’ve outlined the key components of that plan below.
2. Define Your Goals
You should have a pre-determined set of goals for every single piece of content published on your website. Before proceeding with the next step, you must have a clear idea of what you want your post to achieve and how you will evaluate its success.
For example, if the post’s goal was to inform customers about a new product or offer, you need to decide which metric is most relevant to its success, whether it is sales, social shares, website visits, etc.
There are many tools you can use to monitor your blog’s goals, including SEMRUSH, Google Analytics, and others.
3. Perform Keyword Research
Once you have set a goal for your post and know how to measure its performance towards that goal, it is time to do some keywords research. This step will help you do many things, including:
- Learning which keywords to target
- Coming up with a good title for your post
- Optimizing your on-page SEO
- Understanding user intent
- Creating SEO-friendly content
We will not be dealing with the whole keyword research process, as it goes beyond the scope of this post, but there are many free guides and tutorials online that you can use to get an idea of where to start.
4. Understand User Intent
We’ve finally reached the point when you’ll start to think about your post’s content. However, to choose the right thing to write about, you’ll need to understand what your potential readers want to see.
SEO used to be much simpler back in the day. It was all about filling pages with synonyms and keywords and building links. But now, if your post is to have any chance of appearing on the first page of Google, it must satisfy the user intent.
In other words, it needs to focus on something that the searchers want to read.
5. Analyze the SERPs
There’s a straightforward and effective way to learn what type of content satisfies the user intent. All you need to do is search for your keywords and look at the top results. These will tell you not only the type of content you need to be writing but also the most popular posts’ structure and length.
By analyzing your competitors in this quick and easy way, you’ll know exactly what type of content you need to create, how long you need to make your posts, and what kind of content Google is looking for with a particular keyword.
6. Write the Actual Content
Although there are as many as five steps you need to take before you even write a single word, once you get into a groove, these shouldn’t take you longer than 30 minutes to an hour to complete, so creating the blog content is where you’ll spend most of your time.
Here are some things to keep in mind when writing your content:
- Use short paragraphs of 2–3 lines each
- Use subheadings (H2, H3, H4) to break up your content
- Back up your ideas with statistics and research data
- Check your spelling and grammar
- Link to both internal and external posts to help users learn more about the topic
Once you’ve written your fair share of blog posts, these principles will become second nature, and you won’t have to spend much time thinking about implementing these ideas.
7. Optimize Your Post
Even experienced bloggers who have written many SEO-friendly posts need to revise their work before publishing. Some things to consider when optimizing your post include:
- An SEO-friendly URL — A good rule of thumb is to keep your URL focused on the keywords you’re trying to rank for, separated by dashes.
- Optimizing for Google featured snippets — Google often uses featured snippets for search queries, and if you can get your content to appear in one of these, you could reach a much wider audience.
- A unique title and meta description — Besides being unique, your meta description should not go above 160 characters (with spaces) and should include your target keyword.
These are just the basics to get you started, but again, there are many free resources online that you can use to expand your knowledge on this topic.
8. Publish and Promote the Post
Congratulations! You’ve reached the home stretch. After hours of creative work, you’re finally ready to hit that Publish button. However, as you might imagine, this is not the end of your journey. The time has come to shift your focus on the promotion of your blog post.
Even if your post had the simple goal of getting in touch with your subscribers, it’s always a good idea to try to get it in front of as many faces as possible. If you don’t, you run the risk of having all of your hard work go to waste, as only a few people will get the chance to read a piece of content that could have brought value to many.
9. Track and Evaluate the Results
Once you’ve published and promoted the post to the best of your ability, it is time to look at the metrics you set in Step 2 of this guide. Provided that you have a goal-tracking tool set up, such as SEMRUSH or Google Analytics, you should be able to see:
- The number of people who read your blog post
- How much time they spent on the page and your website
- Where they came from (Google search, email, social media, etc.)
- How many sales the post generated
- How many likes, tweets, and shares it received
These and other metrics will be available to you at any moment, along with the ranking position of your blog post for the targeted keywords.
10. Rinse and Repeat
The only way to get lasting results is through consistency. This will take a lot of work, but once you have mastered all the techniques described in this guide, you’ll be able to generate traffic through your blog 24/7.
Remember that blogging is a continuous learning process, and the same goes for SEO. You’ll need to take care of many things when running a blog, so you’ll likely make a few mistakes here and there. Please don’t dwell on these mistakes, as they are bound to happen, but try to learn from them and improve your next post.