7 Tips for Creating SEO Friendly Blog Posts
Creating SEO friendly blog posts is both an art and a science. The art comes within the content creation–the words and images you use to construct your posts–and the science is knowing how and where to input them for optimal effectiveness.
Bloggers have the unique role of being writers, publishers, and also need to pay attention to creating a user experience that is rich for both readers and search engines. A good blog post is comprised of a number of key elements: relevant post topics; keyword-rich titles; formatting; links; SEO with categories, tags and keywords; image optimization; and plugins.
1. Relevant post topics
Research is key when it comes to deciding on post topics. Zeroing in on what people are talking about is a great way for your blog to keep a finger on the pulse of conversations. How do you know what people are talking about?
2. Keyword-rich titles
Samuel Axon suggests including search terms in your post’s title. As he says, “The headline or title of your blog post is among the first things Google sees, and Google generally assumes the words that appear earliest are the most important.”
Victoria Stankard has some great suggestions regarding post formatting. She suggests formatting your posts for easy scanning and visually compartmentalize blocks of content with numbered or bulleted lists are “effective ways to SEO format and break up blocks of content for your readers.”
Jim Lodico says bloggers shouldn’t be afraid to link to other blogs or publications because not only does it provide a good service for your readers, “Google also likes to see outgoing links to relevant and reputable websites.”
5. Basic SEO with Categories, Tags and Keywords
Casey Dawes suggest that categories are the “broad brush stroke” to help your readers find information on a general topic” and that category names should be between 2 and 5 words in length. Think of tags she says, as “subsets of categories” for example if you have a blog on cooking and one of your categories is main dish recipes that you could use tags such as pasta, beef, chicken, vegetarian and fish.
Casey points out too that according to Google a list of keywords won’t carry much weight in their search algorithm and that they may have more influence on other search engines such as Yahoo. However, you can use keywords as the place to have your “long tail” phrases and words.
Here’s a helpful infographic, The Buzz on Long Tail Keywords to further explain:
Greg Bay discusses long tail keyword phrases and points out that long tail keywords serve a dual purpose. “They can refine search terms to a web page, as well as assist a searcher in locating something very specific. For example: if a consumer is looking to purchase “pink furry strawberry slippers” it makes more sense to search on the entire phrase than to put in “furry slippers,” “furry strawberries,” or “strawberry slippers” and attempt to filter through irrelevant search results.
Another big difference between short and long tail keyword phrases are the search results. If you were to search the keyword “counseling” in Google, you will receive 55,200,000 results. Then, if you look up the short tail keyword phrase “counseling jobs” in Google, it returns 10,900,000 results. Finally, if you enter the long tail keyword phrase “drug counseling jobs” in Google, it provides 323,000 results. Although the long tail keyword phrase is searched less than the shorter keyword phrases, there is much less SERP competition.”
As we discussed in our recent post, 10 Tips for Creating Great Blog Posts, you can use a number of free and paid tools to help you find good keywords for posts. The key is to find words that are heavily searched on and don’t have too much competition.
Brad Shorr has some useful tips about optimizing images for seo and readers.
He suggests that bloggers make use of the image title, caption, alt tag and link. He says by putting a relevant title in for the image instead of something like “pic20471.” He also points out that using the caption is another opportunity to insert keywords, and they allow you to tell a story with your image. “Stories engage readers.” In addition, they can be very helpful for B2B sites where you can have images of your products and include benefits in the captions. The alt tag is the text that displays when the image is not available and for visually impaired readers who may be using a screen reader. Also, by linking the image to another page on your site you can give readers an opportunity to read more.
7. WordPress SEO PlugIns
Plugins are a great way to search optimize your blog posts. Sig Ueland’s post has an excellent list of plugins you may want to consider for your WordPress blog. I’ve been a big fan of the All in One SEO Pack which has fields for setting up your meta description and keywords.
What tips do you have for optimizing blog posts for SEO? Add your comments below.