How To Optimise Your Blog Posts For Search Engines

It’s not only your sales and service pages that can attract visitors. Whether you are a blogger, a service business, a freelancer, a consultant or you have an e-commerce store, you can attract traffic to your website via your blog.

There are many reasons why it’s a good idea to include a blog on your website. Sharing your knowledge is not only helpful for your readers, it also provides plenty of opportunity for you to demonstrate your expertise and position yourself as an expert in your industry. Having a blog also helps to increase conversions and engagement, it keeps people on the site for longer and helps to build trust. 

Having a blog is also useful for content marketing. One of the best ways to increase your traffic is to promote your content. Techniques such as outreach and digital PR involve the promotion of content to get it seen by those who will be interested in it. Having a great article is far more effective for content marketing than a sales page. It is also much easier to acquire links to informative and engaging articles.

Your blog will also provides opportunities for your website to rank for additional keywords. Ranking for more terms will result in more people finding you when they are searching online. Here are a few tips to follow to make sure your blog posts are optimised for search engines:

Keyword Research

Keyword research is essential for SEO. If you want your blog posts to show up on Google, you need to be clear on the exact keywords you wish to target.

SEO is based on making strategic choices based on the data we have access to, it’s not guesswork. It might be tempting to choose a target keyword based on what makes sense or what you feel you want to show up for, but doing a bit of research will help make sure you are targeting keywords that will bring you relevant traffic.

When researching keywords, focus on the following 3 things:

Intent – Does the searcher have the right intent to be interested in your content? Is this keyword going to bring people to you that are interested in what you do? Are they looking for the services / info you provide? Does your article provide the answers they are looking for?

Search volume – Are people actually searching for the target keyword?

Competition – Whilst you want to target keywords that have a decent search volume, you don’t want to target keywords that are super competitive. If huge brands (with huge budgets) are occupying the tops spots, competing with them is going to be very difficult. Aim to target keywords that have a good combination of high search volume and low competition.

You should always target different keywords for each blog post to avoid multiple articles competing for the same search terms.

Tools For Keyword Research

There are numerous tools available that will help you understand what people are searching for as well as how many people are searching for the term and how competitive it is. 

Free Tools:

The following keyword research tools are free of charge of charge and will help to establish what people are searching for as well as get additional keyword ideas.

Ubersuggest – See how many people are searching for a particular keyword and whether there is a lot of competition for the search term.

Keywords Everywhere – A free Chrome extension that provides information about particular keywords as you type them into Google. This is a great way to see how many people are search for a particular word, phrase or question at a glance.

Answer The Public – Find keyword ideas about a particular topic or niche.

Google Trends – See what’s popular and what’s trending.

Buzzsumo – See what content is popular in your industry.

Paid Tools:

There are numerous paid tools for keyword research which may provide additional and more accurate data. Popular tools include: Ahrefs, SEMRush and KWfinder.

Note: No tool is ever guaranteed to be completely accurate and the data may vary between tools.

Long Tail Keywords

What actually is a long tail keyword? Long tail keywords focus on the intent of the searcher and should attract people who are specifically looking for the information you provide. Long tail keywords are generally 3 words or more, they tend to be relatively low competition and don’t have a huge search volume. As they focus heavily on intent, they bring highly targeted traffic to your site.

Optimising your blog for long tail keywords is a great way to help get your blog posts to show up in the search results.

General Keyword

SEO
  • Broad
  • High search volume
  • High Competition
  • Not clear exactly what the searcher is looking for

More Specific Keyword

SEO Tips
  • More specific
  • High search volume
  • High competition
  • Still isn't clear exactly what the searcher is looking for

Long Tail Keyword

SEO tips for lawyers
  • Very specific
  • Lower search volume
  • Lower competition
  • We know exactly what the searcher is looking for
diagram showing what a long tail keyword is

SEO isn’t always about attracting the highest number of people, it’s about showing up for search terms that will attract people who are looking for the info your article provides.

Targeting more specific search queries is a great way to attract a highly targeted audience, it will also be easier to show up for these keywords as there is less competition.

Where To Put Your Keywords

SEO isn’t about placing your keywords in your content as many times as you can. Keywords should be used naturally where it makes sense. Overusing your keywords can actually have a negative effect. Remember to always write for your readers, not for search engines.

You can optimise your blog posts for more than one target keyword keywords but to keep it simple, focus on one main topic and optimise for one keyword that you want the post to show up for. Just because you only optimise for one keywords, this doesn’t mean your post will only show up for that keyword. Google is pretty good at understanding what pages are about so you’ll often find that posts will also show up for related keywords. Make sure you target different keywords for each post.

This isn’t definitive but as a general guide you should place your keywords in the following places:

  • Post Title
  • Meta Description
  • URL
  • Main heading (H1)
  • Subheadings
  • In the body of the post (ideally the first paragraph)
  • IMG ALT text

The page title and meta descriptions aren’t visible on the site itself but they are visible in the search results. You can include your keyword in both the title and the description but remember to write a concise description of the page that entices people to click!

You can include your keywords in URL of the post. The URL (sometimes referred to as the slug) can be changed in your website settings but will often be set as the post title by default.

Your blog heading (the title you see on the page) is your H1, don’t forget to use your keywords here. (It’s worth checking your wordpress theme or web building platform to make sure your blog headings are H1’s by default.)

Include your keywords naturally in the body of the post. Don’t overthink where to put them, if it reads unnaturally, it’s not the best place for the keyword to go.

A search engine can’t ‘read’ images but Google can index the ALT text. You can include the keyword here but make sure you accurately describe what the image is (you don’t need to put keywords in every image). ALT text is also used when anyone is browsing the site via a screen reader (such as anyone who is visually impaired) so it’s important to make sure every image has ALT Text.

Your page title and meta description will look like this in the search results:

image of a page title and meta description example

It’s very simple to create post titles and meta descriptions. If you use WordPress, one of the following (free) plugins will help with optimising pages and allow you to add meta data:

  • Yoast
  • All in One SEO
  • SEO Press

Other web building platforms such as Wix, Squarespace or Shopify should have built in options to add your meta data and image ALT tags.

Link To Other Pages On Your Site (Internal Links)

Internal links are links from one page of your site to another page on the same site. Linking to related pages or posts helps Google understand the relevance of your pages, it also helps Google to crawl the site easily. Adding internal links also helps keep your audience on the site longer as they are being drawn to other useful articles.

Link To Useful Content On Other Websites

You can also link to other websites from your content. This is a great way to provide additional information for your readers. Make sure you check the content you are linking to to make sure it is relevant to your article and aim to link to authoritative sources within your niche.

Submit Your Blog Posts To Google

Once your blog post is online, it doesn’t automatically mean it will show up in the search results. Your post won’t show up at all if it hasn’t been indexed. It can take some time for Google to index (and become aware) of all the posts and pages on your website. To speed up the process you can submit any new posts to Google to tell the search engine that you want the article to be indexed and added to the search results.

Submitting an article to Google doesn’t guarantee that it will rank and there is no exact time frame for Google to index your new articles. It’s essential for your pages to be indexed in order for them to show up so it is a good idea to submit each new article to help the post get indexed quicker. (If you don’t submit your posts and pages to Google, they will still get indexed, it just might take a bit longer). You can submit your posts to Google via Google Search Console.

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