SEO, when implemented properly over time, can provide a major boost to your blog traffic and your overall income. For each blog post you write, you need to have a clear, repeatable, SEO process to make certain that you’re maximizing search engines.
Follow the steps below to fully optimize every blog post you create.
Strategies for improving every post’s SEO
1. Write for Your Target Audience
It’s tempting to try to write posts that appeal to a broad audience – because you don’t want to limit the number of people you reach – but focusing on your target audience is key to building strong SEO. Knowing who you’re writing for, as specifically as possible, will allow you to craft content that addresses their needs, uses their language, and meets their expectations.
2. Do Keyword Research
Find out what your ideal audience is searching for so that you can provide content that answers their questions, and include the search terms strategically in your post. (more on this below).
An easy way to do this is to enter a search term into Google and look in 3 places.
Search Autofill. When you start typing your search term, Google will provide options to complete your search. These options are based on your own search history, but also common searches done by others.
People Also Ask. Below the first couple of search results you’ll find 3-5 other questions that other people with your inquiry have asked.
Related Searches. At the bottom of each page Google provides additional searches that others have done that are similar to what you’ve searched for.
I also recommend that you install a free Chrome extension called Keywords Everywhere. It will provide additional insights on keywords, including long-tail keywords.
A long-tail keyword looks more like a sentence than a typical 1-2 word keyword. For example, if the keyword is “pool cleaning” the long-tail keyword might be “how to start a pool cleaning business.”
3. Add Images
Images themselves don’t have a direct impact on SEO, they do increase the likelihood that your post will be clicked on, which increases SEO. Be sure to use or create images for your posts that are related to the content in every post.
4. Craft a Great Title
Post titles, sometimes called headlines, not only impact your SEO, but they’re also a massive factor in whether or not potential readers click on your post. A great post title clearly states what the post is about, asks a question, and/ or creates curiosity in the reader.
5. Include Internal Links
When ranking content, Google weighs the trustworthiness of websites and individual blog posts. One factor in this measure is how many other pages link to your content as a source. While links from other sites are considered to be more beneficial, links from your own posts also help.
When appropriate, link to other posts you’ve written.
6. Use Keywords Strategically
For each post you’re going to determine a primary keyword. This keyword (or short phrase) should be used in specific places and ways to maximize your SEO return.
Title. Your keyword should be included in the title of your post, preferably phrased the same way, but there is some flexibility.
URL. Like the title, you want to format your url to include your keyword.
Meta Description. If you installed the Yoast plugin I recommended last week, there is a space for you to create a meta description. This is the 160 character description that appears in search engine results.
Headers. Not only do headers help organize your content and make it easier to read, they’re read by Google differently than the body of your post. Headings are assumed to be an outline of your ideas or key points. The largest header, known as H1, should include the post keyword. Typically WordPress sets your post title as H1, so if you’ve included the keyword in the title, that’s set. You can use the keyword in lower level headers as well.
In content. Within the blog posts that you create, it’s beneficial for your blog post SEO to use your keyword. You can also use variations on that keyword – like those you’d find in a related search – and 1-2 long-tail keywords you discovered during your research.
Image Names. When you upload images to WordPress, give each image a title that includes the keyword. This not only boosts SEO, it also makes finding images easier.
Additionally, when you insert an image into a post, be sure to include the keyword in the alt-tag (also called alt-text).
7. Stick to Your Niche
Google doesn’t like to be confused. If the posts that you publish each week aren’t related to the niche you’ve chosen, it will negatively impact your SEO. When you stay on topic it serves to strengthen your authority with search engines.
8. Build Backlinks
As your reach grows and you build relationships with other bloggers you will find your own blog posts being cited as a source for others. This builds your authority with search engines and helps them see you as a trusted source.
Even if others aren’t linking to you within their content, you can earn backlinks by guest posting or being featured on other websites.
Search engines also place higher value on backlinks from highly trusted sources, so choose your collaborators wisely.
Strategies for improving your site’s SEO
Try these tricks for getting more bang for your SEO buck site-wide.
9. Update Old Content
If you’ve got content on your site that’s more than a year old, review it to see if any data needs to be updated, or if the content is still accurate. Depending on your niche, things can change quickly.
You’ll also want to check for broken links or other links that don’t go where you want them to anymore. Use a free tool like this one to run a site-wide check.
10. Focus on Page Speed
Search engines factor in your page’s speed when ranking your posts, but that’s not the only way speed can impact your SEO. Your bounce rate and the average length of time people spend on your page are also part of the algorithm, and they’re affected by page speed as well.
Check out this post from HubSpot on how to improve your site speed.
11. Make Your Posts Mobile Friendly
With society being increasingly dependent on our phones, is it any wonder that making every aspect of your site mobile-friendly is a necessity. If you have the Divi Theme on your website, be sure to use the tool that allows you to check what each page looks like on mobile devices.
Remember that SEO takes time to have a measurable impact on your blog. If you put consistent effort in and focus on Rule #1 (provide value first), your audience, following, and income will grow!
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