Improving Your Blog’s SEO Potential
By Richard Parkin
Your blog can be an incredibly effective tool for SEO, letting you build keyword-optimized content without compromising on your main site’s layout. That said, even with great content, most business blogs aren’t delivering the SEO results that they could be achieving. Here are four strategies for maximizing your blog’s organic visibility – and boosting your profits.
Depending on the specific sector your business works in, SEO optimization results can vary hugely – it takes a lot more effort and expertise to achieve great rankings for high-competition keywords, and those in expert-led fields like medicine may see very few results.
That said, SEO isn’t exclusively about rankings: it’s about improving the performance of your website, helping users as well as search engines. The user benefits of SEO can be particularly apparent when you focus on technical optimization – click through to get started with technical SEO in just 10 minutes!
If you’re just starting out with your blog, this advice can be even more effective. Even more so than in other marketing, having a solid foundation is a major advantage for SEO performance.
Wherever you’re at right now, there’s almost certainly room to start achieving even better SEO results with these blog-specific SEO tips:
Building Great Blog Links
Creating high-quality blog content can take a lot of time and money. Despite that, many companies are happy to just run posts just once before forgetting about them. As far as SEO goes, this is a total waste.
When a post is only linked from your blog’s navigation, it sends a message to search engine crawlers – the post isn’t worth mentioning. No matter how well-written the piece is, you’re not going to see good SEO results if you orphan the content, leaving it without any links.
Achieving top-quality SEO results for your blog requires an effective linking strategy. Ideally, your blog piece will be useful and well-written enough to organically pull in links from a wide range of websites, establishing it as quality content that deserves great rankings.
In reality, that’s unlikely to happen. Even the best-written blog isn’t necessarily going to pull in links week after week. That doesn’t mean building your ranking is impossible, though; it’s just going to take a bit more work.
Achieving quality links from other sites can be incredibly difficult, but building great internal links can (and should) be a standard part of your blog-writing process. Link to your past posts when you’re covering similar ground. Update and relaunch your old posts when there’s new ground to be covered. Link to relevant blog articles from your main site. Get your content circulating, and you’ll start to achieve real results.
Internal links aren’t as effective as high-quality links from other sites, but they’re an essential part of blog SEO. By linking back to pieces that you’ve previously written, you’re changing the message that you send to search engines: this blog is important and relevant – notice it.
Optimizing Titles for SEO
Are your blog posts titled well enough to make a difference for SEO? Search engine users need to know what they’re going to be reading, so engines like Google and Bing prioritize content with titles that clearly lay out what’s covered in the post.
While unclear, clickbait-style titles can be appealing, improving clickthrough rates for users on your blog, they generally aren’t going to deliver great organic placements (and always run the risk of a high bounce rate).
Titles aren’t the full story as far as SEO performance goes, but it’s worth considering whether updating your blog titles could have a positive impact on your visibility.
URLs for your content are also worth considering. Again, they’re certainly not a silver bullet, but keeping them clear can make a real difference in some cases. Don’t load up your URLs with numbers, codes and the like – keep them readable!
Optimizing SEO Content Length
Search engines like Google and Bing attach significant value to the level of expertise any given piece of content displays. This drive to prioritize expert content has become particularly apparent across the last few years, following the release of Google’s EAT update.
These search engines use various factors to judge expertise, with the comprehensiveness of content being one of the most important points to consider. As such, longer blog content tends to rank a lot better than short pieces, though it’s not necessarily a hard and fast rule.
There’s certainly no single perfect word count, with different experts coming to entirely different conclusions about how long blog posts should be. That said, most of these expert estimates are only separated by a few hundred words, with the majority of ideal SEO length estimates varying between 1500 and 2000 words.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that every piece of content needs to take up at least 1500 words. Shorter-form content is still able to rank well in some cases. However, it does mean that you have to consider whether your content is comprehensive enough to impress search engines while still being accessible for your users.
Effectively Using HTML for SEO
Are you marking up your blog content properly? If you’re just designing your blog posts to look good, you may be inadvertently damaging your SEO performance.
One of the most common markup issues for blogs is the misuse of H tags. These are designed to be used like headlines in a newspaper – there should only be one H1, explaining exactly what the piece is about. Using multiple H1 tags will throw off search engines. Instead, use classes to adjust the appearance of other H tag types if necessary.
Beyond that, you’ve got to consider whether your images are optimized for SEO performance. That doesn’t just mean making sure that they load fast enough/ aren’t oversized – it means adding descriptive, SEO-optimized alt tags and titles.
Tags and titles aren’t just for convenience – they’re another way to tell search engines what your content is about, proving that it’s relevant to searchers. Applying these across your images can provide a powerful new level of context and develop search results even further.