Blogs and SEO 101: Tips for Absolute Beginners
By now, most marketers know that good blogging can improve their Search Engine rankings, also known as Search Engine Optimization or SEO. But not all blogs help move your site listing up the rankings. While most marketers know how to create content that is compelling to their audiences, fewer know how to structure it in ways that improve the website’s SEO.
Here are six things you should be doing to improve your blogs’ ability to boost SEO.
ONE: Do Keyword Research
We’ve all heard about keyword research. You want your site to rank, but against which keywords. If you want more visitors to your veterinary practice, you probably don’t want to show up in searches for baking bread or how to change your car’s oil. But you may want your practice to appear when people search “what is wrong with my cat” or “What is that bump on my dog’s ear?” While it’s easy enough to guess which words your customers are using in searches, researching the search words and phrases takes the guesswork out of the equation.
Keyword research takes time and effort, but it doesn’t have to be pricey. Many keyword research sites offer free tools including AHREFs and Moz. It’s also possible to use the Google Search Console to discover the terms your audience is using when they search for businesses like yours. Simply Google your topic, click and hold on the search results, and Google will recommend similar searches based on what terms other people are using.
Using full phrases, or “long-tailed keywords” is a good way to research keywords. In the example above, we searched for “What is wrong with my cat” and quickly see that people are most concerned about eyes, ears, back legs, mouth, skin, not eating and sneezing. If a vet wants to get more cat owners through the door, this tells them which kind of blogs to write, and which phrases to use in the blog to get better search rankings.
This example also shows how some searches appear in the form of a question, so you may want to include certain questions in your blogs.
TWO: Use Images and Video, and tag it
While the words you use impact SEO, don’t forget that the images and videos you use are also important. Not only do images and video content make a page more readable and engaging, but they also allow digital marketers to label, or tag, images with alt text features.
Alt text was created to offer a description of an image to viewers who are unable to see it. Over time, Google started using those tags and alt text to inform crawlers. When you attach a descriptive, informative, and accurate description of the image that also includes keywords, Google indexes it, and the information fortifies your SEO rankings.
THREE: Don’t Post Duplicate Content
Google and other search engines will penalize you for repeated content, or duplicate content, While the occasional repeat of a short phrase or chunks of text or images is rarely a major issue, posting blogs, pages, or articles in multiple places, on or off your site, can be flagged as duplicate content, and can hurt your SEO. Google considers some types of duplicate content acceptable. To find out more about Google’s policies, click here.
FOUR: Like it or not, More is More
While your customers are unlikely to read long blocks of text, the consensus is that Google likes long content and rewards sites for posting 2,000 words or more per site. Some experts recommend 5,000 words or more, which is the equivalent of 10 letter pages of text. Cup O Content feels it’s important to balance your messaging strategy with your SEO approach. If you really want your customers or prospect to read your blogs, shorter is generally better. But shorter blogs are unlikely to help your SEO as much as longer blogs.
FIVE: Learn to Love Links
Links within your site and linking out to high-credibility sites are good for SEO. Outbound links, or links from your site to another website, feel scary to many marketers (I don’t want them to leave my site!) but a good outbound link strategy helps readers know more about key facts, and never links them to one of your competitors.
Internal links take readers to another part of your site or to another page (like the list below does.) Including several inbound links per article makes it easier for SEO crawlers to move around your site, indexing every page.
SIX: Create an SEO Habit
We’ve all been in a hurry to complete a project, write an article, or post a blog. So unless you make SEO a part of your blogging routine, you’re probably going to skip it. Start each blog assignment by creating a list of keywords you want to include in this article. Once the article is written, search the article to see how many times the chosen keywords are features.
BONUS TIP: Keywords should appear no more than once every 200 words. Don’t use the keyword more than once in a headline or subhead. Otherwise, you may get flagged as keyword loader, and Google does NOT like keyword loader.
Ready to get started? Put these tips to use on your next blog. Want to learn even more about blogs and SEO? Then check out these articles from Cup O Content.