Search engine optimization (SEO) for individual blog posts is a very important part of developing a successful blog. With each post added to the blog, there is a chance to reach more people and grow your audience. Each blog post provides an opportunity to talk about topics of interest and value for your clients and prospects, and be discovered via the keywords and phrases they’re entering in search engines.
Following are some tips to help you maximize the reach of your blog posts.
Focus On 1 Or 2 Keywords
Before you do anything at all, you should have a clear focal point for your post. You should choose one or two long tail keywords that align with something your target audience would be searching for and formulate a topic around that.
The idea is to keep the post focused on a specific topic and provide as much useful information as possible. If your post includes too many different topics it will be confusing for readers and lose clout with search engines.
Include Keywords In Strategic Post Areas
Using your keywords naturally in a few spots throughout your post should be obvious, but you also need to make sure that they appear in some strategic spots as well. There are several specific places the search engines will look to help determine what the main focus of the post is.
On most blogging platforms, like WordPress, the headline of your post will be used for the title tag of the post. The title tag is also the first line of the search result listing that Google will show in their results. About the first 60 characters of the title will show, so you should try to get your keyword(s) into the title within those first 60 characters. It’s all worth noting that the title should make sense as a headline or sentence. It should not just be a jumble of keywords.
Headers And Body
Where it makes sense, you should include your keywords in headings and throughout the body of the post. You should not try to work keywords in as often as possible, but just try to use them where they naturally fit. In most cases, if you’re concentrating on answering the question that would have brought the reader to your post in the first place, you’re going to be optimizing your blog post almost automatically as you go.
The URL of your blog post is another key point for optimizing. Search engines give more importance to keywords that appear in the URL as well as the page text. With WordPress, you can set the system to automatically create URLs using words in the post title, but that shouldn’t stop you from optimizing it yourself if you think of something that makes more sense. (The URL a post will appear under is called the “permalink.” It can be found just under the post title when editing.)
The meta description is the short description that appears in search engine listings under the page title and URL. Keywords that appear in the meta description carry a bit more weight with the search engines. It is important, though, that the description be logical and human-readable because it is shown as part of the search results. If you just stuff the meta description with keywords, you’re likely to push readers away instead of luring them in.
Make Your Blog Mobile-Friendly
The search engines have taken notice that more people are conducting searches from mobile devices than from desktop computers these days. In response, they’re giving priority in search results to sites that look good and are easy to read on the smaller mobile screens.
It’s very easy to check and see what Google thinks of your site. Just enter your site’s URL into their mobile-friendly testing tool and it will let you know if it finds any problems.
If you do find problems, you’ll need to speak to your site developer or WordPress theme creator. In most cases, updating or changing the theme will solve any issues. Look for themes that are listed as “responsive.” This means that they will automatically adjust to display correctly on different screen sizes.
Optimize Image Alt Text
An often overlooked area where you can further optimize your blog post is in the image alt tags. The alt text can help to improve the page’s rank as well as improve the image’s results in image searches.
Like the other areas we’ve already mentioned, the alt tags should include the keywords in a way that makes sense. Don’t just stuff the keywords in there thinking it doesn’t matter because most people won’t see them.
For example, let’s say you were optimizing your blog post for the term “legal services” and you placed a picture of yourself within the post. Don’t use an alt tag that simply says “legal services”. Try something more like “John Q. Lawyer provides affordable legal services.” It describes the picture and uses your keyword naturally.
Take Advantage Of Internal Linking
Internal linking (linking to other pages within your own website) is another great way to optimize blog posts for certain keywords and phrases. When search engines find a link to a web page, they look at the words used in the link to help determine what the destination page is about. This is one reason you shouldn’t link to pages using words and phrases such as “link,” “click here,” “this page,” etc.
You don’t want to go overboard, but if you can find two to five spots in your blog post where you can link back to some of your previous posts, go ahead and do so. Be sure to use descriptive words in the links. These links can help to boost your SEO results all around.
This may seem like a lot of things to remember, but if you use these tips as a sort of checklist as you put your next two or three blog posts together, all of it will quickly become habit. And once it’s a habit, it won’t take much extra time to truly optimize your blog posts for the best results. As with all things involving SEO, you’ll need to have some patience to see the results, but the time and effort will be worth it.