A blog is one of the best tools for regularly adding relevant, keyword-rich content to your website, helping it rank better for key terms on search engines. If your blog posts are optimized correctly, you increase your chances of getting found and connecting with people when they are actively searching for information related to your industry, products or services.
Make blog writing and optimization a smooth, and eventually an intuitive, process with these on-page optimization tips.
How Do I Know What Keywords to Use?
This is where a keyword analysis and buyer persona research comes in. Using a keyword tool (Google offers a free one), look for highly relevant keyword phrases with high searches and low competition/difficulty scores.
- Search volume: This is how many times that particular keyword phrase is searched on a monthly basis. While search volume is important, sometimes it makes sense to target a lower searched keyword that has less competition or is more relevant to the topic at hand.
- Competition/difficulty score: This score indicates how hard it is to rank for that particular keyword based on the number and quality of sites competing for search rankings. In Google, difficulty is measured on a scale from 0-1, with 1 indicating a highly competitive term.
- Relevancy: Keywords shouldn’t be selected only for search. Think about your audience and how they would likely describe their pain points and potential solutions/products. For example, a highly technical IT manager may use different terms than a small business owner when seeking similar information. Also, consider how well the keyword will integrate with planned copy. Don’t stuff keywords into a post, and not answer on the promise.
Based on the above criteria, identify one-to-two keyword phrases per blog post. Keep in mind that you can often combine multiple keywords into one phrase.
On-Page Search Ranking Factors
With keywords identified, incorporate them within your content, using a process called on-page optimization.
On-page optimization is just one piece of the SEO equation, which also includes factors such as number and diversity of inbound links, content freshness, external and internal anchor text, social sharing and more. That said, it is the one ranking factor over which you have complete control, and therefore, should not be overlooked.
For each blog post (or any webpage for that matter), target keywords should be placed within six key areas—title tag, page URL, heading, page copy, image alt text and page meta description. See the diagram below for an overview of where these items are located within a web page.
Blog Post Keyword Integration
Most content management systems (CMS) and blogging platforms have on-page optimization functionality built in for easy updating and management. While the exact setup varies by platform, these modules provide a simple solution without the need to know HTML. Note: The screenshots in the remainder of the post are from our CMS, HiFi. From here, you can update:
This is one of the most important on-page optimization factors, and appears at the top of the browser and as the headline in search results. Incorporate your target keyword(s) within the first few words for maximum impact, and limit the length to 70 characters.
This is the page's web address (e.g. www.pr2020.com//blog/blog-writing-basics-seo). While you shouldn’t overdo it, Google’s Matt Cutts (@MattCutts) explains that useful and descriptive keywords within URLs can help “a little bit" with SEO.
The page description is the snippet of text that often appears below your page title and link in search engine results. For optimal impact, be sure to include your target keywords, limit to 150 characters, and make your description interesting and/or action-oriented to encourage people to click.
Headings, or <H> tags, are subheads within a web page, coded in HTML and weighted more heavily than other page copy by search engines. Most blogging platforms allow you to tag content with <H> tags to create subheads that help guide the reader’s eye and break up blog article content. Try to include target keywords in <H> tagged headings and subheads when appropriate. Note: Most blogging platforms include levels of <H> tags (e.g. <H1>,< H2>, <H3>, etc.). For optimal performance, post titles should be <H1> tags.
When appropriate, incorporate keyword phrases into post copy. Keep in mind, however, that readability should always be the main priority. If a term does not make sense for a particular blog post, don’t use it. Avoid keyword stuffing.
Image Alt Text
Place keyword-rich alt text—in the screenshot below, this is called image description for user-friendliness—behind the images in your blog post. This text tells search engines what the images are for indexing purposes, and appears to visitors if images are unable to load.