There is a lot that goes into tweaking blog posts to get maximum SEO benefits. However, it is a lot of work and takes a serious time investment. Blog owners struggle to find the time to optimize SEO for their blog, and find time to create quality blog posts that will attract readers in the first place.
Blog owners could hire an outside firm to take over the SEO tasks. However, if you are on a tight budget, this may not be possible. Here are some handy tips to optimize blog posts to rank as high in the search engines as possible.
Too many blog owners skip keyword research. It doesn’t have to be that way because keyword tools are plentiful and many are free. The best-known is possibly Google’s own keyword research tool. Other well-known tools are Wordtracker and Google Insights. For blog owners with a little more cash to spend there are premium tools such as Market Samurai and Long Tail Pro.
Keyword research does not have to be painful. At a minimum, blog owners should seek to establish the main keywords they want to rank for. Once established, it is a simple matter of organizing the blog’s content to maximize the exposure of the selected keywords. This involves using the right categorizations, tags and on-page SEO.
It’s not worth the effort to go after highly competitive keywords using on-page optimization. You can tell if one of your selected keywords or keyword phrases is highly competitive by typing it into the Google search box framed by quotations. An example might be, “how to install word press.”
Check the number of search results that appear below the search box. If it is a very large number, over 70,000 or so, it is a highly competitive keyword phrase. Keep in mind that low competition keywords and keyword phrases generate highly-targeted traffic. Lots of traffic is not beneficial unless it results in high conversions.
Write Around The Keyword
Try to pick a desirable keyword phrase first, and then build a blog post around it. Or, choose a post from the archive of your blog, and modify it to that specific keyword phrase.
Make sure that the keyword phrase is about a topic that you would normally write about anyway. Do not just build a blog post around random keyword phrases. Your blog must be consistent in tone and theme.
A few years ago it was not uncommon to see a blog post stuffed with keywords and keyword phrases. For example, an article about teeth cleaning for a New York dentist might have the keyword phrase “New York dentist” peppered throughout the post, sometimes on every sentence. Google soon got wind of this trick and now penalizes such shenanigans. However, you still want to have a reasonable amount of specific keywords or keyword phrases appearing in your article.
A good rule of thumb is to include the keyword phrase in the post title and early in the first paragraph. It wouldn’t hurt to include the keyword phrase in the last paragraph as well and possibly a couple more times throughout the text. This gives search engine spiders something to chew on, and helps people know they are reading the topic they want.
Studies show that images improve readership of blog posts, especially the captions below photos. Try to find images that enhance the story. For example, if your blog post is about the dangers of underground fracking in the natural gas industry, include a photo or two that graphically shows what happens during this process.
It will enhance the understanding of the subject and get more people to accept your position. Make sure that your keyword phrase is used in the “alt description” of the photo or image. This helps when web searchers are looking through Google images or Yahoo images. A photo without an “alt description” will not rank as well for specific image searches.
Finally, a good practice to establish is to make sure the blog post URL is clear and reader friendly. An example of a poor URL is a long, confusing jumble of letters, numbers, tracking codes and resource indicators that do nothing to describe in simple words what the page is about.
In contrast, a clear and simple URL contains a short description of the content contained in the blog post. The post will appear in the search engine results pages with a useful URL link. This gives web searchers confidence they are heading in the right direction and will get the information they are looking for.
For example, the URL of this blog post is simple and to the point:
Take these simple measures to optimize your blog posts for maximum SEO exposure, and you will improve readership, boost conversions and advance the goals of your blog.