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The Complete Guide to Blog SEO

by Naveen Agarwal

How did you find this blog post? 

Did you google something like “how to make my blog visible in google search,” “blog optimization tips,” or “how to increase blog traffic”? And our article came up in the search results? 

It’s because we did a good job with our blog’s SEO.

Blogs have some pretty evangelizing stats. Namely, each month, 77% of Internet users, the percentage of those who regularly read blogs, visit around 20 billion blog posts. During that same time, 70 million new articles are published on the WordPress platform alone. 

Moreover, websites that frequently post blogs are 13 times more likely to have a positive ROI, 57% of marketers reported gaining customers through blogging, and 72% of marketers described content creation as their most effective SEO strategy.

Blogging – whether it’s the sole purpose of your website or just another aspect of your business’s digital marketing strategy – can help you reap many benefits. 

For example, regular blog posting is useful for:

  • improving search ranking, as search engines recognize the quantity and quality of your content
  • increasing website traffic, as more valuable content drives your website up in the results
  • lengthening time spent on the website, as users read through an article
  • boosting user experience as you answer your visitors’ questions
  • building brand authority among prospective customers and search engines, as the quantity of your content on a certain topic can make you a household name in your industry

Running a website blog is an amazing opportunity for your brand to gain visibility, though, simultaneously, a great possibility to flop if your blog optimization strategy isn’t hammered out. 

Thus, for your blogging efforts to bring tangible results, stay tuned for our ultimate checklist for optimizing your website blog.

#1 Define Your Target Audience & Answer Their Questions

You (hopefully) already know who your target customers are, so why not use that invaluable data to optimize your blog accordingly.

Let’s say you run a wedding dress store. Your target audience is brides-to-be and generally anyone in the bridal party. So, your blogs should discuss topics your desired clientele may be interested in – from gown materials and styles to reception venues, honeymoon destinations, planning and decor tips, etc.

Regardless of your industry, topics are endless. Still, if your blog topics seem to have fallen into a rut, there are many amazing tools to help you out. 

Platforms such as Answer the Public, Ubersuggest, and KeywordTool.io pull data directly from Google and serve you with an abundance of user queries related to a keyword (phrase) you’ve previously typed in.

Google itself provides you with content-discovery tools, such as Keyword Planner and your website’s Analytics and Search Console data. Analyze the keywords you rank for and those you’d like to be more visible for in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and build content around them.

Another amazing, though the often overlooked tool, is the Google search bar itself. Simply start typing your query and go through the autocomplete suggestions rendered by users’ previous searches.

This brings us to our next point.

#2 Focus on a Single, Long-Tail Keyword for Each Blog Post

Suppose that you run a New York web design company. Your blog posts will primarily deal with design tips, trends, and practices. But to optimize your blog article for the best results, you have to build your text around a single keyword, plus its synonyms.

In this case, ranking for “web design” might seem alluring at first. First, however, the competition for this keyword is enormous. Second, the term is so ambiguous that you can’t really tell what searchers need when looking for “web design” – a definition, an example, an agency, latest trends, etc.

Instead of aiming for “big” keywords with high search volumes, focus your blog content on more specific, long-tail keywords. 

For example, start with a phrase such as “web design company NY” as the main keyword and use the above-mentioned tools to explore synonyms, like “NY web design agency,” or “best web design agency NYC.” 

Then, incorporate all relevant keywords into your article to help the search engine fully understand the meaning of your text.

Note that you should, at all costs, avoid keyword stuffing, i.e., repeating your keywords all over the text. Both your readers and Google will appreciate an easily readable text with a natural flow. 

Source: Google Autocomplete Screenshot

#3 Optimize Your Headline For Clicks

Once you’ve determined your long-tail keyword, it’s time to define the article’s title. Again, your title should be on-point and catchy, consist of between 6 and 13 words, and preferably address the reader directly.

Although it’s not set in stone, certain types of headlines work better than others. For example, list-based headlines are preferred, with how-tos, questions, guides, emotion-triggers closely following.

Headline creation is a science on its own – there are the most engaging numbers for blog titles, headline formulas, and power words to include in your title. Research different aspects of headline creation and integrate them into your blogging.

#4 Attention-grabbing Intro & Proper Structure

Remember your elementary school writing tasks – your teacher probably wanted your texts to have an introduction, body, and conclusion. Blog posts don’t differ much.

Go back to our introduction and try to discern our tactic to make you interested in reading the remaining text. We used two types of ‘hooks’ – one that taps into readers’ (in this case, your) experience, and the other reinforces the importance of the topic using relevant research and remarkable statistics. Whichever hook you’re using, make it personal to the reader.

When it comes to structuring your text, your body should be hierarchically split into subheadings – H2, H3, H4, and so on – remember that H1 is reserved for the headline alone. 

Proper structuring helps both users and search engines understand the flow of your article.

#5 Leverage WordPress Features & Plugins

Even if you don’t use WordPress as your blogging platform, here are some additional musts for an SEO-friendly blog:

  • incorporate appropriate internal links to guide your readers throughout the website, but don’t overdo it 
  • write alt tags and captions for images that accurately represent what’s on them
  • link to relevant and trustworthy external websites, but only a few, so you don’t risk a high bounce rate
  • use unique meta tags to increase organic CTR
  • use bulleted and numbered lists to make your content more ‘digestible’
  • create an XML sitemap
  • optimize the size of images for faster page load
  • categorize blog posts for quicker and easier discovery
  • create a URL that matches the text title to confirm to readers and Google what your blog is about

#6 Regularly Update Your Best Blog Posts

According to OptinMonster, only 38% of bloggers update their old articles, even though a third of them report achieving positive results from this practice.

Updating older blogs is especially beneficial if the article is well-written, with plenty of visitors and backlinks, and has a good ranking for the desired keyword. 

In this situation, you don’t want to lose all these gains by publishing a brand new text on the same topic but rather build on an existing piece with a reputation.

#7 Optimize Your Blog for Featured Snippets

Featured snippets have been around for some time; however, they haven’t proven quite useful for website owners. Namely, the CTR for the first organic result has fallen below 20% ever since snippets appeared. 

For users, snippets are great as they answer their questions in a single paragraph. For Google, snippets mean users don’t bounce from the results page to find their answer on a website. For websites, snippets almost equal no clicks, no visits, no conversions.

Still, you can turn this unfavorable stat to your advantage by optimizing your blog for featured snippets. Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut checklist for obtaining a featured snippet, but answering questions concisely, organizing your piece, using short sentences, and eye-catching images are some of the beneficial snippet optimization methods.

#8 Allow Guest Blogging

Welcoming experts and influencers from your industry to write a piece for your website helps increase your brand’s authority and visibility among target clients. 

Moreover, publishing a guest post is an amazing way to obtain a high-quality, professional, and free article.

#9 Acquire Backlinks

Backlinks are important for a site’s search engine optimization. They signal to Google that another website regards your content as valuable enough to link to it within their content. 

As your website builds backlinks, your site’s domain authority increases and search engines assume that it has valuable content worth ranking well in the search results.

However, in your backlinking efforts, avoid any black hat or gray hat practices, i.e., purchasing backlinks or exchange links with other websites. The only, and ultimately, the best thing you can do to support your backlinking efforts is to write unique, valuable, and quality content.

#10 Create Infographics

Infographics are a visual representation of information or data that are taking over the content creation world. Why?

Well, infographics combine the written word with visual elements, presenting information in a compelling way that encourages visitors to easily consume and share the content across the web.


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