Blogging and search engine optimization usually go hand-in-hand in marketers’ minds, but posting content can present you with a bit of a conundrum. Namely, if you start a blog for the purposes of improving your visibility on Google, how do you make your posts easier to find?
A quick search on Google reveals hundreds of different potential answers to this question. From printed books to lengthy blog posts and everything in between, there is a lot of information on the web about the “right” way to promote your blog and make it attractive to search engines.
There are two problems with the answers you’re likely to find, however. The first is that there is just so much of it – the advice can be overwhelming for a new blogger who is looking for simple answers. The second problem is that some of it is outdated, or just plain wrong. Following that sort of advice is obviously not going to help you grow your readership, either.
With that in mind, we’d like to give you a few simple tips for making your blog posts search friendly. They certainly don’t represent the last word on the subject, but they are best practices to help you get started:
Write without SEO in mind.
Believe it or not, thinking too much about search engines can actually ruin the effectiveness of your blog posts. So, for the first draft, think about what you want to say and put it into writing in the most straightforward way possible. You don’t want keywords getting in the way of an effective message. What's the main idea you are trying to get across? Does it answer a question? Do people care about the topic?
There's no RIGHT blog post length.
There are lot of opinions on this one. Some people believe short posts are the only way to go. Other camps say that posts need to be at least 2,500 words. Instead of opting for one or the other, consider what you're trying to say. Is it something complex? Does it require more explanation? Is the topic something that can be broken up into multiple posts? Also, if you update your blog daily, short posts may be more realistic. If you post less frequently, a more thorough, in-depth post may be more your speed.
Write meaningful titles and subtitles.
Once you have a draft to work with, research popular search terms and find a way to insert them – naturally and sparingly – into your title and subheadings. Those will get more visibility than the body text of your blog post, making your work easier to find. Make sure your title tells the reader what your post is about. SEMRush makes a great tool that shows the approximate number searches on a phrase, how competitive it is, what the cost per click (CPC) is, and what sites have the best rankings for it.
Use images to help tell your story.
There's truth behind the old adage, a picture is worth a thousand words. Find images that help support your post. If you don't have a library of images to at your disposal, use a service like Thinkstock to help source a good quality image. Give your image a name that supports your overall topic theme. For example, if your blog post is about using LinkedIn to drive conversions, give your image a name like LinkedIn-Conversion-Tips.jpg.
Link to other posts you’ve written.
Blogs work best as a marketing platform when you have lots of different posts to work with. To help readers find them, and see what you’ve written on different subjects, place lots of links within your posts to older entries. This also makes them easier for Google and the other search engines to crawl.
Promote your content via social media.
Make sure to spread the word about your posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and other social profiles. These will also help you attract a larger readership while increasing the search engine optimization value of all the content you put online. Social shares and engagement influence a site's visibility. Sharing your content on social media also gets it indexed very quickly.
Always include a call to action.
Think about what you want your visitors to do after they read your blog post. Maybe you'd like them to contact you or maybe you'd simply like them to read more content. Whatever it may be, make sure you make it obvious.
Starting and maintaining a blog is a great way to grow your search engine traffic, but you have to know how to promote your posts and attract Google’s attention if you ultimately want to be read by anyone outside your immediate company or family. Use our tips to get started, and then experiment with more complex and advanced methods later.
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