Here’s the thing: there’s a huge difference about having a blog, and having a blog that’s SEO-optimised. What many business owners do is to post on their blog once or twice a month, send the link out to their newsletter subscribers, and call it a day. Don’t get us wrong - this is great for engaging your existing audience, and it’s commendable that you’re able to stick to a schedule and update your blog regularly. But doing this doesn’t help you reach out to new consumers, and get more traffic to your website.
So, how do you get more organic traffic to your blog, and attract more potential customers? By nailing it on the SEO front, of course! In this article, we’ll cover all that you need to know about optimising your blog for SEO. Don’t sweat it – you don’t need to have a lot of technical know-how to get this done. Just go down our list and make sure you follow every step… that’s all there is to it!
#1: Make it mobile friendly
It’s 2018, and if your website and blog aren’t mobile friendly, you’re doing it wrong.
Consider this: back in 2016, mobile and tablet internet usage exceeded desktop usage for first time worldwide. Fast forward to 2018, and the vast majority of consumers are using their mobile devices to browse websites and purchase goods and services online. Obviously, you want your blog and website to be user-friendly to these consumers – so if you haven’t already mobile-optimised them, it’s time to get a move on.
User-friendliness aside, a properly optimised blog and website is also crucial to ranking online. Google previously announced that they would be expanding their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal, and that this would have a “significant impact” in their search results. On its AdWords Help page (and other materials), Google also states clearly and unambiguously that mobile-friendly sites rank higher in search results, and that if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, visitors are five times more likely to leave.
One big factor to take into consideration when it comes to mobile-friendliness is loading speed. According to Google, nearly half of your visitors will leave a mobile website if the pages don’t load within 3 seconds. Check that you aren’t using images which are unnecessarily large, and that the code on your site is optimised and lightweight. On top of that, clean up your plugins, and uninstall the ones which you don’t actively use. Last but not least, for those of you using WordPress, be sure to keep your site updated to the latest version.
Once you’ve cut down on your blog and website’s loading speed, do also check if your buttons are properly optimised. If these are too small, they’ll be difficult to tap on; if they’re too large, they’ll get in the way when your visitor is trying to navigate down the page.
Running in the same vein, you’ll also want to make it easy for your visitors who need to fill in forms on your website. How do you do this? By using dropdown menus, checklists and pre-populated fields to reduce the amount of text that these visitors need to type into their smartphone. The goal: to get your visitor to complete and submit the form without getting frustrated!
#2: Choose your focus keywords, and use them in meta tags
We’re not going to insult your intelligence by telling you to include your keywords in the body of your blog article – pretty much everyone knows to do that. But here’s some business owners overlook: doing the same for their meta tags.
Simply put, a meta tag (sometimes referred to as a meta description) is a snippet of text that describes what a certain page or article is all about. You know those two to three lines of text which appear below the page titles in your Google search? Yup, those are meta tags!
While many people assume that Google’s ranking algorithm takes meta tags into account, this isn’t technically true. That having been said, meta tags can indirectly help your blog to rank more highly. Here’s how it works: a well-written, properly optimised meta tag will attract readers to click on the link, and land on your website. Your clickthrough rate (CTR) increases, and Google takes that as a positive sign that people like your content. Because of this, they bump you upwards in the search rankings.
Here are a few best practices when it comes to meta tags:
First, always use your keywords in your meta tags. Let’s say a visitor searches on “best childcare centre”, and you’ve used that same keyword in your meta tag. Google will bold this particular phrase so that it stands out to the visitor – this highlights the relevance of your page, and encourages the visitor to click through.
Second, keep it short and sweet. We’re talking 320 characters, tops. Any more than that, and your text will get truncated by Google.
Last but not least, include a Call To Action (CTA) in your meta tag. The sky’s the limit here, but to get those creative juices flowing, we’ve included some examples here:
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#3: Optimise images
Now that you’re done optimising your body text and meta tags, it’s time to do the same for your images.
First, rename your image files. The search engines won’t be able to decipher the contents of an image named “DSC2001”, so change those file names to maximize your SEO juice! Here’s a tip: instead of opting for a generic file name (such as “red jacket”), try to be more detailed (“red puffer jacket” or “red leather jacket”).
After you’ve uploaded your pictures to your blog, fill in the alt attributes as well. These are essentially a text alternative to images, used when browsers can’t render your images properly. They also add SEO value to your website, and help you rank more highly in search engines.
Filling in your alt attributes is simple enough – just describe your image in detail, similar to how you did with your file name. Be careful to not overstuff your alt attribute with keywords, though – if you try and squeeze in something along the lines of “red puffer jacket 2018 down jacket fur cheap jacket”, you might just get slapped with a Google Penalty.
#4: Use tags/categories
Both tags and categories exist to compartmentalize your content. These allow your visitors who land on your website to delve into a specific topic right off the bat, instead of having to browse your blog content in reverse-chronological order.
While categories are meant to group your posts broadly, tags help to describe your posts more specifically. Here’s an example: let’s say you’re a fashion brand, and you want to publish an article on how to style the items from your latest collection. This article might go under your “styling tips” or “inspiration” category, and you could add tags such as “palazzo pants”, “cowl neck blouse”, etc.
As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t have the exact same tag and category (for example, an “inspiration” tag and an “inspiration” category). As you might imagine, this will be pretty confusing for your site visitors.
On top of that, eCommerce stores might also want to change the way they use their keywords. Think about it: if you sell sports shoes, and you optimize every single product page using this keyword, all your product pages will compete for the same “sport shoes” term. Under these circumstances, it might make more sense to optimize your category page for the “sport shoes” keyword, and optimize your individual product pages for the specific brands and makes of shoes.
#5: Write some killer content
At the end of the day, you want to provide awesome value to your readers. So write an article which is so amazing, they can’t help but share it with their friends and family! This will get you a ton of backlinks, which helps in boosting your blog’s SEO.
The key here is to focus on quality and quantity. You want to give your readers high-quality insights and actionable tips; at the same time, you want your article to be meaty and comprehensive. Unfortunately, there isn’t any hard and fast rule when it comes to what word count is ideal for SEO; while some studies find that the average word count of a Google first page result is 1,890 words, others will tell you that the sweet spot is between 3,000 to 10,000 words.
Okay, take a deep breath. We get it: as an entrepreneur, you probably don’t have the time to sit down and churn out these long-form articles on a regular basis. Don’t worry about it – you can always outsource your writing to a freelancer.
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