Web designers and Internet marketing experts like to remind you (as we often do) that having fresh content on your website – usually in the form of search-optimized blog posts – is the best way to attract attention from Google and its millions of users.
But what often goes unexplained is exactly how you make your posts visible to search engines. Today, we want to give you the basics of SEO for blog posts, in five steps:
#1: Know Which Keywords You’re Targeting – just as every blog post should have a single topic, it should also have one or two search phrases that it’s built and constructed around. Ideally, these will be used once in the title, once in a subheading (if it feels natural) and once or twice throughout the main content.
#2: Begin With the Right Title – your blog title should contain the search phrase you’re targeting, of course, but also something that’s catchy, descriptive, and inviting. In other words, make sure your title has a search visibility element, but do your best to appeal to actual readers and grab their attention. Make them feel like they just have to take a look before clicking somewhere else.
#3: Use Search-Friendly Subheadings – subheadings on a page give you two important benefits. First, they break up long blocks of text that would otherwise seem boring and/or overwhelming. Plus, they give you another chance to highlight important search phrases in a way that’s meaningful to Google’s spiders.
#4: Include 1-3 Internal Links – the same kind of thinking applies to internal links (hyperlinks from within your blog content to other pages on your website). These have important SEO value, especially if you use linking terms that apply to the content on the destination page. At the same time, they stop your blog post from being a “dead-end,” and give readers a chance to learn more while staying on your website.
#5: Mind the Details – lots of marketers choose to focus on search engine optimization details. These won’t necessarily make or break your campaigns, but adding alt image tags, descriptive and search-friendly descriptions, and search-optimized filenames can all give you that “extra push” needed to help climb up Google’s search rankings.
One quick word of caution: as effective as each of these five steps is in making your blog post more visible to search engines, you definitely don’t want to go overboard with any of these tactics. Google and the other engines want quality content that’s easy to crawl, not pages with so many keywords that they are hard for actual readers to understand.
In other words, go too far and your content is likely to disappear from Google altogether, so follow these tips but don’t try to force the issue.