If you’re a blogger, you know half the battle is getting your content found in the search engines. In order to get your content ranked in Google, and other search engines, you need to understand the basics of search engine optimization.
Before you can start optimizing, you must first understand who you’re optimizing for. Below, we’ll explore the two main audiences to choose from as well as strategies for optimizing your content.
Blogging For Your Target Audience
This method requires searching for long-tail keywords that have low competition about a topic and writing a blog post around that keyword.
Obviously, the majority of the work here is done before a single work is written and the idea is to come up with a collection of low competition keywords that receives a decent amount of monthly searches. This then leads to organic traffic coming to your site.
The more blog posts you optimize around these long-tail keywords, the more organic traffic a site gets.
This does make logical sense and is used by a lot of people to drive traffic to a site. Delving deeper into this method, there are other things to do to ensure the keywords selected will successfully drive a percentage of the monthly search results to a site.
An example of this is, what type of sites are ranking for that keyword? If there are too many top tier sites ranking for that keyword on the first page of Google, then it is not a good keyword to use.
Top tier sites benefit from having a lot of pages with high page authority which is shared with other pages in order to boost the rankings of a new post. So if there are seven top tier sites ranking in the top ten for a particular keyword, then chances of a niche blog outranking them with a single blog post are limited.
Blogging For The Thought Leaders
The other school of thought to get more traffic to a site is to target those within your niche that have the power to have people visit your site.
These people tend to be those who have cultivated themselves as thought leaders within your niche. They have a large following and most importantly their website consistently ranks on the first or second page of Google.
This method involves writing blog posts specifically for these thought-leading sites. If they like what you have written they are then happy to share and refer their audience to your blog post by linking to it from their site.
Using this method not only gives you backlinks from authoritative sites in your niche, but it also builds your site’s domain authority.
After following this process a few times, there would be an increase in your site’s traffic.
Blog Writing Checklist
Once you’ve decided who you’re blogging for, use this checklist to ensure the content you’re developing is fully optimized.
Choose a relevant headline that addresses a topic your audience can relate to. A headline checker can sometimes be handy here too.
Focused Opening Statement
In the opening statement, speak directly to the reader and explain very quickly what the article is about and what they can expect to learn or know more about when they’ve read it.
A Sense of How We Do Things
By writing like you talk, you give readers a sense of how you think and how you approach client work. This helps potential clients better understand how you do things, what drives your approach, and our service offerings.
While your tone might not seem impactful to SEO, Google favors valuable content that helps your audience. By using terms your audience relates to and a voice they’re likely to engage with, your content will be seen as better and more valuable overall.
Title, Description & Keywords
These are chosen based on the overall content marketing framework (as mentioned earlier) and need to be completed in full consistently with the headline and headings (H1, H2, and H3) used throughout the blog. Keywords should be incorporated sensically in the headline and headings. Title tags and H1 headers have more weight than H2 and H3 subheadings, but all are important to a successful strategy.
Categorizing blog posts helps provide a curated list of articles for different client types and different client needs. By having a library of content (blogs, vlogs, and podcasts) you can point prospective clients to resources on your website to help explain concepts and answer questions that are commonly asked.
Give Existing Content a Lift
While creating excellent content going forward is great, don’t forget to take advantage of the opportunities in your old content. These six strategies take less than 10 minutes each and can have a significant impact on your search engine rankings.
1. Focus Keyword
Your focus keyword can be short, or long. An example of a short keyword would be “Blogging & SEO.” An example of a longtail keyword is “Blogging & SEO for Beginners.”
Always write your content with the focus keyword, or phrase, in mind. A good plugin for this is SEO Yoast. It allows you to enter your focus keyword, as well as meta description, which I'll go further into detail below.
Headers tell search engines the hierarchy of your content. From the title, all the way to H4, the styling you use tells search engines what’s most important, to least important. Be sure to incorporate a variety of longtail keywords sensically in your headings and subheadings.
3. Internal Links
Internal linking allows the search engines to understand your content silo and helps crawl all the pages on your site. Adding internal links to other relevant pages on your website builds authority and trust.
4. Outbound Links
Another way that builds authority and trust with the search engines is linking out to other authority websites within your niche.
5. Optimize Images
Images are important, not only for user experience but for helping that page rank in the search engines. When you add an image, Google doesn’t know what the image is about, unless you tell it. You do this by adding your focus keyword or phrase as the title of the image prior to uploading. Once uploaded, make sure to add the same focus keyword or phrase as your “alt attributes.” This will also help your image rank in the search engines under their image category.
6. Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are little snippets of information that show up in the search results. Aside from your title, it’s the first thing your user sees before clicking your website link. Make sure to have a good call to action to entice the user to want to read more.
While your meta description doesn’t as directly impact search engine rankings, it is the only snippet searchers see before clicking on your link. Be sure to optimize this for your audience and encourage action.
For any blogger, SEO is an extremely important skill that should be added to your content strategy. The basic tweaks can help your content rank at the top.
Search engine optimization is a long term game. Your efforts will take a while to show results at first. You’ll have to begin with infrequently searched terms before you can move onto more competitive keywords. It’s important to make this investment early. Waiting will only extend your time until you reach the top of search results.