Millions of bloggers around the world publish fresh content every day.
With so many other companies blogging too, why should you invest time and resources in business blogging? Is the blogging market totally saturated?
Business blogging is no longer a nice-to-have for your company, it is necessary for several reasons.
Blogging is important because it provides your potential customers useful information to inform their buying decisions, which helps improve your company’s credibility and thought leadership.
As well, 79% of companies who blog reported a positive ROI in their inbound marketing efforts. Marketers who invest in blogging efforts also see 67% more leads compared to their peers who do not blog.
Now that you have enough reason to start blogging, what can you do to help your posts stand out from all the noise out there? By making your blogs more SEO-friendly and relevant to search engines, you’ll be able to increase your blog visitors and traffic.
- Search engine optimization is a critical part of every blogging strategy. It’s the only way to drive organic traffic consistently.
- SEO is also essential for your blog because it helps you explore topics and ideas that your audience is talking about and interested in learning about.
- For blogs, SEO is something that requires consistent attention as part of your overall strategy. Follow best practices to ensure your content is on track to rank and deliver results.
What is SEO? Why Should You Care?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of best practices to help improve the ranking of your blog on a search engine’s results page, such as Google.
SEO involves using common keywords that web users search for when using search engines, as well as links to other websites and social media channels. All these practices increase the relevance of your blog to search engines, which helps your posts climb in the rankings and ultimately drive more traffic to your site.
If you don’t prioritize SEO for your blog, why bother with the investment? SEO ensures that your content appears in the right searches so you can reap the benefits of blogging like:
- Cost-effective organic traffic
- Highly targeted and relevant traffic
- Quality leads, visitors, and engagement
- Establishing your brand’s authority
- Earning trust from your audience
- Building a strong brand image
9 SEO Best Practices for Blog Traffic and Engagement
How then do you ensure your posts are SEO-friendly? Here are nine simple tips to help you optimize your blogs for SEO.
1. Choose the Right Keywords
Search engines rely on keywords to determine what is and isn’t relevant to a web user’s search. A web user typically types in words or a series of words into the search engine related to the topic of their choice. The search engine then lists the top results that it determines to be most relevant to the topic.
To optimize your blog, you should identify and incorporate keywords that are highly relevant to your given topic into your post. Google’s Keyword Tool is one of the many resources out there you can use to look up a keyword’s average monthly searches, relevance, and competitiveness as well as similar keywords.
Make sure the keywords occur organically throughout your post. Don’t try to “force” keywords into your blog, as this will not help boost your post’s relevance.
2. Optimize Your Title
80% of readers don’t actually make it past the headline so it’s extremely important to create a compelling title. You must pique a reader’s interest and capture the essence or key concept of your blog.
Try to keep your headline under 66 characters if you can, as this allows the entire title to fit on a search page. You’ll also want to incorporate top keyword phrases you’ve used throughout your blog in the headline to increase its relevance.
3. Only Create and Publish Original Content
It’s important to create original content that provides useful information to your readers. Google loves original content because it helps its algorithms do their job. No one wants to click on three blogs offering the same tips word-for-word when they need nuanced answers. Google knows this.
When writing your blog, use subheadings to help break up your copy and to also help search engines scan and index your post more easily. This will tell Google what your blog is about and help you squeeze the effectiveness out of your original copy.
Where appropriate, include at least three links to other sites, social media channels, or pages on your blog to help drive additional traffic to your post. When you link to other sites, they may also link their content to your site, which helps increase your traffic as well – but only if it’s original.
4. Copy Should Be Long but Scannable
Longer form content – posts of over 1,000 words – tends to rank better on search engines. In fact, the top-performing marketing blogs are around 5,700 words. Generally, articles over 3,000 words get:
- 3x more engagement
- 4x more shares
- 5x more backlinks
But if your blog is one large block of text, viewers who initially see it may be discouraged from reading more. Small tricks help you avoid that. For example, you can show a short preview of your blog and use “read more” tags or buttons for readers to click through to continue reading.
Most people also only read about 28% of the words in a blog post during an average page visit. To make your post more scan-friendly, use short paragraphs, bullet points, number lists, and block quotes to help your readers pick up the key points quickly and find the information they need.
Don’t forget to include call-to-action in your posts, such as promoting your social channels or other blogs, as this helps generate more traffic for your site.
5. Always Include Relevant Images
Generally speaking, blog posts with images tend to be more popular than those that do not have images. More importantly, though, images help break up your copy and can make your blogs more memorable as people remember images 6 times easier than text.
Even more importantly, Google wants your images. Apps and search engines are upping the image recognition game with visual search elements and in-SERP snippets. In other words, you should follow their lead and include more images.
Don’t forget to add titles or image captions using your top keywords along with ALT tags and credit your sources.
6. Consider Your Meta Description and Tags
Adding a short meta description to your blog makes it easier for search engines to find your post. A meta description should accurately summarize your blog and include your top keywords.
You’ll also want to create relevant categories and tags to help organize your blogs, so readers can find specific posts quickly from your homepage or main blog screen. Tags can also organize themselves by popularity or other factors with the right WordPress plugin.
7. Include Autocomplete Synonymous Keywords and Questions
Run a search on Google and you’ll unlock dozens of keyword and topic ideas – synonymous ideas. Google is providing valuable information here.
The search engine wants to answer every user’s inquiry as quickly as possible. Ergo, if you can answer more relevant questions and synonymous queries, SEO for your blog will improve. See why the long word counts are so beneficial?
8. Pay Attention to Your Subheadings and Bulleted Lists
As you browse those synonymous keywords and questions, consider them as subtopics for your blog’s subheadings and bulleted lists.
Subheadings are good for more than breaking up your copy – they also help Google see what’s inside your blog and scan the copy just like a human. The same goes for bulleted lists and numbered lists. Why not give Google what it wants?
9. Be Picky About Your Links
Don’t throw links into your blog just because they’re somewhat relevant. Google wants to see links in your blog because it proves you’ve done your research and you’re citing your sources.
But Google doesn’t want you researching and citing any old source. No, Google wants quality. Generally, sites that enjoy a low Alexa score are best for SEO for your blog.
However, lower popularity websites with a high Alexa score might mean high relevancy and high authority in your industry, so don’t count them out if they’re important – like professional organizations or niche authorities.
Always Prioritize SEO for Your Blog If You Want Serious ROI
Ask yourself why you bother with your blog. What’s it all for?
If you’re like most, you want to reap the benefits of organic traffic instead of paying for ads. You want to earn traffic from Google, engage visitors enough to stay, and eventually convert them into customers.
You can’t do any of that without SEO for your blog – consistent SEO. SEO isn’t something you do once or every few months. You must integrate SEO into your overall blogging strategy. From your topic selection down to publishing, SEO must play a starring role.