We have all been told ad nauseum that Google wants us to write more content, more often and keep it relevant. We agree 100%, but what a lot of our clients struggle with is optimising their posts when they are publishing them. Creating a perfectly optimised post is second-nature to us, but is completely foreign to most business owners and marketers. So here is a step by step guide to optimising your blog posts.
12 Steps to Perfectly Optimise Your Blog Post
To make this easy, we are going to use this post as our example.
- Decide what keyword you are targeting. This may seem like a “duh” moment, but many people don’t actually write with a specific keyword in mind. Spending a bit of time identifying what search term you want this post to rank for will make the rest of this a lot easier. We decided to target the keyword term “perfectly optimised post”.
- Include the keyword in the post title, preferably at the beginning. The title tag is the most important on-page SEO ranking factor and gives Google the strongest indication of what the page is about. The closer your keyword is to the beginning of the title of your post, the more important you are telling Google it is. We chose the title “The Perfectly Optimised Post In 12 Easy Steps”
- Make sure your URL is SEO-friendly. Google and other search engines do not like ugly URLs such as www.wsionlinebusiness.co.za/p=123?. Your URL should be short, and have the keyword in it for example http://wsionlinebusiness.co.za/perfectly-optimised-page.
- Include the keyword in your meta description. This is not a standard field in most CMS’s (content management systems) but if you are using WordPress, I recommend downloading a plugin such as Yoast SEO to manage your metadata. The plugin allows you to edit your title, meta description and meta keywords (among other things) within each individual post and page. Your meta description is vital as this is the information that Google will show in its search result, so it works like an ad for the page. If it is badly worded, it can result in low click through rates (CTRs) for your search term. The plugin gives you a preview of exactly how your post will show on a search engine results page.
- Use the keyword in your H1 Tag. This is your headline tag, and it is another way to tell Google what your post is relevant for. You should only ever have a single H1 tag on any page or post people! Our H1 tag above is 12 Steps to Perfectly Optimise Your Blog Post
- Use your keyword in the first 100 words of your page. This is another way to signal Google and say, “Hey, we are relevant for this term!” You should also try to use the term in the content when it would naturally appear. DO NOT sacrifice user experience for keyword stuffing – your content should be easily readable and not sound like it was written by a second-language writer.
- Try to use H2 tags including the keyword. If you have subheadings in your article or post, wrap them in H2 tags and try to include your keyword. Our H2 tag below, Get more mileage out of your perfectly optimised post, is a good example. You can have multipe H2 tags on a page, so if you have multiple subheadings, try and see if you can get your keyword or secondary keywords in to those as well.
- Include relevant Multimedia. There are multiple studies that show that images and videos increase time on page, and ultimately conversion rates. One of the ranking factors Google looks at is the time people spend on each page of your site, so by engaging people and keeping them on the page, you are telling search engines that you are providing good information to users and are relevant.
- Optimise your images. Make sure that you include your keyword in the title of the image as well as the alternative text (alt-text).
- Link to appropriate external sources. Outbound links to relevant pages helps search engines to determine relevancy and credibility.
- Create links from your post to other pages/posts within your website. This is another signal to Google that shows what topic your post is about. This is an important part of SEO.
- Don’t make your posts short. If you look at any pages that rank for reasonably competitive keywords, the pages that rank well have more words on them. So when you are writing your post, try to aim for 750 words plus. If you can get over 1 000, even better.
Get more mileage out of your perfectly optimised post
Make sure that once you have your perfectly optimised post published, you share it to all of your social media properties. This is part of your linkbuilding activities and is a good way to get traffic to your new post.