Blogging is a great way to drive traffic to your website. Blogging regularly will help Google & other search engines to find your site, index more of your pages and increase your chances of making it to page 1 of search results.
Writing a regular blog will give you content to share with your network on social media and making your blog SEO-friendly will also help it to stand out in news feeds and catch the eye of potential readers.
But if you’re new to blogging, it can be hard to know where to start. Follow this basic advice to get you going and to develop good habits for following best blog-writing practice.
5 tips to make your blog SEO-friendly:
1. Blog Title
Your blog title will be more effective if it includes your keywords or phrases. It will help the search engines and potential customers find you and make it clear what the content of your blog is about.
I’ll use a blog I wrote for www.smartbags.co.uk as an example. Smartbags produce made-to-order ecobags. The introduction of a single-use carrier bag charge in Scotland provided a sales & marketing opportunity for their business. They wanted to show up in search results when retailers searched for information on the subject.
I created a blog called ‘Single-use Carrier Bag Charge Coming to Scotland Soon’. The blog appeared on page 1 soon after publishing. It was key to rank highly in the search results a few months before the charge launched as Smartbags have a 2-3 month lead time and they needed to be visible early so they could generate orders.
The blog helped Smartbags get found by Scottish retailers and they saw a rise in inquiries. Once the bag charge launch date got closer there were a lot more news and posts from other sources and the blog moved down the rankings a little, but it was at the top of page 1 when it was most needed.
As an extra bonus, because the title includes the right keywords and is a really useful article for Scottish retailers, it got picked up by the Scottish Grocer and they quoted it in their blog post on making the best of the bag charge. Result!
If you’re not sure what your keywords should be, think about your customer. What are they searching for? How can your blog help them? Here’s a great article from HubSpot about ‘How to do Keyword Research’
2. Blog URL
Reinforce the keywords and phrases you’ve included in your page title by adding them into the blog’s URL too. It’s easy to forget this step as often a URL is auto-generated when you start drafting your blog, so you must remember to go back and change it before you publish!
Continuing from the Smartbags example above – here’s a screenshot showing the URL and the page title. Notice that they are repeated to improve keyword density.
If you’re uploading images to your blog without editing the images data, then you need to change that immediately! All images should be optimized to reinforce your keywords and ensure that the search engines know what your images are about.
- Alt Text/Tag: This is the data the Search Engines use for indexing images so it’s important to provide this data. Make sure you reinforce your keywords and the title of your blog in the Alt Text.
- Image Name/Title: This is not needed for Google, but it’s useful for your visitors. It’s still worth getting some keywords in there too to reinforce what the article is about and should Google decide to start indexing this data in the future.
- File Name: Before you upload your blog images, make sure the file name includes your keywords. If your image comes up in an image search, it will look much better in the results if the file name matches your keywords/phrases, rather than have a random file name like IMG12345.jpg.
It’s important to structure your blog in such a way that is easy for the Search Engines AND your visitors to read.
Google uses information found under the Heading 1, Heading 2 etc. sections to find out what your blog is about and rank the information in order of it’s importance. That way, they can return a relevant results page to their users.
This tactic also makes your blog easy for people to read in real-life. It gives your blog a clear structure, makes it easier to skim-read for the key points and also make it’s easier on the eye (and therefore to read on screen).
For an example of how this works, let’s look at how I’ve structured this blog:
- Header 1: The Header 1 is ‘5 tips to make your blog SEO-friendly.’ This reinforces the title & page URL and is the main topic of the blog
- Header 2: Each of the numbered tips are formatted as a Header 2 (i.e – Blog Title, Blog URL, Images, Headers and Internal Links). Both Google and your readers can then easily see what the 5 tips are about. No need to wade through the text for this information, it can be seen clearly with a quick scroll down the page. It reinforces what the important points of the blog are to both Google and your readers.
- Header 3-6: I haven’t used any other headers in this blog, but you can continue up to Header 6 if you wish. That would depend on the length of the blog and the subject matter.
By ordering your blogs in this way you make it easier for Google to index them, improve how they appear in the search results, thereby increasing click-through rates.
5. Internal Links
Where possible, try to link to other pages on your website. If your blog relates to another blog post on your site, link them. If you are trying to sell a service, link to that service page.
The purpose of this is to keep visitors on your site for longer. It’s also a way to show Google that you are authority on that particular subject and have more than one blog/page on that subject.
It’s such a simple step but worth doing. If you have no other blog posts or pages on that subject do some lateral thinking!
This is my first blog post about blogging, so I don’t have any others to link too. But I can link to my services page for my retainer service, Blogging The Easy Way and my Blogging Blast Package. That way, Google can see I have other pages about blogging and I also get the chance to let my blog readers know about my services.
So, there you have it – 5 ways to help make your blog more SEO-friendly and to help potential readers & customers to find you. Get into the habit of following these tips and you should start to see results from your organic visits.
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Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net