Search engines love website activity and rich content. For this reason alone, having a blog for your site is an extremely useful SEO tool. Any marketer can tell you common Google search ranking factors. Yet, many articles, including the ones by marketing professionals disregard fundamentals.
In this article, we will explore seven underrated SEO tips that will help you write SEO-friendly blog posts users actually want to read.
1. Choose The Right Keywords For Your Blog
The first step in choosing the right keywords for your blog post should be understanding your audience. Try thinking about this from a personal standpoint:
If you were searching for a new coffee shop in Ottawa, would you search "coffee shops" or "coffee shops in Ottawa"?
How about "best coffee shops in Ottawa"?
This type of research is best equipped with a keyword research tool.
While "coffee shops" seems like a great keyword to target given its high searches and low competition, it will be difficult to write content that speaks directly to this audience. Targeting long-tail keywords such as "best coffee shops in Ottawa" will be easier to cater to a specific audience and will result in a higher click-through-rate.
Now that you've found a keyword to focus your article around, make sure you're not stuffing it in wherever you can. Google refers to this practice as keyword stuffing and will penalize your site for doing so.
Including LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords in your content is a great way to further optimize your post without keyword stuffing. LSI keywords can be found on Google's related search list on the bottom of your results page; LSI keywords will display in bold.
There are also many free tools that can help you find LSI keywords - LSI Graph being our favorite. Areas to include LSI keywords are the body of your content, META tags, H1 and H2 tags, and image alt texts to name a few.
2. Content Comes First
While SEO tips and tricks are great, they should not be the foundation of your article. Once you decide on a topic and keywords, your main focus should be writing kick-ass content.
Save worrying about backlinks, load-times, and call-to-actions until you have content worth optimizing for.
Here are a few areas where you can stand out from the sea of average web content:
Write useful content
Though it may seem obvious, ask yourself if your topic is something people would be interested in. Is the content of your article unique from others? If your answer is no, decide on a different topic or make sure your article is answering questions your competitors are not.
Present skim-friendly content
The truth is, most page visitors will not read your entire article. Top SEO blogs organize content in a way that is easy to skim. Short paragraphs that get to the point are more appealing than massive walls of texts. In between, use headings, bulletin points, and visuals to keep your content easy on the eyes.
Looking for SEO article writing samples? Research top search results for competitive keywords - they know what they're doing.
Have a conversation with your readers
Using words such as 'you', 'we', and 'I' will make copy feel like a conversion and add a level of personal value to your content.
3. Don't Ignore Meta Descriptions
We know, meta descriptions haven't affected Google search rankings for almost a decade. Even so, ignoring them can impact your contents CTR on search engines and social media.
On the web, meta descriptions are one of the first elements a user will judge before clicking on your content. Adding target keywords within meta descriptions will display in bold on SERP. This helps links stand-out and increases the organic click-through-rate to your page.
On social media, meta descriptions are increasing in importance as major networks such as Facebook have removed the ability to edit link descriptions within posts. Meta descriptions are the default, and now, final link description of your post. Ensuring they are enticing will improve your posts CTR and engagement.
There's not much more to it. Not the most breakthrough SEO tip of 2018, but, will without a doubt make a difference if considered.
4. Make It Visual
I hinted at this when describing the importance of presenting skim-friendly content.
Make sure your blog has interesting visual content that references what you're talking about!
Not only does this make your article more appealing to the skimmers of the web, but for the more invested reader, visual references demonstrate and support your content in a way plain text cannot.
Here are a few ways you can support your text with visual content:
The easiest to create and one of the most useful forms of visual content in a blog. Particularly when citing specific areas of a webpage, screenshots help guide the reader through your content.
Though it can be time-consuming, summarizing your content with an infographic is a great way to add high-quality visuals to your blog post.
According to Unbounce, in the past two years alone, search volume for infographics have increased up to 800%!
Additionally, infographics are useful when promoting your content as they can be repurposed on social media as time goes on.
While having an in-house photographer and designer is great, sometimes, we need a quick, high-quality image to finish the job. Thankfully, free stock-image sites such as Pixabay make it easy with a database of over 1 million high-quality photos, illustrations, and vector graphics.
5. Pay Attention to Page Load Speed
Give your content a chance!
If your page is taking too long to load (> 2.5 seconds), many users will bounce. With the release of RankBrain in 2015, Google's AI ranking algorithm, high bounce-rates can impact your pages Google rank.
Check your pages load-time with Google's PageSpeed Insights.
Two major factors that will impact your pages load-time are:
Cheap web hosting
Websites that are hosted on a low-quality server are slow from the get-go. No amount of edits can bring your page up to speed if the initial server response time is sluggish.
According to Google, an ideal server response time is <=200ms.
If you're in Canada or USA, we recommend hosting your site through Inmotion Hosting. With a world-wide response average of 149ms and as fast as 26ms average in
Compress all on-page resources!
One of the easiest ways to improve a pages load-time is by compressing all on-page files. Having a visual rich blog is great, but if you're not careful with file size, it will affect load-time and skyrocket your pages' bounce-rates.
Images are by far the most common form of media on a blog; which is why you should be careful of your images file sizes!
We recommend cutting down on your image dimensions if you can and exporting in a lossless format such as JPEG. Lightly decreasing JPEG quality can further reduce file size in an indistinguishable way.
6. Promote, Promote, Promote
While an amazing blog should speak for itself, the abundance of online content will make it hard for users to find your content without promotion.
In my opinion, you should be spending as much time promoting your content as you spend creating it.
If an article takes you 4 hours from start to finish, doesn't it deserve a few hours of promotion for all the hard work you spent on it?
I think so!
There are many great ways to promote content online. Considering we're focusing on SEO blog tips, one of the best crosses of promotion and SEO is gaining shares/links. So how do you get users to share your content?
Start with sharing your own. . . the right way.
Sharing content on as many social networks and as you can is great, but the way you do this is critical. Keep in mind, users on Facebook intake content in a different way Instagram users do. If you're sharing content in the same way on LinkedIn as you are on Tumblr, the results will take a turn for the worst.
Use each social network for what it's meant for.An example using this article: SEO Blog Tips 2018: 7 Underrated SEO Tips for Blogs
- Post your article with an emotional and captivating visual.
- Include dialogue for discussion in the post copy.
- Instagram is visual - create and post an infographic summarizing the article. Even better, create an animated infographic and post the video!
- Post your article on targeted LinkedIn Groups that will appreciate your content.
- Share your article with the public and include "LinkedIn-friendly" image and description to drive CTR.
LinkedIn-friendly: LinkedIn is a business social platform, present your content as so.
- Tweet your article using popular niche hashtags related to your topic.
- Tweet at users asking questions your article can answer.
- Post to your topics specific subreddit.
Reddit is a tough crowd, but, if you play your cards right can be a great network for promotion.
7. Never Quit Optimizing
You made it!
Following long hours of research, writing, design, and edits, you finally click 'publish' and send your content racing through the world-wide-web. You went the extra mile in promoting your blog post, sipped on a well-deserved cup of coffee, and now you're on to the next one.
I admire your dedication, but don't forget about all the hard work you spent on your last post!
One of the biggest mistakes you can make with a blog is ignoring older articles. We all want our pages to be at the top of search results, but if the content is outdated and analytics are ignored, search ranking and user experience will suffer.
Here are a few ways to optimize your articles, weeks, months, even years after they first go live:
Link & Incorporate Past Blogs in the New!
If your new article relates to content you've published before, crosslink the relevant keywords to the respective article.
Add LSI Keywords Based on Search Results
Tools such as Google Search Console are a great way to identify how users are landing on your site pages. If there are keywords or search query phrases that are resulting in high clicks, add them to your content! Incorporating these keywords into your blog will result in more traffic, search ranking boosts across the board, and will make your content more specific to what users are looking for.
Keep Promoting & Re-Purposing Your Content
We already went over the importance of updating old content. If you put in the time to keep your content up-to-date and relevant, it will always be useful to an audience.
So why not keep promoting it? Are you afraid of coming across as a spam?
There are many different ways to promote and use the same content in a way that's fresh to your audience.
Change-up the format
Your blog can transform into an infographic, video, audio podcast, and more!
Deliver the same format in different ways
Want to post the same blog post on Facebook or Twitter over the course of a year?
Make the title, image, and post description different from your last posts and it's as good as new! Try being creative with this one and let us know what your methods are in the comment section below.
Whatever your industry is, put these strategies to work and start ranking your blogs higher on Google.
Don't have the time but want the results?
Transpera offers blog writing and SEO optimizing services.