So you have a blog, and you aim to provide useful posts that address your readers’ interests. Take that content a step further by optimizing those posts with SEO best practices in mind that will help inform search engines about your content, and make it more relevant to show up for a searcher’s query. In this post, we’ll go over five quick tips for optimizing your blog posts to boost search rankings and generate more Web traffic.
1. Create unique meta information
Meta information (also called Meta data) is one thing search engines use to understand the content of your site’s pages, including blog posts. When implemented well, it's often one of the first things a search engine bot encounters when crawling a page. So it's your first opportunity to tell the bot what the page's content is about. The most important components of Meta data are titles and their corresponding descriptions. Meta titles are brief lines of text that summarize the content of each post on your blog. A best practice for composing Meta titles is to include at least one of its keyword terms for optimization purposes, while keeping the character count to 55 (including spaces).
The Meta title is displayed as the “clickable” result in the search engine results pages (SERPs), so it’s essential to make it as compelling as possible. Meta descriptions elaborate on what a person can expect to see when they click through, and are comprised of a brief summary of the topic or page. You’ll want to allow for more room here -- up to 156 characters (again, including spaces) -- and incorporate the keyword term(s) you’re targeting without stuffing. For more on Meta information, refer to Part 1 of our guide to basic SEO concepts.
2. Optimize your content
Of course, your SEO strategy should also include optimizing the actual text of individual blog posts. While content is often naturally optimized simply by writing about a topic, it is a best practice to review the post with an eye for more optimization opportunities to include those keywords you are targeting – given that they naturally “fit” into the text. For more specifics about on-page elements to pay attention to, see Part 1 of our guide to basic SEO concepts, noted above, which also covers:
- How to handle Heading tags
- Video optimization
… And more!
3. Optimize your images
As with blog content, your images should also have concise titles and descriptions optimized with keywords whenever possible while avoiding “keyword stuffing” that the search engines may interpret as spam. Image titles (also referred to as “filenames”) should briefly summarize its content, with hyphens ( - ) separating the individual words. For example, washable-cashmere-sweater is preferable to simply cashmere_sweater, both in terms of keyword use (“washable cashmere sweater”) and search-engine friendly style (using hypens rather than underscores). Image descriptions (also called “alt text”) are key for helping those with disabilities who may be using screen-reading services understand what the images are on the page. Generally these descriptions are brief, and literally describe the image in question. For more on image optimization, refer to Part 1 of our guide to basic SEO concepts, as cited above.
4. Link appropriately
Linking internally to useful resources on your site that are relevant to your blog post, or externally to other (trusted) websites pertaining to your post, is another best practice for blog post optimization. It’s important to ensure that the external site you link to is reputable in order to avoid being hit with a Google Penguin penalty, as discussed in Part 2 of our guide to basic SEO concepts, as well as in our guide to link audits.
5. Include social media sharing
It is well documented that social signals such as Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook work in tandem with organic search rankings. (For more on that, Mark Mitchell discusses “social SEO,” explaining how social media and SEO work together on the BrightEdge blog.) A best practice for leveraging social media sharing of your blog content is to include “buttons” in the form of social media icons that readers can readily “click” to share or endorse your posts. At a minimum, it’s recommended that you include the power of 4: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. If your posts tend to be visually heavy with images, a Pinterest button would also lend itself to social sharing. (Note: For more info on this, Mark Mitchell discusses how to optimize your brand’s Pinterest presence at the BrightEdge blog). There you have it; we hope these five quick tips provide you with the preliminary info you need to optimize your blog posts. Refer to the resources cited to learn more, and if you have any questions, please note them in the comments below!