Now that there’s so much content online (over 4.4 million new blog posts are published every day!), writing a good blog post is key if you want it to have any traction.
Want more people to find your blog posts via Google and other search engines? Here’s what to do…
1. Answer questions
The easiest way to optimise your blog for search engines is to research what questions people are already asking that relate to your business.
Once you’ve found a question to answer, Google it yourself and look at the current search results. Prioritise topics that aren’t currently answered in search engines, or ones you think could be improved.
2. Optimise your post for search engines
Once you’ve decided what to write about (ideally a topic where you’re an expert and can add value) you can set about optimising your post for search engines. Search engines use ‘bots’ and algorithms to determine what your page is about and there’s a few things that they look for…
The page title, or meta title, is the title that appears in search engine listings. Your title should include the search term that you’re hoping people will find your blog for. Make sure it’s not longer than 60 characters or it will get cut off.
Your meta title needs to be compelling so that people will want to click on it. This is easier said than done, so try keeping a note of every blog post you click on and refer back to them when you’re writing your own titles.
Meta titles need to be optimised for search engines. This doesn’t mean stuffing them with keywords, but they should include the words or phrases that people might search for. For example, “What is a marketing strategy & why does a business need one?” is one of our most popular blogs because it answers a question that people frequently search for. In this case, the title is compelling because it solves people’s problems.
The meta description is the piece of text under the page title in search engine results (or SERPs). When we write meta descriptions we include the key term that we’re targeting in the page title or meta title and include a short description of what the page is about.
Again there’s a space limit; a meta description needs to be 150 characters or it won’t be fully visible.
Use real words that describe the page in your URLs. For example if a page on your website was about PPC, your URL should look like this https://www.cognique.co.uk/ppc. Shorter URLs tend to perform better, so avoid making them too long.
Break up your post with relevant sub-headings. These should explain what your blog post is about and be correctly marked up (with H1, H2 and so on) so that search engines understand that they’re headings. Most Content Management Systems (or CMS’s), have a selector to allow you to add headings easily.
Sub-headings are important for blog posts for two reasons:
- They help make your posts more scannable. People tend to scan-read articles online, so sub headings help people to quickly scan and find the parts of your posts they are most interested in.
- For Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Correctly labelling your sub-headings using H1, H2 and so on, will help Google and other search engine ‘bots’ get a clearer idea of the content of your article, helping them to index and rank it.
3. Images, videos and graphics
Your images should have a SEO friendly name (that means real words, rather than something like DSC3400.jpg) and have an alt tag that explains what’s in the picture. Make sure images aren’t extremely large, as this can drastically slow down the speed of a website and negatively affect your SEO.
Images and graphics help illustrate a post and bring it to life. They also break up the text content, making them perfect for short attention spans!
Videos, gifs and infographics are also great ways to add interest to your blog posts – there’s no need to stick to the same format each time, break it up!
4. Create quality content
The better the content, the more likely your post will be found. Google prioritises content that humans love. They look at factors like how many people clicked, didn’t immediately click back and how many linked to you, to determine the quality of your content.
Hopefully this should be obvious, but the best blog posts also have great content. Whether it’s a how-to, round up, report or simply a diary of what you’ve been doing – it should be of interest to your intended readers. Because there’s so much blog content available, it’s important that your content is the best it can be to help it stand out from the online competition.
5. Make sure your whole site is SEO friendly
Finally, make sure your whole website is optimised for SEO, not just your blog posts. It should load as fast as possible (test yours on Google’s speed checker) and you might want to think about enabling https if you haven’t already. Most website hosting companies come with the free Lets Encrypt service, so you can activate your HTTPS certificate fairly easily. You’ll then need to configure a few options in WordPress.
If you use WordPress, there’s a handy and simple tool called Yoast SEO that can help with some of these tips. If you’re not using WordPress, but would like to know why we rate it so highly, then get in touch for a free, no-obligation chat about your options.