A whopping 90.63% of online content receives no organic traffic from Google.
Think of all the time, energy, and effort it takes to write a blog post. Unfortunately, most people jumping on the content marketing bandwagon are bound to fail with nothing to show for the effort.
As the competition for organic traffic heats up, everyone is trying to secure their slice of the search pie.
To help you get ahead of the pack, we created this 7-point checklist to help you optimize your blog post like a professional SEO.
1. Include the Primary Keyword in the Page Title
The title tag is an HTML element that specifies the title of a web page. It appears on the search engine results pages (SERPs), at the top of the browser tab, as well as in social media posts and unfurled chat messages.
The purpose of the title tag is to clearly convey to users, search engines, web crawlers, and everyone in between what the page is all about.
As an example, the screenshot below illustrates how where you can find this tag in the SERPs:
The title tag is the most powerful HTML element from an SEO perspective, so it’s vital to make sure you spend some time optimizing it.
When writing a blog post, the golden rule is to prioritize readers over search engines.
The blog title should be a catchy headline that entices readers to click on the link in SERPs, not just an attempt to get picked up by crawlers.
Here are a few simple tips to help you maximize the SEO value you get from the title tag each and every time:
- Try to place the primary keyword as close to the beginning of the title tag as possible.
- Make sure the length of the title tag does not exceed 65-70 characters to avoid having it truncated by search engines.
- Include the primary keyword only once in the title tag - search engines frown upon keyword stuffing.
- Make your title tag unique and original. Avoid using it as a duplicate of the header tag or meta description.
- Write your title tag in a way that entices the user to click to boost the organic CTR - when done the right way, this simple trick can help you outrank the competition with deeper pockets and a more robust backlink portfolio.
These simple tips will help you lay a solid technical SEO foundation to maximize your chances of getting ranked high in the SERPs.
2. Write a "Clickable" Meta Description Tag
A meta description tag is a 160-character snippet that appears below your title tag in the SERPs.
Its purpose is to help users and search engines gain more context around a given web page.
Here’s how this tag looks like in the SERPs:
From an SEO perspective, treat the meta description tag as a free ad that must be written in a way that entices the user to click on your result whenever they stumble upon it in organic search.
Below, we outline some tips to help you get the most out of your meta descriptions:
- Use the tag to provide an accurate description of the page.
- Spruce up your copy with a call-to-action to improve your organic CTR.
- Write unique meta descriptions for each page.
- Keep your meta descriptions short and to the point - ideally, they should not exceed more than 140-180 characters.
- Add more action verbs, and try to avoid using the passive voice.
- Include the primary keywords once in the tag.
- Try adding emojis and special characters to break the eye pattern.
Additionally, consider using longer-tail keywords to outmaneuver the competition going after high-volume, top-of-the-funnel search terms.
This will help you rank for a wider range of keywords beyond just the primary search term, generate more organic search traffic, and speed up the process of gaining traction in the SERPs.
3. Use Keyword-rich Headings and Subheads
Headings and subheads are a great way to break up your content into easily digestible sections and map out the structure of your blog posts (from <H1> all the way to H6) both for your visitors and search engine bots.
Well-optimized headings should be aligned in a way that tells search engines that your blog post covers the topic you chose completely and exhaustively.
Ideally, your blog post should provide the most relevant, in-depth, and accurate answer to the questions you’re trying to answer.
To help you stand out from the crowd, keep these things in mind when it’s time to optimize your headings:
- Include secondary keywords in your header tags - without hurting the UX.
- Avoid keyword stuffing at all costs.
- Ensure your pages follow a logical heading hierarchy.
- All pages should have the H1 tag in place.
- Do not use more (or less) than one H1 tag per page.
- Make sure your H1 tag is placed at the top of the page content.
- Ensure the H1 tag and the title tag do not use the same copy.
These seemingly simple steps may take you a long way and dramatically increase the number of keywords your blog posts end up ranking for in organic search.
4. Include Internal Links to Related Articles
Apart from content, having high-quality backlinks pointing to your blog post remains a crucial ranking factor that can move the needle in the SERPs.
While being caught up in the pursuit of external links from third-party websites, most companies completely overlook the untapped potential of internal links.
Internal links take no effort to secure and cost you nothing to acquire. On top of that, you have full control over the anchor text and the number of links you can create while being completely protected from anyone taking down or de-indexing those links. - which happens all the time when it comes to link building.
Internal links are just as important as backlinks from third-party websites.
But how do you know what pages would be the best fit for your blog post? Professional SEOs conduct comprehensive internal link audits to accurately determine the gaps in virtual siloing (the way the internal links are set up on the site).
For those looking for a quick (but much less effective way) to do that, conducting a sitewide search using the primary keyword is the best free way to go about finding internal linking opportunities.
Simply pull up Google and conduct a custom search:
site:yoursite.com primary keyword
The search returns the list of the most relevant pages on your website based on the primary keyword.
Using Google search operators, you can even zero in on a certain segment of your website:
Use this method to pick out a few pages on your website and add some internal links to your blog post.
This can help drive additional pageviews, decrease the bounce rate, and retain the user on your website for a bit longer.
This might seem like a daunting task at first, but in reality, it's not that difficult. You don't have to go out of your way to write thousands upon thousands of links into every blog post.
Just make sure you link to other relevant pieces of content within your website at least three times throughout the body of a blog post.
5. Include Primary and Secondary Keywords in the Body of Your Blog Post
As sophisticated as search engines truly are, they still need to rely on certain cues to understand and categorize web pages. Google relies on the semantic relation of the words within your content to determine what you are writing about.
For that reason, it’s crucial to push them in the right direction by adding primary and secondary keywords throughout your blog post.
It's always a good idea to include the main keyword of your blog post at least once in the first paragraph and once within the body, just so Google knows exactly what your article is about.
On-page SEO optimization is not about stuffing a blog post with keywords and calling it a day - that would only lead to the wrath of search engine algorithms, followed by a sharp drop in organic visibility.
Try using synonyms and semantically related phrases to make sure you cover all of your bases.
For instance, if your blog post covers the key components of a laptop, including words like “processor,” “hard drive,” “screen,” and “keyboard” creates a semantic web of meanings that communicate to search engines the topic of the blog post and how extensively you managed to cover it.
6. Add Images, Animations, and Videos to Your Blog Posts
It's 2021, and graphic content runs the show. In fact, images show up on 27.9% of search queries.
Apart from making your blog post more informative and easier to read, adding images and videos is a great way to elevate the SEO quality of any web page and potentially secure some organic traffic from Google Images.
Additionally, it's common knowledge that content containing images is more shareable on social media, increasing your reach and the chances of your post going viral.
And even if you don't have a graphic designer or video editor in-house, it's actually pretty easy to find copyright-free images that would be a good fit for your blog post.
Here are some of the websites you can use to find copyright-free images and videos:
Videos are particularly helpful because they can function as a standalone piece of content that Google can show directly in search results.
With all of this in mind, there is no single reason you should ever publish a blog post without supplementing it with any graphic content.
7. Write SEO-friendly ALT Tags for Your Images
Once you have your graphic content lined up, don't forget to add the final touches by writing SEO-friendly ALT tags for all of the images you’re about to include in your blog post.
Since search engines can’t process images like humans, they have to rely on the ALT tag to understand the meaning of images scattered across the Web.
Additionally, the ALT tag gets displayed instead of the actual image if it fails to load on the user side. But most importantly, it makes it possible for you to rank in Google Images for your target keywords.
The screenshot below illustrates how the highlighted image ranks at the top of Google Images for a highly competitive keyword using the power of the ALT tag, driving a considerable amount of traffic to the webpage it’s placed on.
To make sure you don’t miss out on the hidden potential Google Images has to offer, include the primary and secondary keywords in the image ALT tags throughout your blog post.
This simple process might take a few extra minutes, but it's a great way to optimize your blog posts for technical SEO and generate more high-quality organic traffic over time.
Over to You
That was a lot of information to take in. But, armed with this checklist, you can have all of your bases covered when it comes to technical SEO.
However, writing a well-optimized blog post is just half the battle as a data-driven content marketing strategy is the secret sauce that separates the outliers who dominate organic search from everyone else.
If you want to learn more about how we turn things around for your company, get in touch with our team today and schedule a free consultation.