Writing Is Not the Only Skill You Need to Be a Good Blogger – It’s Time to Master These SEO Basics for Bloggers
There’s a good chance you manage or write a blog but haven’t taken the time to make your site as valuable as it could be. So, if you’re looking to understand SEO basics for bloggers, you’ve come to the right place. It’s important to properly manage your blog’s back end because there’s a lot more to blogs than simply writing and posting.
Blogs Have Come a Long Way
For as many people who like to bemoan – or celebrate – the loss of tangible, physical, printed paper you can hold in your hands, few recognize something that’s never changed: people still crave news. If anything, the Internet has ramped up society’s ravenous appetite for information.
You know what else the Internet has done? It made us the media. Whenever you share information, provide updates, raise awareness, publicly discuss opinions, or create stories, you are essentially part of the media enterprise.
And what’s at the forefront of all this? Blogs. With over 600 million in the world today, over 31 million of those actively post at least once per month in the U.S.
Blogs are today’s newspapers. People realize this, and so do companies who use blogs to share information, promote and sell.
However, the only way to get noticed in a crowded blog field is to employ good, solid Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. When you create content that’s more easily found on search engines – namely, Google – you increase readership, create better value, draw the interest of advertisers and save time and money.
If that didn’t catch your attention, there’s this: SEO allows you to build content that costs nothing to market. In today’s modern marketing world, you need to know how SEO can impact your blog. So, if you’ve never employed solid SEO basics for bloggers, here’s a great place to start.
A keyword summarizes the core of your topic, which you’ll want to purposely use throughout your post, headline, headers, URL and metadata. It’s particularly important to include your keyword in the first paragraph. Whereas general websites benefit from standard keywords (one or two words in length), blogs might be better served to focus on long-tail keywords, which are more specific. “Best restaurants in Chicago” might have less search traffic, but it will have a higher conversion value than “restaurants.”
Don’t overdo keywords, however – that’s called keyword stuffing and it hurts your SEO. Most search engines will penalize you for getting too greedy with them. It also makes for poor, unnatural reading.
Don’t Underestimate Links
Including links throughout your body copy shows the validity of your content to search engines. You can do this by linking to other related stories or sources. You can also include links to your own blog’s content for SEO purposes, which also keeps visitors on your site. Another helpful practice, which admittedly takes more time, is to ask other sources to link to you – all of which will help your blog surface better among search engines.
Meta descriptions are what people see in search results. They’re HTML attributes that offer a brief summary of your blog post. Making sure they’re the right length and that they employ your keywords are important for helping readers find you. Many content management systems like WordPress make managing meta tags relatively easy, making this one of the simpler SEO basics for bloggers.
What do search engines love as much as fresh, keyword-rich, well-written content? Seeing new content often. When you post to your blog on a regular basis – say, a few times a week – it trains search engines to check your website more often. That helps it get noticed and rank higher. If your content is evergreen – that is, relevant and timely over a long period of time – that’s even better because it will help you to rank in the long-term well after it’s published.
Write the Write – er, Right Amount
Once upon a newspaper time, writers were constrained by space limitations. Today’s Internet means there’s an unlimited amount of space for writers. But before you give your keyboard an unnecessary workout, let’s talk about a few rules. Word count and SEO has been long debated, but most seem to agree that 300-500 words are the sweet spot for search engines. There’s nothing wrong with going higher – in fact, Google usually ranks long posts higher. When it’s longer – such as 1,000 or even more than 2,500 words – Google can better deduce what your piece is about. However, with great power comes great responsibility – those words must be properly optimized, well-written and high-quality, which takes time. If done right, it can result in a satisfyingly higher ranking.
People don’t want to read lines and lines of text. It’s more visually appealing and offers robust reading when broken up by quality photos and graphics. Those images, however, need to be optimized because they help to explain content and support rankings. Like your main titles and headlines, search engines check for images with titles, alt text and descriptions. Having them properly categorized gives you another opportunity to let people find your blog.
Benefit from Using Google Search Console
There are plenty of valuable measuring tools out there, and one of which is free – Google Search Console. With it you can measure your site’s search traffic and optimize the visibility of your blog. You can even find out which keywords people are using to find your content and shape future posts around it.
Whether you use blogging for your profession, a side gig, or merely a hobby, there’s a lot you can do through SEO to give it a boost. It takes time and effort to get your blog to rank, but who knows – it could turn into something bigger than you ever planned.
About the Author
Tom Konecny has worked in marketing and communications for almost 30 years and has been with ChoiceLocal since 2018. He is a proud graduate of Bowling Green State University and the University of Michigan.