When creating a blog for a business, the most important factor is the quality of the content. Semantic search algorithms can tell the difference between good content and keyword stuffing. And even if poor content manages to rank high in search results, if the content reflects poorly on the business, there’s no net benefit. Though quality is the most important factor, there are still a lot of ways that marketers and business owners can format their quality to gain the maximum SEO benefit. Here are eight tips bloggers can use to make their content SEO friendly.
The quality of content may ultimately be the most important factor for SEO, the headline is almost just as important. If excellent content is hidden by an ineffective headline, people may stay on the page when they get there, but less people will get there (this is preferable to the inverse, where a lot of people click on a headline but quickly bounce due to poor content). The headline is the part that shows at the top of your page content in big bold letters. It’s also the part that shows up in your blog snippets, RSS feeds, and so on. The headline attract clicks, and attracting clicks is at least half the battle.
Use the Blog Title as URL Slug
When preparing the URL for a blog, the URL slug should always be the headline or a stripped-down version it. Normally, this is done automatically by the content management system so long as the option is selected. URLs are indexed by search engines, so it’s preferable to have a keyword in the URL rather than a meaningless sequence of numbers. Additionally, it greatly improves the reliability of the link in the eyes of the public, since they can be more certain that the link they are going to will have the information they seek.
The Meta Description, along with the URL slug and SEO title, makes up your search engine snippet. Though Google doesn’t give you page rank based on the meta description, a well written description can attract more clicks from the people who see the description in search results, which in time, increases the ranking of the page. Be sure your keyword is in there, because keywords are bold in the search results.
These are the H2 and H3 tags that break up your post into subsections. The general consensus among SEO experts is that beyond the H1 header, the rest carry little to no value for SEO (Google’s robots and algorithms can read the entire and analyze every word in the document, why would they give special weight to something just because the webmaster highlighted it). But like the meta description, properly used subheadings can make it easier for people to read the content. If a blog is particularly long, people are more likely to read it if it’s broken up into sections by sub-headings.And if people stay on the page longer to read the content, the increased time spent on the page does have an SEO benefit. Make sure the headings flow with the outline and provide a benefit to the reader. Using the keyword in these headings should be simple enough since every part of the content should relate to the keyword in some way or another.
Optimize Content for SEO
To be clear, optimizing content for SEO doesn’t mean keyword stuffing. Trying to unnaturally shoehorn a keyword into every nook of an article is extrememly counterproductive. First, it makes the content unpleasant to read and people won’t stay on the page. Second, Google penalizes site with thin content or spammy keyword practices. That said, a writer can review their content for vague references to your main keyword/topic—“this, it, that, they, etc.”—and replace it with your keyword. As long as it sounds natural, this adding relevant keywords will improve both your SEO and the quality of your writing. The key is balance. Remove anything vague, but trying to remove all pronouns will make the writer sound like a kindergartner (e.g. My cat Fluffy is soft. My cat Fluffy likes to play. My cat Fluffy is my favorite.).
It’s important to remember that as search engine algorithms become more robust, things like inbound links matter less and less. Over a year ago, Google’s Matt Cutts said the obsession with link building was one misconception SEO industry has about how Google works. But even if the number of links to another page on the same site don’t matter much to SEO directly, there is still a reason to add a few links to other pages with related content. If the linked content is truly relevant, there is a good chance some readers will click the link to get more information on a topic they’re interested in. This happens a lot on Wikipedia, where people start reading about one topic and start clicking on links within the entry to read more pages. These clicks and the large amount of time spent on a site do matter to SEO, even if the number of links, per se, don’t.
Use Image “alt” tags
Giving images alt tags is important for SEO. Search engines have limited abilities to gain information from the image itself (Google can look at some pictures and identify certain elements), but all search algorithms can always see alt tags, so marketers should take advantage of that. When a person does an image search on a search engine, the algorithm is using the image title and the alt tag to determine relevancy. Most content management systems have the alt tag option available when the image is first uploaded.
Use Categories and Taxonomies
Add post to a single category that encompasses the keyword topic. This has multiple benefits for SEO and user experience. For SEO, it creates another page to index and as more articles on the topic are created, the more relevant the page will be in future search results. A good example can be found when searching for statistics on a topic. Often, category pages from websites that write articles about stats will be seen in the results. For users, category pages make it easier for them to find more of the content they were looking for. Anyone reading this article can easily find more articles on SEO by clicking the Search Engine Optimization category at the bottom of the article.
Just the quality of content is the most important factor for SEO doesn’t mean that marketers can’t use the other on-page factors to their advantage when creating a blog. Besides the eight tips mentioned above, bloggers should also focus on getting their content shared by people on social media, which is becoming more and more important in the battle to get relevant content to the people who need it. For more ideas on how to get content shared online, read this article on our site.