How to optimise your blog posts for SEO
If you follow me on social media, you would’ve heard me crow on about how blogging is good for SEO and business. But, you won’t reap the benefits unless you know how to optimise your blog posts for SEO.
The benefits of blogging for your business
Before we launch into how to optimise your blog posts, let me recap why blogging is an essential element of your content marketing strategy.
Blogging for your small business will:
- Drive traffic back to your website by having valuable and shareable content
- Build your credibility and trustworthiness
- Demonstrate your authority and experience in your industry
- Help you generate subscribers, leads and clients
- Keep visitors on your site by enhancing their user experience with internal links
- Help with your inbound or backlink strategy
- Produce content that you’ll repurpose for other social media posts, podcasts, emails etc.
For a more in-depth look at the benefits of blogging, check out Why Blog? The Benefits of Blogging for Business and Marketing
Why optimising your blog posts for SEO is important
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation according to Search Engine Land means:
… the process of improving your site to increase its visibility when people search for products or services related to your business in Google, Bing, and other search engines. The better visibility your pages have in search results, the more likely you are to garner attention and attract prospective and existing customers to your business.
If you’re not optimising your blog posts for SEO, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. The harsh reality is that you’re probably spending wasted hours researching, writing, finding graphics, and publishing your post, only for it to remain relatively unseen.
Sure, if you share it on your socials, there’ll be eyes on it, but chances are people won’t be finding it organically through a search engine like Google. Now, this is ok if you’re blogging for the sheer thrill of putting pen to paper (so to speak), but if you’re blogging as part of your broader content marketing strategy, without optimising blog posts for SEO, you’re missing out on the benefits that I mentioned above.
Know and understand your target audience
Many people skip the most critical step of blogging for business, and that’s knowing and understanding who you’re writing for – your target audience. I’m not just talking about the basic demographics of age, sex, income and location. You need to go deeper. You should be trying to answer questions like:
- What keeps them up at night?
- What questions are they asking?
- What problems or struggles are they facing?
- What motivates them?
- What are their interests?
- Where do they hang out online?
By researching and capturing your target audience’s pain points and motivations, you can curate a range of blog topics that solve their problems, offer them value and provide them with information that they’re interested in reading about. In turn, you’ll be creating shareable content that keeps them coming back time and time again. And each time they read your blog or share your post, you’ll be building credibility and authority which in time, helps convert them into clients.
TIP: I generated over 150 topics for my target audience in just one hour by searching social media forums, groups, Google and finding inspiration from the topics that my competitors were covering.
Conduct Keyword Research for Blog Topics
Now that you know what topics you’ll be covering, it’s time for a little keyword research.
Using the right keywords and phrases will help optimise your blog posts by telling search engines what your blog post is about. This is important because you want your blog post to appear in search engine results pages (SERPS) when someone (aka your target audience) uses those keywords to search.
- Keywords Everywhere
- Google Ads Keyword Planner
- Answer the Public (also good for content planning)
You can also use Google’s autosuggest feature by typing in a few words and seeing what related phrases it suggests.
What are you looking for? Well, that’s a whole other blog post, but basically, my tips are:
- Look for relevant keywords and phrases that your audience would use when searching for that topic or a solution to their problem
- Look for keywords and phrases that are low in competition but have a good monthly search volume (MSV)
- Use a mix of short (one to two words) and long (three-plus words) tail keyword phrases.
Short: Blogging, Business Blog
Long: How to blog, how to start a business blog
I suggest targeting one primary keyword phrase and one secondary keyword phrase for your blog and then using other synonyms throughout your post.
For a more comprehensive guide on how to conduct keyword research to optimise your blog posts for SEO, a great post by HubSpot is: How to Do Keyword Research for SEO: A Beginner’s Guide.
One final tip, try to avoid targeting keywords that you’re already targeting on your main website pages. The goal is to lead people to your website with interesting content, but you don’t want your blog post to compete with or outperform your website pages.
Where to use your keywords to optimise your blog post for SEO
Gone are the days of stuffing your blog post full of keywords – you’ll likely be penalised by search engines for doing this.
Below, you’ll find my tips on using your primary keyword phrase, but remember, write for human’s first and Google second. If it doesn’t feel natural to use the keyword phrase in a specific part of your post – don’t.
Use your primary keyword phrase in:
- Your blog post title: These are generally tagged as an H1 and are important because they tell Google what most of the content on the page is about.
- Your subheadings: But only if it makes sense and feels natural. If it doesn’t, can you use your secondary keyword phrase or synonyms?
- Early in your content: Within the first 10% of your post.
- Through the body of your blog post: Scatter keywords throughout the body of your blog post.
- Image file names: If you’ve found a stock image, download it, rename it and then upload it to your blog. BONUS TIP: Make sure your images are small in file size so they don’t affect the speed of your website.
- Alt-Text: Alt text is a great place to use your keywords but tread carefully. The goal is to describe the image without feeling keyword ‘spammy’.
- Page Title and Meta description: These are how your blog post will appear in search engine results. The page title will generally be your blog post headline, and the meta description appears under your page title in Google.
If this seems a little overwhelming, I completely understand – that’s a lot to take in!
I build all my client’s sites on WordPress, which gives me the ability to use high-quality SEO plugins to help me optimise blog posts and web pages. Two such tools are Rank Math (my favourite) and Yoast. If you don’t already have these plugins, research and then choose one for your website. Each provides tips on how to optimise your blog posts and give you guidance on where to improve your SEO.
Other business blog optimisation tips
Keywords are only one part of your blog optimisation strategy. Here are a few other tips that I’d recommend to improve the quality and discoverability of your blog posts.
- Keep your image size small – site speed matters!
- Aim for a minimum of 800 – 1000 words – long form content ranks higher
- Include links to other areas of your website, including any past blog posts relevant to the topic.
- Include external links to other high authority and relevant websites.
- Avoid targeting the keyword phrase more than once
- Format your post for readability (use subheadings, dot points and break up text with images at least every 300 words).
- Be wary of the length of your search engine page titles and meta descriptions: Google has character limits. Use one of the plugins above to help you.
- Check to make sure your blog post looks good on a mobile device.
Now you’re armed with everything you need to know about how to optimise your blog posts for SEO – go on and give it a go. Remember, blogging for your business is an integral part of your overall content marketing strategy. Having a blog helps you communicate your unique talent, skill and expertise within your industry. It creates shareable content and drives traffic back to your website, and when they’re there, you’ve got an opportunity to convert readers into subscribers, leads and clients.
Use this guide to improve the optimisation of your blog posts. But if all this sounds a little too much or is too time-consuming (your plate is already full, right?), speak to me about how one of my blog packages can help you attract and nurture an audience of engaged readers ready to do business with you.
Hi! I'm Leeha Debnam
I help service-based businesses connect with customers with my smart, affordable, all-inclusive digital marketing support packages. Having one point of contact means I get a deeper understanding of your business - the result? An on-brand and authentic digital marketing support that connects you with clients and helps you build the business you desire. From brand strategy, copywriting and content, to websites and social media - we'll tailor a package to your needs.
If you're a business looking to stand out from the crowd and connect with clients, book your free consultation call today.
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