Inbound marketing experts encourage blogging regularly as a powerful way for your business to attract potential customers through useful and engaging content. The added bonus is that a well-optimized blog can help your business rank higher in the search engines, and shape your company’s online reputation.
In this article you will learn how to optimize the title, body, image, tags, and meta description of your blog posts to make them easier for search engines and humans to find, read, and share.
SEO Tip 1: Title Optimization
- Keep your title under 70 characters long, as that is the limit of characters that will show in the Google display search results.
- Place target keyword early in the title to increase the chance that your post shows up in seach engine results when someone searches for it. It also adds relevance and confirmation to the reader that your post is exactly what they are looking for.
SEO Tip 2: Article Body Optimization
- Long articles scare readers away. Keep the length of your posts to between 200-400 words or if you have a lot to say, consider breaking your topic up into a 2-3 blog post series.
- Focus on quality instead of quantity. For a researched, thoughtful, useful post typically takes a 2-3 hours and about twice that for a 2 or 3 part series.
- Use section headers to break up topics (h2, h3 tags)
- White space is your friend. Keep paragraphs light and highlight or bold the “what’s in it for me?“questions.
- Whenever it makes sense, create numbered lists when describing steps in a process to make for reaser to zero in on what’s important.
- Use bulleted points when listing tips in a non-hierarchical order (just like I am doing right now in this post) to help scanners identify key ideas in your post at a glance.
SEO Tip 3: Image Optimization:
When sharing online, especially on Facebook or Pinterest, two social media portatl that are photo economies; the featured image at the top of your post will be key to attracting people to reading it. Take your time and pick a good one.
- File Name: all words should be separated with dashes (-), e.g. great-blog-post-image.jpg. Also make sure the file name includes the target keyword for the post. Going through past posts and re-uploading images to fix the file name may be an extra effort, but it is worth it. Search engines get their clues about the content of your post not just from its content but also from image file names and ALT Text.
- ALT Text: The alternative text or description (not to be confused with Caption of your blog post image) should match the file name, without dashes, e.g. great blog post image
SEO Tip 4: Tags/Labels/Categories:
Tags are used to make it easier for the reader to find all your articles regarding a topic. Each article should have no more than three tags. The tags you choose should be broader than long-tail keywords, as you are summarizing the topic of the blog post.
SEO Tip 5: Meta Description:
- Keep the description under 140 characters (because of date display) as that is the limit of characters that will show in the Google display search results. Take advantage of the space by providing a compelling reason for why someone should visit the page.
- Also include a primary target keyword and at least one secondary keyword in conversational format to optimize for search.
SEO Tip 6: Publishing and Frequency:
Social media scientist, Dan Zarella at Hub Spot, found that posts that get published on the weekend get more comments and more links when published early in the morning. Publish around those times for higher impact.
Make sure to blog frequently, everyday if you can manage it, but at least once a week. You’ll want to get the search engines into the habit of crawling your site on a regular basis to find that fresh content, and start getting traffic for many different long-tail keywords, so blogging regularly will help you accomplish those goals.