6 Easy Steps to Blogging for Successful SEO

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What's the point in creating quality content if it can't be found by your ideal audience via search engines? What about optimizing that content for sharing on your social profiles? Most blog clients offer basic features that allow you to add images, alt tags, meta descriptions, headers, hyperlinks, tags, and categories. Please, do not publish your blog until you optimize all of these areas using the keywords your ideal audience is searching for:

1. Images

Optimizing your images can generate A TON of traffic from search engines (think Google Image Search). Optimizing ensures your images are on point in the following areas:

Size

While the size of your images will depend on your blog’s content and layout, images should always be high resolution (considered 72-150+ dpi on screen). Consider these questions when deciding on your image size:

  • Do you want images that cover the width of the post column?
  • Do you want clickable thumbnails?
  • Are you displaying art photos that would be better suited if viewed large?

Bonus tip: Do not let the browser resize the image to look smaller! Use an image editing program to decrease the image size, then upload it to your blog. When you use HTML/CSS tags to input width and height, the browser will load the image and THEN resize it based on what you inputted.

Don’t have Photoshop? Try Compress JPEG; it’s free!

File Name

Before you upload that resized image to your blog, give it a descriptive file name! File names can be read by search engine robots and allow your image to appear in search results.

Bonus tip: Follow this format when naming your images: describe-image-with-dashes.jpg

Alt Tags

Also known as the text alternative for images. Alt tags allow your image to be read by search engine robots and those with visual impairments. Providing a concise yet descriptive alt tag to every image in your blog will allow them to appear in search engines.

Bonus tip: Pinterest can use your alt tags as the pin description when pinning from your blog!

2. Meta Descriptions

A meta description is an HTML attribute that provides a human-readable description of your page to search engines. Google and other search engines use meta descriptions to find relevant pages to a search query.

A well-written, quality description can increase your click-through rates as Google will pull pages that most accurately relate to a user’s search terms. Describe your page in a way that would make the user WANT to click on your page over others. Avoid keyword stuffing (i.e. car, cars, fast cars) and using the same description for all pages on your site.

Meta descriptions are one of hundreds of algorithms Google uses on a search engine results page (SERP), so having a description doesn’t necessarily mean your page will rank at the top of a search. Keep writing well-written descriptions and limit it to 155-160 characters, as Google is more likely to cut off any text after that.

Bonus tips:

  • There are exceptions to the 160-character limit as Google makes progress toward building the knowledge graph.
  • Make sure every page on your site as a unique description that accurately describes the page.
  • You can include tagged facts in the description like: <meta name="Description" content="Author: A.N. Author, Illustrator: P. Picture, Category: Books, Price: $17.99,  Length: 784 pages">

3. Headers

Clearly tagged headers aid search engines in discovering content related to a user’s search terms and allows your content to be easily scanned and read by a user. Use short headers to separate topics in your content.

We use the H1 (Header 1 = largest), H2 (Header 2 = midsize), and H3 (Header 3 = small) tags to break down our content in levels, similar to how you use titles, subtitles and captions.

Google has been placing more emphasis on a page’s headers as they make progress toward building the knowledge graph. If your headers relate to a user’s search terms or answer their question, your page is more likely to appear on the SERP with a beautifully displayed knowledge graph. See the example below.

Headers on the page:

Headers-on-page.png

How Google displays headers:

Headers-On-Knowledge-Graph.JPG

(BTW, have you tried walking your cat? Our cat acts like he's dead when we put a leash on him.)

4. Hyperlinks

More than likely each new piece of content you create relates to a past blog or a product/service you sell. Link to these blogs or products via hyperlinks whenever you can! It’s great practice to send users deeper into your site to explore more content by using hyperlinks.

5. Tags

Blog tags work the same way as hyperlinks by connecting relevant content to each other. Take advantage of the tags on your blog client by using keywords that relate to your blogs. You can have multiple tags per blog.

Blog-tags-example.jpg

Your blog contains dozens to hundreds of keywords that relate to your industry. Think of the terms that are discussed often in other pieces of content when creating tags. There should be (or you plan to write) at least 3 other blogs that can fall under one tag.

6. Categories

Blog categories are like chapters for your blog collection. You should only have one category per blog, and only so many categories per blog collection. Try to limit your categories to 5-7 topics.

Now that you’ve optimized your blog for search engines and social, it’s time to SHARE it with the world!

What other ways do you optimize your blogs for SEO? Tell us in the comments below!

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