In addition to writing for their human readers, web copywriters and bloggers have to consider the web crawlers employed by search engines like Google.
Your business can’t afford to ignore this task since many potential readers use search engines to find blog posts, you need to make sure that Google ranks your site highly when those readers search for terms related to your business and the content you’re writing.
You could spend thousands of dollars to have a search marketing firm optimise your business’ blog for search engines, but chances are that you can learn a lot of the fundamentals yourself. Here’s a basic primer on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for your blog.
1. Always Include Search Terms In Your Post’s Title
When Google reads a website to index it, it reads the code directly. The headline or title of your blog post is among the first things Google sees, and Google generally assumes the words that appear earliest are the most important. That’s why the title is the most important part of your blog post when it comes to SEO.
Think about who you want to reach with this blog post, and what that person might be searching for when looking for your goods or services, then include critical words from that hypothetical search in the title. The most important terms should appear as quickly as you can reasonably fit them in. Just be careful not to make the title unreadable or awkward to human readers – that SEO effort will have been wasted if the visitor is turned off by the content once he or she finds it.
Here’s a tip: You’re not likely to win strong ranking for more than one or two search terms at once, so minimalism is a virtue here. Don’t get over-ambitious. Focus on one potential search term, then if you want to rank for a second term, write a separate and unique post specifically with it in mind.
2. Link Important Words to Earlier Blog Posts
Search engines generally assume that a blog post that has been linked to has more authority than one that has not. They also consider exactly what word or phrase linked to the post; for example, a blog post about the iPhone is going to be more likely to show up in Google searches on the subject if another page links the word “iPhone” to the post.
You’ll get the most value from external links from sites that Google or other search engines already consider to be an authority of the subject, but all incoming links will still pass rank to your page, even those from elsewhere on your site. So be sure and link important keywords to other pages or previous posts on your blog to gain some credibility and search rank. Just don’t overdo it; not only do human readers hate reading blogs so filled with links that they might accidentally click on something, Google may penalise you if you go overboard, too.
3. Hit the Tagging Sweet Spot
Most blogging platforms let you apply tags to your posts. Tags help organise your blog so both humans and search engines can find what they’re looking for. They’re terms like “consulting,” “local” or “technology” that reflect the topics and content of the post.
Google tries to recognise tags and use them to prioritise your site in its search ranking for those terms. The tags are usually links to other pages on your blog (usually a backlog of other posts with the same tag), and as mentioned, linking search terms to other pages on your site helps too.
So by all means, add pertinent tags to your blog post, but be warned that Google and other search engines are wary of sites that try to game this system. They will penalise you in the search rankings if you use so many tags that the web indexing bots suspect you might be attempting to associate your content with unrelated topics just to score extra traffic. The method for determining this is arcane, but a good rule of thumb from a pro blogger is that between 5 and 10 appropriate tags are usually right in the sweet spot.
4. Use Google Insights to Find the Best Search Terms
You don’t have to play a guessing game about the best tags or search terms to link or put in your post’s title. Since Google is the most popular search engine, it makes sense to focus your efforts there.
henever you’re not sure which terms to go with, hit up Google Insights, a web-based tool that compares the popularity of any search terms you want to know about. For example, if your business is a coffee shop but you’re not sure whether potential customers are more likely to search for “cafe” or “coffee shop,” Insights can tell you which one is more popular.
These four tips should get you on your way to having a more SEO-friendly blog… happy blogging!