This is a comprehensive guide to blog SEO tips, updated for 2019.
In this article, you will learn how to easily optimise your blogs for search engines using a simple checklist.
If you want to your blog articles to dominate search engines and drive tons of traffic to your website, then read on!
Blog articles are a great way of displaying your expertise and knowledge on a certain subject and establishing your company as an authority.
Well written blogs should educate readers and provide them with useful information and actionable insight. By providing good quality content a company can build trust with a reader, making the sales process much easier.
But there is no point in writing amazing blog articles if no one can find them. Therefore Search Engine Optimisation is vital so that people can find your articles online.
Start with the keyword in mind
The saying “start with the end in mind” has never been more applicable than it is here.
Many businesses get it back to front – they start by writing the article first and then deciding what keywords to optimise it for. Instead, you should start by identifying the long-tail keywords that you would like to rank for, and then writing blog articles for them.
Here are 3 ways you can find what long-tail keywords people are searching for:
1. Google Keyword Planner
This is number 1 on the list because if you want the best data on search terms, then you need to go to the source! If you have a Google Ads account, then you will have access to Google Keyword Planner. Enter a topic into the search bar and it will spit out thousands of keyword ideas, with their search volume.
2. Google Related Searches
A much easier way to find good long-tail keywords is Google’s related searches function at the very bottom of the search page. It will show you popular searches that other people are doing. This is a great indication of the kind of blog articles you should be writing.
3. Keywords Everywhere
Keywords Everywhere is a great tool for finding keywords. If you want all the features and data, then you will have to pay for a monthly subscription. But it does have a free Chrome extension that will give you a side-bar on your Google search page (see below) that gives you some keyword ideas and volumes.
Using the above example, a few good ideas for blog articles would be:
- Solar System for Home Electricity – How it Works
- Top 10 Solar Energy Companies in South Africa
- The Advantages of Solar Energy in South Africa
- The Ultimate Guide to a Basic Solar Power System
Wow, look at that – it took less than a minute to generate 4 blog topics. Spend another 10 minutes doing this, and you will have enough blog article topics for an entire year! Create a “content calendar” by assigning a due date for each of those articles.
Voila! You have the makings of a decent content marketing strategy.
Optimising Blog Articles for Search Engines
Once you have decided on a keyword and written a good article, it’s actually pretty simple to optimise it for search engines. It’s really just like following a recipe.
Here is how you optimised a blog article so that Google falls in love:
- Include the keyword in the article Heading (you would have done this when researching)
- Include the keyword in the first paragraph of text
- Include a variation of the keyword in a sub-heading
- Include the keyword at least 3 times (in a 500-word article) but not more than 10.
- Include LSI keywords throughout the article (keywords semantically related to your main keyword)
- Include 2 outbound links (to high-authority domains, like news and education sites)
- Include 2 internal links (to pages within your website related to the main keyword)
- Include a bullet point list with the keyword in it
- Bold your keyword at least once (in the body copy)
- Include the keyword in the alt text of images
Whilst there is no “ideal” blog length, we recommend that all blog articles should be at least 500 words. Studies have shown that the longer a blog article is, the better it is for SEO.
Bonus Tip: Write for people
Writing for search engines is one thing, but at the end of the day, a real person looking for advice and help will be reading your article. So first and foremost you have to write for people.
“But what if I am not a good writer?” you might ask. It’s not about sentence structure or grammar (although both are necessary for communicating an idea well) – people want authentic ideas and actionable advice. Don’t recite things that they can find on Wikipedia.
An important SEO factor is the length of time a person spends on a website. Search engines assume that if people are spending a lot of time on a website then surely the content must be useful. Therefore search engines will boost the ranking of that website to show that useful content to more people.
Oversimplified explanations aside, the bottom line is that if you write authentic, informative and useful content then people will spend more time on your website. And if people are spending more time on your site, then search engines will boost your rankings. It’s not rocket science.
If you want more website traffic then you need to write blog articles that are optimised with SEO:
- Choose your keywords before you start writing your article
- Write good quality content that people find useful. Another way to think about it: write good quality content that people would share!
- Apply the simple SEO formula to the article once you are done writing
But always remember: a good article that is badly optimised will outrank a poor article that is well optimised.
Read that sentence again, slowly.