One of my favourite follows for both local and non-local SEO is Matt McGee from the popular Small Business Search Marketing blog. Over the past couple of weeks, Matt has been writing a series of blogs related to SEO for small business blogs. The third instalment in the series is a very tightly written blog on how to optimize your blog posts. In his post, he outlines the very key basics that everyone who is writing blogs or news items can utilize, and the process will take you and extra 5 minutes!
In Matt’s introductory post, he states:
What’s the goal?
The goal of SEO — indeed, of any kind of marketing — is to create trust. You want search engines to learn to trust your blog as an authority in your area and/or industry. When they do, your blog posts will rank highly in search results and you should get more traffic to your blog.
You also want human visitors to trust your blog as an authority in your area and/or industry. When they do, they’ll visit more often, they’ll bookmark your blog, they’ll spread your content on their favorite social networks, they’ll link to your blog posts and recommend your blog to others. Both search engines and humans reward trusted sites and blogs. Good SEO helps you create that trust.
In the end, these extra 5 minutes of thought and process can mean the difference between an optimized blog post for SEO and one that is not. It’s broken down into a few simple steps:
- Matt suggests using keyword research tools to find the keywords you might want to focus on for your individual posts. Finding the right keywords to target is absolutely essential to creating posts that will be useful to relevant searches and drive more traffic to a keyword targeted blog post.
- Many localized business already have a bank of keywords developed that include your specific area and products, but occasionally (or often) you might be stepping outside of your box and writing less product specific posts that are still relevant to your area. Finding the correct mix of localized keywords will help bring more traffic to your site, and with any luck, get your blog post shared outside of your niche to help build your brand.
- Try not to target more than 2 or three specific keywords per post. Others you might be wanting to try can be handled in your next post or down the road.
On Page SEO
- Optimizing your title tag or article headline is another key factor for the post. Not only does it need to include your target keywords, but it also needs to be compelling to the user and drive them to click the link. A compelling location specific headline should be created to describe the article and excite the user about the information they will find.
- Keyword density is something that most business bloggers won’t really know a whole lot about, but your target keywords should be used in a few places throughout the text, and your page should be readable and make sense, or your readers won’t enjoy it and bounce off somewhere else to find better information about you or your city.
- Most blog, news and generally web platforms nowadays have the ability to optimize the URL. These should be kept short and you should remove any words that are not informative to shorten the URL. The, a, it, for, etc. are low information content and can be removed without detracting from your URL’s benefits to the search engines or the users. These don’t always have to include your locality, but if you have something interesting to say that is highly relevant to your own area, you’re going to get some real benefit from localizing your blog posts.
- Image optimization is a huge factor for all types of websites and most beginning web marketers will miss out on some great opportunities here. I wrote a blog post over at Epic Flowers about Local SEO for Images that will take you through the process with screenshots that will be similar to most blog platforms out there.
- Internal linking is something that you’ll want to consider as not only a great SEO tactic, but a great way to provide your readers with further information about the topic you are writing about. You can also think about creating text in your blog that links to various places on your main site, if it will be useful for the user to be directed there. Try to use links that are rich in the keywords relating to your previous content, as I have done above with the words, “Optimizing your title tag”.
I came across a blog post from CopyBlogger called “A Comprehensive Guide to Formatting your WordPress Posts and Pages“.
Some of the formatting ideas listed are good for SEO (not huge), but things like Bolding and emphasizing text with “H tags” or heading tags seems to have some effect on helping the search engines determine what the article is about. If the copy is good, taking many of the steps listed are not only good for the search engines, but will make your posts more readable and web-reader friendly, which makes it more likely to be read and shared with others, which should be the main goal of how you write and what you write about in the first place.
Also, here’s the complete wrap up on Matt McGee’s 5 Part Series on SEO for Small Business blogs, with links to all 5 of the articles. Be sure to check them out, because they are a fantastic read and learning experience for anyone who is blogging.