Blog post writing is an essential element of having your website show up in Google. Whether you have a large or small marketing budget blogging with keyword rich content with topics your audience actually cares about is one of the best long term strategies a business can have in place. So how do you make sure your blog posts are effective for SEO? In this post, I’ll take you back to the very basics of SEO. This is one of the top questions we are asked by our clients and partners.
How do you optimize a blog post?
1. It starts with Keyword Research
Keywords research should be the first step in your blog post strategy. Figure out what terms you want to rank for and also what your competitors rank for today. This can be a bit of a daunting process, so we recommend you really try to get into the head of your audience and why and how they would try to find services your offer. Besides the right keywords you need context around those keywords. What is the intent of the user initiating that search. The more you can drill down on long tail phrases the better to ensure intent is there, not just traffic.
2. Use that Keyword
This may sound straightforward but most people forget to mention that target keyword beyond the title or first few sentences of the post. Using (not overusing) the target keyword will help Google "get it". Avoid spammy posts or keyword stuffing. Right naturally and to your target audience. Focus on the user first and Google second. If it doesn't read well to a potential customers, don't write it...No matter how much you think it will help your SEO efforts. Overzealous SEO is just bad marketing. We shoot for a keyword density of around 2-3%. So mention that keyword once in every
3. Optimize Your Headings
The title of your blog post is extremely important to the performance of that post. Make sure your target keywords are mentioned in the titles, headings and sub-headings. Google takes a close look at these to make sure they are relevant to your overall post.
4. Snippets Matter
The snippet is the thing that Google will show in the natural search results. It’s the title of your post and a short description. Yoast SEO is the most common plugin that we use with Wordpress websites to optimize posts and create snippets. If you have a Wordpress website we highly recommend you download it. The difficult to tell whether or not Google will show that specific snippet that you pre-select. However, creating a top notch snippet preview should a very important part of optimizing a blog post. Of course, don’t forget to use that focus keyword again.
*See Yoast SEO example screenshot
Optimizing blog posts is absolutely essential to gaining more qualified traffic to your website. Have more questions about SEO and content optimization for your website? Contact Banyan Creative today to schedule a strategy discussion on how to drive more revenue through your website.
Michelle Perelli is Client Services Director at Banyan Creative and focused on SEO strategy and production for small to mid sized businesses.
For our SEO insights this month, we’d like to discuss SSL hosting and its impacts on your SEO. Over the last few years, Google measures a website by the overall user experience to determine several ranking factors. Translation, the better your website is according to Google, the better chance you will have to be higher up the search results.
Several factors contribute to that ranking including:
Secure (SSL) Hosting
In October 2017, Google announced they would be giving preference to secure SSL website vs non-SSL websites. We strongly encourage business owners to move to secure SSL hosting. Also we have be contacted by many businesses have not moved their websites to secure SSL hosting and their customers and prospects are seeing warnings to individuals are visiting non-secure websites. Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari have begun to show more their warnings. Nothing reflects more poorly on your business to see your website is threat to people visiting it. We recommend that you suggest you contact web host or web design company to implement SSL hosting as quickly as possible.
If your web host or designer is unable or unwilling to comply, there are a few options to consider:
1) Banyan Creative can help. We can take over hosting and implement SSL. However, we can only support hosting for WordPress websites or static sites like HMTL and PHP. Banyan Creative SSL hosting solution starts at $35/mo and it also includes the cost of the security certificate,which must be renewed annually.
2) Website Redesign: If the website is too difficult to move, and if it is a low quality website, we recommend your redesign your website website. We can deliver you a fresh new, mobile responsive design and moving to SSL, which could lead to a significant increase in search engine rankings and sales conversions if your business is now more visible. Banyan Creative specializes in well designed websites that are built to convert. Not just be a beautiful online brochure.
3) Word of Warning: If you aren't able to remedy your website hosting situation, search-based rankings will be more difficult for you to capture in the future. There can still be some SEO success, but it will not be a as great as if the website was securely hosted.
4) Be Realistic: Moving to HTTPS secure hosting doesn't automatically improve your ranking. It also may not make economic sense for your business. But over time Google has repeatedly told web hosting and SEO's that secure hosting and information security will also be a ranking factor for websites moving forward.
But the Stats Don't Lie for our Clients: See Chart here
Other Ranking Factors
Website user friendliness, mobile friendliness, aesthetics are also extremely important. The fact of the matter is that all these issues cannot be corrected unless the website is redesigned. If your website is old and clunky and you expect to get more customers from the web this year, it might be time to redesign.
Redesigning an a poorly performing or outdated website has been shown to boost search engine ranking capability, while improving overall sales conversion rates. Depending services provided most businesses, generally recoups their expense through a better designed, more efficient and productive website. If you have questions about anything mentioned above we can help. Contact Banyan Creative today.
Sam Casey is the Managing Partner at Banyan Creative. We help businesses find their place on the web. When not behind a computer screen, you can find him up on the Blue Ridge Parkways cycling with Yellow Bike Tours or making pancakes on Saturday morning with his kids.
Sam Casey is the Chief Creative Officer and Managing Partner at Banyan Creative.