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.
Sam Casey is the Managing Partner at Banyan Creative and focused on SEO and search strategy and digital marketing for small to mid sized businesses in Charlotte, NC.
Recently Google has made a lot of big moves and changes that impact search rankings for your business. We put together a list of recent the bigger Google ranking algorithm changes that is heavily impacting our clients websites and how you can be ready for whats coming. Its important to learn how Google is evolving so your website isn't left in the dust.
The Mobile First Initiative (3/26/18): For the last 2 years, searches on phones outpaced desktop traffic. In response to this growing trend, Google created the the mobile-first initiative. What this means that Google uses the mobile version of your website to help determine search engine rankings in preference over your desktop version. This includes factors like mobile content, mobile page load speed, SSL and user interaction.
Action Item: If your current website is not up to 2019 mobile site standards, you need to upgrade or redesign your site.
The SSL Initiative (10/20/17) - Google is now very serious about the importance SSL. If you website does not have SSL, then you are now taking a ranking penalty hit. What was initially thought of as a minor algorithm change is now much more major than anticipated. Google did announce that SSL would be a factor about 18 months ago. And it did so with an initiative to move the world toward SSL in October 2017 by providing warnings in Chrome for non-secure content. By this Spring, 2018, we noticed Google began implementing ranking penalties to non-SSL websites and it clearing impacted traffic and ranking. SSL should be your #1 digital priority for 2018.
The Interstitial Initiative (1/17/17): While marketers love to use pop-ups the average user hates them and Google wants people to be happy with the websites it serves to user. As attractive as it may be to help increase newsletter subscription or other desired actions, its probably not worth it in regard to the search ranking penalty that is imposed against your website if your business is depending on organic ranking.
RankBrain AI Initiative (10/26/15): This one is not a "new" update but it does continue to evolve each and every day. RankBrain is Google’s learning software that knows what people think and how they interact with your website. In other words RankBrain really understands human behavior on the web. It even understands when someone is trying to "game the system" with SEO thus trying to undermine Google. It knows if your website provides the info people are searching for. RankBrain is one the 200+ signals that Google evaluates to determine search engine rankings. However since 2015, it is weighed very heavily and continues to evolve. You can’t outsmart RankBrain. The best way to make RankBrain happy is to have a functional website that your users prefer over a competitions website. No one wants to shop at a dirty and outdated grocery store, just like no one wants to visit an an old and dysfunctional website.
Summing it all up – Make sure you are have a quality user experience on your website and provide relevant content with targeted keywords on and an SSL website. All these factors will help your website outranking your competition over time.
"We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely."
Do you feel like you are drowning information but starved for insight or wisdom to move your business forward? Does it feel like you are being bombarded with offers to market your business, yet you aren't seeing result and losing out to other competitors?
Sam Casey is the Chief Creative Officer and Managing Partner at Banyan Creative.