Upon starting your business, you knew how important a website would be to establishing an online presence. You also knew a blog was a great way to continually provide fresh content to gain traction with search engines. What you may or may not have known was how crucial a role search engine optimization (SEO) plays in directing organic traffic to a website.
SEO practices have changed a lot over the years, and the best you can do is try to stay abreast of best practices for any given point in time and pay attention to evolving tactics. What follows below are seven ways SEO helps you grow your blog audience.
1. Learn SEO Basics with a Good Plugin
Installing a reputable SEO plugin does not guarantee blog posts will rank high in search engines, but such plugins can teach users a great deal about how to apply SEO to blog posts. The various parts of such plugins remind users of the importance of applying keywords to different parts of a post. Over time, the required elements become ingrained in you as a writer. Using such a plugin is also a great reminder that images and the ALT tag given to them can assist in good SEO practices as well in helping those images show up in search results.
2. Research Relevant Keywords
Pick post topics by taking the time to investigate how well various search terms perform in searches. There’s little point in writing a post on a topic practically nobody is going to be looking for. A tool such as Google’s Adwords Keyword Planner can prove indispensable for this task. Once the main topic and its keywords are decided upon, investigate other rankable terms. As possible topics come to you, considering keeping a running list or editorial calendar so you can conduct keyword search as you have the time.
3. Craft User-Friendly Titles and URLs
Writers will often work on a piece for a magazine article and title it after the fact, letting the content dictate the title. In the many ways SEO helps you grow your blog audience, you’ll save yourself a lot of time, energy, and frustration, by coming up with a solid title before typing a post. Also ensure you are using a URL structure that makes users want to click your link, rather than a default permalink setting that may contain lots of numbers and symbols. Think pretty permalinks and you’ll be on the right track.
4. Write In-Depth Content
Longer posts tend to ensure the existence of more helpful and relevant content, and longer content provides the chance for using keywords more often. However, make sure the placement of these keywords reads as naturally as possible as the days of stuffing posts with keywords is a tactic search engines wised up to long ago. Simply put, longer posts give you a chance to truly shine, and SEO favors writing that sounds natural.
5. Utilize Subheadings and White Space
Subheadings should primarily be used to guide your reader through a piece. Nothing is worse than huge chunks of seemingly disorganized text. When appropriate, use keywords in subheadings as well. Be mindful of paragraph length, both on a monitor and for smaller mobile screens as well. While SEO is important, never forget human factors as well and provide enough white space to make reading the text as enjoyable as possible.
6. Make Meta-Descriptions Compelling
While it’s great to place relevant keywords in the meta-description box for a blog post, it’s even more important to write text that compels the reader to want to click through and read the rest of the post. Potential readers should be able to understand what the post is about and gain of sense of the types of questions the post will help them answer upon reading.
7. Build Backlinks
Backlinks are incoming links to a web page from other web pages. Building link juice helps with building a post’s ranking and building domain authority. There may be times when you want this juice cut off, so blog comments can be given a no-follow status is desired. Implement internal links as well to other posts on your site, and pay attention to writing anchor text for each link that flows naturally from the surrounding text.
Keeping up with SEO practices and applying them consistently can be daunting, but it does get easier with time. However, time tends to be of the essence. If your budget permits, hiring a professional to assist with your SEO needs can be well worth the investment. As you learn more about SEO it’s important to go back and tweak old posts from time to time as well.
What else would you add to this list of ways SEO helps you grow your blog audience?