Expert Tips to Optimize Your Blog Posts for SEO

Expert Tips to Optimize Your Blog Posts for SEO

Are you burning the midnight oil, creating blog post after blog post, but have little return to show for it? The problem could be down to your SEO optimization strategies or lack thereof. If you’ve ever wondered just why is my blog not getting traffic, I’ll run you through an SEO checklist as well as some of the SEO mistakes most people make that do their rankings no favours. First, let’s start with what you could be doing wrong, so we can immediately weed out the bad practices before they inflict further harm on your content marketing.

A couple of reasons why many blogs are traffic starved 

Most newbies just wing it with their content. They blog about whatever their passionate about without doing their homework on blogging best practices. I find that this nonchalant approach to content marketing is the top reason why most blogging campaigns go under. As a writer, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re writing to be read and not just for yourself. In greater detail, here are some of the Achilles’ heels in blogging:

  • Lack of keyword research or poor keyword research: Keywords are the compass of the internet. Without them, your content is lost. Google doesn’t know where to find your content, and your posts remain forever hidden.
  • Black hat SEO tactics. These entail underhand SEO tactics meant at pulling one over on search engines, resulting in hefty penalties that cuff blogs to the nether regions of SERPs. Some common black hat SEO practices include purchasing backlinks, sneaky redirects, and keyword stuffing like crazy.
  • Poor audience mapping: Many new bloggers start creating content without first understanding their readers. Doing so results in topics that readers couldn’t care less about, and traffic consequently proves hard to come by.
  • Titles are all over the place: When a title is uninteresting and offers no value, chances are it wouldn’t garner too many clicks.

SEO tips to get your blog posts revving

Now that we’ve covered what you may be doing wrong, it’s time to talk about what you can do right. Optimizing blog posts for SEO involves a microscopic look at minor details that you may not be aware have a say in your ranking. In this section, we’ll discuss some of the most significant ones to add to your SEO checklist that are sure to give your content marketing strategy a fighting chance.

Creating the perfect title

Titles are your blog posts' chance at making a first impression. While your lead is looking over search results and contemplating which one to click, your title is making a case for attention, competing with about 9 other articles on the search engine results page (SERP).

So your title simply has to pop. It needs to look different from the rest and provide value to the reader. Here are a few tips on how to make your title work for you:

  • Keep it short and sweet! A Chitika study revealed that shorter titles enjoy higher CTRs compared to lengthier ones. From my research, I found that the average length for the top pages on Google is about 7 words. Aim for thereabouts and keep it simple and easy to read
  • Include numbers. Not using numbers in your titles? It’s time to think again. According to recent research, a blog post’s share appeal bumps up by 73% by simply incorporating numbers into the headline
  • Choose your first word carefully: If you take a look at most articles, you’ll not notice that the best-performing ones start with “Who”, ”How”, “Why”, “What” or a number. Your article title should follow in those footsteps
  • Throw in a keyword: Don’t try to fit all your keywords into the title because then it would be too long. Instead, shoot for your primary keyword or at the very least a variant of it that fulfills search intent

The key to users reading what you wrote is having a strong title. This helps nudge a foot into the door, so your article can do the rest.

SEO pointers when writing an article for your blog

Let’s talk about keyword research

Before you get down to creating any content, start with keyword research. Derive your topics from the keywords you dig up. I use Ahrefs to do my keyword research because of its comprehensive analytics, but I recommend you mix it up with other keyword research tools as well.

Here’s a simple process to guide you: 

  • Think about your audience and their most pressing pain points
  • Analyze the keywords your competitors are targeting and getting ranked on
  • Examine the keyword’s monthly search volume and keyword difficulty
  • Find related search terms. To do so, simply type a keyword on Google, scroll to the bottom of the result pages, and take note of the suggestions there. Or, hop onto Google Keyword Planner for more related search ideas. 
  • Add images to your site map as well to encourage search bots to crawl and index your visuals too

I always vouch for long tail keywords which typically have five or more words because these phrases match search intent very closely and usually have lower competition in comparison to short tail keywords. Additionally, research by Baclinko finds that 92% of search queries are long tail keywords so it makes perfect sense to go long.

Create high-quality content

What is quality content? Well, isn’t that the million-dollar question? It’s the bare minimum that the content you write should solve a user’s problem. Alternatively, it could also be educative by touching on trends. But the pain point-solution approach works like a charm most of the time.

To make your content high-quality, here’s what you should do:

  • Add lots of white space (lists, bullet points, etc.) to make your content readable
  • An outline or table of content can also go a long way
  • Write while keeping the user’s search intent in mind
  • Go with a keyword density of 1-2%, as recommended by a HubSpot study. This means about 1 or 2 keywords for every 100 words of content. Anything more risks the wrath of search engine watchdogs
  • Be trustworthy. How do you make your content trustworthy? Include authoritative backlinks or statistics
  • Ensure your content is not outdated. Keep it fresh and relevant

Try to include images

Many bloggers don’t use images in their articles. Creating visuals takes time and most writers usually avoid it altogether. But a lot is riding on images in terms of SEO, so don’t turn a blind eye to visuals. 

But how do images affect SEO? While they are not a ranking factor and most blogs fair just fine without them, images can have a great impact on user experience and audience retention rates, which are both ranking signals. Also, adding images to your articles could help your blog get found on Google Image search. But for that to happen, you also need to create alt text tags for your images, and preferably throw a primary keyword in there.

Other SEO image optimization tips that I highly recommend:

  • Always compress images so they don’t slow down your page
  • Use descriptive words and keywords when naming your image files
  • Resize your images so they are mobile-friendly. Some website builders automatically take care of this for you
  • Make unique visuals. Use graphic design tools like Canvas to make stock imagery stand out so your article doesn’t like a ton of others.

Optimize your metadata and permalinks

Don’t hit publish just yet. Spare a moment to create metadata for your content, including a meta title and a meta description. As we’ve covered best practices for creating rockstar titles, let’s talk about your meta descriptions:

  • Include a long-tail keyword
  • Highlight a key reader pain point and offer part of the solution
  • Don’t reuse meta descriptions. Create unique ones for each post or page

Technically, they may not count as an SEO checklist, but meta descriptions hold significant sway over click-through rates.

Permalinks on the other hand are criminally overlooked by most bloggers, but they can also impact CTR and SEO. Be sure to make each unique, include SEO keywords, and make them descriptive so the link defines what the page is all about. Don’t rely on automatically generated permalinks by content management systems such as WordPress.

Promote your articles, and then some!

A content marketer's job doesn’t end when your blog post goes live. Your work is far from over. People aren’t just going to magically stumble across your article, and search engines will take a while to rank your content. You want to give the process a nudge by also getting your hands dirty and promoting your posts. Share your content. on social media, then move into your networks and invite them to have a read and share with their networks. Answering questions on Quora and using influencers are also viable ways to gain more traction for your blog posts and get your content in front of more eyeballs. The bottom line is that there’s just no shortcut to SEO success. It’s all about consistency and lots of hard work.

CR Venkatesh

Author: CR Venkatesh

CR Venkatesh is a fountain of SEO experience, having served as CEO of one of the top digital marketing companies in India. He has won the IT Professional of The Year at the Golden Globe Tigers 2016, with his most recent accolades including the Best Achiever Award 2023 and the SITCON Star Award 2022.

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Users views on What are Core Web Vitals? Why is it Important?

Great article!!! Thanks for sharing this valuable insight!!! it's helpful

Gokul Krishnan 01-01-1970

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