Ok, you’ve finally done it! You’ve figured out your niche value offering, built a website, and have started blogging to promote your brand. All essential steps.
However, some people tend to think that just writing the blog is all they need to do. These are the same people who complain about their low traffic rates and ranking within the search engines, such as Google, but don’t do anything pro-active to change them.
How To Rank In Google Search
SEO is the heart of digital marketing. Some might not agree with the previous statement but let’s just look at the facts.
In the past five years, the practice of SEO has shifted its focus from link buying and keyword stuffing–essentially all ways of manipulating Google–to focusing on the importance of content marketing, which involves everything from PPC ad creation to videos and infographics and all other kinds of cool content.
And while content is king, SEO is sort of like the royal mother of digital marketing.
If you have a truly blockbuster idea for a video or article that you just know is going to blow up, worrying about SEO concerns like metadata and header tags might seem like an afterthought.
However, since those blockbuster pieces happen once in every 10,000 content pieces or more, you’ll want to optimize your article for SEO to give it a better shot at standing out amongst the deluge of content online.
SEO and Blogging: A Guide to Creating Articles that People Will See AND Click On
When writing an article for your site or blog, the first SEO step you always want to take is to determine the keyword that the article will be written around.
Of course, when coming up with an article topic, most people just let inspiration hit them and start writing.
Choosing a focus keyword for a blog can be a serious chicken-or-egg scenario as some people like to do keyword research first using tools like Google AdWords to measure keyword volume and BuzzSumo to see what topics are performing well in their niche.
Ultimately, it’s a chicken-and-egg situation as one will inform the other; a targeted keyword can help you decide a topic while a topic can help you nail down a keyword.
On-Site Optimization Checklist for SEO Blogging
When writing a search optimized blog article, you’ll want to make sure each of the following items is addressed.
1. Title Tag: The title tag refers to the title of your page, which is often the title of the article itself.
The key with the title tag is making sure your keyword is within it, ideally near the start of the phrase. For instance, the keyword for this article is “how to rank in Google search” and thus if you look up at the title of the page, what are the first two words you see?
That’s right, our keyword.
2. Page URL: SEO professionals have quibbled for decades over whether including your target keyword in the URL of your page.
While there is no definitive answer, this SEO professional always includes his target keywords in the URL as it tends to have a small effect on the page ranking.
3. Header Tags: After your title tag, the header tags (which range from <h1> to <h6>) are an essential element on your page as they are like chapter titles for each of the subsections of your article.
They also help you break up your article as you tend to want at least one <h1>, <h2>, and <h3> tag in an article. For instance, “How To Rank In Google Search” is an <h2> tag while “On-Site Optimization Checklist for SEO Blogging” is an <h3> tag.
4. Meta Description: Performing SEO on your blog articles isn’t just a matter of helping Google to better identify which terms or search queries to rank your page as a result for.
It also involves letting searchers know what your site is about and enticing them to click on your page. As seen above, the meta description is the text that tells Google what your page is about in ~156 characters and is the first thing a searcher sees.
Consider adding a call-to-action to entice searchers to click on your article. If you’re using WordPress, you can edit your meta description via the “edit snippet” function in Yoast SEO.
5. Alt Tags: Last but not least, when optimizing your article for search, always make sure your images have alt tags attached to them.
As you can likely deduce, search bots can’t “read” an image.
But they can read the text associated with an image, which is the alt tag. In WordPress, whenever you upload a photo you have an alt tag field that you should fill out and include your target keyword, but only if it makes sense.
Also, alt tags should not be longer than ten words.
So, how to rank in Google search?
Ultimately, optimizing an article is about following the above steps but also making sure your article reads naturally and doesn’t feel like you’re keyword stuffing–putting your keyword in sentences or every header for the sake of doing so, not for the sake of your reader.
By thinking of your reader first and SEO second, you can make sure both are taken care of and that each article you write is working to help you rank higher.