Blog SEO tips are one of the most covered topics on the web. There is no need of one more piece of content.
But there is few post available which has written with collective wisdom and a mix of practical observations.
Another fact is SEO world is not static, it is fluid as like search engine algorithmic updates.
Google becomes smart and smarter day by day in interpreting the queries and throwing out the perfect results.
I had written a post earlier too on content SEO but that post was theoretical.
The first page of SERP has become too competitive and you need a perfect approach to rank and outperform high domain authority sites contents.
Here you can learn step by step to craft your blog post for best results. I have mentioned some of my observation to back my ideas.
You can also do some simple observational tests to get an understanding of your content ideas and SEO optimisation possibilities
Why do You require to think for advanced Search Engine Optimisation for Your Blog Posts?
This question is genuine as you are writing a post daily and maintaining basic SEO and still fighting to get a genuine space in SERP.
You should know that there are 2 million blog posts are written every day.
You can understand the level of competition to be on the first page of SERP. You require doing more.
Blogging is not the same as it was some years back, now you have to compete with high authority individual and business blog.
Google Algo is smarter than earlier. Especially you have to give focus on semantic understanding of Google search.
While writing the post you have to think that how your post information is helpful to the intent of the searchers.
Anyway, for me SEO is marketing, you have to identify the gap and come up with the best solution. Technical optimisation is also important but it will solve Googlebot query, not the searcher.
Probably you see I used the term advanced optimisation in sub-heading that does not mean over technical optimisation. I just wanted to say that give the best answer to searcher queries.
Keep in mind you have to compete with high authority sites and believe me you can outrank them for sure.
Use Iron Man technique to craft your blog post for best SEO
You have to keep in mind that your every post requires to conquer on two fronts
a) Machine: Google Robot should able to understand your post objective. So it can show that for relevant search queries.
b) Human: Your post should just not solve the problem of readers, that should also amaze them.
Ok ! Let’s see How you can write for human and optimise for the search engine?
Here I am going to cover 20 points which will help you in crafting SEO content!
1. Start with Title Tag Optimisation….
A title tag is HTML element which specifies the title of the page. The title tag is being shown on SERP and social media sites as a clickable link.
I consider it the most important aspect because the user clicks on it. In the normal structure of Title tag in code like this…..
In the normal structure of Title tag in code like this…..
<head> <title>Example Title</title> </head>
This Tag usually shown in three places…
So, Here you got the point that your user going to see you at three places…
a) Web browser
b) SERP (Search Engine Result Page)
c) Social Media
Probably you are clear now that people are going to see your Title tag before clicking on your content.
A great Title tag can improve your CTR.
The leader of SEO industry Moz count title tag as a second most influencing factor after content.
Actually, the Title tag is a promise you make to the users about the content.
How to create clickable Title that makes search engine happy too?
We can care following things to make Human and SEO friendly Title.
I. Best format of Title Tag
There is not the hard and fast rule of best format but there is two three type of Title tags are used generally.
We can see it one by one.
I have taken the sample of Moz and Copyblogger’s title Tag because they are authority site of the industry.
Both had started the Title tag starting with the brand name and then content related message.
If your one of the objective of the blog is to build a brand then Title tag is a great place to gain brand visibility.
In the third sample, I have taken title copy of search engine watch.
We can see the objective of the tag is primarily communicated about content and secondary about the brand.
So, from all three sample, it is clear that the format of your title tag should be related to your objective.
II. Use ideal Title length
The proper title tag length should be 50-60 characters.
Moz research shows that if you keep your title tag length below 60 characters then there are 90% chances that it will be shown up properly by the search engine.
You can check your title tag with free online tools
You can access this Title Tag Checker Tool here.
III. Careful use of keyword
Usage of the keyword in title tag and its influence on rank are debatable subject in industry.
Though some year back keyword in title tag was the most influencing factor for search engine ranking.
Now it has lost that glory but still, many industry experts consider it second most influencing factor.
Last year Backlingo had done a research and gave the observation that Google’s shift towards semantic search could affect the relative importance of the title tag.
Though research found that a keyword optimised title tag was associated with a better ranking, but that correlation was smaller than it once was.
I have observed the same by doing some casual search.
Here I searched the phrase “Blog SEO” and found a strong correlation between Title tag keyword and search results.
This result quite confirms the thought that keyword in Title tag is still one the influencing factor.
Here my second search where I searched for the phrase “SEO Course”.
This result surprise me in two ways
a) Some of the result shown for “SEO Training” phrase
b) I have never mentioned my location but result shown local dominance.
Albeit this is just observation but it supports Backlingo Hypothesis.
Google’s semantic understanding interpret the query that’s why they consider Training as a synonymous of course.
But anyway if you feel need and relevance of using exact Keyword in title tag then please keep using it. There is no problem.
Warning: Keyword stuffing in title tag days are gone. I suggest you highly, don’t use that trick.
IV. Don’t do duplication
You have to check the duplication of Title Tag.
There is not any penalisation for this but the search engine can get confused if there will be two or more than two similar tags they will find.
Common duplication of Title Tags like “Home”, “New Page”, “Untitled”.
Google may interpret it as a duplicate content throughout this site.
V. Important keywords first
Moz study shows that using a keyword as a first word has little impact on ranking.
I recommend that keep your user experience in mind. If putting keywords first improve the experience then please do it.
VI. Create Visibility for brand
Title tags are a good place to create brand visibility.
You may be knowing that Google also gives an advantage to brands in the search results.
They accept it too.
So you should utilise all opportunity to establish your brand.
VII. Write for human
Last but not least, your message will be read by the human. So you should write for them.
If your Title tag will resonate with their query then only they will click on that.
For Google Guideline See Here –> Create good titles and snippets in Search Results
Bonus Point: If you are WordPress user then download Yoast SEO plugin.
2. Optimise a Meta Description
Meta description is a summary of your post which appears as a snippet in the search engine and social pages.
In HTML tag meta description looks like this….
<meta name="description" content="A page's description, usually one or two sentences. In general 160 charecters"/>
You can see how meta description appears in the search engine and social pages.
A well-written meta description can improve your click through rates.
How to optimise a meta description?
I. Keywords in meta tag help in ranking?
Google officially denies of any keyword in meta description influence in ranking, But you will see they embolden the key queries in meta description.
As I perform the search for “Social Media Tools”
Though if we believe that keyword in meta has no role in influencing the search result but this emboldened result will help in higher CTR.
Backlingo has found in its study that using LSI keyword in Tittle and Meta Tags has the influence on search rank.
II. Relate the Meta Description to the article
Meta description should always be summary or promise about your content.
Keep remember that your snippet should build some expectation in the mind of the user and your content should deliver that.
III. Take an ad copywriting approach in writing the description
Since you have to communicate your message and encourage users to do action in just between 135-160 characters.
For getting your job done in this much-limited resources you require to take ad-copy writing approach.
You can do A/B testing through Google Ads as well.
If you have limited resources like me then, I suggest you to better believe on your intuition and roll out.
Intuition is pattern learning, gradually you will be able to understand what works or what not.
IV. Avoid Meta Duplication
Duplication is a like watching hero’s double role movie. Many times you get confuse that who is who.
Same happens with the search engine. So don’t confuse the search robots.
V. What should be Proper length?
What should be the proper length of Meta description?
Wait…. I asked this to Google.
See the result.
Moz results came on top of the result.
But As your able to see the profound irony.
Moz is suggesting maximum 160 characters but Google proving them wrong!
Ok ! You should keep it maximum 160 characters and rest leave on Google God.
VI. Give call to action
Try to give a call to action in Meta tag.
Here you can see Hubspot is asking to download some template.
So according to your content objective, you should ask some action from users.
3. Keywords Optimisation in Blog Post
I have discussed keywords in Title tags and Meta Description. So in this section, I will limit to content body keywords.
Old school SEO was suggesting that there should be 3% keywords density in content.
But new school SEO has Hummingbirds and Rank brain to match LSI keywords too.
I have just checked some pages manually. Kindly count it a just observation. I was not doing any research.
I searched for the term “Digital Marketing”
Hubspot content comes as a top result and I analysed that a bit.
Total word count of the content was 2827.
56 times word Digital appeared in content.
75 Times word Marketing appeared in content.
36 Times phrase “Digital Marketing” appeared in content which is about 1.2 % density.
1.2% density is lesser than old school 3%.
I followed this search term density test for couple of more keywords
Made a search for “Cost Per Click” and result was completely surprising
Title keyword is “Pay per click”.
The Wikipedia article had more than 3000 words where “Cost per click or CPC” were mentioned just once.
Probably this result will blow your mind.
The result simply convinced us that Google relies on query interpretation, not keywords. Probably you should understand about LSI keywords.
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is a mathematical method used to determine the relationship between terms and concepts in content. The contents of a webpage are crawled by a search engine and the most common words and phrases are collated and identified as the keywords for the page.
LSI looks for synonyms related to the title of your page. For example, if the title of your page was “Classic Cars”, the search engine would expect to find words relating to that subject in the content of the page as well, i.e. “collectors”, “automobile”, “Bentley”, “Austin” and “car auctions”.
So, while constructing your blog post content and latest SEO trend keeping in mind you can look to optimise for LSI keywords.
You can take help of LSI Keyword generator tool
You can survey your user about all varieties of keywords they use for finding the same information.
My recommendation is you should use keywords as much as possible but it should not look like artificial keyword stuffing.
4. Is heading still a factor in SEO practice?
The header is an important part of your content as its help to structure the content and gives good user experiences.
H1 tag is important for readers to engage with the post.
There is always question raised in SEO world that H1 tags really improve search engine ranks.
Let’s have a look what MOZ community says about it.
Ok.. that is making sense.
How to optimise heading?
- Make sure you have an H1 on each and every page
- Try to make all of your H1 tags unique
- Use accurate, descriptive keywords
- Don’t stuff keywords
- If your H1 tags are too big
- Your H1 Tag should be engaging
H1 Tag is not as strong factor as it was some years back but still, it has some direct influence in ranking.
Second, a great header can improve engagement and page engagement is very strong signal in google rankings.
5. Role of Subheads in your blog post architecture
In secondary headlines, we count H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6 tags.
If you are using WordPress then you must be familiar with these all tags.
Subheaders help you to structure your content. Same time it helps readers to understand about all sections of your content.
Backlingo study shows keywords in subheaders is a weak signal for ranking.
SEO world is divided on subheader influence on search engine rankings but they are quite united on the fact that subheaders convert content in organised data.
Organised content gives a great user experience and this helps in ranking.
6. Featured Image creates attraction
The image can be worth thousand words. Eye catching and compelling image can dramatically improve your click-through and share rates on social sites.
It improves social signals of your content.
Social signals are one of the factors in ranking.
7. Reader likes Lists
Again listing is the techniques that you use to produce organised information.
8. Formatting makes your Blog post from good to great
You should take care of the user experience. Think what will make your reader easy to understand and consume your content?
Short paragraphs are easier to read.
You can use bold and italics for putting emphasis on your point.
Jakob Nielsen’s seminal web usability study from 1997 showed that 79 percent of web users scan rather than read.
Here are some suggestions for formatting your content
- Keep paragraphs 2 to 5 sentences long
- Use ordered lists for sequence of priority
- Use bullets where order or preference is irrelevant
- Use callouts and bold them
9. Links weave your post to the web
Your post can’t answer all questions. So what you do hyperlink other contents as a reference point. All relevant linking is a very good signal for ranking.
You do two types of linking Internal and External. Both are very good for your on page SEO.
See the Wikipedia page and analyse its linking.
Linking is a big topic and can have a separate post.
But in the crux, you keep remembering liking good and relevant resources are good practice and you will get SEO benefits from that in multiple ways.
10. Quotes & Mentions keeps your readers engaged and makes your content shareable
Quoting and mentioning are the simple way that you add up authority in your content by just referring authority site or person.
You can find this though out in my content. This makes my content valid and increases social sharing. (sometimes it get Shared by authority as well)
— Larry Kim (@larrykim) October 30, 2016
11. Example and Evidence gives authenticity to your blog post
Example and evidence make your post real. I learned this thing recently.
I see Neil Patel’s post and the ways he uses example and evidence that are convincing and gives very good experience.
He uses industry research data, his own observation, screen shots of search results etc. to back his hypothesis, ideas and thoughts.
12. Call to Action converts your objective into reality
You simply want to engage the user on a different level and it is directly related to your objective.
You want to generate some leads or subscriber or social share.
Whatever objective you have, you should include a specific call to action for the same in your content.
See here, how Neil Patel uses several types of call to action in his content.
13. Author Box is formal introduction
Readers are curious species. They don’t want to read your content only.
They want to know about the person who has written the post.
They might love to engage with the writer or follow him/her on social.
WP Beginner summarises it in perfect sense
Seeing an actual person behind the content helps build credibility and strengthens your site’s authority among users.
For single author websites, you can just add an about me page. But for a multi-author WordPress sites, you will need to add an author info box below each post.
The author box encourages authors to interact with readers. It provides an additional incentive to authors to build their own following.
Blend the post with compelling media mix…….
14. Secondary Images add value through visual storytelling
We are very visual creatures. A large percentage of the human brain dedicates itself to visual processing.
Our love of images lies with our cognition and ability to pay attention. Images are able to grab our attention easily, we are immediately drawn to them.
The image helps to convey your story properly. It will help you to draw a higher level of engagement.
15. Video improve “time spent” matrix, It is great engagement signal for search engine
Video in blog post helps your readers to be still around your post and spend more time on your content.
Higher time spent on your post has SEO benefits. I see how strategically Blog Tyrant uses it.
This guy strategically uses two – three minutes video.
Video is dominating the web space. So you should leverage this opportunity to make your post more engaging.
16. Audio makes your content consumable on move
Audio can simply upgrade your content and make it consumable while your readers are mobile.
With a consistent approach of making audio of your post will make you great library for Podcast also.
17. Slideshare is presentation form of your content…..
…..and people like presentation
Make a presentation from your post, upload it on slide share and embed it in your post.
Slides are easy to consume and help people to understand the crux of your post. It also increases the share rates.
Apart from the engagement matrix, there is a relationship between SEO and Slideshare.
18. “Click to tweet” for improving shareability on twitter
The main advantage is the ability to amplify the reach of your messages on Twitter in a simple and convenient way for users.
It’s a smart way to get them involved in promoting your content. In this way, your content will reach to your communities without making much effort.
19. List building for converting your visitors into permanent audience
Your every blog post should have the additional objective to get a direct relationship with users and freedom from SEO algorithms.
Enable subscription tools to convert one time readers into permanent readers.
There are many ways to build the list. You see which one suits your objective.
I use Welcome Mat and list builder (SumoMe). SumoMe is a Free plugin, If you are WordPress users, then you can try it.
20. Enable complete lot of social sharing options to get diverse social amplification
Your readers are a user of various social media sites also. It is also true that they are not active on a same social channel.
You have to make sure that your reader should be able to share your content with a single click.
There is many Free and paid tools available in web space by using them you can easily enable your blog for single click social share.
Conclusion: Rock Your Blog Post
Still, search engines are a big source of traffic and the big differentiator which differentiate the traffic from a search engine and other sources that are the level of intent.
Search engine traffic is highly convertible. So, just posting blog post is not ok.
Writing a quality post is not a guaranty of success. It won’t be picked up by search engines if it will be not structured properly.
PS: This post is limited to on page (blog post) SEO factors. Apart from the on page factors, there are many other factors work in ranking your content. We will discuss that in some other post.