The sad and simple fact is, you can write the most incredibly written, extremely useful and lovingly insightful blog post but sometimes it just won’t get heard through the “noise” of the Internet. The landscape of Google means that search engines value genuinely unique content and that’s 90% of the battle won, but the other 10% can be determined by the way you optimise your blog post and this could give it that extra boost up the rankings.
It’s important to note that Google’s landscape is continuously changing so it’s difficult to place value on any one tactic but we do know that structuring your content in such a way will help a blog post’s chances of being seen.
We’ve put together 10 basic tips for optimising a blog post that anybody can follow and implement.
1. Sourcing and using images
In my mind a blog post isn’t really a blog post without an image, it would be more like an essay. It’s pretty much expected that blog posts have an image these days and they really help to break up longer posts whilst enticing those visually minded readers. One thing that I see happening all the time is blog posts using images without permission, which of course is a big no no as it could get you into a whole lot of trouble.
My tips for using images would be to first and foremost try to use your own images before sourcing stock photos. This means that you get the credit for the image and you don’t need to worry about paying for or sourcing images that are licensed. If you do need to use stock photos always double check (and check again) the license to ensure it is fit for reuse. Most images online are licensed under a creative commons license which details exactly what you need to do in order to use that particular image. Lastly, when you are searching for stock photos save yourself a bit of time by using advanced search settings so that you’re only shown images available for reuse.
2. Header tags
Header tags range from <h1> to <h6> and are used to define HTML headings; <h1> defines the largest and most important heading and <h6> defines the smallest and most insignificant. <h2> header tags are popularly used for subheadings in blog posts and are generally received well by search engines. It is important to ensure that subheadings are used appropriately and should accurately define the section of text it relates to.
3. Title tags
The title tag is required in all HTML documents and defines the title of the document (or blog post) itself. A title tag should only be used once per article and are beneficial in a number of ways; they define the blog post’s title in the browser toolbar, when the article is bookmarked or added as a favourite a title tag will provide the title and therefore ensures that the title is displayed correctly in the SERPs.
4. Categories and tags
Categories are a great way of giving your blog post a topic and theme. You should however avoid creating too many categories as broader topics are generally preferred and too many categories can result in confusion and duplication.
5. Using keywords BUT NOT stuffing
Keywords can occasionally be used in blog posts to give the term an extra boost. You should however avoid keyword ‘stuffing’; this is when keywords are used repeatedly and excessively in one blog post. Any keyword used in a blog post should be relevant to the topic of the post and should provide a valuable call to action.
For example, if a gardening company’s blog post is discussing different gazebo designs it would be useful to use the keyword “garden features” and link to the appropriate page.
6. Internal links
Internal links can be valuable for blog posts if used efficiently. Most people forget that previously written blog posts aren’t redundant just because they’re old – they still have significant value. Where it is natural to link to previous blog posts, do! Additionally, you want users to spend as much time on your site as possible so giving them an option to move to another page rather than off the site is always going to be beneficial.
7. Blog post structure
In terms of blog post structure, there are a few things you should have in the back of your mind each time you write a post:
- Word count – aim for 500 words as the ultimate blog post length; long enough to capture attention and short enough to avoid the user getting bored before they finish reading the post.
- Subheadings – both search engines and users alike favour subheadings as they break up long stretches of text and generally add value.
- Using images in blog posts is highly recommended, especially when owned by the blog post writer.
The golden rule is to always publish content that is relevant to your target audience and industry. Beyond that, there are various types of content that are positively known to help increase reader engagement.
- How tos, guides and lists – readers respond well to these because they are usually clear and concise and because they deliver actionable tips for readers to use in practice.
- Interviews – generally, readers respond well to conversational pieces. Additionally, interviews lend well to other forms of media such as videos and images so it’s an easy way to engage readers even more.
- Reviews – writing reviews is a fantastic way to show your authority in your industry. Additionally, they are engaging because they can be timely, and readers like timeliness. Reviewing newly released products or projects can provide you with relevancy and will drive rich traffic.
9. Rich media
Rich media is defined as media that is considered interactive, such as embeddable items, maps, videos and images. Using rich media within blog posts will enrich the content and encourage reader engagement.
Where possible, blog posts shouldn’t be posted and then forgotten about straight away – blog posts should be promoted whenever and wherever possible and appropriate. Here’s a few ways to promote your blog post:
- Share through social media (Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest).
- Share through your e-newsletter.
- Share through the parties you’ve mentioned in the blog post.
- Share through bookmarking sites if the blog post is particularly newsworthy.
- Don’t forget to link to older blogs posts where possible!
- Advertise! Simply put, if you’ve got something genuinely unique and interesting why not give it an extra boost through paid search channels such as PPC, Paid StumbleUpon and social advertising. Psst – if you want help with this, give Attacat a shout!
And that’s a wrap! 10 simple tips to optimise your blog post. Tim wrote a blog post back in 2010 about the benefits of blogging for SEO, most of which is still very relevant today so check it out if you’re interested.
Is there anything else that you rely on to optimise your blog post? Let us know in the comment section below!