When I first started blogging over ten years ago, I had no idea what search engine optimization (SEO) meant or why it was so important to my blog. After reading a lot about the topic and teaching myself some SEO basics, I’m happy to report that I now get a fairly decent percentage of my monthly blog traffic from organic sources like Google.
SEO may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! In this post, I am going to share some easy ways to optimize your blog posts for search engines so you can start getting more organic traffic! The following tips will help improve your SEO, but it’s also important that you continue to produce high-quality content because that is the single most important factor in getting good search engine traffic.
Use Long Tail Keywords to Optimize Your Blog Posts for Search Engines
I know it’s so much easier to think of a keyword as one single word, but in reality, that’s now how we use Google (or other search engines) to find relevant content. More often than not we type in a long tail keyword (a three-word phrase) when we want to find more information online. For example, if I’m looking for information on throwing a kids’ birthday party with a princess theme, I will probably type in “kids princess birthday party” or something similar, rather than just putting in “kids’ birthday.” In other words, the long tail keyword allows you to get more specific in your search and will probably give you better results.
The same principle applies to your blog posts when thinking of SEO. If you want to target a specific person searching for a specific topic, BE SPECIFIC! Using long tail keywords will increase the chances that your post will match what someone is looking for and will allow you to rank higher in search engines for certain topics.
Use The Above Keywords in Your Title, URL, Headings, and Meta Description
There are a number of different places that you want to use your keywords in a blog post. Instead of stuffing them in everywhere (this can get you in trouble with Google), place them strategically in the following places: the post title, post URL, sub-headings and meta description. To make this easier, I recommend using the Yoast SEO plugin that you can read more about below.
Make Sure Your Blog Theme is Responsive
So much blog traffic now comes from mobile devices, so it’s a MUST to have a blog theme that is responsive. Responsive themes can easily adjust the way your site appears depending on the screen size of the device. Using a premium WordPress theme will ensure that your theme looks just as good on mobile as it does on a desktop!
Schema.org structured data is also preferred by Google and that’s why I use a Bluchic theme that uses this format. You also want to make sure that your page speed is great since it’s even more important that your content load quickly on a mobile device. You can help increase your page speed by compressing bulky images, using caching and ensuring you don’t have too many redirects.
If You are on WordPress, Use the Yoast SEO Plugin
As a self-hosted WordPress blogger, I’ve used the Yoast SEO plugin for years! The Yoast SEO plugin is recommended by a ton of different SEO bloggers and professionals. It’s easy to use and it gives you a traffic light system for monitoring your blog post’s SEO optimization. If it’s green, you are good to go! If you get an orange or red, you can look underneath your post in the Yoast SEO box to see what you need to do to move to a green! Yoast tracks your keyword density and where the keyword is used in the post (see above). It will also let you know if you need to include other information like graphics with the keyword, etc.
Internally Link Your Posts
Interlinking your posts is SUPER important! Not only does it help optimize your blog posts for search engines, but it can also reduce your bounce rate! Google tracks your bounce rate and uses that metric when determining how to rank your blog post for searches. For example, if you have a high bounce rate, your post is less likely to rank high because Google sees that most people visit the post and immediately click back to results. This makes Google think the post isn’t a good match for the search query.
When you link your posts internally it also makes it MUCH easier for search engines to easily crawl your site and index your content. It forms a sort of road map for your blog’s content. Make sure that you are adding links naturally so the connected content makes sense to the reader and to search engines. Just like keyword stuffing (adding your keyword too many times), linking unnaturally and excessively can work against your when it comes to search engine ranking.
Use the Google Search Console
Google has a free tool, the Google Search Console, that can help you better understand your organic traffic. The search console lets you know what keywords have resulted in traffic to your site so you can create more content around the same topic. Moz has some great info on how to best use the Google Search Console.
The first thing you need to do is add your site and verify it in the console. You can easily do so with Google Analytics or by adding the HTML code to your header (I like to use the Insert Headers and Footers plugin). If you make a lot of changes to your blog and want to see them reflected sooner in search engine results, you can ask Google to “fetch” your site again. The search console is also helpful for uncovering any errors Google encounters when it crawls your site.
The search analytics is very helpful for tracking the number of clicks, impressions, click-through rate, position, etc. for different keywords and the traffic they drive to your blog. I would HIGHLY recommend getting acquainted with this analytics report and looking at what terms you rank for. If you are already ranking highly for certain keywords, creating additional content centered around those terms can result in more traffic to your blog!
Get High Quality Backlinks to Your Blog
High quality backlinks are a great way to improve your blog’s SEO and you can get these by being mentioned on sites that have a high domain ranking and trust factor. Make sure you vet sites appropriately as some sites are spammy and have a high domain authority because they have purchased backlinks– a big no no! If you can get mentioned on other higher domain sites through organic mentions or guest posting, this is a much better way to go about doing it!
Pinterest Is a Search Engine Too
While many think of Pinterest as a social media platform but it’s really a search engine and a powerful one! Pinterest is a great way to find potential keywords for your blog without using any paid tools. Simply head over to Pinterest and start entering the topic you are looking to write about. Just like in Google, Pinterest will start predicting what you are searching for– if you type “chicken” it will list some tiles right below the search bar with topics like “chicken recipes, chicken breast recipes, etc.”
It’s giving you more keywords to use in your blog posts. It’s very helpful info to generate exactly the type of content your readers are looking for when they use search engines. Head over to Pinterest and give it a try and don’t forget to create Pinterest graphics for your blog posts like the one you see below. Pinterest is my biggest referral source for this blog and it can skyrocket your blog traffic!
I hope these tactics on how to optimize your blog posts for search engine are helpful and start getting more organic traffic to your blog! Please feel free to comment below with any questions!