Before honing in on why SEO is important in the ever-growing blogging community – what exactly is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, a practice adopted by many website owners that aim to increase traffic to their site through search engine results. SEO also makes it easier for internet users and more importantly, search engines, to understand the content of a website.
As advanced as current search engines are, they are not human, they can’t understand or view a web page in the same way that we can. The extent to which search engines can understand the content of your blog helps determine where your blog is going to appear in search rankings.
For the majority of internet users, major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing are the first point of contact when researching a specific topic or looking for a particular service/type of product.
Based on what the user has searched, search engines will rank their results based on what they consider to be the most relevant to the reader. Relevant blog posts with higher SEO will appear further up in these search ranks, improving your reach, effectively leading to an increased engagement with your blog.
We all know that a high level of engagement is crucial to successfully grow your blog, which is exactly why the effective use of SEO is so important.
Many SEO strategies are important to elevate the content of your blog in search rankings with the desired effect of increasing traffic to your site, such as the ones listed below.
A mobile-friendly site
This may sound like an obvious one, but it doesn’t make it any less important. In 2017, mobile searches were responsible for just over 50% of all web traffic generated worldwide. Mobile phones are the most popular device to search for information and as a result, Google will display mobile-friendly sites at the top of their search rank. Mobile friendly blogs will ensure that their design is user-friendly on both desktop and mobile. By not having a mobile friendly blog, you are instantly dropped below any competitor that does in the search ranks.
The use of one or two long-tail keywords per post
Long-tail keywords are short keyword phrases, usually three or four words long, that are very specific to the topic that you are blogging about. Blogs with good SEO will focus on one or two specific long-tail keywords per post included in the title, headers and body, URL and meta description wherever possible. We will discuss meta description in more detail later on in the post. It’s not about cramming as many keywords as you can into your posts – this can actually prove to be counterproductive.
For example, if you were writing a blog post about a daily ab routine that takes 10 minutes, instead of using the singular keyword, ‘workout’, the long-tail keyword, ‘ten-minute ab workout’, would achieve better SEO. This is because what people are searching for is becoming more precise.
TIP: Google’s free Search Console has a feature called Search Analytics Report, this analyses clicks from Google searches and establishes which current keywords you’re using are successful at driving traffic to your blog content.
Using alt text to optimise images
Images are nearly always used to accompany blog posts to make them more visually appealing and to illustrate content in a way that words can’t. Computers can’t process images like we can, which is why alt text is so important for optimisation.
Alt text is a small description of the image added to an image tag in the HTML of the post. This not only informs the search engine what’s in the image and as a result, more likely to appear in searches, but this text will also show up to the searcher when the image can’t be displayed for one reason or another.
This will make the content more engaging than if there wasn’t alt text, as it would just appear blank.
Varying topic tags
Using too many similar topic tags on the same blog post can be very damaging to your SEO because to search engines, your blog posts may come across as duplicates of each other. In the eyes of the search engine, this decreases the validity of the content on your blog and therefore you will drop down the search rank.
To avoid this problem, pick 20 tags to use that are relevant to your blog, but not similar to one another.
Optimisation of the meta description
Think of this as the blurb of a book – you read the blurb and use this as a judgement as to whether you’re going to read the book. The same principle applies for meta descriptions on blog posts, it essentially determines whether the searcher clicks on the page or not.
It should give the reader specific information about the blog post, as well as being engaging and catchy. It should also try and include one of the long-tail keywords you are focusing on for that particular post.
Overall, good SEO is essential for growing your blog by increasing your traffic and engagement levels. Google, for example, has highly advanced algorithms that need to make distinctions between billions of websites so it’s important that you try and include as much good quality SEO as possible to get your content as high up in the search ranks as you can.
Now that you’ve learnt about the importance of SEO, you may be looking into ways to successfully promote your blog across social media. Our book The Google Checklist has a whole section dedicated to social media marketing strategies, which includes many useful tips and tricks that are crucial to growing your blog across all social media platforms. You can also request our team to check your SEO by completing a questionnaire which can be found on our homepage.
Director of HeartCMS.com and author of UK's bestselling online marketing book 'The Google Checklist'. Amen loves to help small to medium size businesses get more online exposure. Amen started his online marketing journey back in 2006 and now runs his own award winning marketing agency.
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