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5 Tips to Optimize Your Blogs For SEO

How to optimize your blog posts with SEO

As a small business, posting blogs to your website is a great way to position yourself as an authority on a topic, provide visitors with valuable information, and increase engagement from your customers. But once you write the blog, how do reach your audience? 

Some customers may be inclined to subscribe to your newsletter or email alerts, but if increasing customers and sales is your goal you’ll want to expand your reach beyond your email list. To do this, you’ll need to optimize your blogs for search engines.

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. This is done by carefully selecting keywords, writing well-thought-out meta descriptions, and adding an alt-tag to every image, in addition to many other things.

To get you started on your SEO journey, here are 5 tips to optimize your blogs and reach a larger audience!

Using SEO to Rank Your Blogs

Tip No. 1 Do Your Research

Keyword and topic research is one of the fundamentals of a good SEO strategy. Once you have a topic in mind, you need to take some time and research keywords. What would people be looking up that would lead them to your blog post? You want to have one or two keywords or phrases that you use 3-7 times each to boost your ranking in the search results. These keywords should be popular, but not too popular that your blog will likely never rank for it.

For example, a blog post with the title “How to Find an Apartment” will never outrank a blog on the same topic written by apartments.com or apartmentguide.com. Instead, try localizing the topic to your city or making it more specific, i.e. “How to Find an Apartment in Albany, NY” or “How to Find an Apartment with a Roommate”. 

To find keywords and phrases, we love using Ubersuggest. The tool is free and provides you with insights into keyword performance, what your competitors are doing, and content ideas based around your given keywords. Give it a try and see what you come up with! 

Tip No. 2 Optimize Your URL

You’ll notice that the title of this blog is “5 Tips to Optimize Your Blogs For SEO” but the URL is optimize-blogs-seo. You never want your URL to simply be the title of your blog – it’s too long and contains stop words which are a big no in the eyes of search engines.

Here’s how you optimize your URL:

  1. – Remove all stop words (a, to, the, for, etc.)
  2. – Include your target keyword or phrase
  3. – Use hyphens, not underscores
  4. – Only use lowercase letters
  5. – Keep it as short and simple as possible

Tip No. 3 Optimize Your Meta Description

A meta description is the bit of text seen in the search results under the title of a web page. Think of it as a mini ad – you want to “sell” the blog as best as possible so people want to click the link and read it. A higher click-through rate (CTR) is a signal to Google that the content is valuable, leading to a higher position in the search results. 

Here’s how to optimize your meta description:

  • – Don’t use more than 160 characters otherwise, it will get cut off in the search results
  • – Include a call to action such as “learn more” or “shop now”
  • – Include your keyword or phrase
  • – Create value by including a solution or benefit

This description for SiteGround doesn’t include a CTA, but it does mention several benefits of the service, isn’t too long, and includes the phrase “web hosting services”.

Tip No. 4 Use Alt Text for Images

Alt-text is used to describe the appearance and function of an image on a page. Using alt-text is a principle of web accessibility; visually impaired users using screen readers will be read an alt attribute to better understand an on-page image. Without alt-text on every image, your website is no longer ADA compliant and you could be at risk for a lawsuit. Search engines also rank websites that are ADA Compliant higher than those that are not.

Alt text also provides better image context/descriptions to search engine crawlers, helping them to index an image properly. This will help your performance in the search results and drive more traffic to your website. 

Your alt-text should be sufficiently descriptive while avoiding any spammy attempts at keyword stuffing. If you can close your eyes, have someone read the alt text to you, and imagine a reasonably accurate version of the image, you’re in a good spot.

A Belgian waffle on a white plate with powdered sugar and whipped cream.

The alt-text for this image could be “waffle” but it’s not particularly descriptive. A better version would be “A Belgian waffle on a white plate with powdered sugar and whipped cream.” If someone read this to you, you could imagine it perfectly!

 

Tip No. 5 Check Your Word Count

 

This one is a bit tricky, as there are a million different opinions online as to what the ideal length for a blog post is. Some say 1000 words is best, while others argue that you should write upwards of 2500 words! Excuse us, but we don’t all have the time to make every blog post into a thesis. 

 

Instead, aim to write at least 300 words per post. Any less than that and Google will flag your blog (or web page for that matter) as low word count. This penalty pushes your blog down in the search results, as Google and other search engines prefer longer content. Once you reach 300 words, keep writing until you feel you’ve accomplished your goal and accurately covered the topic. Don’t push yourself to include more information just because you want to hit a certain word count; the content will feel forced and readers pick up on that.

 

If you hit 150 words and find you don’t have anything else to say on the topic, that’s okay too! Take the content and share it on social media or in your newsletter instead. Always try to repurpose content where you can.

 

The next time you write a blog, implement these tips and then keep an eye on your analytics. You may be surprised to find an increase in website traffic!