The Beginners Guide to SEO Optimizing Blog Content
Do you know what’s more confusing than crop circles, McGraw-Hill Everyday Mathematics, and tiny candy bars that are called “fun size” treats all combined?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Just the words on their own might make you shiver--and for good reason.
For starters, properly putting together an SEO strategy takes time and research.
Then, once you have the information you need, you have to know how to strategically place your newfound keywords and meta data into either your content or the back end of your website for it to make an impact.
And, don’t ever get me started on the constant Google algorithms changes that shake everything up on a regular basis.
Long story short, SEO can be a pain in the rear AND if you don’t have the time to devote to building a solid strategy it can leave you in the dust ranking behind your competitors.
The good news...there are a handful of SEO tactics that have seemed to hold tried and true over the years. And today I’m going to share a few of those SEO strategies that are important for blogging.
Let’s jump in…
Step 1: Do Your Keyword Research
Before you do anything, you need to know which keywords will be helpful in optimizing your blog content.
Don’t panic. If you have no idea how to do keyword research, I’m about to walk you through it because that’s just the type of gal I am. Also, I have a great tool that makes it super dooper simple to get the keyword info you need.
Here’s how I do my research…
Go to MOZ’s Keyword Explorer Tool.
Step 2: Search for a keyword related to your blog content.
Keywords are any words related to your business or service offerings.
Just for fun, let’s use alpaca farming as an example
Knowing the topic of our keyword research, I might try to search a variety of keywords including…
Let’s search the first keyword--alpaca farming--and see what comes up.
Step 3: Check out the keyword overview.
You’ll see 4 main categories in the keyword overview…
Monthly volume is exactly what it says it is--the monthly volume of people who search for this keyword online.
Considering the topic, 101-200 monthly searches isn’t too bad for this specific keyword. Of course, the higher the traffic, the more important the keyword will be.
According to MOZ...
“Broadly speaking, a higher keyword difficulty score means it will be more difficult to compete with the already-ranking results, and a lower difficulty score means it's likely to be easier. But there are many variables. Keyword Difficulty is based on the PA and DA scores of the results that rank in Google's top 10 for a given keyword, as well as several other factors (like how many homepages vs. internal pages appear, use of query terms in the results, and more). In general, scores roughly correspond to a weighted average of the PA of the top 10, and the other inputs (DA, homepages, query term use, etc) modify that weighted average. The best way to think about a KW Difficulty score is as a predictor for the level of challenge an "average" website will have ranking for that keyword.”
The difficulty score for this keyword (30) is pretty good. There doesn't seem to be a lot of competition.
The organic CTR estimates the percentage of clicks available to organic on the SERP.
I wouldn’t worry about this so much for blogging, but it is good to know.
According to Rand Fishkin from SEO Moz,
“Priority was conceived to help aggregate all the other metrics - Difficulty, Opportunity, Volume, and (if you choose to use it) Importance. We wanted to create an easy way to sort keywords so the cream would rise to the top -- cream in this case being keywords with low difficulty, high opportunity, strong volume, and high importance (again, if you choose to use it). Thus, when it comes to Priority Score, there's no particular number you should necessarily seek out, but higher is better.”
The priority number is average here (51).
In a nutshell, the likelihood of you being able to find a keyword that is optimal for every category about is slim to none.
Do your best to search for keywords that have high search volumes and low difficulty scores.
Step 3: Select a Focus Keyword
Once you’ve compiled a list of quality keywords, select one to become your focus keyword.
This will be the keyword you use in your blog title.
Step 4: Add Focus Keyword Into Your Content
I’m going to use a blog post as an example that features the keyword “marketing content.”
As you can see, the keyword was used in the blog title…
The same keyword was also used in the subheader of the content…
It also doesn’t hurt to use the keyword 1-2 times throughout the copy.
However, before you go too crazy, be wary of keyword stuffing.
Keyword stuffing involves stuffing into your copy in a way that makes the content hard to read or repetitive.
As a rule of thumb, keywords are like snickers bars...1-2 every once in a while a are good, but eat too many and you’ll end up with diabetes...or something like that.
Step 5: Sprinkle Other Keywords Into Your Content
Remember that list of keywords you collected?
Now’s a good time to pick a few of them--if appropriate--and sprinkle them into your content.
For example, if you’re writing a blog on content marketing, you mind find a way to use keywords such as…
...into your post.
Remember--don’t stuff! No one wants keyword diabetes.
Simply use common sense and add in valuable keywords where you feel it’s appropriate.
Step 6: Optimize the Backend of Your Blog
I know, I know…thinking about optimizing the back end of anything is a little intimidating.
After all, just think of all the squats you’d need to do to achieve a Kardashian booty.
Really though, in all seriousness, optimizing the backend of your blog is typically pretty easy. In fact, there are really only 3 big important things you need to focus on--one of which you’ve already done the research for!
Item 1: Slug
According to Yoast…
“A slug is the part of a URL which identifies a particular page on a website in an easy to read form. In other words, it’s the nice part of the URL, which explains the page’s content.”
Most blogging platforms have a place where you can specify what you want your slug to be.
If you have questions on how to specify a slug for your blog post,I recommend you get in touch with your blog provider. They should be able to walk you through the process.
The best tip I can give on creating a slug is as follows...
Keep your slug neat and tidy by narrowing down what your blog post is trying to show people. For example, if you are writing a blog that explains what slugs are, your slug might read: /what-are-slugs
Simple and to the point. It’s really as easy as that!
Item 2: Craft a Meta Description
Meta descriptions are the little blurbs of text that show people what they are about to read if they click on your search result. See example below…
As for a meta description strategy, I generally limit my description to 1-2 short sentences with a call to action, such as “read more” at the end.
Do you best to include your focus keyword and craft the meta description so it intrigues people and makes them want to click your link.
Last but not least, we’ve arrived back at your focus keyword.
This is by far the easiest step as you’ve already got your keyword in hand. All you have to do is plug it into the back end of your blog site for your post (if you don’t know how to do this, call your blog provider).
Plug your keyword in and viola! Your blog post is more optimized than probably 50% of the blogs on the web.
If you’ve made it to the end of this blog, CONGRATS! You’ve won a brand new car! (invert best game show host voice).
Ok, not really.
But, you did win the satisfaction of equipping yourself with the SEO tools necessary for optimizing your blog. Yippie!
SEO can be a pain, but if you take it step-by-step it’s not so bad.
Best wishes as you work to optimize your content.
P.S. Need a hand ensuring your content is SEO optimized? Let's talk...