Most blog with an aim to reach as many readers as they can. The search engine is the best tool for our post to reach a large number of users as billions of queries reach these search engines every day. However, there are tens and hundreds of articles present on almost every topic we can think of. How do we rank high in search results in such a case? First thing is writing killer content. The consumer is the king and when you deliver what they want you will tend to rank higher. However, that is not the only factor which decides your ranking on search results. There are some factors which are not in your control and there are some which you can control to rank higher.
Some of the steps you should consider to optimize your blog posts are:
1. Keyword Research
This should be one of your first step you take when you are developing a blog strategy. This helps to understand what the audience wants. Google’s keyword planner is an excellent and free tool to understand the volume for a particular keyword. The higher the volume the more is the interest. If the volume is higher, we should also check the type of results to understand what we are competing against because higher volume also means high competition. If you are new then targeting long tail keywords is a better strategy to rank higher and convert better.
Once you finalize your keyword, you should try to use that word or phrase in your blog more than once so search engines can understand what you are ranking for. As a general rule the higher the keyword the easier it is for search engines to understand. However, care should be taken that the usage of these keyword does not seem forced. Otherwise search engines might also penalize your blogpost. This is called keyword stuffing i.e., including keywords as much as possible with the sole purpose of ranking highly in organic search.
With the latest developments in machine learning and artificial intelligence, there is a concept called semantics which is being used by search engines. What this means is that you need not write the exact keyword throughout your post, at time you might bring a variance in the usage by using a synonym or alternative word or phrase. Search engines can now understand what you are talking about by going through the entire blog and rank you for the appropriate keyword.
2. Checking for rich results
The above is an example of rich results. If your keyword produces a featured snippet above the organic results, or if many of the organic results include images, video thumbnails, or other rich information, then you want to make sure you’re optimizing your content to compete for those things.
In some cases, that means adding schema markup to your webpage. In others, it means changing the way you structure your content to try to compete for the featured snippet. Either way, you need to know what you’re competing for and against in order to create the right kind of content to be competitive.
3. Choosing the title properly
When a user types a keyword in the search engine, he will get a list of results on the page. If we want our result to convert it has to address the need of the user. For example, if we are writing of loosing weight and even the user is searching for loosing weight then it is the title which a user will see before anything else. If our title is not making it clear that the post talks about losing weight, then there is a good chance that he might move to the next result in the list as the first impression is that the result does not answer his query. Search engine allows only a fixed length to be displayed on a page. Try limiting your keyword within the limit. However, if it goes beyond that limit then keep your keyword in that portion which is visible.
4. Include the Keyword in Your URL
Just like having the right numbers of keywords help in Google understand what the entire blogpost is all about the keyword in the url also helps. The search engines crawl the url and try to understand what the post is all about. This is an important factor and should not be taken lightly. Keep it short so everything can be read with the space of the link given and also make sense about the post. If the entire link does not fit in one page then search engines do not consider it to be a good consumer experience and might penalize you some SEO points.
5. Optimize Your Headings
To make your post more structured, you should use sub-heading and paragraphs wherever possible and it is advisable to use keywords or alternative keyword in your sub-heading. Having secondary keyword helps here because otherwise it would look a little forced when we are using the same keyword throughout the post. This also helps search engines to figure out what your page is about.
That means that, once again, you want to look for opportunities to (naturally) include your keywords in the page heading. That includes anything that has a <h1>, <h2>, or <h3> tag on the page.
6. Include Image Text
Most often we include an image in our post to visualize what we are writing about better. However, if we check the name of the image might be 1.jpg or something which makes little sense about the image if you read it rather than observing it. Search engines are not like humans who can decipher image the way we do by observing. In order for them to understand the image in the easiest manner, we should name it properly. For example, if we have an image of foods we can eat to reduce our weight, then the image name should be something on the lines of ‘Food to reduce weight’. Also, there is an alt text portion in your file which should also be updated in order to optimize your image for SEO.
7. Use Relevant Internal Links
Internal links helps Google establish your depth of a particular topic. We can’t write about everything in one post, otherwise it will be more like books or volumes which is never ending. So, we talk about one specific topic in one post and any further understanding needed on a concept or word can be given by linking it to a post you have already written rather than explaining it in the post. This will help your post to be specific to your topic and will also help search engines to understand that you are someone who understand this topic well because you have written a lot about it. Your authority over a topic increases in front of search engines and you are ranked higher for the value you bring to the user.
8. Write a Meta Description
Meta description gives a gist to the user when they are looking at the search results. A concise and appropriate description of your post will help the user to understand what the article is all about, increasing your chance of converting. The meta description should be of the right length and constant monitoring is also important because the appropriate length required changes with some update in the search algorithm. Your search engine and your user both would read your meta-description. So include your keyword in the meta description for search engines and make it engaging for your readers to click on it.
9. Updating older post
Over the period of time with the advancement of science, technology and new discoveries; what we wrote a while back might be outdated and not much use to the reader. This leads to it losing some valuable rank on the search engine results page. In order to maintain your ranking for an older post, it is important that it reflects the latest information which is beneficial to the user. There some segments which have evergreen post which might not require any updating, however with how information is growing there is very little where new advancement is not available.
10. Choose Tags and Categories Strategically
Blogs allow you to create tags and categories that help you group related posts together. This is both a useful navigational aid for people browsing your blog and a tool you can use strategically for SEO. Every category or tag you use creates a new page that will include the name of the tag or category in the URL, along with a lot of relevant content and links on the page.
As with keyword stuffing, you don’t want to overdo it here and create tons of tags with similar keywords, but you should think carefully about which keywords and tags will be the most valuable to readers and for your SEO strategy.
Come up with a list of a few based on the most important keywords you want to rank for, but making sure they each represent different types of topics (e.g. don’t have categories for synonyms or slight variations on terms) and use them whenever they’re relevant to what you’ve written.
11. Include Featured image
Featured image is one of the important factors which pulls user to your post. Include a feature image which is in line with your post tile and optimize the image for seo.
12. Using the right length of your post
Your post should contain minimum 300 words. However, the thumb rule is the longer the post the better the rankings it will have. This maybe true only when you know how to write big posts. Otherwise the average session time will come down and so will your rankings. Choose the right length by reading your post, if you feel that some parts should be taken down to make it reader friendly then do not hesitate to do so. A better user experience trumps other factors.
13. Don’t write duplicate contents
Search engines rewards fresh and quality whereas duplicate contents are penalized. Google will consider you to be a copy paste blog and not someone who has an understanding of the topic. This results in lower rankings. So, write fresh contents to rank higher on search results
14. Check your grammar and spellings
It is not only that users like to read a post which is grammatically correct and is spelled right