I treat my website as the central hub of my digital marketing strategy. This includes my static pages and my blog articles.
In the before-times, people may have treated blogs as non-essential content but that’s definitely not the case now. These are are important pages for SEO, and should be treated as such!
How to improve SEO for your blog or website
This article focuses on ways you can improve SEO for your existing blog, but you can take these tips and apply them to a new blog or even your website pages and benefit from the exercise!
Here are a few other places where I’ve talked about SEO and keyword research.
- Easy SEO Tips and Tricks You Can Actually Understand
- 3 Simple and Helpful Keywords and SEO Tips for Writers
- What Is Indexing and Why Is It Crucial for SEO?
Define and understand your target audience
The more specific you can be, the better. Writing to a target audience on your blog is as important on SEO as knowing who your ideal reader is for your book or who your ideal client is in your business.
You may assume you know your audience but take the time to look at your web analytics and even talk to your readers if you can. Pay attention to what they find interesting and what topics seem to resonate with them. What makes them happy? What upsets them? How can you help them reach their goals through your knowledge and services?
Do keyword research
The most sophisticated SEO strategies cannot produce effective results if they are not based on the right keywords. These are important phrases or words that your target audience is searching for online.
When doing research, look for keywords that have a high volume of searches but aren’t too competitive. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about then check out this article on how to find keywords for SEO).
If you want to take your keyword strategy up a notch, then take the keywords you find and do your own Internet search on them. Take a look through the top organic results and pay attention to the content in these articles.
- Do the search results match how you would use the keyword or does it show a completely different type of article? (If the results don’t match how you are using the keyword, then look for a different keyword with the search results you would expect)
- Is the information in these articles up-to-date? (If not, then this is an opportunity for you to provide new information that is more relevant)
- Is there anything missing? (Read through the top results and ask yourself what isn’t covered in these articles. This is a great starting point for your articles on this same keyword)
Polish meta description and alt text
When it comes to SEO, the words in the article are only one piece of the puzzle. You also want to pay attention to your title, Meta Description and alt text.
Your article title, also called a headline, is an important SEO tool. This is coded as an H1 title, which in the Internet world means it’s the main explainer for what your article is about. This will perform best if it is a mix of common, uncommon, emotional and power words. Simple, but not easy! Tools like the Co-Schedule Headline Analyzer can be a big help when coming up with your article title.
A meta description is a short snippet that summarizes the article or page content. It’s around 160 characters long and is pulled into search engine results and displayed under the title. This helps users see if the article will answer their query so the better your meta description, the better your click-through rates will be. By the way, if you don’t set a meta description Google will choose one for you.
Alternate text is typically used for images and is also importants for SEO. At this point, search engine algorithms cannot decode the content of the image so it’s a good idea (and a best practice) to tell the search engine what the image is about. Alt text is also an accessibility aid for tools such as screen readers, which read web pages aloud for sight-impaired visitors. Keep both humans and search engines in mind when you add your alt text.
Choose content creators wisely
If you don’t have the interest or skillset to do SEO yourself, then make sure to hire the right content creator for the job! Look for copywriters or content writers who understand writing for people and search engines.
Stay up-to-date with SEO
Algorhythms are always changing, but it’s not as scary as it seems unless you’re doing sketchy black-hat SEO, which we’re not covering in this article. Focus on creating useful content that answers the questions your target audience is asking first, then optimizing it for search engines. As best pratices change you’ll likely need to tweak your SEO strategy so invest in training tools such as LinkedIn Learning so you’re in the loop and can keep up with the industry.
Don’t lose the forest for the trees
As important as individual posts are, they are only one tree in the forest that is your website. Every article is part of a larger SEO story, which paints a picture for search engines what your business or blog is about. Stay focused on who you’re writing for and what you write about so things make sense (to humans and robots!) one by one and altogether. Inter-linking posts to one another helps, and staying on top of and discussing the Link Spam Update with your team is always a good idea.
Create a clear structure with pillar and topic clusters
HubSpot taught me about the pillar-cluster model and honestly, it has changed the way I plan and write online.
Here’s the short version: your main topics or areas of focus are PILLARS, or pillar content. These are the keywords you want your site to be known for. Then, you support these main keywords with CLUSTER content, which are additional keywords or phrases that support the main keyword but are longer, less competitive, a bit more niche, etc. Over time, the cluster content helps inform search engines about your pillar content and they all work together to boost your ranking for those main keywords.
This can be confusing to keep track of when you first into it but it is worth it for SEO. An absolute game changer.
One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.
This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.