Blogging is an art form–don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Not only do you have to craft concise, interesting posts, but you want them to have high visibility in search engine results, which will drive traffic to your posts, your site and to you. This is true whether you’re a small business blogger or responsible for content creation for the corporate blog in a big organization.
Some bloggers may be a little intimidated by SEO thanks to the ever-changing nature of search giants like Google, which are frequently in the news because of new algorithms that change how content is found, and subsequently listed on results pages.
Gabriella Sannino of Level 343 wrote a fascinating piece on social search and how that impacts SEO, and closed with the line “It’s not Google’s game; it’s your business.” We couldn’t agree more – and as corporate blogging continues to be an integral part of marketing strategies, educating yourself not only on the importance of SEO, but on how social impacts SEO is just good business.
Don’t let the thought of SEO make your head spin.
If you keep a few SEO basics in mind, you’ll know enough to maximize the visibility of your content and help make your blog a success. One of my all-time favorite bloggers, Lisa Barone at Outspoken Media has compiled a fantastic SEO checklist for bloggers, and we thought we’d share a few of her tips that you should add to your must-do list before you hit “Publish.”
Target, Target, Target.
No, we’re not talking about the department store (although who can resist the allure of those red circles?) When you write a post, you want to make sure it’s targeted, especially if you’re blogging for business. Who’s reading it? Why are you publishing it? How does the post fit into your company blog, your site and the business itself?
It’s no surprise that the title is one of the most important components of your post. You want to create a title that’s concise, appealing and that contains key words in order to be more easily found by search engines. Keep in mind that when you’re blogging, you have two opportunities to write titles: your post title and your page title, which will appear in your title tag. Most of the time, these titles will be the same. You may, however, find an instance when your page title is slightly modified to include more keywords or additional information that will help your post’s visibility.
Tailor Your URL.
If you’re blogging in WordPress, take a few minutes to go to “Settings–>Permalinks” and edit your URL display preferences. As Lisa writes, Outspoken Media opts for the “custom structure” option. This allows for the customization of post slugs, and allows you to work keywords into your URL. A tip? The shorter the URL, the better. This is not the place in which to cram a bunch of keywords at the risk of being perceived as overly complex–or worse yet, spammy.
Detail Your Description.
Don’t overlook the “page description” field before you publish your post. This short yet valuable space is where you sell the post. It’s a great place for keywords, but you also want to make the description enticing enough so that someone will click through.
A Picture is Worth 1,000 Results.
Really. It is. Forgive our modified analogy. And don’t overlook optimizing your images for SEO!
Like these. Not only do header tags help break up your post for easier reading; they also boost SEO, too, since web readers skim through posts. Plus, as Barone writes, using heading tags will help search engines better understand the main points of your page, which will boost your search results and visibility.
Incorporate Old Posts.
You’ve probably noticed that we do this in every post at V3 and we teach our clients to do it, too. And why not? You’re putting your older content to work in a new context and helping archived posts maintain better visibility in search results. You’re most likely already incorporating external links into your posts (and if not, you need to), so why not not do the same with your own content?
We’d love to hear how you use these SEO tips to optimize your blog content. And if you have any additional SEO recommendations, we’d love to see your additions to our list.