The importance of SEO (or Search Engine Optimisation to give its full title) cannot be understated in the world of digital marketing. Keeping it extremely simple, SEO is vitally important because it makes your website more visible, which means you gain more traffic and increase the opportunities to turn searchers and prospects into customers.
In this blog we wanted to share some tips that you can hopefully take advantage of to make sure you are doing everything you should be doing in order to boost your blog post's 'searchability'. But before we dive in, let's just have a quick refresher on what SEO is.
What is SEO and why is it important?
As defined by MOZ, Search Engine Optimisation is the "practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results."
How this works is search engines (Google, Bing etc.) scan and read each element of your website, before deciding where to position it in their results pages. They look at things such as the quality of your content, as well as exploring the theme and context of your web pages. They also look at how other websites reference or link to your site before determining where to rank your individual pages and what priority to give them.
Search engine optimisation is the cornerstone of any digital campaign and is an extremely important part of your digital activities. According to research Bright Edge, SEO drives 1000%+ more traffic than organic social media. That figure alone should be enough to convince you how worthwhile SEO is, but its importance is underlined even more important when combined with the knowledge that only 0.78% of Google searchers click on results from the 2nd page.
In addition to SERP performance, there are lots of other reasons why SEO is important:
- Ensuring SEO practices are followed will improve the user experience and usability of your website.
- You will gain the trust of searchers and prospective customers as they trust websites who appear on the first pages of search engines for the keywords they are searching for.
- It means you aren't relying on PPC campaigns to be found. Whilst PPC has its place in your marketing campaigns, solely relying on it to be found is an expensive and unsustainable approach.
- It can help you get ahead of your competitors. If two web sites are selling the same product or service, searchers will tend to buy from a business who ranks higher on search due to the level of trust
All of the above demonstrates the need for optimisation. Now let's take look at the things you can do to improve how well your blog posts are optimised and help you get them appearing on that all important first page of search results.
Tip 1: Do your keyword research
Our first tip is something you should be doing before you begin crafting your blog posts. Keyword research is the process of finding and analysing the search terms that users enter into search engine when searching for a certain topic, product or service.
Whilst preparing to write your blog post, you need to know what type of search terms people are using when they are looking for content relating to your specific topic so you can make sure your content includes these in the copy and other elements of the post.
Keyword research is also a really good way to understand your market. You can get an insight into the kind of topics that people are searching for which can help you develop an overall content plan and strategy. Also, remember that every blog post doesn't need to be a SEO target based on keyword research - you can write naturally based on what you think your visitors will want to read.
There are some really useful tools that can help you with your keyword research. The Google AdWords Keyword Tool and semrush.com both allow you to find keywords related to your topic, and they also allow you to have a sneak peek at your competitors to see what words and phrases they are targeting to bring traffic to their sites.
2. Add your well-researched keywords to your blog post
Apologies if this feels like we are stating the obvious, but we want to make sure your diligent research doesn't go to waste!
Once you have carried out your research and have chosen your relevant keywords that you want your blog post to rank for, the next step is using them where they will have the most impact for searchers and search engines who are indexing your content. As a general rule, try to include them in:
- The title of your blog
- Headings and subheadings
- Your opening and closing paragraphs
- Anchor text (text you hyperlink to other related pages on your site)
- Title tags and social share information
For example, if we're writing about "working from home", throughout the blog we want to include our keyword "working from home" and other related phrases such as "remote working" and "home working".
We should be clear here though. It's not about simply adding keywords in without thought - it's about logically structuring your blog post and working them in naturally. If you find it's not happening naturally, then it can be difficult for search engines to understand what your page is about.
Another thing to note is that you should avoid overdoing it with adding your keywords to your blog, also known as keyword stuffing! This technique is defined by Google as the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site's ranking in Google search results. Search engines have updated their algorithms over the years in order to spot this tactic and will often penalise, demote or remove websites from their search results.
3. Structure your post properly
The structure of your blog is an important and sometimes overlooked part of ranking well in search engines. Making sure your blog post is well structured and follows a logical layout will help with the readability of the content and in turn readers will be able to understand
There are a few key elements that you need to pay attention to when writing your post:
There is a reason that the expression 'first impressions count' exists. Your title is what is going to grab your readers attention and entice them to read your post. When selecting your title, it is important to consider your keyword research that you carried out before you began writing your post.
Make sure the title clearly states what your post is about so the reader can click on the headline and feel confident about what they’re about to read.
Similar to the title, the opening paragraph is vital to keep the reader's attention. After reading the first paragraph your reader should be able to clearly tell what the post is about and what benefit they are to gain from reading. If it is clear for your reader, it will also be clear to Google, which will help with your ranking score. Again, remember to include those key search terms in the opening paragraph, but remember not to 'stuff' them in!
Ensuring your blog post uses headers correctly (H1s, H2s, H3s) will make sure your content is easily digestible for both your readers and search engine crawlers scanning your site. For a more in depth look at structuring your blogs more effectively, check out this brilliant article by Yoast.
4. Add Internal Links
Internal linking from your blog post is a great way to direct your reader to other articles or pages in your website. Not only does this keep your readers engaged on your website for longer, but it will help with your SEO as it surfaces your other relevant and authoritative pages to search engines.
An example of this can be found here, which is a link to one of our previous blogs that looked at 5 reasons why businesses should be blogging. Including a link to this provides useful content that will likely to be of benefit to our reader of this blog, whilst also giving us those SEO benefits.
5. Don't be afraid to share!
After spending all that time researching and writing your blog post, you want to do everything you can to get as many people reading it as possible. Now is not the time for modesty! Whether it's on social media, or via email marketing, be sure to let people know that your blog post is something that should be read.
Whilst sharing alone doesn't directly affect your SEO rankings, getting it out there in front of people means that more people have the opportunity to see its value and decide to link to it from their website.
6. Update older posts
Whether it's those day to day that take up too much of your time or you're suffering from a little bit of writer's block, it can be a challenge to keep churning out new blog posts on a regular basis. However, one way to get your blog posts ranking well is to revisit and update your older posts.
Creating a new piece of content and getting it to settle on the search engine results page (SERP) and gain authority, takes time. In comparison, you could update a piece of older content and reap the benefits fairly quickly. We looked at reviving old content in a previous blog, which gives you some tips on how best to action this.
We recently did this with our Browser Support blog that was originally written in 2018. It was one of our best performing blogs in terms of traffic, but the original content was outdated. We updated the post with relevant information for 2020 and it is continuing to rank well with good traffic levels.
These are just a few ways of optimising your blog posts to make sure they have the best chance to rank highly on those search engine pages. However, it's important to remember that these tips are not 'hacks' to get your blog posts ranking well.
Content is still king and content that is valuable, insightful and well written is what you need to deliver. These tips are there to give you a little boost!
So, the next time you're preparing to write your next great post, keep these SEO tips in mind and let us know it performs!