This is a guest article by Rob Toledo. Want to Guest Post? Take a look at our guest blogging guidelines.
Blogging is a powerful tool for your brand. It builds credibility and awareness, develops relationships with others in your niche, fosters an active community, and positions you as a thought leader in your industry.
From a search engine optimization standpoint, there are many benefits to blogging as well. A blog can help improve your site’s crawl frequency, attract links, generate social buzz, drive organic traffic, and cover more relevant topics and keywords. However, if your SEO strategy isn’t up to date, you may not reap all of the benefits. Blogging is a must for businesses these days, so read on to make sure you’re doing it right.
Use Keywords in Titles
Most bloggers understand that keywords should be strategically spread throughout their posts. But adding a keyword in the title significantly improves the SEO benefit. Take a second before churning out a blog post to think about the theme of your writing. What do you want to convey and what keywords should you use to do it? Craft a title, keyword included, and ensure that the rest of your post follows that theme.
But don’t stop there. Title tags are one of the most important assets for your posts. Adding varied title tags (such as modifiers, synonyms, stems or alternative keywords) allows your content to work hard for you in the SERPs while increasing the opportunities your content has to rank in searches. If your CMS doesn’t provide the option to modify title tags, try searching for a plugin like Yoast’s WordPress SEO Plugin.
The title is also of importance for permalinks. Most blogging platforms let you customize the permalink, and creating a useful permalink like “www.yourblog.com/post-title-with-keyword” can help index at a higher ranking.
Network and Be Social
A social button makes it easy and even encourages users to share your content. Now that social media is here to stay, Google has started gathering data that impacts rankings. It may not impact rankings on a large extent, but it is important for your blog’s overall strategy.
Sharing across multiple audiences increases the likelihood of links and helps to impact rankings faster. Additionally, social media helps you network with other influencers, thereby assisting the transformation of your brand into a credible, informative blog.
Link to Old Content and Prevent Duplicates
Duplicate content can take many forms. How many times can you write about topics and keywords that are almost identical? You most likely will end up with the same content and potentially reduce your visibility in search engine rankings. Instead of writing the same thing over again, you should try to drive deep on one topic, writing high quality posts.
If you want to reference a topic, link to your old content. This improves the internal linking structure of your site and spreads out link equity, helping these pages to rank better. The more you link to a certain page within your site, the more search engines will deem it as important. If you have a blog post that you feel is very valuable to your community, link to it whenever the topic comes up, or highlight it on the front page of your blog.
Pagination is a practice that archives and numerates your content. It can be especially helpful for usability since endless scrolling takes forever to load and the “next page” link requires almost an exponential amount of clicks.
Implementing pagination helps with SEO because it maximizes crawl depth, allowing search bots to find your content easier by reducing the number of clicks to find it. When you add more content, pagination is a scalable way to direct more PageRank to your archived content. Search engines practice pagination, so take advantage of their example and implement it on your blog.
Use Categories and Tags
The primary reason for categories and tags is to help readers sort and navigate content. Search engines see this content too, thus categories and tags should follow the theme of your site. In addition to making content easier to find, categories classify and silo your content, allowing more opportunities to rank in organic search results.
There are a few best practices that you should follow with categories and tags. First, you should limit the number of categories that you have. Using too many categories creates thinner categories of content (a small to medium sized blog should have 10-15 categories).
Second, you should select one category per post. By selecting more than one category, you create an unnecessary risk of creating duplicate content issues.
Lastly, you should add original content to category pages to make them unique. If you are using WordPress, you can use the WP Custom Category Pages plugin to easily add content to your category pages.
Do Your Keyword Homework
Think you know all the keywords to include? You might want to think again. Each post is an opportunity to get noticed by search engines for a new set of keywords. Fail to do keyword research and you might miss potential for ranking.
Ideally, your posts should focus on keywords in the niche of your expertise, such as “large dog collar” or “Santa Barbara luxury condominiums.” The keywords you choose should generate at least 500 exact matches each month, which is small but manageable amount of traffic. Don’t choose keywords that are too common or competitive, it could be too hard to rank for them.
There are many keyword tools, both paid and free that exist. Google Trends will show what searches have been popular for the day or Moz Bar to see on page statistics and detailed SERP metrics.
With those quick tips you can easily update your blog’s search engine strategy and position yourself as a thought leader in your industry.