As a savvy entrepreneur, you don’t need an introduction to the importance of having an active blog on your business website. Simply put, publishing high-quality content on your blog on a consistent basis is key to achieving top rankings on Google, establishing your brand’s thought leadership, generating new leads, providing value to your audience, and building better overall brand awareness online.
However, as effective as blogging is for your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, simply churning out article after article without implementing all the on-page SEO best practices for each post means you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.
To get the most ROI from every blog post, you need to ensure that each and every post you publish is properly optimized for both the readers and search engines. But with so many elements to optimize in every blog post, it is easy to overlook many of them.
And so, to make it easy for you to ensure your every post is fully optimized for best possible search visibility, here’s a neat checklist of all the elements you must optimize before you hit “Publish”.
The words or phrases that summarize what your blog post is all about, in a nutshell, are known as keywords. These are the words or phrases that people will type in search engines to find information about specific topics.
As you’d expect, keywords are key to better rankings in search engines. They help the search engine crawlers to better understand your content.
So, check if relevant keywords are sprinkled sensibly (not spammed) throughout your post – in the title, meta description, URL, subheadings, image alt text, and of course, in the various paragraphs of the post itself.
Use Google’s Keyword Planner, a free tool to find all relevant keywords you can target for the topic of your post, along with their competitiveness and monthly search volume.
Check if the title of your blog post is catchy and compelling enough to invite click-throughs from search engine users and if it contains your primary target keyword.
Titles in the form of “How-tos” and listicles (such as “Top X Tips for…”) work well for both SEO and inviting more readership.
Ideally, the length of your title tags should be around 60-65 characters and surely no longer than 70 characters, otherwise, it may not display properly and might get truncated in search engines like Google. Plus, your post’s title should be the only element on the page wrapped in the H1 heading tag.
In the search engine results page (SERPs), the short paragraph below the title that summarizes the content in one or two sentences is called the meta description.
Sure enough, your meta description affects the number of click-throughs to your blog post. It’s even more important if you’re selling products using a platform like Shopify Plus because a catchy product description with benefits and features in your meta description will motivate users to click-through and buy.
Make sure that you’ve explicitly defined a keyword-optimized and enticing meta description (under 160 characters) for your blog post in the CMS, otherwise, Google will pick a part of the post and display it as the meta description without you having any control over it.
Review the URL of your post to verify if it’s succinct instead of long and complicated. Typically, a shorter URL has a higher click-through rate and is more easily understood by Google’s crawlers.
Match the URL with the title of the blog post, remove filler (aka stop) words like “the”, “for”, and “to”, include your primary keyword, and keep it under 60 characters if possible.
Make sure you’re using subheading tags like H2, H3,…, H6 to structure the blog post into coherent sections that aid readability. And of course, include keywords in these subheadings to help search engine bots better understand your content and crawl it more efficiently.
While on the subject of readability, also make sure that your blog post can be easily skimmed through using bullet points, and that it passes the Flesch-Kincaid readability test.
Having proper linking (internal and external) is vital for every post you publish. Linking out to spammy or low-quality sites will not only harm your SEO and user experience but also your brand reputation.
So, before you publish any blog post, verify the following:
- Internal links: Link to other pages and blog posts on your site because strategically interconnecting your content helps bots to understand and rank your content for the right keywords. So, have at least 3 to 4 internal links in your blog post.
- External links: Citing your sources and having outbound links is important for building credibility, but verify that you’re only linking to sites with high authority and quality. Moreover, ensure that each link opens in a new tab and isn’t broken (i.e. doesn’t give a 404 error).
To summarize, ensure you have a few internal as well as external links (pointing to high-quality websites only) in every blog post with a keyword-optimized anchor text.
Make sure you’re using high-quality images to break up slabs of text, with each image having a descriptive alt text and file name that includes keywords.
Furthermore, page load speed is an extremely important ranking factor for both desktop and mobile searches, so make sure that all images (including the featured image) are compressed to reduce the size and thus, improve the loading speed.
Studies suggest that longer posts perform significantly better than shorter ones in terms of search engine rankings. So, aim for a word count of over 2000 words for every post.
Not to mention long-form content will also serve your audience better by answering most, if not all, their questions about the subject.
Thus, review your post for its comprehensiveness and see if you’ve covered everything about the topic in detail so the reader leaves satisfied.
Over to You
Whether it’s you, the business owner, who’s running your business’s blog or one of your remote working teammates (thanks to the COVID-19 crisis!), always keep these eight on-page SEO best practices in mind and check off this list for every post before you hit that “Publish” button.
Sure, it may take a little extra time and effort, but investing that little bit more means you’ll be getting the best SEO juice from every post.