SEO for Bloggers 101
In terms of ideal priorities for business bloggers, using keyword strategy in your on-page SEO should rank pretty low. Ensuring your content is accurate, engaging, and written in a way that drives leads is critical. Writing powerful blog titles that earn ReTweets and social media distribution are going to give you a much bigger SEO-boost than fiddling with your meta keywords. That being said, experts estimate that on-page SEO only accounts for around 15% of your page’s ultimate rank in search. And since you can control that 15%, why wouldn’t you want to? Here are some very pragmatic tips for bloggers on places where it’s okay to use keyword strategy, and others where it’s definitely not:
1. Your Title
If we had to pick a single place where it’s optimal to use your long-tail keyword, your title would be number one. Not only does it put the keyword front and center on your page, it becomes the URL if you’re using WordPress or HubSpot for content management. The world’s best blog titles walk the line between descriptive and slightly shocking. The 6 Most Irritating Ways to Use Hashtags on Twitter is among our best-performing pieces of blog content to date here at IMA, partially due to the numbered list and use of the word “irritating.”
2. Your H1 Tag
Depending on how you format your blog posts, the H1 tag will be the largest font on the page and placed at the top of your content. Using the same long-tail keyword in both your title and H1 tag? Probably overkill. If you can’t find a way to use the long-tail keyword in your title, put it in your H1 tag.
3. The Article Body
Does the long-tail keyword fit naturally and organically in your content? Then go ahead and use it once or maybe twice. Writing well and naturally involves an eye towards a varied language anyway. As long as you’re not overusing your keyword or striving for a high density, you’re probably just fine.
4. The Alt Text
Uploading an image with your blog content has been shown to increase engagement rates. A lesser-known fact about SEO for bloggers is that you need to use the keyword as Alt Text on the image, no questions asked. Don’t modify it, and don’t describe the image accurately if it’s only tangentially related to your blog content.
Major search engines currently lack the technology to read an image file, so they rely on Alt Text entirely. If you’re writing about how to use hashtags on Twitter and include an image of a cat with the Alt Text “fluffy kitten,” there’s a good chance Google will end up confused whether you’ve covered fluffy kittens or hashtags. As a bonus tip, saving your image file with the long-tail keyword as the title can provide a minute boost, because doing so automatically inserts the title into the Alt Text field.
5. Meta Keywords
Once upon a time, meta keywords were a SEO-minded blogger’s best friend. If you wanted to rank for every single city in Alabama, you could just start typing out names. Google quickly caught on to how easy they were to abuse, and they’ve cracked down significantly. Use between 3 -- 5 meta keywords, which should be your primary keyword and slight variations thereof. Tempted to throw on a few more? Don’t. Excessive usage of Meta Keywords is likely to make Google think you’re a spammy spammer.
6. Meta Description
Be appealing, enticing and use keyword strategy, in barely more characters than a Tweet. Sounds easy enough, right? Your Meta Description is the content that shows up right below your page title in a search engine. Describe your content accurately, because traffic that bounces immediately doesn’t help your ROI. Don’t say you’ve written about how to lose 80 pounds for free if you’ve really just covered inbound marketing analytics. Use your keyword, sum up your content, and throw in a few powerful words to increase your organic traffic.
Loving these tips? Check out our handy, downloadable SEO for bloggers checklist!
image credit: stuart miles/freedigitalphotos.net