The Bloggers Guide to SEO

As an SEO’er I love working on sites where the client is an active blogger. It makes life much easier for us because there’s already some momentum there. By this I mean there is existing content and connections that can be leveraged and utilised for SEO.

Here are some of my favourite SEO tips for bloggers…

Publish Great Content

Sometimes the best way to SEO a blog post is not to SEO it. I know this sounds strange, particularly  because it’s coming from an SEO professional but the point I’m trying to make however is that the quality of the content itself is far more important than how well optimised the post is.

Writing interesting, original and engaging content should be your number one priority. The benefits of publishing great content on your blog go without saying but there are specific benefits for SEO too:

  1. Great content encourages people to link to and share your content. This in turn improves your blog’s link popularity and authority.
  2. Unique, original content will rank better because there aren’t 103,746,002,987 other pages competing with it!
  3. User engagement is a ranking factor – Why wouldn’t Google use all the data it has on how users interact with your blog?

Target Long Tail Keywords

A long-tail keyword phrase is a specific query about 3 to 5 words in length. Long tail keyword phrases are easier to rank for and convert better than short-tail keyword phrases.

For instance ‘seo for wordpress bloggers’ is an example of a long-tail keyword phrase whereas ‘seo’ is a short-tail phrase.

20% of all search queries have never been searched before. Don’t just rely on search volume figures when choosing keywords to target. Use the Autosuggest and Related Searches for keyword research and never just rely on The Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Search Volume is not the only thing to keep in mind when it comes to choosing your keywords.

Write About Things That Are Happening Now

What’s happening in your industry at the moment? It is easier to rank for keywords about topics that are relatively new and people are more likely to engage with content that is fresh and relevant.

Look at Google Trends and perform searches on Technorati, Google Blogs and Google News to find out what’s topical.

Get Involved

Blogging is a social activity and the blogophere is a community and social network. Publishing great content is only half the battle and promoting it is the other half. The most effective way to promote your content is through social networks and online communities including blogs and forums.

By commenting on, sharing and linking to other people’s content you will build relationships with people naturally. In time as you become established within a community, others will begin to comment on, share and link to your content too.

The end goal here isn’t to build links to your blog. This is just a helpful by-product of contributing to and engaging with a community.

Get the On-Page Stuff Right

Use your keywords throughout your article but use your common sense and don’t ‘keyword stuff’. Important places to include keywords are:

  • The Page Title
  • URL
  • H1 Heading
  • Meta Description
  • Sub-headings
  • The First Paragraph

Depending on what CMS or blogging platform you are using there should be plugins available to allow you to manually add page titles and meta descriptions. For instance Yoast or All In One SEO Pack are 2 good ones that are available for WordPress.

Linking

Add links to other relevant posts throughout your content. Don’t just limit this to your own blog but link out and share some love. Remember that you get what give here.

‘Popular post’ plugins are a great way to automatically link to popular posts on your blog and to harness their popularity even more. Likewise, ‘related posts’ have a similar effect.

You Get What You Give

I can’t reiterate enough that the most important thing you can do as a blogger to help your SEO efforts is to be active within your online community. This is the most powerful tool in your arsenal and one you need to utilise. You don’t even have to have technical skills in order to do so. If you only implement one piece of advice this should be it.