Content marketers and copywriters are always on the lookout for creative ways to improve the SEO of their content. In this article, we’ll explain how to optimize your blog posts for greater visibility in search engines.
SEO is a complex topic, but this actionable checklist will make it easy for you to get started. By following these simple tips, you’ll notice big improvements in your blog's search engine rankings over time.
These are the tactics we’ll cover in this blog post:
- Perform keyword research
- Write a catchy blog title
- Optimize your meta description
- Distribute keywords throughout your content
- Structure your post with headings and subheadings
- Add alt tags to your images
- Leverage internal linking
- Add semantic keywords
- Use bucket brigades
- Optimize blog posts for readability
- Include a call-to-action (CTA)
- Optimize for featured snippets
- Include supplementary resources
- Engage readers with videos
- Add social share buttons
- Perfect grammar and spelling
16-step checklist to optimize blog posts
1. Perform keyword research
Before you start writing anything, it's important to perform keyword research. This will help you understand what people are searching for and how you can optimize your content to rank higher for those queries.
There are a number of different tools you can use for keyword research, such as:
Simply enter a few seed keywords related to your industry and start browsing. Research their competitiveness, search volume, and search intent. After doing so, you should be left with ample content ideas.
You can also type in a keyword into Google and browse the ‘People also ask’ and ‘Related searches’ to come up with content ideas.
2. Write a catchy blog title
Potential readers see your blog’s headline before anything else, so it's important to make it catchy and SEO-friendly. It's your chance to attract users and give them a taste of what they can expect from your post, so make it count!
A good title should be attention-grabbing and include your target keyword. In addition, your title should be no more than 60 characters so that it doesn't get cut off in the search results.
3. Optimize your meta description
Your meta description is the summary that appears under your title in the search results. This is your chance to hook readers and convince them to click through to your blog post.
To optimize your meta description for SEO, make sure it is under 160 characters and includes your target keyword. In addition, try to make it as descriptive and compelling as possible.
Be sure to add powerful words and call-to-actions to increase the click-through rate (CTR) from the search results.
4. Distribute keywords throughout your content
To optimize blog posts, add your keywords throughout the content in a way that sounds natural. Include them in the body of the text, as well as in the title, meta description, and image alt tags.
But beware of keyword stuffing! This is when you stuff too many keywords into your content and it starts to sound unnatural. Not only will this irritate your readers, but it will also hurt your SEO. A good rule of thumb is to aim for one keyword every 300 words.
5. Structure your post with headings and subheadings
The way you structure your blog posts can also impact SEO. For example, using headlines and subheadings can help break up the text and make it easier to read. Using keywords in your higher-level subheadings will improve SEO.
In addition, including bullet points or lists can also help improve the structure of your blog post. By taking the time to properly structure your blog post, you can make it more user-friendly and thus improve your ranking in search results.
6. Add alt tags to your images
Using alt text, you describe the image by giving it more context. Keep the alt text short and, if relevant, include the focus keyword to improve SEO.
7. Leverage internal linking
By linking to other relevant blog posts or pages on your website, you can help search engines understand the topic of your blog post and improve your chances of ranking higher in the search results.
To optimize blog posts for SEO, add relevant internal links pointing to other blogs or product pages. Also, find other content on your website that can point to this updated piece of content and link back.
Remember that there is no penalty for over-optimization in internal linking, so don't be afraid to link to other relevant content on your website, using your focus keyword multiple times.
8. Add semantic keywords
In addition to your target keyword, add semantically related keywords throughout your article. Semantic keywords are words or phrases that are related to your target keyword.
For example, if you're writing a blog post about SEO, some semantic keywords might be "search engine optimization," "SEO tips," or "how to improve SEO." By including these semantic keywords throughout your content, you can help search engines better understand the topic of your blog post.
To find LSI keywords, you can use a tool like LSIGraph or Google Keyword Planner.
9. Use bucket brigades
Bucket brigades are short sentences or phrases that engage readers and persuade them to keep reading. These are typically used at the beginning of each paragraph to hook readers.
Some examples of bucket brigades are:
- Here's what you need to know
- The bottom line is
- Here's the thing
- And the good news?
- But wait, let me tell you something
- By now, you should
- In case you might be asking yourself
Bucket brigades can help improve your site's SEO by:
- Increasing dwell time and reducing bounce rate
- Enhancing user experience
- Improving rankings in search engines
These short sentences reduce the likelihood that readers will leave your site before consuming your content. In turn, this boosts SEO by signaling to search engines that users are spending more time on your site. Bucket brigades can also enhance the user experience by making your blog posts more engaging and easy to read. As a final result, search engines may view your site as a more authoritative source of information and rank it higher in the results.
10. Optimize blog posts for readability
Readability is another important factor when it comes to SEO. To optimize for readability, use short paragraphs and sentences, as well as clear and concise language.
In addition, include headings and subheadings to break up the text and make it easier to scan. By taking these steps, you can make your blog posts more user-friendly and improve your chances of ranking higher in the search results.
11. Include a call-to-action (CTA)
A call-to-action (CTA) is a statement or button that prompts readers to take a specific action.
For example, you might include a CTA at the end of your blog post that encourages readers to subscribe to your email list or download a free eBook.
Including a CTA can help increase conversions and improve SEO. Be sure to use relevant keywords in your CTAs so that search engines can index them properly.
12. Optimize blog posts for featured snippets
Featured snippets are a type of search result that includes a brief summary of the answer to a user's question, as well as a link to the full article. They aim to quickly answer the searcher’s query.
These results typically appear at the top of the search results page. If you can optimize your article for featured snippets, you drastically increase your chances of getting more traffic to your blog post.
Be sure to use relevant keywords and include a clear and concise answer to the user's question.
13. Include supplementary resources
Including supplementary resources, such as links to other articles or ebooks, can help improve SEO. These resources can provide additional information for readers and help search engines better understand the topic of your blog post.
When adding links, be sure to use relevant keywords and links to high-quality websites. By including supplementary resources, you can optimize blog posts and increase their value.
14. Engage readers with video
Videos can help make your blog posts more visually appealing and improve SEO. When adding videos, be sure to include relevant keywords in the title. In addition, you can use video transcripts to help improve SEO.
To create compelling videos, you can use tools like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker.
15. Add social share buttons
Adding social share buttons to your blog posts can help increase their reach and improve SEO.
When readers share your blog post on social media, it creates backlinks that can help improve your post's ranking in the search results. In addition, social shares can help increase traffic to your blog post.
Be sure to add social share buttons to make it easy for readers to share your content.
16. Perfect grammar and spelling
Before you hit publish on your blog post, it's important to proofread it for any spelling or grammar errors. Grammarly is a great tool to help you check your grammar and spelling.
In addition, be sure to double-check all your links to make sure they're working properly. Regularly check your existing content for broken links, as well.
These types of errors can make your blog post look unprofessional and hurt your chances of ranking higher in the search results.
Final thoughts on optimizing blog posts for SEO
By following these SEO tips, you can optimize blog posts for greater visibility in the search results. SEO can be a complex and time-consuming process, but it's worth it if you want to increase traffic to your blog post. So, take the time to optimize your blog post for SEO and you'll see the results in the form of increased traffic and higher rankings.