It is a fact that when searching on Google, the search result in the number one position gets 33% of search traffic. Most people do not click past page one of their search engine results which is evident as page one of search engine results make up 92% of all traffic.
In order to get to the top of the search results you need to do more than just produce well-written and engaging content. You also need to pay attention to SEO-driven, keyword-focused content that is attracting the right kind of traffic to your site.
The following tips will help you boost your blogs SEO without compromising on quality of your content, user experience and engagement.
Choosing highly-effective keywords
Google processes 3.5 billion searches per day which translates to 40 000 search queries every second on average. In order to come out at the top and outrank your competitors you need to target the specific keywords and phrases your potential customers are searching. A good way to identify keywords is to use social platforms to see what is trending with your target audience. Pay close attention to exact phrases, popular industry terms and topics.
Another useful tool you should be using is Google Trends which can also give you a feel for what keywords are popular at any given time. If you see searches are steadily increasing over time for a specific keyword, you know that’s probably the right keyword to target for your marketing and vice versa for decreasing trends. Your competition can also help you with getting inspiration for your keywords. Use tools to see what keywords they’re currently ranking for and consider using them too.
Bear in mind that the most obvious keywords aren’t always the best keywords. It has been found that 70% of all search traffic is comprised of long-tail keywords as searchers tend to use very specific “long-tail” keywords, keyword phrases and questions when they’re looking for something. The competition for shorter, more general keywords is much greater so you often have a better chance of ranking in the top results for long-tail keywords.
Once you have done sufficient research you need to compile a list of what you believe to be the most valuable and relevant keywords. You next need to take this list and plug your keywords into a keyword research tool like Google’s Keyword Planner (there are others that you can also use) to optimise your keywords further.
Naturally integrate keywords throughout your posts
Now that you have your list of relevant target keywords, it’s time to write a blog post that is focussed on one of these keywords. Once you have selected a keyword it is a good idea to brainstorm blog topics with your team and decide on a topic that will be enticing and engaging to your target audience. Throughout this brainstorming process it is important to keep your target audiences personas in mind. The topic that you chose need to emotionally resonate with your potential customers and their needs, desires or pains.
As you are writing your blog post, your keyword and natural variations of it should be regularly interspersed throughout the post. It is vital that your primary keyword appears in the following places:
- Headings and subheadings
- URL (if possible)
- Image alt text (search engines can’t read images)
- Meta description
- Throughout the content
Although you are trying to boost your SEO as much as possible it is important that you are writing for human readers and not for search engines. Your writing style needs to be natural and should engage your readers. The focus keyword is essential but you should avoid keyword stuffing (overusing any keyword) as this may lead to your website being penalized or banned in search engine results pages either temporarily or permanently. Another thing to consider is that if you’re keyword appears too many times and feels forced then you are compromising your user’s experience which will deter readers in future from your blog.
Link your influences
Majority of the time there will be influences that help shape your blog post or offer related material. You shouldn’t be afraid to link to other articles or blogs that have relative material or that you used when writing your post. These extra links add extra value to your post by providing readers with additional reading material to expand their knowledge and it also shows Google and other search engines that you’ve done your research. Sharing other people’s articles and blog posts could also result in them doing the same for you! Good links also builds trust and helps you build a more convincing and concrete argument.
Aim for longer posts which are easy to scan
The average attention span for humans is eight seconds. Although this would lead you to think that shorter blog posts would be better, search engines actually prefer longer, in-depth blog posts. The longer your blog post, the greater its chance of appearing in the top search engine results as longer posts rank more easily for your target keyword.
The more content a blog post has, the more content a search engine has in order to try figure out what your blog is about. We recommend writing a minimum of 400 words per blog post as this length gives search engines plenty of keywords and text to crawl and helps them comprehend what your blog is about. At the end of the day it comes down to finding a balance. Longer blog posts have the disadvantage of potentially scaring off readers. That is why it is import to make your posts easy to scan.
We live in a world of skimmers and scanners. Blog posts should hook online readers by tightening up your sentences and paragraphs. We advise turning long-winded sentences into two and keeping your paragraphs to 3-4 sentences max.
Another good tactic is to take advantage of bulleted lists and subheadings that grab reader’s attention. Your blog posts should be easy to read, especially on a mobile device.
Remember your internal links
As previously mentioned it is important to include external links in your post. It is equally important to link other pages or blog posts on your website. This helps search engines crawl your website and create a more accurate sitemap.
Linking internal links also helps your audience discover more of your content and get to know you as a trustworthy, credible source of information. They also reduce bounce rates by keeping readers on your site for longer as well as increasing your potential for a conversion.
Avoid using generic text and instead create internal links using descriptive keywords that give readers a sense of what they will find when they click on the hyperlink. Internal links need to feel natural in the post and should not be forced as this could lead to search engines penalizing your website. You should also not overdo it on your internal links, rather only choose internal links that will best enhance the point or insight you’re writing about. Doing this will make your blog post feel more natural and will offer significant value to your readers.