- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On April 3, 2017
One of the core types of content that most local businesses should consider having is a blog. A blog is a great place to start your content development because posts are not too overwhelming to produce and a well-maintained blog gets you a lot of “SEO juice”.
Here are some tips on making your blog posts attractive to search engines.
Humans first, machines second
Your blog posts should always be geared towards your reader (not search engines).
Generating content that resonates with your target audience builds confidence in your brand and is more likely to lead to the reader taking the action you want…and ultimately to sales for your business.
Some of the actions you may want to encourage blog readers to take include:
- Contact you for more information on a product or service
- Download a coupon (often that must be redeemed in a store), growing your email list
- Sign up for your e-newsletter, growing your email list
Google is now smart enough to guide searchers to good content even if it is primarily written for humans not “spiders”. Google wants you to write content that humans will want to read and it is no longer necessary to “play tricks” to get well-written content to the top of search results. Just use some of the sensible best practices below and your posts will do great.
Write posts people want to read and then go back and edit/revise the content to optimize your posts for search engines.
Choose a keyword to focus on
Once you’ve completed your keyword research (read our post about simple keyword research here) and determined which keyword you’d like a post to rank for, read through your text and check the following:
- Is the keyword included in the post title?
- Can you find the keyword within the first 200 words?
- Do you use the keyword in at least one subhead?
Be friendly and link
A search engine friendly post contains plenty of links Link to content that’s relevant to your subject matter. Search engines analyze the content you link to get a better idea of what your page is all about.
There are 2 types of links to include in every post: Internal and outbound. An internal link connects to another page on your site. Outbound links point to content on other websites.
Neither of these types of links are the key links that Google puts most emphasis on when deciding where your post ranks but both help. Google does give some credit for both internal and outbound links but the bigger benefits are that these type of links help your readers and every now and then someone you link to will link back to your site, which is the kind of “golden link” you need to boost your “SEO juice.”
No need to be huge
Some SEO gurus swear by long-form content, or posts over 1,500 words, but as a baseline just be sure that every post you upload hits a minimum of 400 words (that’s the cutoff point our SEO team has observed in the field through testing real world posts and their Google ranking.)
Yoast your post
If you are using WordPress as your blogging platform, we’re fans of testing your post’s SEO basics with the Yoast plug-in. Yoast automatically checks key SEO components to make sure your I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed. Use the analyzer to highlight weaknesses within your post so you can rectify them right away.
Meta descriptions sell
Don’t confuse meta tags with the meta description. A meta description is the small blurb of text shown under the page title when you see your search results.
Leaving the meta description blank means search engines will fill this space with the beginning stanza of your post. However, a better strategy is to use this paragraph as a golden opportunity to get a searcher to click on your link and visit your site. Craft a persuasive pitch to ensure your post is clicked on versus the other nine on the search results page.