Top 10 SEO Best Practices for Blog Traffic and Engagement
Millions of bloggers around the world publish fresh content every day.
With so many other companies blogging too, why should you invest your time and resources in a business blog? Is the blogging market completely saturated?
A business blog is no longer a good thing for your company, and it’s necessary for several reasons.
Google is the most visited website in the world, with each visitor spending an average of 11.4 seconds on the search engine. In the US alone, 3.5 billion web searches are conducted every day.
A tabular chart listing the most visited websites in the world along with the time and page of each visit, showing the importance of SEO for blogging.
Blogging is important because it provides your potential customers with useful information to inform their buying decisions, which helps improve your company’s credibility and thought leadership.
Likewise, 79% of blogging companies report a positive ROI on their inbound marketing efforts. Marketers who invest in blogging also see 67% more leads than their non-blogging counterparts.
Now that you have enough reasons to start blogging, what can you do to help your posts stand out from all the noise? By making your blog more SEO friendly and relevant to search engines, you will be able to increase your blog visitors and traffic.
- Search engine optimization is a critical part of every blogging strategy. This is the only way to consistently drive organic traffic.
- SEO is also important for your blog, as it helps you explore topics and ideas that your audience is talking about and interested in learning about.
- For bloggers, SEO is a part of the overall strategy that requires consistent attention. Follow best practices to ensure your content ranks and delivers results as planned.
What is search engine optimization? Why should you care?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a set of best practices that can help improve your blog’s ranking on search engine results pages such as Google.
Search engine optimization involves using common keywords that web users search for when using search engines, as well as links to other websites and social media channels.
All of these practices increase the relevance of your blog to search engines, which helps your posts climb in the rankings and ultimately drives more traffic to your website.
If you’re not prioritizing SEO for your blog, why bother investing? SEO ensures that your content appears in the right searches, so you can reap the benefits of blogging, such as:
- Cost-effective organic traffic
- Highly targeted and relevant traffic
- Quality leads, visitors and engagement
- Build brand authority
- Earn the audience’s trust
- Build a strong brand image
10 SEO Best Practices for Blog Traffic and Engagement
So how do you make sure your posts are SEO-friendly? Here are nine simple tips to help you optimize your blog for SEO.
Choose the right keywords
Search engines rely on keywords to determine what is and isn’t relevant to a web user’s search. Web users typically enter a word or series of words into a search engine related to a topic of their choice. The search engine then lists the top results it determines are most relevant to that topic.
To optimize your blog, you should identify keywords that are highly relevant to your given topic and incorporate them into your posts. Google’s Keyword Tool is one of many resources you can use to find your keywords’ average monthly search volume, relevance, and competitiveness, as well as similar keywords.
Make sure the keyword appears organically throughout the post. Don’t try to “force” keywords onto your blog, as it won’t help increase the relevancy of your post.
Optimize your headlines
80% of readers don’t get past the headline, so it’s important to create a compelling headline. You have to pique the reader’s interest and capture the essence or key concepts of the blog.
If possible, try to keep the title under 66 characters, as this will make the entire title fit on the search page. You’ll also want to include in the title popular keyword phrases you use throughout your blog to increase its relevance.
Only create and publish original content
It is important to create original content that provides readers with useful information. Google loves original content because it helps its algorithms get the job done. When they need nuanced answers, no one wants to click through three blogs that offer the same tips verbatim. Google knows this.
When blogging, use subheadings to help break down your copy and help search engines scan and index your posts more easily. This will tell Google what your blog is about and help you squeeze the effect out of your original copy.
Where appropriate, include at least three links to other websites, social media channels, or blog pages to help drive traffic to your posts. When you link to other sites, they may also link their content to yours, which can also help increase your traffic — but only if it’s original.
The copy should be long but scannable
Longer forms of content—posts over 1,000 words—tend to rank better on search engines. The best-performing marketing blogs have around 5,700 words. Generally, articles over 3,000 words can get:
- 3x more engagement
- 4 times more share
- 5x more backlinks
However, if your blog is a large block of text, the audience who sees it initially may be reluctant to read more. A little trick can help you avoid this. For example, you can show a short preview of your blog and use a “read more” tab or button to get readers to click to continue reading.
Most people also only read about 28% of the words in a blog post during an average page visit. To make your posts easier to scan, use short paragraphs, bullet points, number lists, and block quotes to help your readers quickly grasp the key points and find the information they need.
Don’t forget to include a call to action in your posts, such as promoting your social channels or other blogs, as this will help drive more traffic to your website.
Always include relevant images
In general, blog posts with images tend to be more popular than blog posts without images. What’s more, images help break up your copy and can make your blog more memorable because people remember images 6 times easier than text.
What’s more, Google wants your images. Apps and search engines are upping the image recognition game with visual search elements and SERP snippets. In other words, you should follow their lead and include more images.
Don’t forget to add a title or image caption with your popular keywords and ALT tags, and credit your source.
The bar chart depicts the percentage of internet users who use image recognition tools on mobile devices, highlighting their importance in blogging SEO.
Consider your meta descriptions and tags
Adding a short meta description to your blog makes it easier for search engines to find your posts. The meta description should accurately summarize your blog and include your popular keywords.
You’ll also want to create relevant categories and tags to help organize your blog so readers can quickly find specific posts from your homepage or main blog screen. Tags can also be organized based on popularity or other factors using the right WordPress plugin.
Include autocompleting synonyms and questions
Do a search on Google and you’ll unlock dozens of keyword and topic ideas – synonym ideas. Google provides valuable information here.
Search engines want to answer every user’s query as quickly as possible. So if you can answer more relevant questions and synonymous queries, your blog’s SEO will improve. See why long word counts are so beneficial?
Pay attention to your subheadings and bulleted lists
As you browse these synonyms and questions, think of them as subtopics of your blog’s subheadings and bulleted lists.
Subheadings not only split your copy but also help Google see what’s in your blog and scan the copy like a human. The same goes for bulleted and numbered lists. Why not give Google what it wants?
Be picky about your links
Don’t put links into your blog just because they are somewhat relevant. Google wants to see a link in your blog because it proves that you have done your research and that you have cited your sources.
But Google doesn’t want you to research and cite any old sources. No, Google wants quality. Generally, sites with low Alexa scores are best for your blog’s SEO.
However, low popularity sites with high Alexa scores can mean high relevance and authority in your industry, so don’t exclude them if they’re important — like professional organizations or niche authorities.