Blogging is an effective way for your website to appear higher in Google’s organic search results. But there are a lot of websites you’re competing against. Google looks at lots of signals to help decide which of these websites is worth showing to people first.
We’ve already touched on how to write the perfect blog post from a content point of view. But let’s drill a little deeper with a few simple SEO tips based around blogging.
Blogs aren’t platforms for online rants (okay, well maybe a lot of them are). In the world of brands and marketing they’re a way of bringing traffic to your website. By focussing on a select group of keywords, you keep your post zoned in on an appropriate topic. In turn that raises the odds of your post featuring higher on Google.
But remember to keep keywords as a guide, something to help steer your post. The quality of your blog should not be determined by the number of keywords you can shoehorn into a post. Keyword stuffing could result in a Google penalty.
When planning a blog strategy, you should focus on keywords that are relevant for your business. That means over time, you become more discoverable by relevant customers. There’s no point ranking highly for a topic that brings leads that won’t convert.
When you use plug-ins such as Yoast, you’re making your blogging life a bit easier. Yoast will scan your text for things like readability, keywords and meta-descriptions. It suggests how to improve your post in order to raise its changes of improving its position in search results. That means your brand can keep focussed on content creation.
Internal links and descriptive anchors
If you’ve already created plenty of blog content, then you should reward your effort with internal links. Don’t forget to make your anchor text (the text you hyperlink) descriptive where possible, as this will send the appropriate signals to Google. This tactic should be based around helping readers find relevant information, and not spamming people with links to everything you’ve already written. Google will reward the former, and punish the latter.
Bump up that word count – and keep regular
If you want to rank higher in 2016, then you have to make sure that posts are also of a suitable length. And the pages that rank highest on Google tend to have a lot of content. In fact, they’re creeping closer to 2,000 words. It’s definitely worth investing in more content, but make sure to stick to online best practices.
Also Google wants to know that your site stays relevant and interesting. It looks to regular content – such as (lengthy) blog posts – as a signal to crawl it more often, which can help improve your search rankings.
Don’t forget social (but don’t focus on it)
Social signals and SEO are a contentious issue, with Google having previously denied that they are an explicit ranking factor. It could of course be that good content, with rich content assets such as videos or graphics, is more appealing for other links, is more engaging, keeps people on your site for longer… Basically, focus your resources on creating good evergreen content, and the social stuff comes afterwards to help out.
Technical stuff: domains, structure and mobile optimisation
This is one to think about before you get going. Free blog services and domains don’t offer as much SEO benefit compared to a strong .com or .co.uk domain. Though if you’re a professional business it’s unlikely you’d consider the free option anyway. With your brand’s domain already established, you’d want to consider whether your structure is based around a subfolder of the domain or a subdomain (fifteendesign.co.uk/blog or blog.fifteendesign.co.uk). Both are better than a different domain entirely to host the blog.
Another tip is to ensure that when you’re creating URLs, the structure is based around words that people understand rather than automatically generated numbers or symbols. Just look at our URLs. They’re descriptive and give Google users an idea of what the blog is actually about. It’s something they can trust. You’d want to include relevant keywords in those URLs too.
Finally, it feels like forever that the world of digital has been talking about making websites mobile optimised. But this is increasingly important as Google rewards pages that are mobile optimised. And think about just how many people are searching for topics on their phones these days. Why send them to something that’s difficult to read?
Vote For Us In The UK Blog Awards
We have been nominated for both the Digital & Technology and PR, Media, Marketing & Communications categories and we would really appreciate if you could spare a minute to vote for our blog in these awards.
Voting for the UK Blog Awards 2017 is live and closes on Monday 19th December. The public vote is an important aspect of the judging procedure as it allows the contestant’s community to have their say and show their support for the content on the blog. Once the public vote is over, the top entrants from each category will go through to Phase Two: The expert judging panel.