If you have a blog, you have probably already heard about SEO and its incredible importance in attracting visitors to your site.
But do you know how to optimize your blog posts to make them more search engine friendly?
The fact is that Google, like any other company, has a mission.
And if you want to succeed, it will help you become familiar with it.
Fortunately, their mission statement is available for anyone to see, and it goes like this:
“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”
Is the SEO of your blog up to the mission of Google?
Well, this can only happen if you understand the importance of search engine optimization (SEO).
In 2019, Google had over 75% of all global search traffic on desktop alone, followed by Bing at 9.97%, Baidu at 9.34%, and Yahoo at 2.27%.
Additionally, 64% of marketers are actively investing their time and money in SEO.
Simply because that’s where the money is.
Think of your blog as a virtual piece of real estate, appreciating in value as more and more people visit the website.
Once your site is easy to find, you get more traffic, which translates to more monetization potential, whether through affiliate marketing, ads, or even physical products.
However, as a beginner, you should know that Google’s algorithms keep changing.
It’s over 200+ ranking signals (server location, site readability, backlinks, domain authority, on-page user behavior, and many more).
So you need to stay afloat on SEO updates.
In this post, we will reveal 12 updated ways you can optimize your blog content to rank highly on Google and increase your blog traffic as a result.
Here are some of our top SEO tips for bloggers in 2023:
1. Use a CMS Platform that Adapts to Searches
It doesn’t matter if you plan to start a blog as a business or just as a hobby, you need a Content Management System (CMS). CMS is a web-based platform that, as the name suggests, allows you to create and manage content on your website.
However, not all CMS are the same. As you choose your platform and plan to be found on Google, it is crucial to choose CSM that is SEO-friendly.
WordPress recommendations that you can easily install on Bluehost – one of the most beginner-friendly web hosting providers.
As you can see in the graph below, WordPress is by far the most popular solution. In fact, WordPress powers a whopping 36% of the entire web.
- WordPress itself is 100% free and open source. You only pay for the domain and web hosting.
- With WordPress, you can create custom permalinks and modify metadata by adding relevant keywords.
- Finally, WordPress works well with blog SEO plugins like Yoast, Google XML Sitemaps, and Monster Insight’s Google Analytics to improve SEO rankings.
Start a WordPress blog now with Bluehost and get 51% off your hosting plan ($3.95/month).
2. Speed Up Your Website
Did you know that 40% of visitors abandon a page that takes more than 3 seconds to load?
Speed is very important for a website.
It’s so important that Google has recently made it a real ranking factor.
Oftentimes, slow website speed leads to a higher percentage of visitors entering the site and leaving immediately rather than continuing to view other pages within the same site.
Search engines detect a higher bounce rate, which lowers the crawl rate and ruins your blog’s SEO efforts in the process.
How can You Improve Your Page Speed?
Once you have your initial results, it’s time to optimize.
To further improve the speed of your website, you should:
- Move your website to a better host
- Choose a fast website theme
- Optimize the size of images on your website
- Reduce the number of plugins
- Use website caching
- Reduce redirects
Once you’ve set up the plugins and optimized your site, it’s time to revisit your website speed test of choice and see if there’s a noticeable improvement in page load time.
Your results should be similar to the report below.
3. Use a Mobile-Optimized Theme
Mobile search is no longer the future of blog SEO, but it is here with us.
In fact, mobile SEO is the backbone of Google indexing.
Why is mobile SEO so important?
The reason is simple. Today, more than 70% of online content is consumed on mobile devices and 67% of shoppers buy from a mobile-optimized site.
Therefore, we suggest adjusting your site to be mobile-friendly.
With the mobile-first index, Google now ranks search results from mobile search.
Responsive designs for mobile-optimized sites are the best.
They make your website visible from any device (mobile, tablet, or desktop).
Also, responsive layouts display a URL.
They don’t duplicate content, have no redirects, and show established authority.
To check if your site is mobile-friendly, use these tools:
4. Install the XML Sitemap
An XML sitemap lists all the important web pages on your site.
A good XML sitemap is like a roadmap for your website.
Take Google to all the important pages.
The example above shows how easily sitemaps help you find page 9 via the sitemap XML file.
If you access it through websites, you will have to go through 5 internal links to find page 9.
When you include SEO-relevant pages in XML sitemaps, you help search engines easily crawl your site.
It is critical that when submitting XML sitemaps you avoid the following:
- Non-canonical pages
- duplicate pages
- paginated pages
- Site search results pages
- Reply via comment URL
- archive pages
- Pages blocked by robots
- Pages without index
How to Add Sitemaps to Google Search Console
1. Sign in to the Google Search console.
2. Select your website in the sidebar.
3. Click on the sitemaps menu in the index section.
4. Remove any invalid or outdated sitemaps, if any.
5. Enter Sitemap-index-XML and then add a new one.
6. Click submit
5. Do Keyword Research and Focus on Long-Tail Keywords.
Keyword research is the cornerstone of any blog SEO campaign.
Keyword research is how we discover words and phrases that people use while searching.
The goal is to use those terms to classify.
It helps you get phrases that you will use in promoting content and creating topic ideas and phrases for traffic growth.
These phrases will be used in link building and creating terms to optimize for search engines.
We recommend that you focus on long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords are phrases with more than 4 words that are very specific.
They show the searcher’s intent instead of the search language.
They are less competitive with 10-200 searches per month.
An example of long tail keywords are:
“Affordable Life Insurance for Seniors”
“Order Vitamin D Capsule Online”
There are many ways to find keywords.
Keyword tools like SemRush make your job easier. With SemRush keyword explorer, you get a wealth of useful data on every keyword you search for.
6. Focus on Detailed Long-Form Content
Long-form content is content that is longer than 1,500 words.
It is the most preferred type of content that will help you rank very well in the search engine.
According to SerpIQ’s report, the average number of content words that rank at #1 is 2,416, and at #10 is 2,032.
This means that for your content to rank on the first page, it must be in long form.
Further research by Backlinko’s Brian Dean confirms that long-form content outperforms short-form content.
So what are the benefits of long-form content?
- Increase your online visibility
- Helps build authority as an industry expert
- Allows you to accumulate more social sharing
- It acts like a magnet for link building.
While long-form content will rank higher, it’s all about quality.
Creating in-depth actionable content will help you rank even better.
7. Place Your Target Keywords in Strategic Parts of Your Post
Knowing where to place your target keywords can improve your rankings.
We recommend that you place your keywords in these strategic parts of your post.
Page Title – Describes the main topic of your page and appears first in a search result.
Meta Description: This helps Google determine how relevant your content is and helps search engines decide to click through to the full content of your site. Including the target, keyword will make your content relevant to the search.
Headings and subheadings: They make your content scannable and help visitors decide the relevance of the content.
Content: Use your main keyword in the first two sentences at least within the first paragraph and spread it sparingly throughout your content.
The best practice is to use Latent Semantic Indexing (LSL) instead of the exact keyword.
However, avoid keyword stuffing that will really hurt your search rankings and penalize you.
URL: Weird URLs with a string of numbers and characters are a big turn-off for Google and visitors. But the URL with the main keyword gives a clue as to what is on the page.
links: Use LSL keywords as anchor text.
To make your job easier, we recommend that you use the Yoast SEO plugin.
It shows what you need to do to rank better.
8. Optimize Your Images with Alt Text
Did you know that images are also indexed?
To optimize your images use alt text that acts as a description of the actual image.
While its original purpose was to serve visually impaired people who cannot read an image, today it is widely used as a way to further optimize your blog’s SEO.
To optimize your images:
- Make sure any images you use are relevant to the topic of your posts.
- Rename the file from IMG-5303 to something user-friendly. You can use LSI keywords if they make sense.
- Use SEO keywords in image titles. They usually appear when you mouse over an image.
- Use your main keyword in alt text if it feels natural and matches the image, but avoid stuffing all alt attributes with the keywords ( keyword stuffing ), as it can cause your site to be seen as spammy.
9. Link Internally
Internal links are links that point to one more page on the same website.
Why is the internal link important?
- Allows users to navigate a website.
- Established in order of information on a website.
- Spreads the power of link ranking throughout the website
For effective internal linking, we recommend the following best practices.
Use keyword-rich anchor text in your links, but don’t link to pages with the same anchor text that Google thinks is on the same topic.
Instead, use a different descriptive anchor text.
Place links at the top of your page.
This may include adding navigation links.
Improve dwell time, which is the amount of time searchers spend on a page, is considered a ranking factor by Google.
Link to important pages like the home page, which is the most authoritative page on your site.
Finally, add a related post section below or add links to recent or popular posts for internal linking.
10. Increase Your Domain Authority by Acquiring Backlinks
Who will find me if I don’t have domain authority?
Domain Authority (DA) is a classification matrix developed by MOZ. Predicts on a scale of 1-100 how well a site ranks.
The closer to 100, the more authority, traffic, and a better ranking.
Here is how you check your DA:
- Use the MOZ Open Site Explorer
- Go to MOZ.com/Reseach tools/OSE
- Using the search bar in the middle, enter the URL of your site
- Hit search to get your DA results listed under the authority heading.
There are many factors that contribute to AD and to improve your AD you need to focus on all of them.
Here are some that we recommend.
Guest posts drive more traffic to your website.
If your guest posts rank well on Google, more people will follow backlinks to your site.
We recommend that you write as many guest posts on authority sites.
Link each guest post to a few other guest posts on your website.
Eventually, your DA will improve.
Broken Link Method
Run an audit and remove broken links.
Avoid spam links.
On the reverse, get more traffic-driving links and more high authority links.
This method by Brian Dean of Backlinko works to improve AD.
First, look for content in your industry that is performing well (in terms of links).
Use Google and check the content on the first page.
Next, create a part that is 5-10 times better than the one you just found.
Finally, make your content go viral on social media or via email.
You can use this email broadcast example.
Remember that customization is key.
While having a template is helpful, making sure each email has a unique detail on the destination website is an important factor in increasing your chances of getting a response.
11. Blog SEO: Use Topic Groups
Is your blog overloaded with information?
Do you have thousands of blog posts about marketing, sales, and ads like the way Hubspot does?
How organized is your content?
Not many sites are well organized.
They have content that overlaps with others, share the same URLs, and start to compete with each other on the search engine results page (SERP).
The topic group groups all related blogs under a specific topic.
This makes it easier for the search engine to crawl the pages.
A quick example is how Hubspot’s site architecture looked before and after the theme group.
So how do you create topic groups?
Start by identifying the theme, then the pillar content and group themes.
Finally, hyperlinks to all using long-tail keywords.
Let’s use an example:
Main topic/keyword: Instagram Marketing
Pillar Content: Instagram Nail Marketing in 2023 (this should be a great in-depth resource).
- How to write a perfect Instagram profile
- How to write good captions on Instagram
- Instagram Stories: How to get started
- How To Use Instagram Stories To Market Your Brand
All these topics must be linked.
12. Reuse or Update Your Current Content
There are more than 4.4 million blog posts published daily.
That means 3,000 posts per minute.
This shouldn’t cause you to panic, but rethink how you use your already published content that is doing well.
After this, we recommend that you reuse and update it.
By reusing content, you save time and build on what already exists, as well as starting from scratch.
For Blog SEO purposes, reuse helps you generate more traffic.
It keeps your content fresh as Google wants it to stay relevant.
You also build authority on the topic.
How can you repurpose blog posts into awesome new content?
This is converting the evergreen content to:
- Visitor post
- Webinar Presentations
- Social Media Posts
- White papers and e-books
- Online courses
Evergreen content does not have an expiration date.
They get a lot of impressions, clicks, and keyword rankings.
What do you need to do:
- Revisit them and keep them fresh.
- Free grammar mistakes and links that don’t work.
- Please update this content with new information, including what can be found in featured snippets.
- Keep evergreen content in your social media rotations.
- Continue to build backlinks that will help your blog rank in SEO.
Other than that, clean your house!
Remove content that isn’t performing well, is inaccurate, old, and not in line with your current blogging goals.
Simply put, you get more clicks from organic search results than from paid ads.
SEO drives 20 times more traffic than PPC on both mobile and desktop.
It is also the only online marketing channel that, when set up correctly, will continue to produce more and more over time.
While ads will need constant funding to drive traffic to your content.
Blog SEO will do the job only with the first investment.
Do you think there is something we have left out?
Share with us your favorite blog SEO tricks in the comments section below.
Thanks for Reading