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Prepping Blog Posts for SEO

by | Jan 18, 2020 | Education

There’s more to blogging than just great writing. Check out these tips for better blog post SEO.

Creating your own blog posts is a great way to grow your website’s SEO, build your domain authority, & show off your knowledge. But there’s more to it than just great writing. Here are some of the foundational things to prep EVERY blog post with, EVERY time for effective SEO. We’re big fans of the Yoast SEO plugin on WordPress for keeping you on track, though most of these tactics can work with any plugin or on any web platform.

PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BLOG POST LENGTH

The more information, the more value. Google looks for at least 300 words on blog posts or it’s considered ‘thin content’. If you’re going to create a post, make it count!

FOCUS YOUR KEYPHRASE (& SYNONYMS)

While some businesses develop their blog post SEO plan based on the keyphrases they want to rank for, before writing anything, there’s no harm in working the other way around. If you already have something written, you probably already have a keyphrase in your mind. It’s best to choose ONE main keyphrase (& some synonyms) that you have NOT previously used in other posts. The goal is to make sure your topic is clear throughout the entire post.

CREATE A CATCHY TITLE

Users skim. If you’re trying to attract a certain user, make sure your title is catchy enough to get their attention. Think keyphrases again. Whatever your keyphrase is should be directly clear in the title. Yoast takes length into account, too. The amount of space the title takes up in a Google Search result. While Yoast doesn’t give an exact character count (since it depends on the space of the actual letters), our best recommendation is 50-60 characters.

CREATE AN EXCERPT, SNIPPET, PREVIEW, META DESCRIPTION

Whatever you want to call it and wherever your website allows you to insert this, 50–155 characters is the sweet spot. This should be a simplified overview of your entire post. This is what will show up under your title in a search result, on your blog, and anywhere else previews are shown. A keyphrase synonym in here is also a good idea. If you’re not sure what you’re character count is and you aren’t using Yoast SEO, pop it in a counter.

RE-READ YOUR INTRO TEXT

Another spot to make sure you have a keyphrase or a synonym. This not only makes it clear to users right away what the post is about, but keeps your relevant keyphrase or a synonyms right at the top.

HIT THE KEYPHRASE MINIMUM

Since making your topic clear to users viewing your blog is highly important, as well as on Google, Yoast recommends mentioning your keyphrase a minimum of 2-4 times through the blog’s body text, depending on your word count.

USE H1, H2, & H3 TAGS FOR HIERARCHY

H tags are not just for making text different sizes. They promote hierarchy and what is the most important information in your post. They also help users scan the important parts of the article. H1 should always be your title (and only used ONCE). H2 & H3 are great for sub sections. Pop a keyphrase or 2 in there while you’re at it.

PAY ATTENTION TO STRUCTURE & SPACING

Make sure your text and structure of the post is easy to read. Your line height should be appealing to a reader, links should be clear, hierarchy is great. This helps users to not get confused at what they’re looking at and bounce.

USE IMAGES

Add images for visual support and breaking up text. To make sure your site loads fast, you must save your image files for web before uploading. The recommended size is less than 200kb. And always size based on the size in which they’ll show up, not larger. If you have featured image capabilities, take advantage of that. Give your images alt tags (descriptive text) to make sure they’re searchable.

ADD INTERNAL LINK(S)

Having at least 1 internal link (perhaps to a services page as a CTA or to reference other posts) is highly encouraged. This keeps users invested in your site and validates your knowledge.

ADD OUTBOUND LINK(S)

Having at least 1 outbound link (perhaps to a cited source) is also a great validator as well as adds value to your post. ALWAYS give credit when necessary.

BONUS – ADJUST YOUR SOCIAL SHARING

If you’re running Yoast SEO specifically, we recommend double checking the social previews panel. Here you can manually add the appropriate image and any adjustments to preview text based on where you’re sharing content. While we get that this is super meta, we hope this helps you on your journey for better blog post SEO! These are the foundational rules we follow when creating our own posts, and of course there can be an article written on the importance of each one of these individually, so we would love to hear your thoughts on what you focus on for visibility! Download the skimmed down version for clients here.

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