With Google updating its algorithms so frequently, there are a multitude of best practice guides on what you should and shouldn’t do to ensure you climb the rankings on Google’s pages.
At The B2B Marketing Lab, we’ve witnessed many examples of how organisations have failed to fully optimise their blogs, often missing some of the very simple steps that can be taken. You may be a HubSpot user who has yet to take advantage of HubSpot’s traffic light system, or you may simply be looking for some easy SEO tips on where to place your keywords to gain the highest amount of traffic.
The B2B Marketing Lab is here to help, below are a set of simple blog SEO tips to follow for each of your blog posts to ensure you are fully optimised and ready to rank!
Selecting your keywords:
Start off by picking one or two long-tail keywords to search engine optimise your blog post for and remember the following steps:
- Long-tail words are your friend – Long-tail keywords will inevitably have a lower search volume than short-tail, but you stand a better chance of generating higher click through rates by targeting longer, more specific keywords. Remember, it’s better to be a big fish in a smaller pond than a small fish in a big pond.
- Run your keywords through The Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool. You are looking for a keyword that is achieving a regular volume of monthly searches but not one where the search volumes are so high that the likely competition means you will never be found!
- Keep it relevant – don’t select a keyword that has nothing to do with your content, run your keyword through a search engine and check that the content appearing is relevant to the topic of your blog post. If your blog isn’t what the reader is expecting, they aren’t going to stick around to read it.
Once you’ve selected your keywords, follow these simple steps to give your blog the best chance to climb the rankings.
Ensure that your keyword is included within the title of your blog post. This one may be obvious but we’ve seen a lot of examples of ‘snappy titled’ blogs that in no way represent the actual content. If it isn’t clear to the reader, it isn’t clear to Google.
Does your title contain less than 60 characters? Don’t get carried away, Google only shows the first few (usually close to 60) characters within its search pages, anything after that will cut off, so keep it informative but keep it concise!
Optimise your H1 Header. Is your H1 consistent with your titles and URLs? Have you included your keyword in your H1 header? H1 Headers together with titles are the most important SEO elements on a page to the eyes of Google and other search engines, as well as the user. Again, keep it short, engaging and descriptive! Also please notice ‘header’ (singular)… just the one H1 per page please, it’s not nice to confuse a search engine.
Is your target keyword included within the body of your post? It’s important to ensure that your keywords are included within the body copy of your text to demonstrate that all the content on your page is relevant to your chosen topic, however BEWARE - don’t go crazy. If you start dropping keywords in left, right and centre Google will raise a suspicious eyebrow and could end up frowning on you and your website.
Have you included any internal links? Hyperlinks are great; always ensure that you’re linking to other pages on your site - other blog posts or website pages containing relevant information. Internal links help provide more information to the visitor and they have the added bonus of encouraging further navigation through your website helping to reduce those pesky bounce rates. (Read more: Why bounce rates influence rankings in Google’s results).
Have you included any external links? Share the love! – Don’t just link to your own content, make sure that you include, external links in your blog as well. External links help build credibility and trust with your reader proving that you are a reliable source of information and that you aren’t the only one who thinks so! External links not only build SEO value they also increase the chance for you to get a link back from other domains as they will see your website in their list of referral sites. Remember, Google wants a ‘dead end free’ internet and rewards websites accordingly. Even if you don’t agree with Google’s endless browsing goal then take a selfish approach… if you don’t link to other websites how do you expect to get any links back to yours?
Have you included a Call-to-Action within your blog post? Visitors and blog readers are great but do you know what’s better… identifiable leads! Blogs are the perfect place to generate interest for downloadable content, if your blogs are informative and useful then your eBooks are likely to be as well so make sure you give your readers the option, well placed, relevant Calls-to-Action (CTA) are the best way to draw in those leads.
Does your blog post include images? Did you know that the human brain can process entire images that the eye sees for as little as 13 milliseconds? Not only can the human brain readily identify these images, it also helps to capture attention!
So obviously make sure that you use images in your blog posts, what is perhaps not so obvious is to ensure you don’t forget about the power of the image alt tag. Google can’t read images,alt tags are the magical little sign posts that tell Google what the image is about. Don’t miss the opportunity to increase the amount of relevant content on the page – use your image alt tags and make sure they have your keywords in it.
Is your keyword in your URL? Another obvious one I’m sure, but your URL’s are a key indicator to inform search engines what your post is about - so make sure it contains your keyword and is consistent with your H1 header and page title. However, as mentioned in one of our previous blogs, try and keep your URLs as short as possible to help create an end user and search engine friendly URL.
Is your keyword in your Meta description? You will find many articles about the SEO value of Meta Descriptions. However, you are missing a trick if you are not including one in your blog posts and blogging activity. The Meta description dictates the ‘blurb’ underneath your search engine result and a poor one will reduce click through rates. It is also the text that is used when your articles are shared on social media platforms such as Facebook, so don’t neglect it and whilst you are at it, make sure it is relevant by including your blog post’s core keywords. Please see an example of a meta title, URL and description below:
How many characters should be in your Meta description? Meta descriptions aren’t designed for essays however eloquent, in similar fashion to your title, anything over the recommended character limit will get cut off by Google. Try to keep your Meta description under 155 characters as incomplete Meta descriptions can potentially confuse the reader. Keep it short, snappy, descriptive but to the point.