Updated: Jan 15
We all know that there’s a lot of competition out there. If you want to compete with the big brands and enjoy success as a small business owner, then you need to understand how search engines work and how they rank content.
Before we dive in, let's define SEO. Search engine optimization is an umbrella term that describes the process of increasing traffic to a website from search engines such as Google and Bing.
SEO requires patience, consistency, and a well-thought-out strategy. You can’t take shortcuts because good SEO is about providing relevant information to your target audience. This post explores the basic process that you should follow to optimize your blog posts.
1. Create a customer profile
Before you can optimize your blog posts, videos, or other forms of informational content, you need to know your customer (as much as possible). Find out what they want and what they are looking for. If you don't have a clear understanding of who your target audience is or how they behave, it can be difficult to create content that will resonate with them.
This is the most important step. Be sure you walk through their day, think through what motivates them, and understand what problems they're up against.
For example: If you want to write a blog post about the latest beauty trends, consider who your readers are and what they like. If they're interested in trying out new products or techniques, you should find out exactly what they want to know before writing a single word. This will help you create content that is relevant, useful, and engaging for your audience.
If you're not sure where to start, check out my Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Buyer Personas. Plus, sign up for our marketing newsletter and download our FREE buyer persona and buyer journey template.
2. Keyword research
The next step in optimizing your content for search is keyword research.
Keyword research is the process of finding the right words and phrases for your content so that people searching for them will find you.
Check what keywords your content is ranking for. This is a must before you start to optimize your content. Check Google Search Console and sort by top keywords for that page. Be sure you know the current status of your page before changing things. You want to avoid removing any keyword that is ranking well and driving a strong click-through rate.
Next, You can use tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush tool to determine how many searches there are each month on certain terms, but it's also important that they're easy to rank for (i.e., not too competitive).
For example, if you are writing a post about the 'top questions to ask a financial planner in Canada', then your best bet would be to choose a keyword with informational search intent, has enough search volume, and is easy enough to rank for.
Check out my post on Beginner’s Guide to SEO - Search Engine Optimization for more information.
2. Refreshing the title tag and meta description
The title tag is one of the most important elements of any blog post. It's what appears at the top of search results and should be unique, relevant, and well-written. Each page on your site should have a keyword or phrase that is the primary keyword you are looking to rank for. It might be that you know need to add a word to title to start driving more clicks from search. Or you might need to refresh
The meta description is what shows up as a snippet in search results - it can be up to 156 characters long (including spaces) and should also be well-written. It can help users understand why they should click on your link instead of someone else's so make sure to tell people why they need to read this post. If you're raking well for a keyword but it is not driving a lot of clicks, rewriting this section is an important step.
There are also some advanced SEO strategies you can use like adding schema markup or using social media campaigns but these two tips will help get your blog posts ranking in Google.
3. Crafting an H1 that is readable, interesting, and searchable
Craft an H1 that is readable, interesting, and searchable. The H1 tag should confirm to the reader what this page is about, now that they have clicked on it. It’s also critical that your H1 be search engine friendly by following the rules below:
Use up to 70 characters (including spaces) for optimum readability
Avoid having more than 3 hyphens or underscores in one heading
Don't use bold text or '&'
Overall, using the right keywords in your title, and H1 tag allows you to rank for valuable keywords and be on the road to getting more traffic from search engines.
4. Use headings, short paragraphs, and bullet points to make for an easier read
To make your blog posts easier to read and skim, you should use headings and subheadings, short paragraphs, bullet points, bold text, and numbered lists. Here’s why:
Headings and subheadings break up the content into digestible chunks that are easy to scan. This allows readers to quickly see what they need in order to get the information they want from a piece of writing. But be sure not to use headings for the
Short paragraphs allow readers to easily identify where one idea ends and another begins without having to keep track of the flow of a writer's thoughts by themselves. An additional benefit is that short paragraphs also allow for more white space on web pages which makes for an easier read than crowded text.
Bullet points allow skimmers to find content quickly. Why? Because each point stands out individually without being lost among other sections.
5. Optimize blog images for SEO with the help of alt text
Alt text, or alternative text as it’s sometimes called, is the text that is displayed when an image cannot be shown. It appears in place of the image and should be descriptive and contain keywords that are relevant to your post.
The maximum length for alt text varies by platform but generally ranges between 120-150 characters. There are several ways you can optimize your images for SEO with this technique:
Include relevant keywords in the alt text
Use less than 150 characters if possible (this will ensure there isn’t too much competition with other images on your page)
Make sure that all of your alt texts are meaningful and add something to the overall message of each article
6. Write high-quality content
It's a simple principle, but one that many people forget about when optimizing their blogs for SEO: you want to write about things that are relevant and interesting to your readers. After all, if they aren't reading the content because it's useful or informative to them, then how is anyone going to find it?
So what does this look like in practice? First of all, write with your readers (target client) in mind—they're not targeting search engines; they're looking for information from other people who've already gone through what they're currently experiencing.
Finally, be sure that there's some variety within each post—if every single article on your blog looks exactly alike, Google will have no idea which one deserves a ranking boost over another so they'll just leave everything as-is and let users decide which ones are good enough to keep around.
7. Include mobile optimization on your list of blog optimization tips
Mobile optimization is a must-have for any brand or business that wants to succeed online. If you don’t have a mobile version of your site, you’re missing out on huge opportunities to increase revenue and engage with customers.
Your audience is using different devices than they were just five years ago: smartphones, tablets, and laptops are no longer the only ways people access the internet in their daily lives. That means if you haven't updated your website with responsive design yet (or even if you have), it may be time to rethink how easy it is for visitors to access your content while they're on-the-go—and what they're interacting with when they do!
8. Perform long-tail keyword research to find hidden opportunities
Long tail keywords are the holy grail of SEO. If you're not already familiar with them, keep reading. In short, they are search phrases that contain three or more words and often include a brand name.
They can be difficult to find because they require a bit of imagination and creativity on your part—you have to think outside of the box in order to come up with these terms!
Fortunately, there are several tools available online that make this process much easier:
Google Search Console (for reviewing what keywords you're ranking for)
Google Trends (for identifying popular trending queries).
Google (to find the most up-to-date related keywords, and 'people also ask questions)
Pro tip: Type your main keyword in SEMrush and look for related longer phrases or related questions you can answer in that piece of content.
You can also type your main keyword into Google and see what related keywords auto-populate and what 'People also ask" questions show up.
9. Add internal links
Internal links are commonly overlooked but are quite a valuable piece of SEO.
So be sure to link, where relevant, to other pages on your site. When you're linking to other pages avoid the dreaded 'click here' copy. These links, also called anchor text, help Google further understand what the page you're linking to is about, so use the copy and keywords that you have already chosen to describe the page you're linking to. And don't forget to format your links to make it easy for users to distinguish between the anchor text and regular text.
If a blog post is well optimized, it's more likely to get indexed, get shared on social media, convert leads or increase time on the page which can also increase your rankings in Google search results
Remember that audience engagement is the key to success in any marketing strategy. The more you can help your readers find what they need, the better their experience will be. An optimized blog post will give them a reason to keep coming back.
Looking for more tips? Read my post on 10 Ways to Increase Traffic to your Website (even if you’re not sure how to start) for more information. And reach out to us at Tenth Man Marketing for