You could write the highest quality blogs on the web, but if they’re not optimized for SEO, you’ll never garner the traffic you desire. One of the most critical aspects of gaining traffic to your site is to optimize your blog articles for search engines.
This helps you rank higher for searches that relate to your posts, in turn, bringing more traffic to your blog. Below we’ve outlined some of the most important tactics we use in-house and for our clients to increase traffic to blog posts.
1. Do Your Research
To effectively rank for searches related to your blog post, you'll want to do research ahead of time to see what people are searching for. Keyword research isn't a new phenomenon; however, it is one of the most important factors when getting traffic to your blog.
If you're new to keyword research, check out Moz's Beginner's Guide to SEO, they go in-depth on everything you need to know to find keywords for your blog posts effectively. Additionally, if you're looking for a free tool to use for keyword research, check out our blog on the Top Free SEO Tools To Boost Your Marketing Efforts.
To see the best results, focus on one main medium tail keyword you want to rank on the first page for. Then use other related keywords throughout your article, known as secondary keywords.
2. Use Medium Tail Keywords
While short-tail keywords usually have the highest volume in searches, you’ll want to avoid using them as your main keyword; they’re too generic. Plus, they’re very competitive, meaning they’re tough to rank for.
A long-tail keyword is the exact opposite of a short tail keyword. They’re long, very specific keywords with low search volume and low competition. This means they’re a lot easier to rank for; however, they usually don’t have a lot of search volume. So even if you’re the #1 ranked post, you might only get 5-10 visitors per month because not many people search your specific keyword.
Medium tail keywords are right in the middle. They’re semi-specific keywords, so there’s some competition to rank highly for them but not a lot. Additionally, search engines have become so smart over the years, and they are getting good at understanding the intent for what you’re searching for. This helps when using medium-tail keywords as you’ll also rank for most long-tail keywords related to your blog.
3. Use Your Keywords Throughout Your Blog
Once you’ve pinpointed some relevant keywords for your blog, you’ll want to make sure you add them throughout your content. This will help make them relevant to your potential audience and search engine crawlers. There is a multitude of places you should incorporate your main target keyword.
You should include your primary keyword in the following places to rank as high as possible:
- Title of your blog (H1)
- Introductory sentence
- Meta Description
- In your blog URL
- Image alt text
Pro Tip: You shouldn’t try and rank for too many keywords in one blog as you would water down your chances of ranking for your primary keyword. If you have other relevant keywords that are directly related to your primary keyword, you can use them throughout your blog and in your subheadings.
On the flip side, you should avoid keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing refers to adding your keyword into your blog post as many times as possible to manipulate search engines to rank your post higher. Google, along with other search engines, have caught on to this practice and will penalize you for keyword stuffing.
4. Optimize Image Alt Texts
Most blog posts contain more than just text; they also include images to explain your point further or make the blog post more appealing to readers.
Search engine crawlers aren't able to see the image that you're posting, so they rely on the alt text to inform them what the blog is about – this is a perfect place to add your keywords.
You'll want to describe the image in your alt text and include your keyword, however, make sure you keep this description under 125 characters. Additionally, make sure you avoid keyword stuffing in the image alt text as well.
5. Link Credible Sources Within Your Content
When discussing or mentioning another article within your blog post, make sure to link their content. Not only is it proper etiquette to give credit to a fellow blogger for their point, but it also helps your SEO.
If you’re lucky, you might even get a link back – acquiring backlinks are among some of the most valuable things you can do to increase your blog’s ranking.
6. Link Your Own Content
Linking your own content has multiple benefits for your business. Not only is this an excellent practice for SEO, but it also gets readers to stay on your site longer and read more content pieces.
Studies have shown that the longer someone stays on your site, and the more pages they visit, the more likely they are to do business with you.
7. Repurpose or Update Your Older Content & Remove Outdated Content
The longer you blog, the more content you’ll have, while it’s great to have a lot of blogs for your reader to navigate through you want to make sure to clean up your content regularly.
Search engines use publish dates as an indicator as to how relevant a blog post is to its searchers. If you notice some of your older content is decreasing in traffic, try refreshing and updating this content to be more relevant.
It takes a while for brand new content to gain traction with search engine results pages (SERP) and garner traffic. However, older pieces of content that are refreshed rank on SERP faster and allows you to reap traffic benefits a lot more quickly.
This will, in turn, extend the lifetime of a current piece of content without doing much work in comparison to writing new content.
Additionally, if you have outdated content that's no longer relevant to your audience and not a good fit for a refresh, you should remove it from your blog.
8. Organize Your Blogs Using Tags
Blog tags are a great way to organize your content for your readers. They’re also a great tool to create opportunities for your content to rank for keywords related to that tag.
Each tag you create will have its own dynamically created page that will automatically populate with all the blogs that include that tag.
When creating your blog tags, you’ll want to make sure to keep them short and concise; they should only be 2-3 words long max. If you make your tags too long, they’ll usually be too specific, and you won’t be able to use the same tag across multiple blogs.
Remember, your goal is to group blogs by their blog tags so that your readers (and search engines) can filter by those tags. You will want to make sure that you’re not using redundant tags as search engine crawlers will penalize you because they see it as duplicate content.
If you’re looking for more in-depth information on how to add blog tags to your posts, check out Bluleadz comprehensive post about blog tags.
There's no doubt that high-quality writing content consistently is vital for the success of your blog. However, it won't won't translate to much traffic if you don't optimize your blog posts for search engines at the same time.
Growing traffic to your blog does not happen overnight. By using the eight tips we've outlined above on all of your blogs, you will be able to rank higher for searches and garner better traffic, faster.