Last week we talked about the creative and practical side of writing a blog post. Today, we're talking about the technical side of getting them read.
Remember, publishing a post alone doesn't guarantee that it'll be seen. You have to optimize it as well. Try these SEO blog post publishing tips to help get your blog posts found:
1. Keyword Research
Before you start writing your blog post check Google’s Keyword Tool for keywords to make sure your are writing about subjects people are really interested in. Then Google those keywords to see what the competition has to say on the subject. This will help keep your SEO fine tuned and focused on what readers are looking for.
2. Fine-Tuning the Headline
Headlines should be simple but attention grabbing. Below is a common formula for crafting headlines for list posts:
[#] + [attention-grabbing phrase] + [keyword] = headline
Here are a few examples below. Notice that the headlines are short and punchy, designed to quickly grab the reader’s attention.
3. Post Slug
The post slug is the user friendly and URL valid name of a post. Most common usage of this feature is to create a permalink for each blog post.
WordPress and others automatically generate post slugs from a post's title by placing every word in the headline into the slug, but this clutters it up with lots of small words. Instead, change your post slug to your primary keyword and shorten it when possible.
Of course images punch up your blog posts visually but they also add great SEO benefits. To get the most out of your images follow these steps:
- Save your images as [keyword phrase] before you upload them to your site.
- Add alt text as [keyword phrase].
- Add title tag as [keyword phrase].
Before you publish a new post, read through it and try to find two to three organic opportunities to link back to relevant posts on your blog. This keeps both readers and search engines on your site longer.
6. External Linking
There may not be exact numbers on the SEO benefits of external linking, but it is still something we recommend because linking to other sites is a good way to build relationships with other bloggers.
Bloggers notice and appreciate backlinks and will frequently return the favor. At the very least they tend to mention and thank you on social media. Not bad blogging karma.
7. Meta Data
There is a lot of debate about how much stock Google puts in meta keywords, but we still feel they're important in any case. Meta descriptions have value since they are extremely important in gaining user click-through from search engine results pages (SERPs).
These short paragraphs are your chance to advertise content to searchers and to let them know exactly whether the given page has the information they're looking for.
Your meta description should have the following 3 components:
- Optimally, it needs to be between 150-160 characters so Google will display the whole description.
- Include your keywords because Google bolds them in search results.
- It should be an intelligible sentence preferably from the actual post.
Include prominently placed RSS or Feed Subscription Buttons and offer viewers the ability to subscribe to your posts via email when possible. This gives your blog followers instant notifications about your latest posts without them having to check your site for new content.
9. Use Social Media
Although social media and social shares may or may not affect a blog post’s SEO, your social profiles definitely influence the way readers interact with your content.
Neil Patel, SEO expert and founder of Quicksprout, has urged marketers not to discount social’s impact on SEO too quickly; he argues that social is the new SEO and that your social presence is very relevant when it comes to search engine optimization.
Patel said, “No longer can we view the algorithm as a sterile and lifeless entity to be gamed, tricked, and cajoled by our clever SEO tricks. We must now realize the enormous impact of the social web.”
So, simply put, promote your blog content on social media sites for even more web exposure.