It seems like a lot of marketers and web content advocates obsess constantly about SEO or search engine optimization techniques. The sad truth is that Google has changed so much through updates, there’s little you have to worry about if you’re focused on blogging.
That’s because bloggers do a lot of things naturally that are otherwise essential for good SEO etiquette. For example, most bloggers share their content through multiple social networks simply because they are proud of it. Little do they know this helps SEO ranking because it makes their site or blog more prevalent across the web.
I’m not saying bloggers shouldn’t be mindful of SEO techniques, because everyone definitely should be. The point here is that if you’re making proper use of your blog by more natural means, you shouldn’t have to obsess over using better SEO practices on your site.
What constitutes “proper use of a blog,” though?
Fresh, Engaging and Consistent Content
It may seem a bit odd to mesh those three descriptive factors, but great content fits all of those descriptions well.
In order to draw readers to a blog or site, you must post on a consistent basis. This is great for SEO because it helps build links to your site and it also increases exposure, especially when social sharing is involved.
Content must be engaging so that readers feel the need to participate. This is especially necessary when considering SEO because of Google’s recent Hummingbird update. If you didn’t already know, the update puts an emphasis on more conversational search terms and useful content. In other words, the update made it easier for users to perform question-based queries and discover results that provide the best answer. Through community interaction, your blog can offer those answers to new readers.
With those two points out of the way, that leaves “fresh” on the table. Fresh is more about timely content that fits into current events. For instance, if you have a blog about smartwatches then this would entail covering news about the latest watch releases or rumors about the Apple iWatch. In the grand scheme, the point is to have fresh content so that you keep new readers interested and loyal readers coming back.
I already touched on this point briefly in the intro but it could use further clarification.
Most bloggers will share their own content across various networks, likely because they’re proud of it. That’s not enough, though, because only interaction directly with those postings will be possible. As a blogger, you want to encourage the community to share the content too.
That means every blog should have social sharing support baked in. Can readers “Like” or “+1” your posts and pages? Can visitors easily pin beautiful pictures to their Pinterest wall? Is it possible for interested parties to Tweet a link of the post they just read and thoroughly enjoyed?
Sharing your own content is essential, but you also need to provide the community with opportunities to do so, as well. While this helps SEO, that’s not the most prominent reason for encouraging the social sharing of your content. When someone shares a post, image or page, the exposure factor is multiplied exponentially. To break that down even further, when someone shares content via a social network, every single one of their followers can see the post whether they interact with it or not. Social sharing helps you reach audiences that you otherwise would never be able to. That’s the kind of exposure everyone should want for their blog.
A lot of blog and content owners utilize this technique naturally. It involves using descriptive titles for images instead of number strings or useless fillers. It also involves providing a great “alt” tag for an image and choosing relevant photos to begin with.
Sometimes, readers are drawn to a blog through search engines simply because of an attractive image. Not only that, but said readers may be looking for something very specific in terms of content.
By properly choosing relevant photos and images, as well as providing the necessary descriptions for them you are optimizing your site for would-be visitors. This also helps increase exposure through search engines and even makes your content more consumable to your visitors. Better yet, when community members decide to share your images via social networks the descriptive information goes right along with them.
Optimize URLs and Web Links
Content, text or otherwise is not the only thing that factors into SEO. The links and URLs are also very important. When you first setup a WordPress blog, the links are designed to appear in a structure using date, time or other random characters. A lot of bloggers simply switch to the name based structure, which assigns posts a URL related to their title. Little do they know, this helps SEO tremendously. When people search Google for a related topic, they are more likely to find your content through keywords and search phrases if the URL is optimized.
Not only that, but optimizing links is a great practice to implement with internal links on your own blog. For example, if you’re writing a movie review and you mention a film or actor in the post, you can link to a post about that actor on your own blog. This provides readers with several locations to continue reading material on your blog and it also helps with your SEO ranking because your site will offer more pathways for Google’s crawlers to index. The CJ Pony Parts site offers a great example of proper internal linking.
It seems a bit silly discussing keywords, especially with all the big changes Google has made to search. However, long-tail keywords are still relevant to this day and are even more relevant because of Hummingbird. The funny thing is, while everyone else is busy learning how to use keywords properly, most bloggers are already doing so.
Common SEO practice is to layer your chosen keywords into the content through sub-headings and web copy. Google has since updated its search algorithm to punish those who litter their content with keywords too much, or produce content just for the sake of flashing keywords.
As a blogger or writer, you may not realize you already make use of this technique. Most writing styles dictate that you keep a central point within your article and you reiterate that point throughout. That same style also calls for you to conjure a title related to the content. It is in this practice that writers generally end up using a similar keyword throughout their post, even if they don’t mean to do so.
Now that you know what you’re already doing to appease the search engines, try to think about these strategies from an SEO perspective in your next blog post.