Blogging is important to grow a website to its full potential.
It provides your company with an opportunity to connect with your target audience, generate leads, and increase brand awareness.
There are many ways to grow a blog, including social media, email marketing, and of course, search engine optimization (SEO).
Blog SEO is the process of optimizing the content on a blog for search engines.
This involves performing keyword research to find blog topics, optimizing content for on-page SEO, decreasing page load time, and more, so that your blog ranks high in search engines and is accessible and engaging for users.
Blog SEO is important because it helps you increase organic traffic to your website and rank for profitable keywords.
In fact, many blogs rely on SEO as their primary method of attracting more unique visitors to their posts, next to social media and email marketing.
There’s something particularly special about SEO blog traffic.
Once you write and publish a blog post, it has the potential to consistently generate hundreds or thousands of unique views per month.
This traffic can grow exponentially once you start posting multiple blogs per week.
The higher your blog ranks in search engines for relevant keywords, the more attention you’re grabbing from competitors. You’ll get more leads, sales, and establish your brand as an authority in your industry.
Without good blog SEO, many websites online wouldn’t be earning half of what they are now.
If you sell online, and people are searching for topics related to what you’re selling, then taking an SEO-centric approach to your blog can provide an excellent long-term ROI.
Meta tags are snippets of text that describe the content of a blog post.
The “meta title” and “meta description” are the key meta tags to be concerned with.
The “meta title” is the title that appears in search engines.
To write a good meta title, keep it between 50 to 60 characters, and include your brand name at the end of it.
The meta title is your opportunity to tell search engines what keyword(s) your page should rank for.
This is why it’s good practice to include your focus keyword, ideally near the beginning of your meta title.
For example, the focus keyword for this blog post is “blog seo”, which is why it’s included at the start of the meta title.
The “meta description” is the description that appears under the title.
To write a good meta description, keep it between 80 to 160 characters.
The meta description shouldn’t be focused on keywords.
Your aim is to appeal to what a user is searching for, accurately describe what the blog post contains, and compel them to click on the post over competing posts.
If you can naturally include your focus keyword verbatim, then do so. Otherwise, a re-worded variation with the same meaning will work fine.
Here are the meta tags for this exact post.
Meta title: Blog SEO: 10 Tips to Grow Better – Writing Studio
Meta description: If you’re looking to improve the SEO of your blog, this guide will help you understand how to optimize your blog for search engines.
These tags make it very clear to search engines what the post is about, and it provides context for users that this post contains relevant information.
The focus keyword is the main keyword you’re targeting for a blog post.
You should have just one focus keyword per blog post.
This is not to say you can’t target multiple keywords for a single post, but there should be one specific focus keyword per page.
A common mistake people make is attempting to rank for multiple keywords that are related but not closely related enough.
For example, if you are an agency that offers “content writing services” and “inbound marketing services“, instead of targeting both of these keywords on one page in an attempt to rank for both, it’s better to create two pages.
One page would target “content writing services” and a completely separate one would target “inbound marketing services”.
This creates clarity for search engines and users.
While these services do overlap, many users will have a different intent when searching these keywords.
If you Google two separate keywords and they show different search results, then this means they require their own page.
If you Google two keywords and they share largely similar results, then this means they may have a very similar “search intent”.
For example “content writing services” and “content writing service”.
A page ranking for “content writing services”, will also rank well for “content writing service”.
Once you find a post that’s performing well and suits your audience, such as https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-lose-weight-as-fast-as-possible, you can see which keywords it’s ranking for using Site Explorer.
From here you can determine a focus keyword for your own post based on the keyword the post is ranking highest for and getting the most traffic from.
In this case, it’s “how to lose weight fast”.
You can also simply look at the meta title of a post, as the focus keyword is likely in it, as is the case with the Healthline article – How to Lose Weight Fast in 3 Simple Steps.
Website performance is becoming increasingly important for blog SEO.
Website speed is a big part of website performance.
Simply put, the faster a blog loads, the better the user experience.
The better the user experience, the higher your post will rank (given all other factors are equal).
Google wants to rank content that is not only informative but also accessible.
A fast-loading page makes content more accessible to users.
If you have a great blog design, informative and engaging content, but your website performance is lagging, it’s worth improving for SEO.
To speed up your blog for the ‘right’ criteria, start by testing different blog post URLs in Google PageSpeed Insights.
This will reveal how these pages perform, both on mobile and desktop for a number of different factors, including page speed.
Along with showing a report of results for your page’s performance, this tool gives you insights into what changes can be made to make improvements.
You can then delegate these tasks to someone technically sound on your team such as a web developer or technical SEO specialist to make the necessary changes.
These changes could include minifying CSS, compressing images, and optimizing plugins (if you’re using WordPress).
Don’t underestimate the importance of loading time for blog SEO.
Thankfully, for most blogs, all it takes is a few minor tweaks to see considerable improvements.
Keep in mind that there are plenty of blogs that rank high for keywords written by people that don’t really focus all that much on SEO.
This simply comes down to the fact that they have great content and are an authority in a specific niche, and that’s what you should aim to become – an authority.
No matter how ‘optimized’ your HTML headings, your URL, and website speed, if you have poor content that doesn’t actually provide value to users, it won’t perform well.
Content is king, as they say.
Google is smart enough to understand what content is actually written for humans and what’s being over-optimized for search engines.
There’s no need to slip in your focus keyword X number of times to achieve an arbitrary “keyword density”.
This practice is no longer relevant as Google’s algorithm has advanced beyond needing this to understand a page’s relevance.
Do your keyword research, choose a focus keyword, create an SEO-friendly outline, and then just write. Immerse yourself in the minds of your target audience and provide them with the best content possible.
Evergreen topics are topics that remain relevant and are consistently searched over time (years).
Non-evergreen topics are those that are more seasonal (e.g Christmas-related searches) and one-off news event that are only relevant for weeks at a time.
For blog SEO, focusing on evergreen keywords is a great strategy as you can compound your organic traffic growth over time.
“How to brush your teeth” is a good example of an evergreen keyword.
This is a query that’s consistently searched for.
People will continue to search for this term for decades, and so it’s considered “evergreen”.
If you manage to rank a blog post #1 for this keyword, you can expect regular traffic from search engines.
Here’s the organic traffic of the current top-ranking post for this keyword.
While the traffic does vary, which could be due to Google algorithm updates, changes to their website, and many other factors.
The page is receiving an average of 7,228 views per month.
If you write hundreds of blog posts on evergreen topics, then you’re creating hundreds of opportunities for consistent traffic.
Evergreen topics create digital assets that work for you years after publication.
In some cases, certain topics will become more popular with time (such as “digital marketing”, and your blog posts will continue to receive more traffic.
Evergreen topics give you the opportunity to build consistent streams of organic traffic and compound this traffic over time to grow to an enormous scale.
This doesn’t mean you can’t write blog posts about newsworthy topics.
That’s fine to do and can be an excellent addition to your content strategy.
The takeaway here is that the framework of your blog SEO strategy should be evergreen.
Headings are a key part of any good on-page SEO checklist.
There are six levels of HTML headings.
H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6. H1 is the most important and H6 is the least.
H1 headings are used as the “title tag”, and there should only be one per post. Most blog posts don’t go beyond an H3 heading.
HTML headings are simple.
If you have an H2 subheading such as “how to lose weight” your H3 subheading would fall under that H2 subheading, and may be something like “Step 1: reduce your calories”.
Headings are important as they help guide users through your blog content and more easily access the specific information they’re looking for.
Headings are also important for blog SEO as they enable search engines to understand the structure of your content and what it contains.
Having specific subheadings that outline sub-topics is easier for search engines and humans to understand compared to a long wall of text.
To write good SEO headings for your blog posts, start by typing in your focus keyword in the country you’re targeting on Google.
Then have a look at the top three ranking posts.
Check out the structure of subheadings they’re using.
Spot patterns between them, and copy the patterns.
Take what they’ve successfully used to structure their blog post outline and improve on it to deliver a better result for the search intent of your focus keyword.
When possible, use relevant secondary keywords to your focus keyword that fit the theme of your post.
For example in our blog post that targets the keyword “seo copywriting”, we’ve included the headings ‘what is seo copywriting?’ and ‘how to write seo copy’.
These are keywords that are frequently searched for and are relevant to what a user wants to read when typing in ‘seo copywriting’.
The URL of your blog post isn’t the most crucial factor for blog SEO, but it’s often overlooked.
It only takes a minute to optimize.
Often blog URLs are long and drawn out when they could be concise.
Shorter URLs look more aesthetic. Though this is subjective.
There also appears to be a correlation between shorter URLs and higher-ranking posts in Google, according to multiple studies.
The focus keyword for this blog post is “blog seo” and so the URL is https://writingstudio.com/blog/blog-seo/.
This perfectly describes the page. It also includes the focus keyword in the URL.
There’s no need to have a long URL such as com/blog/blog-seo-10-tips-to-grow-better/.
While this certainly doesn’t ‘harm’ your rankings, it’s generally best to keep your URL short and concise.
The same applies to the words in the URL before the post’s title.
It’s better to keep the URL clean like this /blog/blog-seo/ compared to something like /blogs/2016/posts/news/blog-seo-10-tips-to-grow-better/.
In terms of what to put in your URL before your title’s keyword, a frequently used format is simply /blog/focus-keyword or /blog/category/focus-keyword.
You can drop the “blog” and either leave this blank or replace it with “articles” or something else you prefer.
Internal links are hyperlinks that point to other pages on your site, rather than an external site.
Internal links are important for three main reasons.
If you have a blog post that’s central to what you’re selling and it’s something you really want to rank for, then point more internal links to this post, and it will get a ‘boost’.
Your most important blog posts will typically be targeting a competitive keyword and they need all the help they can get to climb above competitors.
The more internal links you have pointing to a post the more important you’re telling Google this page is important.
You should also add plenty of internal links to other ‘lesser’ important blog posts, to help users navigate around your blog.
Never have a blog post without an internal link pointing to it.
This is considered an “orphan page”, and it will be hard to rank for, especially without any external backlinks.
The best way to internal link is to focus on user experience.
When you’re writing multiple blog posts that are related to each other, linking between them will come naturally.
Doing so enhances user experience as you’re providing people with access to relevant information they’re interested in.
When internal linking, you should give thought to ‘anchor text’. Anchor text is the text the hyperlink is placed on.
In the internal links in the previous sentences, the anchor text “content writing” was used which then directs to a blog post that is targeting the keyword “content writing”.
It’s better to use keyword-rich anchor text like this, as opposed to hyperlinking a word like “click here” or something unrelated.
Anchor text will help Google better understand what the page is about and it helps a user understand what to expect before they click on a link.
Topic clusters are groups of related content that all provide information about a wider central topic.
For example, you may have a central post (also known as a ‘pillar post) about ‘copywriting’ and then clusters posts about ‘types of copywriting’, ‘copywriting tips, ‘web copywriting’.
Source: Matt Barby, Vice President of Marketing at HubSpot
The people searching for ‘web copywriting’ and ‘types of copywriting’ are shown different search results, which is why they have dedicated blog posts to cover each topic.
However, these topics are closely related as they share the same root keyword ‘copywriting’.
The idea with topic clusters is to connect these relevant posts to one another, and link to the central post from each smaller post.
This creates a cluster of relevant topics.
As one post gains traction in search engines, it shares its link equity with the other related posts and helps traffic flow through the cluster.
This increases the overall growth of the cluster, leading to more overall traffic and authority over a subject area.
Topic clusters also make sense from a user experience perspective.
Someone searching for ‘what is PPC’ may want to learn more about the ‘best PPC agencies’; which is why linking between these cluster topics is essential.
Google Search Console is an important tool for tracking your blog’s SEO progress.
It enables you to track:
Google Search Console is a must-have for tracking your SEO efforts for your blog. It’s the place where you can start to understand how your content is performing, what’s providing the best return, and what’s lagging behind.
It also helps you make data-informed strategic decisions for your SEO content strategy.
Other great tools GSC has includes:
There’s much more you can do in GSC, including removing pages from search results, checking for coverage issues, updating sitelinks, and more.
To get the best results possible, set clear SEO KPIs and then track your progress on Google Search Console.
To get the most out of your blog, going in with a focus on SEO is a great way to compound growth over the long term and cement your brand as an industry authority.
It’s a long journey, and the results will not come quickly.
It can take months, and even years to truly start seeing great results, depending on your resources. It’s worth it though.
In summary, good blog SEO comes down to it consistently posting content about topics that people are searching for, and writing blog posts that are more useful than what’s already ranking high.
Ideally, you want to start with less competitive terms and move your way up to more competitive ones, while keeping all topics relevant to your target audience’s needs and what you’re selling to maximize your return as early as possible.
Alongside great content, it’s also important to ensure that your blog meets technical requirements that enable search engines to understand your website.
When this approach is combined with a user-friendly blog design that loads fast and most important of all consistency, results will follow.