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How to search engine optimise your blog articles

Just why is search engine optimisation so important for marketers? When you optimise your blog posts or pages, you make your website more visible to people who are searching for keywords associated with your brand, product or service via search engines like Google.

Having a blog is great for your website, especially because it allows your website to target what are called “long tail keywords”.

But first of all, what is a long tail keyword? They are a highly targeted search phrase that contains 3 or more words. It usually contains a head term, which is a more generic search term 1 or 2 words in length. For example:

Head term: Gym

Long tail keywords: Gym workout plan, gym performance clothing, gym workout dvd

Targeting long tail keywords offers a variety of benefits:

–          Prospects are further down the sales funnel, which means visitors that land on your website from a long tail search term are more qualified, and are more likely to convert.

–          They are easier to rank for.

For example: content targeting “gym workout plan” will receive more relevant traffic than content targeting the broad term “gym” and would be a lot easier to rank for.

Long tail search is the most popular type of search – according to SEOmoz, it accounts for 70% of search traffic and with new developments in search engines powered by speech recognition software they will only get more important.

There are a few key principles to follow to ensure that your blog articles are written in a way that will maximise their SEO potential:

1.       Focus on 1 topic per blog article

Optimising blog posts is not about including as many keywords in your post as possible. This will actually damage your SEO ranking as search engines will assume that you’re keyword stuffing (i.e., including as many keywords as possible with the sole purpose of gaining ranking in organic search).

Using your keywords in your content in a way that doesn’t feel unnatural or forced will help your rankings and make for a more pleasant reading experience. This will also encourage the reader to return, as well as share your content on social media and link to it from their own websites, giving you the authority search engines like Google and Bing are looking for to rank your entire website higher.

A good rule of thumb is to not to think as much about optimising the post, and more about the reader experience. This will help to keep the article more concise and with a clearer goal.

2.       Use keywords in specific parts of your post:

Search engines take note of the prominence of keywords on the page.

Adding keywords to specific elements of your page signals to search engines that those keywords are highly relevant to the page. For example:

There is a major difference between having a keyword in the title tag or in the H1 tag of your page and one placed in the footer part of your website (or in a sidebar).

a)       Title
The title or headline of your blog post will be the first port of call for search engines and readers alike in determining the relevancy of your content, so including a keyword here is vital.

b)      Headers and body
Include your keywords throughout your article in a natural, reader-friendly way. Don’t go overboard at the risk of being penalised for keyword stuffing, as mentioned in point 1. When writing the content, your primary focus should be on what matters to the audience, not how many times you can include a keyword in the content.

c)       URL
Search engines also look at your URL to figure out the subject matter of your post, and it’s one of the first things it’ll crawl on a page. Spend a bit of time cultivating the URL of your post to make it unique and relevant – make sure you include your keywords in it.

d)      Meta description
Your meta description gives search engines and readers information about your blog post’s content – kind of like a blurb. Ensure you include your long-tail keyword so that search engines and your audience are clear on your posts content.

3.       Use synonyms and variations

One of the biggest breakthroughs the search engine algorithms have had over recent years, is figuring out human language and how different words correlate with each other as well as a relevancy rating for them. This is called LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing).

This allows search engines to calculate the relevancy, and in many cases the topic of the post, by taking into account the synonyms and associated keywords and terms.

For example, if we do a search for the query ‘fitness plan’ we find the following:

Notice how the 4th result has no trace of the keyword ‘plan’, but the keyword ‘routine’ is highlighted. Same goes for ‘fitness’ which does not appear in the 5th result but, again, contains the synonym ‘workout’.

Search engines use sematic indexing correlations to determine the relevancy of a post as well as the topic and purpose of the page, rewarding pages that do this correctly.

4.       Make sure your blog article is mobile-friendly

In 2015 Google revealed that searches on mobile devices have now surpassed those on desktop. Mobile will certainly have increased this gap since then, so ensuring that your website and blog page is compatible on mobile is key to keeping up with the competition.

In particular, for the leisure industry, we have found that up to 70% of the website traffic comes through mobile devices:

(actual leisure website visitor statistics)

 5.       Optimise the meta description

As we mentioned before, the meta description is a short description of the link that appears on the SERP (search engine result page). This gives searchers information they need to determine whether or not your content is what they are looking for, and helps them to decide whether to click or not.

6.       Optimise your images

Blogs shouldn’t only contain text – images can help to explain your content. However, search engines look for images with alt text as they can’t ‘see’ images the way humans can. The alt text tells the search engine what an image is about, which in turn helps those images to be found in search. Alt text also makes for a better user experience as it’ll display the image alt text when the image can’t be found. It also improves accessibility for people with poor vision who use screen readers.

Adding keywords to your alt text isn’t perhaps as critical as the other points highlighted, but it is worth taking the time to change the name to something accurate and descriptive.

7.       Don’t duplicate topic tags

Topic tags can help to organise your blog content, but if you use too many similar tags you may get penalised by search engines for having duplicate content. For example, topic tags like “gym,” “gym workout,” and “gym plan” are too similar to be used on the same post. Take some time to make sure that you are using topic tags that are important to your blog and aren’t too similar to each other.

8.       Link internally to other content where possible

Linking to other web pages or blog articles on your website help to show search engines the validity or relevancy of your content. If you’ve written about a topic that’s mentioned in your blog post on another blog post, it’s advised to link to that page.

Bigwave media has an amazing team of content writers, SEO experts and web wizards. Would you like us to help you make your blog pop? Check out our website or give us a call on 01392 492380.

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