Four Simple Ways to Boost your Blog's SEO
We've written previously about how - and why - we should ditch the stress over SEO. Nonetheless, no one can deny that if we pour hours of work into creating great content, we should get as much mileage out of it as we can.
When it comes to SEO, the bottom line is this: Google ranks based on the user experience. Keyword stuffed content is no longer ranked highly, but rather, content that is easy to read and invites reader engagement. In short, search engines look for certain reader behaviors in order to know whether your content is popular, useful, and engaging.
As such, there are certain things you can do to make your content more dynamic and engaging for your readers, but remember: you are always always always writing for PEOPLE, not for search engines. Make this your number one goal, and the beneficial double effect of that goal will be better SEO rankings.
Tip #1: Write clickable headlines.
This is about more than just writing catchy, clickbaity phrases. Rather, it involves carefully considering whether your title, subtitle, headings, subheadings, and tags accurately represent what your content is about. There are a few ways to make your title accurately represent what your content is about.
First and foremost, when you write a blog post, google that topic and see what types of headlines come up. This will help you find the type of language people use when they search for a topic.
Second, boil your entire blog post down into one or two fundamental concepts. Then, paraphrase those concepts in just a few words. Do NOT - and we repeat, do NOT - simply stuff your title chock full of the keywords you hope will trigger a higher SEO score. This will result in Google demoting your post rather than ranking it highly. Not to mention, it likely won't entice or intrigue your readers.
Tip #2: Once you grab them, keep them.
Google loves articles that invite readers to linger for a while. Search engines track bounce rates - that is, how quickly people click away once they travel to your site. A great way to invite readers to pull up a chair and stay a while is to make your content extra engaging. Long blocks of text laced with legalese just won't do the trick. What will? Quality images, compelling (and short!) paragraphs, casual language, bolded headings and subheadings, numbered lists, and crisp sentences that solve problems and answer questions.
Tip #3: Prompt your readers to engage with your content.
Google uses "social signals" such as likes, comments, and shares in determining how to rank blog posts. Bear in mind, though, that there is no magic formula to getting people to like, comment on, or share your posts, but naturally good and compelling words WILL inspire dialogue. So focus first and foremost on the quality of your work, as well as its value and relevance to your audience.
There are a few simple ways to inspire some level of engagement with your content (but only if it is good!) For instance, end your articles or blog posts with a question like, "how do YOU do X?" or "what issues do YOU encounter most?" You can also experiment with adding social media sharing buttons to your content to encourage easy one-click shares, and sharing on your own social channels to kick things off.
Tip #4: Get an inbound link!
Inbound links are Google's gold standard when it comes to SEO. This means that another source will include a link to your blog article as a relevant authority. In order to do this easily, link your own blog post when you are guest writing for another blog or on another one of your websites - that is, until you garner enough followers and authority for your followers to link you sua sponte!
So here is your call to action: This week, dig up ONE article on your blog and implement these tips. Dust off your content, quality-check it, share it on social media and encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same.
Incorporate these tips each time you create a new piece of content, and you will be on your way to building an incredibly authoritative and respected blog.