SEO best practices for blogs are critical to keeping your site and your content relevant to the search engines. We all know how vital SEO is to enhancing our organization’s web presence. SEO is a very complex world and in an effort to simplify the topic somewhat, let’s talk about on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
If you’re already spending time and resources building content for your web site, you want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of that content by maximizing the SEO value in the content. And that requires an understanding of on- and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO refers to the SEO best practices for blogs that you can control on the post or page itself.
- Optimized titles and description. If you use WordPress, the Yoast plugin is one of the best to help you to optimize the titles of your blog posts as well as the descriptions that appear in Google or other search engine results.
- Proper URL structures. URLs must be shorter than 2,083 characters. Utilize hyphens to separate words to increase readability. But don’t use too many hyphens or your URLS might look spammy. Avoid using parameters.
- User-friendly navigation. Make it easy on your readers to find their way around your website. Utilize menus at the top of every page so that they can always find your homepage and your blog. There are also plenty of WordPress plugins that will allow you to feature your most recent posts or your most popular posts that will help readers navigate even more easily.
- Optimized internal links. This refers to linking back to other posts that you have written in the past. For every post you write, you should link back to another post you’ve written on your site. This shows Google and other search engines that you are consistently creating good content, and that your content is relevant because it is being linked to.
- Text formatting – H1, H2, bold, etc. Be sure to make your posts easy to read by making use of bold headlines, as well as formatting that will read well on any browser.
- Image optimization. Whenever you include an image in a post, be sure to give it a title, and more specifically, fill in the “alt text” box. The alt text should include the key word or phrase that you are optimizing that page for as this is how Google and other search engines populate their image searches.
- Fast loading pages. If your pages load slowly, search engines will dock your website points within their ranking systems. There are WordPress plugins that can measure the time it takes to load each page on your site, as well as which plugins, etc. are contributing to slower load times.
- Quality, fresh content. This is the most important part of on-page SEO. Consistently post good content on your site.
- External links. Always include a link to an authority site when you write a post, as that shows that you are utilizing good sources to create your content, and boosts your SEO.
Off-page SEO refers to those things that can be performed off the your site that can help you create relevance and authority for your site.
- Good, quality links to your site. You might get these by guest posting for other sites, or you might get them just by creating great content that others want to link to. Regardless, backlinks to your site from authority sites or sites with page rank or domain authority can do wonders for your SEO. Conversely, links from spammy sites can negatively affect your SEO, so watch for those, and if you get them, ask to have the link to your site removed.
- Social media. Social media does affect your SEO. So be sure to post, tweet, etc. on a consistent basis and interact with those that interact with you on social media.
- Social bookmarking. Social bookmarking refers to a service with which users can create bookmarks of web documents. All users are allowed to add, share, annotate, and edit these bookmarks. You might sometimes hear it referred to as “tagging”.
- Paid advertising. Although paid advertising doesn’t necessarily directly affect your SEO, it can allow your website to appear on search engine results pages more frequently, which is ultimately the goal of SEO anyway.
- Email marketing. Email marketing doesn’t directly affect your SEO either, but it can drive more visitors to your site, and increase the likelihood that they will share some of your content on social media or possibly link to it, all of which would improve your SEO.
It’s important to consider both on- and off-page SEO when you’re working to increase your organization’s online presence. If you devote sufficient time to each, you’ll find that your SEO efforts will pay off more than if you solely focus on one or the other.
For a list of blogging best practices that includes these SEO reminders, click here to download your personal checklist to use on every post.