The importance of SEO to online marketers cannot be overstated. People using search engines (like Google) to look for a product or service may be able to find it easier if your web pages, including blog entries, are optimised for search engines.
You may discover the solution to this question and more in this post. An in-depth look into blog SEO, including the factors that influence it as well as advice for getting started optimising your blog for search engines. There are various tools available in the market for content optimization. You can check them out here.
Is it true that blogging aids in search engine optimization?
To improve your website’s search engine rankings, you need to blog frequently to position yourself as a solution to your consumers’ queries. Using a range of on-page SEO methods in your blog entries will help you rank higher in search engines and attract more visitors to your site.
It is evident that blog content contributes to SEO, yet Google’s continuous algorithm tweaks might make it difficult to write the correct kind of blog content. Blog SEO can be affected by a wide range of ranking variables, some of which have been around for years while others are considered “old-school.”
As a general guideline, it’s best to spend some time learning about each of these elements before attempting to integrate them all at once. You should employ each one to accomplish a specific SEO goal for your blog. Listen to this audio episode with HubSpot’s Matt Barby and Victor Pan to learn more about this topic.
Factors Affecting the SEO of a Blog
1. Time Spent in a Spot
Google uses stay time as an indirect ranking element, however the importance of dwell time to the user experience cannot be overstated. In blogging, dwell time refers to the time spent on a page by a visitor to your site. The amount of time a user spends on your website once they click on it in the search engine results page (SERP) until they leave is referred to as “dwell time.” Indirectly, search engines like Google are able to determine the quality of your material by this statistic. The more time consumers spend on the page, the more relevant it is to them.
But this statistic is an indirect indicator of SEO for a reason – it is utterly subjective. There is no way for search engine algorithms to determine what you are trying to accomplish with your content. Your blog could focus on short-form information that can be read in a matter of seconds. If you want your readers to spend as little time on your blog as possible, consider including relevant information at the beginning of each post. Don’t try to adjust your content to manipulate this measure if you don’t think it’s a good fit for your content strategy.
2. The speed at which the page loads
Page speed can be affected by a variety of factors, not just the visual aspects on your blog. Using too many plugins and unnecessary code might also slow down a blog. It is possible to speed up the loading time of your websites by removing unnecessary code. HTML-Cleaner can help you locate and delete unwanted code. Using it is a breeze, even if you don’t know how to code. Using this tool is as simple as clicking a button to eliminate any extraneous code.
It’s also wise to have a look at your blog’s plugins. Make a distinction between the plugins that are essential to the smooth operation of your blog and those that were added to address a specific problem. There are a lot of plugins that can slow down your site’s front end, and you may be able to eliminate more of them than you think.
3. Adaptability to Small Screens
Mobile devices account for more than half of Google’s US search traffic. Your blog site may also follow this trend on a personal level. Mobile optimization for your blog is a need that will have an impact on your SEO stats. However, what does it mean to make a website mobile-friendly in the first place? Keep it simple, says the industry rule of thumb. All you need to do is change a CTA button here and raise a font size there to make your site mobile-friendly. Google Analytics and a mobile speed test are great ways to keep an eye on the performance of your site on mobile devices.
4. Date of Index
It is the goal of search engines to deliver the most relevant and accurate information possible. The date a search engine indexes a piece of content is a factor in determining its relevance and accuracy. Indexing is the process by which a search engine discovers new content and incorporates it into its database. When a user performs a search for terms associated with the indexed page, the page will appear in the SERP.
How can I know when the content was indexed compared to when I first saw it?
Yes and no, that’s the answer. If you write a blog post for the first time, a crawler like Google is likely to index it the same day you do. Some reasonable reasons for backdating content include archived information or making minor changes to a few sentences.
Implementing a historical optimization plan can have a good impact on this SEO element. In the case of well-established blogs with a substantial body of material, this approach works well. You can have a major impact on your blog’s search engine optimization (SEO) without writing a lot of net new material by upgrading these past entries with new insights and statistics. Crawlers will reindex the page to reflect the new material, giving it a second chance to rank well in search results. It’s a win-win situation.
5. Data from the Most Recent Period
Another indirect ranking element for SEO is the inclusion of recent data in blog articles. Using up-to-date data ensures that readers get the most out of their time on your site. Linking to an up-to-date, reputable website tells the search engine that your readers will find the information on that site useful and relevant (which is a plus for that other site). In addition, you’re letting the search engine know that this data is associated with the articles you produce. By seeing indicators such as greater time on page or a decreased bounce rate, your readers will eventually come to appreciate the material.
How to Make Your Blog More Search Engine Friendly
1. Determine who you want to reach with your blog.
This is true regardless of the topic of your blog or the business in which your readers come from. With this knowledge, you may better plan your blog’s content strategy and achieve the goals you set out to achieve.
In order to effectively market to a specific audience, using buyer personas and demographics and psychographics is a good idea. A lack of this knowledge could result in a grammatically perfect and accurate piece of text that no one would read since it doesn’t resonate with them on an emotional level.
2. Investigate potential search terms.
Your buyer profile is complete, then it’s time to figure out what kind of content your target audience is looking for. If you don’t have a plan in place, keyword research might be a daunting undertaking. Consequently, I recommend starting with the themes you intend to write about, and then expanding or contracting the scope of your blog as you go along. Check out our in-depth guide on keyword research for more information.
3. Include images.
For specific terms, search engines like Google give preference to images. Search engine results pages frequently include visual components like images and videos. If you want your blog post to appear in an image pack or a video snippet, you’ll need to create eye-catching visuals, employ original photography and film, and include meaningful alt text for each image and video.
One of the most important factors in the SERP is the prominence of the alt text associated with your image or video. Screen readers rely on alt text to make your blog accessible to those who are blind or visually impaired.
4. Create a memorable headline.
As the first thing a reader sees when they come across your article, the title has a significant impact on whether or not they click through to read more. In order to stimulate the reader’s interest, a snappy title uses statistics, asks a question, or leads with curiosity.
The Coscheduler Headline Analyzer identifies power, emotion, uncommon, and common words as key components of a memorable headline. These types of words in the appropriate proportions in a blog title will attract and hold the interest of your readers.
Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer gave this title an impressive 87 out of 100 points:
According to This Famous Fashion Observer, There Are 3 Elements to a Perfect Dress.
Headline Analyzer tool from Coschedule with an 87 out of 100
Common words are highlighted in yellow. Readers will recognise them because they are similar to other titles that show in the search engine results page (SERP).
The word “expert,” according to Coschedule, evokes a strong emotional response. Words like “expert” generate trust with readers and provide a sense of authority in this piece.
In other words, purple words are attention-grabbers that pique readers’ interest and pique their curiosity about the topic at hand.
There’s a third part to this title. This tells the reader that they’ll gain a certain quantity of information regarding the ideal dress.
5. Enticing CTAs are a must-have.
In the absence of a call to action, what’s the point of writing about something? It is the goal of a CTA to guide your readers to the next step in their journey through your site. If you want your call to action (CTA) to be effective, it must be related to the topic of your blog post and make sense in context with the rest of the material. When writing a blog post with the sole purpose of getting people to buy your product, sign up for a newsletter, or read more of your material, you’ll need an intriguing call to action (CTA).
There are many different ways to implement a call to action, so have fun with it! Some of the most frequent CTAs are buttons, URLs, and widgets, and each serves a distinct purpose. If you want the reader to make a purchase, for example, you should provide a prominent CTA like a button. As an alternative, a hyperlink at the end of the current article can easily encourage readers to check out another blog post.
6. Consider the reader’s point of view.
It’s impossible to compose a blog post without considering how the reader will react to it. Several elements affect the reader’s experience, including readability, page speed, and formatting. This means you’ll need to write material that’s easy to understand, thorough, and up-to-date with respect to your subject’s most recent facts and trends, among other things. Using headings and subheadings to break up the text makes it easier for the reader to skim and find the information they’re looking for. Finally, the speed of a page can be affected by elements like photographs and videos on the page. Image file sizes should be no more than 250kb, and you should limit the amount of movies that you embed on a page. In order to publish an article optimised for the search engine, you must focus on what the reader wants to know and organise the post accordingly.
These blog SEO methods can help you improve your content’s searchability, so let’s take a closer look.
Tips for improving your blog’s search engine rankings
Incorporate one or two long-tail keywords into your content.
You can use keywords wisely in your blog article.
Make your site mobile-friendly.
Improve the meta description’s clarity and conciseness.
Make sure the alt text is included in the image.
Limit the number of topic tags.
Include URLs that are easy for users to remember.
Link to other posts on the topic.
Keep an eye on the numbers.
Clusters of related topics should be grouped together.
Aim to provide long-lasting content.
It’s time to freshen up the existing material.
Please note that this list does not include every single guideline in the book when it comes to optimising your website for search engines. Instead, consider these pointers as a starting point for developing an SEO strategy for your blog.
1. Incorporate one or two long-tail keywords into your content.
It’s not about cramming as many keywords into your posts as possible when it comes to keyword optimization for your blog posts. As of today, search engines penalise you for keyword stuffing since they view it as spamming (i.e., including keywords as much as possible with the sole purpose of ranking highly in organic search).
As a ranking criteria, search engines increasingly stress ensuring you’re answering the intent of your visitors, and this approach fails miserably. Since this is the case, it is imperative that you employ keywords in a way that doesn’t feel forced or odd.
One or two long-tail keywords should be the emphasis of each blog post. The emphasis of your content should be small enough to allow you to spend time optimising for only one or two keywords, even if you employ more than one in your post.
Inquiring minds want to know: Why the focus on long-tail keywords?
Keep your audience in mind by using longer, frequently question-based keywords in your posts. It’s much more important to rank well in search engines for long-tail keywords like “how to write a blog article.”
Visitors that search for long-tail keywords on your website are more likely to read the entire piece and then seek additional information from you. In other words, they’ll assist you get the correct kind of traffic – people who will really buy anything from you.
2. You can use keywords wisely in your blog article.
It’s time to incorporate your chosen keywords into your blog post now that you have a few to choose from. When it comes to search engine optimization, where do you place these keywords?
Including keywords in your title tag, headers & body, URL, and meta description is a good idea.
Tag for the title of the article
Your blog post’s title (i.e., headline) is the first thing a search engine and a reader will look at when judging its relevance. As a result, the inclusion of a keyword is essential. These words appear as the “title tag” in search results, according to Google.
Your keyword should be in the first 60 characters of your title, which is exactly where Google cuts off titles on the SERP. Rather of counting characters, Google now counts pixels, and the new pixel width for organic search results is around 60 characters, up from about 500 pixels previously.
A lengthy title tag? As a rule of thumb, it’s better to put your keyword at the beginning of a long headline because it may get cut off on the search engine results page (SERPs) at the end, which could harm your post’s perceived relevancy.
Because the title in the sample below was over 65 characters long, the keyword was inserted near the beginning of the title.
Link from a search engine result with a title tailored for keywords
Body & Headers
Throughout the body of your post and in the headers, use your keyword in a natural rhythm. A natural, reader-friendly approach of doing this is to incorporate your keywords into your writing. To avoid being penalised for keyword stuffing, don’t go overboard with your efforts.
The first thing you’ll likely do before writing a new blog post is think about how to incorporate your keywords. The notion is good, but it should not be your only or primary emphasis.
Writing for your audience should always come first, not how many times you can cram in a keyword or a phrase in the text. Focus on being helpful and responding to any questions your customer may have asked to get to your post in the first place. If you do that, you’ll be optimising for crucial keywords by default.
One of the first things a search engine will do when crawling a website is look at the URL to see what the post is about. Make sure to include one to two keywords in your URLs for each post that you publish, as each post has its own unique URL.
In the example below, we used the long-tail keyword “email marketing examples” to generate the URL.
A search engine result link with a URL tailored for keywords.
Description of the Metadata
It is your meta description’s job to tell both the search engines and your readers about the substance of your blog post. If you want to get found in Google’s search results, you must utilise a long-tail keyword.
Keep in mind that click-through rates are greatly influenced by the copy’s ability to satisfy a specific reader’s objective, so make it as compelling as possible.
3. Make your site mobile-friendly.
We already know that more individuals use search engines on their smartphones than on a computer to do their searches.
Google prioritises mobile-friendly results for all of the valuable queries that are searched on mobile devices. Since the introduction of Google’s Penguin algorithm in April 2015, mobile-friendly websites have consistently ranked higher in search results.
The content you generate on the HubSpot platform is automatically optimised for mobile devices, so you can relax.)
Is there a way to make your blog more mobile-friendly, then? With the help of a responsive design Instead of two URLs — one for desktop and one for mobile — responsive websites allow blog pages to have just one. Inbound links to your site won’t be split up into many URLs, which boosts your post’s search engine optimization.
Your post’s importance will be more easily recognised by Google because of this centralization of the SEO power gained from these links.
It’s a good rule of thumb to keep an eye on what search engines are looking for. Subscribing to Google’s official blog is a great way to stay on top of all the latest updates.
4. Improve the meta description’s clarity and conciseness.
Additional material that shows in search engine results pages (SERPs) is known as meta descriptions. Searchers use the meta description to assess whether or not your content is what they’re looking for, and it eventually helps them decide whether or not to click.
Increasing the meta description’s maximum length to about 300 characters suggests it aims to provide users with more information about what each result offers.
Your meta description should also include the long-tail term for which you are attempting to rank, as well as being reader-friendly.
In this example, I typed “email newsletter examples” into a search engine.
Extensive meta description for Google search results
The term is bolded in the meta description, which helps readers relate the search term’s intent to this result. Also, you’ll see that the phrase “E-Newsletter” is highlighted, demonstrating that Google understands the semantic link between “email newsletter” and “E-Newsletter.”
Your meta description is no longer guaranteed to appear in search results as it formerly was. You can see from the image that Google includes additional parts of your blog post that involve the terms sought, presumably to provide searchers with the best context for their individual query.
The following is an example of what I’m trying to demonstrate. Here are two examples of search results from Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), each with a different piece of text. For example, “no index, no follow” returns the original meta description.
an example of a meta description found on the Google search engine
With the query “noindex nofollow,” we can find the first occurrence of the following keywords in the blog post’s body:
an example of a metadescription from the Google search results
No matter how much you try, you will never be able to control what search engines bring in, therefore it’s important to keep working on optimising your post and the metadata it contains. Google will have an easier time proving your post’s relevance in search results if you write user-friendly content with natural keyword inclusion.
5. Make sure the alt text is included in the image.
Posts on your blog should not only contain text, but also photos to help explain and reinforce the information you’re presenting. Search engines, on the other hand, aren’t just looking for photographs. Images with image alt text are what they’re looking for.
It’s understandable if this puzzles you. Alt text explains what a picture is to a search engine because search engines cannot “see” images the same way humans can. These photographs will be better placed in search engine results because of this.
A better user experience can also be achieved through the usage of image alt text (UX). When an image cannot be found or shown, it appears in the image container. Adding alt text to an image tag in HTML is technically possible.
The following is an example of a complete image tag:
It’s a good idea to provide a link to the image’s description in the tooltip of any image you post on your blog.
For example, “IMG23940” may be replaced by “puppies playing in a basket” when you include alt text for an image’s name on your blog.
how to use image alt text to your advantage
If the image is in a blog post about a comparable subject, the alt text should provide context for the search engine to index the image.
This list of considerations for writing alt text for your blog’s photographs can help put things in perspective.
Explanation of the image
Start with the image description rather than “image of…”
When describing something, be specific.
Keep it to fewer than 125 words.
Use your keywords in your content (but avoid keyword stuffing)
Customers of HubSpot will be able to see if their photos have been optimised in the SEO Panel. As crucial as certain other optimizations may be, these features are still essential (not to mention, easy to add).
Hubspot’s Image SEO Panel
6. Limit the number of topic tags.
When using topic tags to arrange your blog content, it is important not to overdo it. It’s possible to get punished by search engines if you have a lot of similar tags.
Creating a topic tag is similar to creating a new page on your site where the content from the tags will appear. This is especially true if you’re a HubSpot user, as shown below. It seems to search engines that you’re republishing the same information several times on your site when you use too many similar tags for the same content. These tags are too close to one another to be used on the same post, like “blogging” or “blog” or “blog posts,” for example.
Clean up your tags if you’re concerned that your existing postings have too many similar ones. Choose 15–25 topic tags that aren’t too similar to one another and that you believe are significant to your site. Then, just use those keywords as tags in your posts. Duplicate content won’t be an issue this way.
Template for a report on research findings
A Search Insights Report is used by HubSpot each quarter to link certain MSV-driven keyword ideas to a specific topic within a blog post. For a methodical approach to SEO and content development, the methodology helps us focus on just a few posts in a few specific subjects throughout the year.
7. Include URLs that are easy for users to remember.
Take a close check at the URL structure of your blog post before submitting it for publication. Does it contain a lot of unnecessary words, or is it irrelevant to the post’s subject? If this is the case, you may wish to revise it before publishing.
You should make it easy for your visitors to grasp the structure of your website and the material they’re about to see by using URLs that are distinct from the URLs of individual posts. In order to help both search engines and website visitors understand the content on a page, search engines prefer URLs that make that content more easily understandable.
The HubSpot blogs’ URLs are structured in a way that distinguishes them. From this main page, I could access the Marketing section at http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/.
To access the Sales section, simply substitute “sales” for “marketing” in the URL:
/marketing and /sales are subdirectories of the larger blog, which I now understand thanks to this URL structure.
We’d want to read “How to Do Keyword Research: A Beginner’s Guide,” for example. A look at the URL reveals that this is an article from the blog’s Marketing section, which is where the article is located.
It is this categorization system that URL structure provides for users, letting them know where they are on the website and how to get to new pages. As a result, search engines like this since it makes it easy for them to determine exactly what information your blog or website’s visitors will access.
The quickest method to “reset” your SEO efforts for a blog article is to alter the URL after it’s been published, so don’t do it! Is it better for your brand or style if you leave your URL in its current form? If so, you should. Change the post’s title instead, using the instructions we provided before.
8. Link to other posts on the topic.
A lot of people have heard that backlinks can affect how high your blog site ranks in the SERP, and this is accurate – the more relevant sites link back to yours, the more trustworthy your site appears. Even so, backlinks aren’t the only way to build links. Your blog’s search engine rankings can be improved by linking to and from your own blog content.
Having incoming links to your material can assist search engines determine the quality or relevance of your content. The same is true for internal links on your site. Linking to another blog post, ebook, or web page that discusses a subject you’ve written about is always a good idea.
Internal linking helps retain people on your website and reveals other relevant and authoritative pages to search engines (you may have noticed that I’ve done that from time to time in this blog post when I think it’s helpful for our readers).
If your site focuses on fashion, you might write about fabrics. It is possible to increase the visibility of two different blog entries, one on cotton and the other about the appropriate way to mix materials, by including a link in one of them. When you link to the cotton post from the one on blending fabrics, the search engines will have another entrance point. Crawlers will be able to find and index your content about cotton fabric more quickly as a result. As a result, it’s possible that it will experience an increase in its SERP ranking.
Customers of HubSpot can use the SEO Panel to automatically link to other internal resources on their website, such as blog posts.
hubspot has an SEO panel for links
It’s possible to think of this as a way to improve your SEO while simultaneously making your content more useful to your readers.
9. Keep an eye on the numbers.
You can get a free report from Google called the Search Analytics Report in their free SEO tool, Google Search Console. You can use this report to see which keywords people are using to reach your blog material using Google Search. Matthew Barby’s blog entry on how to utilise Google Search Console, as well as Google’s official support page, might help you learn more about the tool.
If you’re looking to improve the traffic and leads generated by your best-performing older blog posts, this tool can help you locate low-hanging fruit.
Google Search Console’s keyword performance graph
Remember, optimising blog posts for search is a challenge for many content marketers. When it comes to ranking, your blog content will not begin to show up right away. It takes time to gain authority on the search engine results page.
Consistently publishing blog posts with SEO in mind while maintaining a reader experience focused on their intentions will pay off in the form of increased traffic and new business leads in the long run.
10. Clusters of related topics should be grouped together.
Until recently, bloggers and SEOs have worked together to develop individual blog entries that rank highly for specific keywords on their sites.
As a result, the blog’s content is disjointed, making it harder for readers to locate the information they seek. When you write many blog entries on the same subject, your URLs begin to compete with one another in search engine rankings.
Here’s how our former blog design looked like when we were following this guide:
HubSpot’s subject cluster SEO methodology is illustrated in this flowchart
The topic cluster approach is now the ideal way to rank in search and respond to the new types of queries that people are using.
Choose the general subjects you wish to rank for in order to use this model. The next step is to develop material based on certain keywords linked to the subject, and then link to each other to build a larger authority in search engines.
With the topic cluster model, here is how our blog infrastructure currently looks. A cluster of related blog articles surrounds a specific topic and links to other URLs in the cluster:
A collection of SEO-friendly topic clusters
In this model, URLs are organised and linked together in a more purposeful way to help your site rank higher in Google and make it easier for visitors to locate what they need on your site. Pillar content, cluster content, and hyperlinks make up this architecture.
Content pillars, clusters, and hyperlinks are all represented by icons in this SEO paradigm.
You may learn more about this topic by reading about it in our research, signing up for our SEO course, or watching the video below.
11. Aim to provide long-lasting content.
Consider the long-term value of your blog posts when planning and composing them. The content is focused on issues that will be relevant for a lengthy period of time (with only minor changes or updates). An evergreen content strategy is critical for the following reasons:
Not just in the near future, but for the long term as well
Your blog (and website) will have a constant flow of traffic for a long time after it’s been published because of this.
Over time, the traffic it continuously creates will assist you in generating leads.
Whether it’s a long-form essay, a how-to guide, a FAQ, a tutorial, or something else, all blog content should be timeless. In these blogs, even the photographs you choose to utilise should be long-lasting. Check out this post for examples and ideas for evergreen content on your site.
12. It’s time to freshen up the existing material.
In order to boost your SEO, you may think that creating new blog content is necessary. That’s somewhat true, but you should also spend a lot of time and effort on your current blog material. Specifically, updating and repurposing your present material, as well as getting rid of your old content.
A fresh piece of content takes a long time to build authority on the search engine results page (SERP), however an updated piece of content can reap the benefits much more quickly than a new piece of content.
Instead of having to start from scratch, updating an existing piece of content saves time and resources while increasing your visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs).
By recycling your most popular content and keeping it fresh, you can get better results from it for a longer amount of time, especially if it’s evergreen.
Finally, you must remove any content that is no longer relevant to your target audience. No matter how hard you try, some of your content will eventually go out of date. Statistics, product information (if you have any posted in your blogs—as your products and business expand), or information that changes over time in your sector are all examples of this category.
Put Your Best Foot Forward When It Comes to Blogging and Search Engine Optimization
Even if you don’t use these SEO recommended practises straight away, we don’t expect you to do so. However, as your website expands, so should your search engine optimization (SEO) goals. Identifying the goals and intentions of your ideal readers will help you produce content that will rise on the search engine results page (SERP).