I used to be a SEO Consultant – so I know a few things about blog SEO : )
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important.
The better you are at SEO, the more visitors you’ll get, and the faster you’ll grow your blog.
Search engines drive visitors to websites 24/7. If you rank high in search engines, blogging can become less labor intensive. You don’t have to rely on manual tasks, like social media to reach new readers.
With good SEO, the cost to acquire a subscriber is zero. The more readers you have, the more things you can do with your blog – for example, you can start affiliate marketing.
Requirements: The best blog platform for SEO is a self-hosted WordPress blog. You need a self-hosted WordPress blog for these SEO blog tips. If you don’t have a self-hosted WordPress blog yet, see my simple guide to Start a Blog.
Best Blog SEO Tips
Tip #1: Target Long-tail Keyphrases
If you want to gain readership fast, or make money from affiliate marketing, I recommend targeting long-tail keyphrases.
A long-tail keyphrase is a phrase consisting of 3-4 words and is very specific. Long tail keyphrases and are much easier to rank for in search results due to low competition.
For example, instead of writing a blog post on ‘How to Make a Cake‘, write a blog post on ‘How to Make a Moist Chocolate Cake’.
Tip #2: Target Specific Keyphrases
The goal of search engines is to match a specific question, with a specific answer.
Write blog posts that target only 1 specific keyphrase.
You’ll get more page views when your blog posts are targeted and specific.
Tip #3: Exploit Content Gaps
Create a Google Adwords account – you don’t have to spend any money or run a campaign.
Use it to find long-tail keyphrases that have a high search volume, but has a content gap.
- Step 1: Do a search for the blog post you want to write – see if the blog post has been written before
- Step 2: Use Google Adwords to asses the volume
- Step 3: Write a blog post that hasn’t been written before (or written poorly), and has a good amount of search volume
1) High search volume – but has been written before:
2) High search volume – but has been written before:
3) High search volume – has NOT been written before:
In this example, write a blog post on ‘How to Make a Moist Chocolate Cake’ and you will at the top of search engine results.
Tip #4: Optimize Title Tags
Title Tags are visible to search engine users. Title Tags look like this:
Title tags are important. They directly affect the click-through-rate of your blog posts.
The more clicks you get in search engines, the higher your blog post will rank.
Optimize your Title Tags to include your target keywords, AND grab your reader’s attention. Unlike the above Title Tag, make your Title Tags compelling and enticing.
A recent study by Conductor shows Title Tags with the highest click-through rates have:
- 1 Superlative
use Numbers in your Title Tag:
use 1 Superlative:
To make your Title Tag look like this:
The Best Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe [5 Easy Steps]
I recommend installing Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress to make changing Title Tags easy.
Tip #5: Only write Content that deserves to be #1
Before you write a blog post, type it into a search engine to see if it’s been written before.
Assess the competition and write a blog post that’s better than all the others. Make your blog post more in-depth, include more details, include better pictures, and make it more helpful than the rest.
If you’re going to write a blog post, write it specifically to rank #1 in search engines.
Tip #6: Cover the Topic Completely
Your blog posts should be completely comprehensive and leave readers with no questions. The more detailed and in-depth your blog post is, the more time your readers will spend on your blog. After visiting your blog, your readers shouldn’t go anywhere else to find their answer.
The longer ‘time on page’ your visitors spend, the more it tells search engines your blog post is providing value to it’s users. This is exactly what search engines want – and will continue to increase the ranking of your blog post.
Tip #7: Use LSI Keywords
Don’t keyword stuff your content by repeating your target keywords, over and over again. Search engines are too smart for that.
Instead use LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords. LSI keywords are terms closely related to your target keyword.
To find LSI keywords, type your target keyphrase into a search engine, and scroll to the bottom of the page. Here you’ll find LSI keywords:
Sprinkle these LSI keywords into your blog post in a natural fashion.
Tip #8: Publish Long Content
Search engines look for the most in-depth, and helpful content.
Publishing long content on your blog posts does 2 things:
- Increases ‘time on page’ – a big search engine ranking factor
- Natural inclusion of more LSI keywords – increasing the number of potential searches your post could appear for
It may sound like a lot, but I recommend aiming for 2000-3000 words per blog post. (This blog post is 2631 words).
If you write long blog posts, you will naturally write in-depth content and cover your topic completely. These two things are exactly what search engines want.
One 2000-word blog post, is MUCH better than writing seven 300-word blog posts.
Tip #9: Include Target Keywords in your URLs
Your blog posts URL (permalink) is the most important factor telling search engines what your blog post is about. Make sure you only include your target words in your URL.
Don’t use stop words like ‘a’, ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘how’, ‘or’, and ‘what’. Stop words are a waste, and are ignored by search engines.
Tip #10: Use Short URLs
Keep your URLs as short as possible. Limit your URLs to 2-4 words. The more words you use, the more you dilute your keywords.
For example, your ‘How to Make a Moist Chocolate Cake‘ blog post URL should only contain the keywords: Moist, Chocolate and Cake:
Tip #11: Create a Site Map
Search engines use ‘spiders’ to crawl your blog. Spiders find and index your blog posts (and pages).
Search engines want spiders to complete their job quickly and efficiently.
Help spiders by making every posts and pages within 2 clicks from your homepage.
Do this by creating a site map. (Don’t get confused between a sitemap, which is automatically generated by an SEO plugin, like Yoast SEO and a Site Map).
A Site Map is a page you create manually, and add links to. You can see my Site Map displayed at the bottom of this page.
Tip #12: Internal Links
Use internal links carefully. Only link to pages you want to give a boast.
Apart from your ‘Recommendations’ and ‘Site Map’ pages, limit the number of internal links to 3-5 per page.
When you link to internal pages, you are telling search engines those pages are important – and they should give them higher priority in their search results.
Many bloggers make the mistake of linking to their ‘contact’ page from their blog posts. This is a mistake because your ‘contact’ page isn’t materially important. Don’t tell search engines your ‘contact’ page is a high priority page by linking to it from multiple blog posts.
Instead, only link to pages and posts you want to give a boost.
Tip #13: External Links
External links are also important. Use them carefully.
Including outbound links in pages is good for SEO. Use between 3-5 per external links in every blog post.
Be mindful of two things:
- Only link to external pages that have a higher page rank than yours. Think big, established and popular brands that have been around for a long time – New York Times, Amazon, Wikipedia, BBC etc.
- Make sure the subject of the page you link to is relevant to the subject of your blog post
Tip #14: Know the difference between Pages and Posts
Use Posts and Pages carefully.
Blog Posts are timestamped. Search engines generally decrease the ranking of Posts over time (depending on the nature of the content).
Use Posts when write something you know will eventually become outdated, like ‘this year’s trends’, or an opinion piece.
Blog Pages should be used when you don’t want something to become outdated. Use Pages when you create evergreen content, for example an instructional guide, or a factual piece.
It’s important to have a good balance between Pages and Posts in a blog. Search engines want to see a mix of both.
Tip #15: Site Speed
Your blog’s speed is an important search engine ranking factor. Google says so here.
Don’t use a cheap webhost for your blog.
If your blog posts take too long to load, visitors click the ‘back’ button on their web browser. This gives readers a bad user experience, and search engines measure the speed of your blog.
I recommend using a premium webhost, like Bluehost, to host your blog. Bluehost is fast and offers great value for money.
Tip #16: Use Images
People are visual and like to look at images.
For every blog post, include 4-5 images, pictures, screenshots or charts.
This will increase your blog’s user experience – and importantly, increase ‘time on page’ – a big search engine ranking factor.
Tip #17: Be Mindful when Naming Images
When you upload images to your blog, name images based on your target keywords, key phrases and LSIs.
Make sure the text around your images is the same, or similar to your images.
Use ‘alt-tags’ for your images. Use similar, but different words than you used for your file name.
Tip #18: Use Videos
For the same reasons above as using images, also include relevant videos in your blog posts.
Videos dramatically increase your visitors ‘time on page’. They don’t have to be videos you created – you can use any YouTube or Vimeo video.
Go to the YouTube video, click ‘Share’ -> ‘Embed’ and copy the HTML link to embed the video in your blog post:
Tip #19: Related Pages and Posts
Reduce your blog’s bounce rate by adding a related pages and posts WordPress plugin.
This gives readers an opportunity to read another post.
When your reader clicks through to another post, it tells search engines your blog has multiple interesting posts – and their rankings should also be increased.
I use the Contextual Related Posts plugin for WordPress. This plugin shows both blog Pages and blog Posts in the ‘Related’ section.
Tip #20: Use Page-Rank Sculpting
Take your internal linking to the next level with a technique called ‘page-rank sculpting’.
‘Page-rank sculpting’ works by creating multiple posts, which all internally link to one particular post (known as a ‘hero page’).
The hero page is a page you want to give particular emphasis to.
This does two things:
- Feeds readers into the post – driving more traffic
- Tells search engines the post is valuable – increasing it’s priority in search results
I use ‘page-rank sculpting’ for affiliate marketing.
When I have a high converting, or high-paying affiliate item, I ‘page-rank sculpt’ the blog post. My goal is to make the blog post a hero page to increase sales.
Tip #21: Check for Broken Links
Broken links tell search engines your blog isn’t well maintained. This negatively impacts search results.
If you’ve been blogging for a while, it’s likely you’ll have some broken links.
I regularly use Broken Link Check (free) to check for broken links on my blog. (I have no connection to this website except using it for 10 years).
Tip #22: Backlinks (Inbound Links)
The quality, and quantity of backlinks for your blog is one of the most important factors in SEO.
Backlinks tell search engines that people want to promote your blog – so it must be valuable.
It’s hard to get inbound links by promoting your content directly to publishers.
I’ve found the best way to get inbound links is simply by creating content worth linking to.
There’s nothing better than creating trustworthy and authoritative content to get people naturally linking to your blog.
Tip #23: Write for People with Short Attention Spans
Web users like to consume information really quickly and efficiently.
Write in short, punchy sentences. Make your points quickly and concisely. Don’t waste a single word.
- Use short sentences
- Use short paragraphs
- Have a lot of white space
- Use bold to highlight certain key points
- Delete fluff
Don’t let your readers get bored – not even for a second. This will keep your readers on your blog for as long as possible – increasing ‘time on page’. This indicates to search engines your content is interesting – which will increase your rankings.
Tip #24: Write Compelling Sub-Headings
Most people skim-read.
When visitors start scrolling, you need to get their attention back using compelling sub-headings.
Use interesting or compelling sub-headings to catch people’s eye.
You’ll increase the chance of the person to stop scrolling – and start reading again.
This increases ‘time on page’.
Tip #25: Domain Length
Spam websites tend to buy their domains for a year at a time. This is because it’s cheaper and they don’t know how long they’ll be around. Search engines know this, and will rank your blog according.
When you buy a domain name for your blog, buy it for at least 5 years.
Tip #26: Use Pinterest
Pinterest has moved away from being a social media platform and rebranded itself as a search engine.
Sometimes it can take 6-10 months for even the best content to rank high in Google
So once you’ve created enough content (about 10-20 pages or posts), start using Pinterest.
Pinterest the most efficient and effective way to promote content. It’s leveled the ranking playing field for bloggers old and new.
If search engines see your blog gaining traffic without their help, they’ll increase your rankings much faster.
Tip #27: Be Patient
It can take a long time to rank high in search engines.
Search engines do this on purpose – and they like it that way.
Keep following the above tips, keep producing content, and you’ll see increases in your visitors and search engine rankings.
How I learned Blog SEO
When I started learning about SEO basics, I learned everything I know from a book.
When you start learning about SEO, it’s important to learn SEO elements in the correct order. Unlike what I found online, it gave me a day-by-day, step-by-step, practical guide to implementing SEO on my site.
I have no connection to this book, or to the author, except I can say it was very helpful to me when I started SEO. I learned SEO basics from this book, which provided me with a solid platform to learn advanced SEO.
The book is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO): An Hour a Day.
You can buy the kindle version here.
If you’re new to blog SEO, I highly recommend buying it.
SEO for Blogging
I hope these SEO blog tips will help you optimize your blog.
Take your time, and implement each tip.
If you want to learn how to write an SEO friendly blog post, see my article on how to optimize blog posts for SEO.
If you have any questions on blog SEO, please let me know!
Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are referral links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you make a purchase. I only recommend products I love and use myself.
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