Blog SEO Basics: How to Write Posts that Rank

Google and other search engines constantly work on improving their algorithms, leading to major changes when it comes to SEO practices (to the dismay of countless digital marketers). Now, instead of relying only on the quantity of keywords in a blog post or article to determine what it’s about, Google’s algorithms consider the framework of the surrounding text and the quality of the content. In other words, search engines are developing a “human” aspect. This change makes it much harder to “hack the system” in an effort to rank higher. This was a major disappointment for marketers whose content suddenly disappeared from page 1 status during one of Google’s many algorithm updates. The good news is that if you follow the tips listed here, your blog posts will have a better chance of high ranking, a necessity to generate targeted web traffic says Chris Margolis of the CT Digital Marketing Agency

Great Content and SEO
Quality content combined with SEO will make all the difference when it comes to web traffic. The most important part of this success formula is coming up with good content. Once you’ve written the blog post, you want people to find and read it which is where optimizing it comes in. Bottom line, without good, search engine optimized content, you don’t have a chance of getting found.

Choose a Topic and Keyword Phrase
Come up with a very specific blog post topic – the more specific you are on the topic you’re writing about, the more traffic you’ll generate. Once you’ve come up with a topic, decide on a keyword phrase (3 to 5 words) that describes it.

Optimizing Your Blog Post Title
Now you need to create a descriptive, engaging title that will encourage your target audience to read on, however, pen it in a way that both humans and search engines will be able to tell what your article is about. Work your SEO keyword phrase into the blog post title, which should be a minimum of 5 words long with the ideal being 7 to 10 words.

Descriptive Intro Paragraph
The first paragraph of your blog post is going to hold the most weight. In those first few sentences, make sure you clearly identify what the blog post is going to be about. Include your keyword phrase in that first paragraph, and in the first sentence if possible. Keywords that are higher up a page will get noticed more by search engines and have more relevance than those that are lower down the page.

Google Relies on Descriptive Headings
Google (and other search engines) rely heavily on the headings used in blog posts in order to find out what the content’s about. Use at least 2 or 3 headings in your blog post (varies depending on length), every 3 to 4 paragraphs. If you can do it naturally, incorporate parts (or all) of your keyword phrase into the headlines. It’s also important to write descriptive headlines that help sum up what the sections are about. Also important is to format the headlines as “H2” for primary headings (H3 for sub-headings if you use them). This is very important because it helps search engines recognize them as headings. This feature is available in most blogging platforms.

SEO Doesn’t Mean Stuffing Your Blog Post with Keywords
Keeping content human friendly will help you avoid being penalized by search engines. You can still sprinkle the keyword phrase a few times within the post. Just take the time to read through it before posting to ensure that it sounds natural – not forced.

Optimize Your Images with Alt Tags
Images that you use in your posts can also be optimized. Most blogging platforms have an “alt tag” feature that allows you to tell search engines what the photo is about. You can use the title of the blog post as an “alt tag” or if you’re adding several images, use verbiage that describes the section that pertains to it.

Using Your Meta Description as Influencers
Meta descriptions actually have nothing to do with search results these days. Their main purpose is to influence people to click on the search link which takes them to your post. Think of it as a compelling extension of your title that compels visitors to click through.

If you apply the SEO tips listed here to your blog posts, chances are that you’ll notice a tangible increase in web traffic coming from search engines. In any case, it’s a good place to start.